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Second Lieutenant Deslee


Harrogate Herald - 1st December 1915

Monsieur Joseph Vincent, now a Corporal, of the Belgian Army, was in Knaresborough Hospital last year some time, and has many friends there and in Harrogate who will be interested to read of his success. The extracts have been forwarded to us by Mrs M A Nuttall, who received the original letter :

Good news this time! I am named in despatches, or as we say in French, "Porte a l'ordre du jour". This is what the General said : "I wish to mention in the despatches from this Division, Second Lieutenant Deslee (my Lieutenant) and Corporal Vincent, for the spirit of initiative and decision which they showed during a reconnaissance in front of the first line of he Division. I congratulate them warmly on their action, and thank them for the information they have furnished". This is how it all, happened : On the morning of the 22nd of November the fog was very thick, nearly the same as in London. My Lieutenant, two Sergeants, and myself went over the top of a first-line trench to collect some war souvenirs, for, some time ago, very big fights had taken place here, and many things lie on the ground. On a clear day it would be impossible to go, but this time there was no danger to fear. I was there some minutes when I heard, "Vincent!". "Yes?". "I think it is more interesting on the other side of the canal". "Yes, Lieutenant". "Shall we go and see?". "Yew, let us go", and so we went. We crossed the bridge, and soon we were on the German side, my Lieutenant with empty hands, and myself with a camp stool. After fifteen yards we found a German - dead. He had come to throw hand grenades at our outposts, but was killed before throwing even one. We went further, and were 200 yards from our line, when the Lieutenant said, "Vincent, I have seen a German outpost. We will go and take it!". I did not answer, but looked at his empty hands and my tool!". "Yes", added he, "we musty have weapons". So we went back to fetch them, he, his Browning, and me, my rifle. Arriving near the German post, we jumped in, but - nobody was there! It was a post for the night only. We brought back with us many interesting things for the General Staff. You know the result - my name in despatches.