Page images

Since the 8th we had indulged in a series of expensive nibbles. Although on the day of the great surprise we had penetrated south of the Somme to a depth of ten thousand yards, disorganised the enemy's communications by concentrated bombing and the raids of armoured motor-cars, and captured innumerable prisoners and an enormous quantity of material, the Germans with astounding skill filled the gap the gap with fresh troops, who defended their positions with the utmost resolution.

It was decided to attack on the 23rd at Herleville and Proyart. My company had been placed directly under the orders of the Australian Corps; and, after I had completed the preliminary arrangements at an interview with the Brigadier-General, General Staff of the Corps at Glisy, I instructed Harland and Westbrook to work out the details with the staffs of the divisions involved, the 1st Australian and the 32nd.

attack closely, and when after stiff fighting the Australians had reached their final objective, the infantry were supplied instantly with food and water, with barbed wire to defend them against counterattacks, and with all the ammunition they could need.

The tanks made two journeys, the second in the broad light of day, within full view of the enemy gunners, who naturally did their utmost to prevent this impudent unloading of stores under their very noses. One tank was hit on the track, but succeeded in crawling away. All the tanks were shelled briskly enough, but good fortune attended them, though by the rules of the game they should never have escaped. One of my men was killed and five were wounded. The Australians, who assisted in the unloading, were less lucky.

At Herleville, Westbrook with three tanks had been equally successful. Two tanks had followed the infantry through the ruins of HerleOn the 21st Harland's tanks ville, and seen to their wants in the Cérisy Valley, near at the moment of victory. Warfusée, were loaded with a After the third tank had splendid assortment of barbed unloaded, a nest of machinewire, water, detonated bombs, guns was discovered behind grenades, rations, picks, shovels, our support lines. The "fightand other necessaries. During ing" tanks had already withthe night of the 22nd they drawn. The Carrier tank moved forward, and by 2 A.M. with "soft" sponsons,1 and its they were in position behind solitary Hotchkiss gun, dethe line, severely shelled and cided to attack, and the bombed. Colonel of a battalion of HighAt dawn they followed the landers climbed on board to

1 At that period the sponsons of Carrier tanks were made of boiler-plate, which was not proof against bullets.

act as guide, but before the tank could reach the nest an interfering officer with a battery of Stokes guns had forced the surviving Germans to surrender.

My tank engineer and his men had been indefatigable. Our tanks were obsolete, and usually they were overloaded. The orews were inexperienced. Tank after tank would break down, and a stream of demands for spare parts flowed into headquarters. On more

Company headquarters had not been entirely inactive. Mao, of all reconnaissance officers the most conscientious, than one occasion it be

who on one famous occasion had described so clearly to a section the routes they should not take, that the section nearly forgot which route they should take, had spent the night of the 20th with Dron his orderly in finding a way for Ritchie's tanks through the difficult country to Bomray. In the course of their wanderings they came upon a mysterious camp, deserted and full of stores. There were even several cases of whisky in a tent. I can conceive no greater tribute to the discipline of the Tank Corps than the fact that this reconnaissance officer, after making a note of this important discovery, went out into the night. On the 22nd he reconnoitred a route for Westbrook's section from Bayonvillers, where the tanks were camouflaged, to the forward posts. There was no time to lay tape: white stakes were placed at intervals across difficult stretches. It was not too easy to discover a convenient "lying-up place," because the "fighting" tanks had already secured the desirable "banks," and we had been instructed not to go too near them for fear of confusion on the morning of the battle.

came necessary to lift out the whole engine complete and give the tank a new or more often an overhauled engine from the field stores. At Querrieu Wood we were short of men-the establishment of a Carrier Company is not generous-so that when heavy spares arrived, every one, from the mess-cook to the adjutant, would lend a hand. Before the battle the tank engineer would rush on his motor-cycle from one invalid tank to another. At Proyart, for example, a few minutes before "zero" he was repairing under continuous shell-fire a spare tank which had broken down tactlessly at a orossroads immediately behind the line.

With his sections operating independently on a wide front the Company Commander could only tour the battlefield, for once the plans were laid he could exercise little influence upon the result. So you may imagine him paying a brief unhappy visit to Proyart, and then with Westbrook pushing forward to a gully beyond Rainecourt to look for Rankin and his tank. The enemy

were unkind that day.

In these later actions the

Carrier tanks had proved

their worth


incontestably. and congratulations about us to the 5th Tank Brigade, stating that the Carrier tanks were great feature of the day's operations." An Australian General recommended one of my section commanders for a decoration, and at the first opportunity sent by his car a present to the section of two jars of rum and a few cases of chocolate.

South of the Somme forty-six tons of stores and ammunition had been carried by nine anoient, unsuitable tanks, manned by eight officers and fifty men 1 to nine different points, each within 400 yards of the enemy, and each inaccessible by day to wheeled transport. If the old bad system of carrying parties had been employed, 25002 men would have been needed instead of 58. Further, these loads were carried forward eight to nine miles in all, and at least sixteen lorries were therefore set free. Lastly, the Carrier tanks followed so closely the advancing infantry that in the majority of cases the stores and ammunition were handed over as soon as they could be received.

We set ourselves at once to make ready our fourteen surviving tanks, in case we should be required again, and I issued orders for the reconnaissance of the forward area south of the Somme; but on 21st August the battle of Bapaume had commenced, and on our front the enemy began to withdraw to the Canal de la Somme, with the Australians in pursuit. Our brigade were placed in G.HQ. Reserve, and I was ordered to concentrate my company at Villers - Brettoneux. On the 26th we received in

The success and importance of the Carrier tanks were pleasantly recognised. One General wrote a special letter of thanks struotions to entrain.

1 The numbers include orderlies, cooks, batmen, &c.
2 For the actual carrying-cooks, &c., excluded.

(To be concluded.)



AFANATICAL admirer of Lombroso once described that sad misguided philosopher as "the loftiest phenomenon of the nineteenth century." If the head of the idol once seemed to approach the stars, his feet were so insecurely established on the earth that he has already toppled over in the dust. And yet for a while Lombroso's attempt to classify genius and orime together as forms of abnormality satisfied the yearning of those who pretended to believe in such sham sciences as phrenology, physiognomy, and chiromancy. It was a pleasant pastime to detect the criminal (or the man of genius) by feeling his bumps, by taking note of his features, or by gossiping about the habits of his life. And assuredly the books of Lombroso, packed with scandal, afforded a vast deal of diversion to an idle public.

Lombroso's method was simplicity itself. He started with a working hypothesis, and supported it with false gossip, distorted history, and a jargon which at once puzzled and deighted his patient followers.

Thus supported, he found it easy to prove that genius is but a kind of degeneracy, or abnormal madness nearly allied to criminality. He makes no attempt to define madness, or genius, or abnormality. For him every one is 8 man of genius whose name has been admitted to & biographical dictionary, and there is no anecdote trivial or irrelevant enough to be exoluded from his argument. He makes no attempt at accuracy, and his anecdotes are doubtless none the worse in his eyes for being invented. He finds it a clear proof of Henry VIII.'s degeneracy (and genius) that he murdered all his wives. "Byron," he tells us with all gravity, "used to beat the Guiccioli, and also his Venetian mistress, the gondolier's wife, who, however, gave him as good." And then he invents new diseases with new names to fit his hypothesis. There is a complaint, called misoneism, which seems to be the fatal accompaniment of genius. Frederick the Great and Napoleon both suffered from it, and thus

proved themselves men of genius and madmen. For did not Frederick refuse to buy himself a new coat? And was not Napoleon faithful through life to an old and battered hat? If there were a grain of truth in Lombroso's hypothesis, we should all pray on our knees to be insane, and deem the greatest privileges to be born of a mad mother and a drunken father, and then to be hit upon the head in our youth.

At the end of his pretended investigation Lombroso admits that there have been a few sane men of genius, such as Machiavelli, Michelangelo, and Charles Darwin, And in another place, with characteristic inconsequence, he discovers in all three the plain signa of degeneracy. What could we expect save genius or insanity of Machiavelli, who, to his shame be it said, was plagio-cephalio? And what avail the masterpieces of Michelangelo, when it must be confessed that he was left-handed and therefore a vietim of decadence? The fate of Charles Darwin was still more unfortunate. Though he wrote 'The Origin of Species,' he was cretinous in aspect and a stammerer. And Lombroso has the impertinence, after proving to his own satisfaction that Darwin exhibited the signs of insanity, to proclaim him sane! Of course, Lombroso's 'Man of Genius' will be remembered only as the aberration of one who by his own showing was himself a hopeless mattoid, if it be

remembered at all. More probably it will find an outcast's corner, with other broken pots and pans, on the dumpingground of forgotten things.

But when he sketched what he called "the eriminal type," he became dangerous. For by representing the criminal as the victim of an inevitable disease he persuaded foolish law-makers and lay ministers to pervert the course of justice. And the late Dr Charles Goring did an inestimable service to justice as to science, when he demolished with a cogent eloquence Lombroso's pretensions to be a sane criminologist. His task was rendered more difficult by the general acceptance of Lombroso's heresy. "Can a doctrine which has obtained universal credit and currency," he is forced to ask, "possibly be without any basis in fact?" The argument is merely a plea for the general validity of what has once been accepted, and that is why Dr Goring calls the belief in Lombrose's doctrine, that the criminal, as found in prison, is a "definite, anomalous human type," a superstitious belief. As he points out, Lombroso's own sentimental romantic account of how he came by his doctrine reveals at once the character of his mind and the nature of his work. "In 1870," wrote Lombroso, quoted by Dr Goring, "I was carrying on for several months researches in the prisons and asylums of Persia upon cadavers and living persons without succeeding very well. Suddenly, on the morning of a gloomy day

« PreviousContinue »