Topic: The Field of Battle
The Orders of Lieutenant F.P Bethune
Fron a now-defunct version of the Australians at War website
On March 13, 1918, Lieutenant F.P. Bethune, commanding No. 1 Section of the 3rd Machine-Gun Company was instructed to post his guns at Spoil Bank. He considered this position to be suicidal and complained. Neverless, he lead his men there. Before he could get into position a runner reached him with new orders to move to Buff Bank. This was a good position, better than Spoil Bank, but without infantry nearby to cover them, the machine-guns were dangerously exposed. With the safety of that part of the line in his hands, Bethune decided his men should have written orders.
He therefore issued these orders:
1. This position will be held, and the Section will remain here until relieved.
2. The enemy cannot be allowed to interfere with this programme.
3. If the Section cannot remain here alive, it will remain here dead, but in any case it will remain here.
4. Should any man through shell-shock or other cause attempt to surrender, he will remain here dead.
5. Should all guns be blown out, the Section will use Mills grenades and other novelties.
6. Finally, the position, as stated, will be held.
F.P Bethune, Lieut.
O.C. NO.1 Section
Bethune and his squad survived the occupation of the post, holding it for 18 days. The position was held.