'First Shots'. The commemoration of the first engagement by artillery of the British Expeditionary Force in WW1 on 22nd August 1914.
At 11:15 on 22nd August 1914 Number 4 gun of ‘E’ Battery, Royal Horse Artillery fired two ranging rounds at German forces advancing southwest through the village of Peronnes-les-Binche and the town of Binche.
‘E’ Battery was in support of British cavalry patrolling the line between Peronnes and Binche, to make first contact with the German 1st Army, the right wing of the German forces sweeping through Belgium towards northern France, 15 kms to the south.
The battery’s subsequent engagement with German batteries supporting their cavalry and infantry was ineffective. The rounds were falling short.
A shell case from one of the two first rounds is in the History Room of the Royal Artillery. A stamping on the base shows the shell was manufactured in 1908. The ammunition supplied to ‘E’ Battery may well have become defective in the six years before it was used in action.
On 22nd August 2014 ‘E’ Battery carried out a commemorative firing, preceded by a church service and followed by a reception in Peronnes by the mayors of Peronne and Binche.