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Robert Dunlop

The Cyclist Company from the French 9th Cavalry Division kept a war diary. The first two paragraphs for August 20, 1914 read:

“The Advance Guard of the 9th Cavalry Division moved towards Neufchâteau via Straimont. A troop from 3rd Dragoons formed the point. At Straimont, the Captain learned that a squadron from the 2nd Hussars (4th Cavalry Division) had been engaged [earlier] in the morning in Neufchâteau against German cavalry, to the disadvantage of the latter. Once the northern exit of Neufchâteau was made secure, the company advanced towards Longlier. The company reached the town, following behind Squadrons Bossut  and Pastourel that had been sent on ahead to reconnoitre with two cyclist sections under the commands of l’adjutant Vadel and l’adjudant en chef Leprince respectively.

On exiting Longlier, the men were stopped by fire from dismounted [German] uhlans; Squadron Bossut dismounted with Cyclist Section Sontay to the north of the road, facing the woods 1,500 m northwest of Longlier. The woods had been organised for defence by the enemy [which may be a reference to the triangular wood that was mentioned in the account of the German 87th Infantry Regiment]. Section Fertaud (2nd Platoon) prolonged the line to left with Lieutenant Filippi; 1st Platoon deployed to the right of 2nd Platoon south of the road, with part of a section on the road towards the bridge. The machine gun section from 1st Dragons came into the line north of the road with 2nd Platoon.”