St Quentin 1914

This morale-boosting illustration was published in H W Wilson's 12 volume history of the Great War and titled as 'The Stirrup-Charge of the Scots Greys and Highlanders at St Quentin'. Elsewhere in the volumes there is mention of a cavalry charge on 28 Aug 1914, but the information accompanying this picture states that this stirrup-charge took place at St Quentin on 30 Aug 1914. The artist Caton Woodville has depicted an unnamed Highland regiment hanging onto the stirrup leathers of the Greys, and the caption says that this echoed the famous charge at Waterloo immortalised in Lady Butler's painting 'Scotland Forever'. But that painting shows only the Greys, without Highlanders. Whether this stirrup-charge actually happened is very unlikely as a man running (10-15mph) with a galloping horse (25-30 mph) is impossible. The Highlanders are shown as wearing spats and hose which would be reserved for parade order, and the horses are shown as grey when they should be painted chestnut.

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by Stephen Luscombe