L Battery R.H.A. “How our Gunners Won the V.C. and Silenced the Fire of the German Guns in the Face of Overwhelming Odds.” Print by Fortunino Matania. From Deeds that Thrill the Empire (published 1919).
The Affair of Néry was a skirmish fought on 1 September 1914 between the British Army and the German Army, part of the Great Retreat from Mons during the early stages of the First World War. A British cavalry brigade preparing to leave their overnight bivouac were attacked by a German cavalry division of about twice their strength, shortly after dawn. Both sides fought dismounted; the British artillery was mostly put out of action in the first few minutes but a gun of L Battery, Royal Horse Artillery kept up a steady fire for two and a half hours, against a full battery of German artillery. British reinforcements arrived at around 8:00 a.m., counter-attacked the Germans and forced them to retreat; the German division was routed and did not return to combat for several days. Three men of L Battery were awarded the Victoria Cross for their part in the battle, the battery was later awarded the honour title of “Néry”, the only British Army unit to have this as a battle honour.