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Auction: 18002 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 362

Three: 2nd Lieutenant R. C. L. Pilliner, Royal Field Artillery, who gallantly saved the guns at Le Cateau and was killed in action at Armentieres on 4 November 1914

1914 Star (2. Lieut: R. C. L. Pilliner. R.F.A.); British War and Victory Medals (2 Lieut. R. C. L. Pilliner), generally good very fine (3)

Rupert Coldrick Laybourne Pilliner served with the 127th Battery, 29th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, arriving in France on 23 August 1914.

On 26 August, after a march of 20 miles, 127 Battery fought a desperate action at Le Cateau. Holding its position for five hours despite heavy shell-fire, the battery was ordered to retreat across an open space of about a mile. Informed of this movement by aeroplane, the Germans shelled 127 Battery and killed numerous horses. 2nd Lieutenant Pilliner calmy directed the retreat, harnessing fresh horses while shells fell around him. For this action he was recommended for the Legion of Honour. The Western Mail of 3 October 1914 continues the story:

'On 27 August, after a night march, the Germans began shelling again at half-past five in the morning, when the battery were breakfasting on porridge. One of the shells smashed the porridge pot after only three spoonfuls had been taken out.'

Pilliner was killed in action when his battery confronted the advancing Germans at Armentieres on 4 November. The eldest son of Mr. A. M. and Mrs. E. M. E. Pilliner of Llanyravon, Newport, Pilliner died aged 23.

There is a memorial to Pilliner in Ponthir Baptist Church, and he is buried at Trois Arbes Cemetery, Steenwerck with the grave reference II.H.1a. On his headstone is the inscription: "THERE IS NO DEATH - RIDE ON"; sold with copied research and a letter from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

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