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THE BRITISH SOLDIER
HIS COURAGE

AND HUMOUR

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etc. J.) FISHER UNWIN ADELPHI TERRACE W. letter. HARDY." Married/' etc. E. .C. M. Chaplain to the Forces (Retired) Author of *' How to be Happy though "Mr.A. " Nous entendons dire de tous cotes que vos pauvres Tommies se battent comme des lions et que chaque jour ils font des exploits magnifiques." LONDON i lis sont bons garcons (Extract from a French lady's : T. Thomas Atkins.— THE BRITISH SOLDIER His Courage and Humour BY Rev. et tres droles.

First published in 79/5 (All rights rtsentd.) .

TO THOSE WHO HAVE GIVEN THEIR LIVES OR THEIR HEALTH TO SAVE CIVILISATION FROM BARBARISM THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED 334053 .

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IX.CONTENTS CHAPTER PREFACE I. X. IN 68 78 xiii. COURAGE AND DISCIPLINE - - 17 IV. - THE TRENCHES vii - - - 91 I0 I - - - no - - - II7 - 123 - I32 . VIII. --------------- PAGE ix UP TO SAMPLE I COURAGE 7 III. FROM FEAR TO HEROISM - UNCOMMON COMBATS XVI. " " FIGHTS TO A FINISH 45 CAVALRY CHARGES 52 GRIT AND GUNS 57 GALLANTRY OF INDIVIDUALS - - SELF PUT ASIDE ----- BROTHERS-IN-ARMS UNDER FIRE - " i've got it " XIV. BOYS OF THE BULLDOG BREED- - 29 FACING FEARFUL ODDS ' 37 V. II. XV. XI. VI. XII. VII.

209 TENDER-HEARTED BECAUSE BRAVE - 213 ------ 228 WHAT THE FRENCH AND BELGIANS THINK . A MILITARY HOSPITAL READY TO RETURN - - - 1 58 - - 1 64 - - 170 176 - FASHIONS AT THE FRONT XXIV. UNCONSCIOUS HUMORISTS - - - 182 - - - 189 - - "199 XXVI. XVIII. IN XXII. THE COURAGE THAT BEARS XXI. XIX. XXVIII. NOT DOWNHEARTED - 142 PLAY AND WORK - 148 WAR - AS A GAME - XX.CONTENTS viii PAGE CHAPTER XVII. XXIII. NICKNAMES XXVII. GRAPHIC DESCRIPTIONS XXV.

and throw a searchlight on the war. Thomas Atkins " shows. had studied and appreciated him during the one years in which Still. I wrote called " Mr. was pleasant to read despatches and from the seat This book Mr. clear letters of Thomas Atkins pertinence of calling (I am never guilty of the im- him " Tommy ") which were written amidst the stress and strain of war. based upon the strong. ix 6 . more than of select and —the British little The soldier. often even in the pauses of battle. of the things we can have done classify the letters of that best war correspondents letters are I The soldier he knew about. I thirty- is of war highly praising my letters old friend.PREFACE did not need a war of nations to learn about the I humour courage and book I As a of the British soldier. and the result see his wrote is that pen pictures. it served as Chaplain to the Forces. a credit to his head and his heart.

The Evening News. Reynolds' and News Newsletter. The Daily Chronicle. The Daily Mail. papers from which What A effect I of the have taken extracts. The Daily Telegraph.: PREFACE x I would like to express newspapers in which the find difficult to it I of the indebtedness to the letters do so as the Press. have come across scores even unto death among : it ? not trust that " Those who live on amid our homes to dwell Have grasped the higher lessons that endure " ? In reference to Mr. that he should . so to speak. talking as if it were rather wonderful. however. for I World are amongst the it answers war brings out of instances of sacrifice men who in times of peace upon as almost worthless characters. the British public is wont to blow hot and cold. When he is engaged in a popular war they are inclined to make a popular fool of him. has war upon those engaged in reflective soldier thus the brutal instincts. The Star. but letters and many of were all over the them quoted without paper from which they were taken. and not a matter of course." are looked May we " If reveals the God-like also. that The Times. know. mention my were printed. Thomas Atkins. The Standard.

the old soldier slighted. this book will be given ." The following lines were cut stone sentry-box at Gibraltar " God and by a soldier in a : the soldier all men adore In time of trouble." Let us hope that when this war is over God will not be neglected nor the soldier slighted. The Author's profits from for the benefit of soldiers. is things righted. over.PREFACE xi bear hardships uncomplainingly and not skulk in battle. pairs of socks. When peace comes there are in some places many of public resort as snubs for him as before there had been sweets. and no more For when war And God And all is . and other " comforts. neglected .

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" In the retreat from the Belgian frontier small British the huge Army army it was the that kept back at fearful loss Germany. Monsieur." Another an audience that Our men have done wonderI am old soldier. Lord Roberts said. It without your Army we should proved that one volunteer is worth ten conscripts." said a French Staff Officer to an English friend. and we ought to be thankful that the old mixture of English. " and fully at the front.CHAPTER I Up to Sample A Manufacturer is glad when he can supply goods up to sample. Scotch. " Ah. Irish and Welsh sent to the war against Germany was as good as it ever was. and by doing so enabled the French forces to fall back in safety. of One who was associated with the British at the beginning of this strategic retirement wrote : "I . told British troops had never shown finer qualities. " have been lost. Army. proud of the British Lord Sydenham.

" Writing of the long resistance of our overwhelming odds men against in the region of Ypres. " No more John arduous task has ever been assigned to British soldiers. cooked. Sir French said in his dispatches. General Zurlinden wrote thus in The Gaulois : . Yet the British have already forgotten those tragic days when they alone bore the weight of the German When onslaught. those ' British Never mind. I have seen the heroic Scots German mown down. fire mastered the technique of the new arm. washed and shaved when the enemy's He said that our aviators had slackened. soldiers were told they regiments in my of the disasters to their best never We'll have the best of it presence flinched. and in all their splendid history there their having answered so is no instance magnificently desperate calls which of necessity were of the to made upon them. He of noted their good the celerity with which they made tea." The accuracy of British artillery shooting surprised both our A French officer allies and infantry and the enemy. attached to one of our contingents was astonished at the coolness and ingenuity our soldiers food and when under fire.' was the invariable answer after a moment's silence. one day.TKE BRITISH SOLDIER 2 have seen a crack cavalry regiment almost annihilated in a desperate charge against the artillery.

The English no consequence whatever." body of German prisoners in the superiority over the . and the soldiers By-and-by same story was repeated to them." they said. "is of Germany. and the Blaye. but I am afraid we never be able to beat these English devils. would be well If we fire ten thousand times is could only beat the English for us. which grows from day to day." The following a translation of a letter that was is found on a dead German soldier is it : " The English the best trained soldier in the world. are not worth taking account.UP TO SAMPLE " The has Army. " You make a grievous mistake." they added. British done miracles shows It 3 in under French. as well as over the There old a large is on the Gironde. Field-Marshal engagements all its incontestable German infantry and artillery German cavalry. however. are very brave and shall They fight to the last. They immediately protested." Even the Kaiser has found out that French's little Army " is like what the " Contemptible . " if you believe The English that. of fortress French doctor told a friend that the set of first prisoners hastened to inform later arrivals that the were English with fighting French the against " This. The English worse than officer soldier's hell. soldiers are terrible fellows." into other prisoners arrived.

comrades who were often themselves forgetting wounded. taking . could not help thinking that here was an answer to the blatant ranters who are for ever prating about the degeneracy of our race. to was The I just as line retire it though we stood on parade at Woolwich.— THE BRITISH SOLDIER 4 nervous lady said a mouse of M small. two hours of sleep and nineteen to twenty hours marching a day. troops are still the British soldier of history. was as straight and steady as ever it was." The deeds British wars present of daring that were done in former were repeated over and over in the one. reluctantly." Nor were our men afraid of the greater amount of work which up-to-date war entails. There were cavalry charges which can compare with that of the Light Brigade at only that nobody blundered. every day a small number of our men kept Almost multitudes Germans at bay and got out of the tight corner Guns were saved or taken with up-to-sample bravery. An officer mentioned having had during five days of a retreat. Balaclava. but a horrible nuisance. Here in is an extract from a sergeant's The Evening News : " When letter printed on the Monday morning we were compelled. Wounded men were rescued by selfof at last. " It was awful to see men with but I am glad our bad feet fall by the roadside .

and then off again at three next morning in the saddle 11 p. hungry. for making us teetotal. to 10 p." A corporal of the 16th Lancers wrote : " We are from 3 a.— UP TO SAMPLE 5 everything that comes in a most philosophical and courageous manner. but they found that they preferred tea to the free drinks of The British girls and wine they offered. and 4 a. Some men with hot in their hands and their heads resting rifles still on the barrels slept " the brave sleep of wearied men.m. him to song and wet. . . Lying in rain-soaked trenches days under a murderous and hellish for three fire. not exactly playing billiards at the club. reserve. and women hung on the arms said that their only of the hope was in them." In a letter passage " : from Our the fellows front say. but especially I to.m. God help the Germans.' of beer. merely provokes laughter." The French expected our soldiers to be fond of drink.m. was this have signed the pledge because Kitchener wants them ' there You can all get hold of get plenty would not disgrace myself with that. which had been in was ordered to engage. on active service. But they when we them." A sergeant-major was so worn out with marching that at the battle of Le Cateau he fell asleep and did not awake until his regiment.m.

Mr. Thomas Atkins as brave in resisting the temptations of this popularity as he was when he came." . and Getting to Berlin going to be a cheap excursion. to his first battles. as he soon did. isn't well. The brave soldiers whom always tender-hearted. if poor helped. One man wrote "In spite of all we say about the : Teuton he is taking his punishment we've got a big job on our hands. wounded. and our are were as humane and considerate to those they conquered as they were strong and courageous in conquering.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 6 The children played with them and the old people were cheered up by their songs and laughter as they marched through the was villages. After the battle the they had been fighting were no They and fellows to be pitied were. men with longer whom enemies. And our men were generous in their appreciation.

An' your work is 7 clean and sweet . you're a fighter." self. They Mons they were brave enough said that they could not order to retreat was to retreat understand Tommy the given. many covers most the quiet possession of a man's and an undisturbed doing evil beset ? definition is fight. " Stand Our soldiers says. whatever of his duty. At the battle of when ordered. way. though they were driving the Germans before them at the point of the bayonet. to halt or to go in any other where duty says.— CHAPTER . II Courage What courage or fortitude is kinds of " It cases. but it. " why Atkins." " Go direction still. but forward. There are those who have courage to cowardice." cowardice to go forward is have shown themselves capable of both kinds of courage. or danger in his lie Where duty not to wait. but they trusted their leaders. is Locke's There are him.

you're a Saxon. An' you're bloomin' hard to beat." : But indeed the very constancy may of our soldiers for granted. And you've borne the brunt o' fightin' And you've kept upon your feet An' you've learned the precious lesson Of a masterly retreat ' ' ! " Tommy Atkins. you're a hero. you're a soldier. An' your work is clean and sweet. They are fine and can wait we must rush. that a good umbrella all men brave natural is take it Thomas Atkins amidst a we begin to fancy that with we would be Is courage ? We become so accustomed to read of the coolness of Mr." said a French officer. and are the contrary. We sometimes hide hail of bullets. we French. to the shower.— . you're a hero. an instinctive desire to save What life is and . With your " ' masterly retreat Ah. — THE BRITISH SOLDIER 8 When you've got a job before you. Why you goes an' does it neat Tommy Atkins. Quite equally indifferent then natural. We haven't the patience of the English. An' you've won a dozen battles By a nicely-timed defeat Tommy Atkins. With your " ' masterly retreat ' ! Tommy Atkins. " we " ' 1 lose so heavily. of the courage it.

from a sense this duty ought to get credit for doing of bullets carried when wounded a grand lad and afraid of nothing. bridge on the British line of retreat had to be destroyed. almost over third. the German rifle eleven. was blown up. attempted to run the gauntlet rifle fire. How courage creates courage him away through a storm he said. fire Then. "He He gave all of so. racing across the space where in that instant the bridge . magnificent manifestation of this courage was A given by twelve Royal Engineers. deliberate and with of reward. Engineers He was made a A but before they . one by one. a fourth." There are There little A or many kinds and degrees of courage. but immediately he was down another man dashed up and ran on until he. for fell A numbered an instant.COURAGE 9 and those who overcome limb. a fifth and same way. of the fuse. is who were near him courage by his brave conduct. the body of his comrade. party of sappers laid a charge Then one could light the fuse they were killed. for the twelfth man. that which is no hope is calm. by a Con- told is man who had Writing of a naught Ranger. too. rush. until the death toll and dead. towards the killed before he had got half-way. all of them met of the German their deaths in the Others dashed out after them. slackened. alone.

but fellows at the front deserve it." " Yes. but a took shell off the Sergeant's head. and Victoria Cross for gallantry in successfully firing charges for the demolition of a bridge. wished to bandage him.. in full view of the enemy. lit the fuse and sent the bridge up with a roar as a German him down dead. you fellows. the British troops were saved.. said to a newspaper reporter am I : proud to have gained the Cross. Sergeant of the Royal Engineers perceived that they did this our men would be cut He off. and I must be done it infantry were British ' said. ' Go back so I I sides. wounded in fire the head." " Good-bye. V. With the modesty of a real hero Lance-Corporal Jar vis. rifleman brought A of few British soldiers held at bay a large number Germans who were trying A to rush a bridge. but he to the bridge went. if des- troyed the bridge with dynamite. behind barricades." Thirty gunners of . R. —and posted had to make quite a I had to start oper- detour to get round where ations.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 10 the dead bodies of his comrades lay. The . " under from three The work on the bridge was done Near the bridge I found Captain Theodore Wright.E.C. all the Jarvis got the shown at Genappes on August 23rd in working for one and a half hours under heavy fire.

Knowing they were going their places. One day the Gloucesters were fire. and a shell lying under shell dropped right in the middle of party having some food. front. a on a dark night to carry He off wriggled on his stomach to within a few yards of his object. It a did not explode at . in the intervals of coolly playing games. He surprised the guard of five Prussians. man had been went to the to their comrades minutes afterwards every put out of action.COURAGE a British 11 battery had just been killed and field Thirty others had been ordered to take wounded. and returned triumph to in with the a sheep across his shoulders. of Some almost mad things were done by men in the trenches. this was the last greeting to their Two in the reserve line. death. smoking cigarettes as they went to almost certain death. slew them. and the less pathetic picture Red Cross shelter wounded men carried the more wounded to a place comparative safety. like by his trench his success he ammunition and sallied forth belt maxim slung Rendered brazen again to collect the which he had left behind on his first journey. and another thirty with the same farewell greeting. A was presented when a British was being shelled. A man stole forth German maxim.

had he been saving a wounded man under the same conditions if there were He replied : as he collared a chicken for his comrades' dinner. leg. to get him. never worrying a little bit about the shells and with a bullet in his bullets. Finally he came back but as proud as the Kaiser himself. but We drew lots it fire. however. the and without another word he chased the bird for at least five minutes. and was Some of the Germans was our chaps who who would go The pig right in the also killed him. shell his biscuit. line of the German shot at him. Why. our little trumpeter.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 12 once. but every fellow who has fought has in some way or other earned it. with the chicken in his arms. got up A sergeant of the Royal Horse Artillery who had come back from the war for a rest. was asked many men getting the Victoria Cross. trumpeter. when a chicken suddenly ran into a very inferno of ' There goes our dinner ' ! cried fire. so one of the men dropped and threw the out of the trenches. "Of course there are." Compare with this the written following. would have certainly obtained the coveted We were being shelled and fired on fiercely Cross. of the Highland Light Infantry : " The other day one of our fellows shot a pig that came wandering towards our trench. by Sergeant George Freshwater. out and fetch the . The difficulty was. lay about 30 yards from us.

and was neighing piteously for water." of the ' Glosters ' noticed a horse that had been struck with a shell and was in great pain. though he got two shots through and one through his sleeve We shots in him. and with the Germans rapidly closing in it was as much as any man's life was worth to . awkward. The pig got skinned and roasted the and had a real good him the next morning. He and his dog fought their best. but they hadn't a dog's chance between them. and both were " A man killed. There was none about.COURAGE 1 bacon ' The chap who was stuck for the job once. six his cap. when he fell in with a party of Uhlans on the prowl. forty-five A and rounds of ammunition. but he wouldn't. went out 18 at to wait until it He got dark. gawky lad of the Camerons Scotch collie who took a fancy that had followed us about a one day the dog got left lot. behind when we were The big lad was to a and falling and went and was trudging along with it in his arms. a pair of patent-leather boots (evidently looted). got the pig in safely. though some of us wanted him in. back to look for He it. breakfast off A away from a sleeping warrior a helmet. back. terribly upset found it. wrote soldier : " There was a big." man crept up to a German trench and took pig in the trench that night. making forced marches to overtake us. knapsack.

off. on land and sea At one time it was thought that the Germans ." It was not enough for our men to show courage they now do so also in the air. him until and found the Gloucester lad and horse both dead. he made the slightest sound they would kill him. " We were in a place near Rheims and a Britisher dashed out from a farmhouse on the right and ran towards We The Germans us. and had been held a prisoner at the farm. fired and he fell dead." The highest courage comes from forgetting self and caring for the welfare of others. as well as anyone.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 14 The brave chap knew that wanted to make the poor stay another minute. excelled in this Kaiser was Now the new kind of warfare. learned that he had been captured the previous day by a party of German cavalry. he decided to make a dash to warn us of what was in store. where the Germans were in ambush He saw for us. The men of the Royal Flying Corps are not . hunted around until he found water. though he knew that if their game." French and British have successfully disputed this ascendancy. and that their " the Prince of the power of the air. This was told by a corporal of an Irish regiment. so he We had to and didn't know what had happened to next day when we retook the position. but he animal comfortable before he cleared clear out. and.

We a had not gone far before the sergeant was shot dead. danger. our time has come.' and shook hands with man. ' die like a officer brave. I took the despatch from his keeping with all haste^ and made at top speed for the staff officers for whom it was intended. Welsh Fusiliers. I remembered was that I was in a barn. The next me. and . and the engine stopped. take his machine over rough dangerous by as is shell holes. thus describes "I had to of the accompany one : of the sergeants despatch across the battlefield under in carrying fire." Another new opportunity the is work in it for courage given by of the motor-cycle despatch-rider. As I delivered the despatch I dropped into a dead faint from exhaustion." Sir and not hesitating to fly in every kind of weather. said.000 feet something went wrong with the machine. The Be Baker. they have remained undaunted throughout. and Good-bye.COURAGE " afraid of that which stantly both writes. hardship and every other element The of romance. " by friend 15 high. a letter in home : told the following " While flying over Boulogne at a height of 3." is and " Fired at con- John French foe. despatch-rider has fields He to and roads made has often experiences bad as the one which Lance-Corporal Davies." John Baker. Royal Flying Corps. There adventure.

and sometimes he has to go through even the lines of the enemy. ." The despatch-rider has to pass sentries who shoot at sight.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 16 when came round I I found myself in the field hospital.

" In one of his letters at the beginning of the war a sergeant of the Buffs wonderful. They know some of you at officers are. with marked. their finger tips. If home who have spoken sneeringly of British officers could have seen how they handled their men and B 17 . and respect them for One soldier ended a letter with these words: it. it A regiment was a club and merely to have a good time. "It is how and kind the their helpful work to all re- they have to do. Zeal and energy took hold of our officers and they began to think that they were bound in honour to make themselves efficient. The rank and file know this. " We are officered by excellent men. and we feel that we are being led. Their coolness when in a tight corner had a great effect upon the men and pulled us through often. And they have done so. After the lessons of the Boer War all this changed.CHAPTER III Courage and Discipline Before the last Boer War British Army officers did not take their profession as seriously as did Continental military many came into men.

wounded in Belgium.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 18 shirked nothing you would be ashamed of yourselves. sir. and then said. who was is seriously private soldier a lieutenant in the Welsh Regiment. same regiment crawled up to the same trench. Mansergh pulled him in and got the man underneath him (it was a short " two-man trench " for kneeling). on the spot. related an incident which shows do for his officer. He said that of the Isle of what a soldier will his son. though still protected by the trench parapet from rifle fire. The other day they found an egg which they wanted Of course I me to have. and that a first bound up the wound. " They shall not hit you again." The other day Lord Raglan. An officer of the self-sacrificing Mansergh was Manchester Regiment was equally for a soldier. " You cannot imagine how one gets to love these soldier chaps. A shell burst just in front of the Mansergh was An officer killed trench low down." He then lay down in front of his wounded officer so that his own body would protect him from the fire of the enemy. Falling and was Shortly after a soldier of the safe. near an empty trench he crawled into comparatively it W. hit in the leg at Lieutenant Le Cateau. Lieutenant-Governor Man. G. Mansergh was now exposed to shrapnel. but offered to cut for it (we . wrote. wouldn't.

wrote mother: "I asked an officer for some tobacco. and hardships . laughingly remarking. driven cattle cannot be heroes in the relation to each strife." What of the former a contrast there German and the officers is between the British discipline Army and men are almost In the ! in the same other as warders and convicts. It was this ' ' in men with them war share moral persuasion that so often enabled our small only as army ' ' all in their discipline to knock the tail-feathers out of the Kaiser's eagle. The officers drive their men and do not lead them. " German think of their officers cannon fodder. ." ours associate games during peace time. and dumb. and I think most of us appreciate the fact/' Private Walker. and he gave me some of what he had in a letter to his been smoking. so hard up were we for tobacco. I don't think they could put more confidence in their officers than they do at times like these.' was It ' Caven- It's just leaves pulled off the trees. dish. of the ist Cameronians.COURAGE AND DISCIPLINE have got a pack of to a In the end cards). woman we met. great or myself. A corporal Heaven our of the ist officers Cameronians wrote are not like : German " Thank officers. They way they look up to advice and counsel on Although I all say it was given it are just like children in the small. 19 one and ask one for kinds of subjects.

On August and were lying 23rd. and are always seize letter men by They " Our officers are their laughter and are gluttons for work. but expose themselves too much. the bravest man near I ever met.S. lads ! know how cheer us. Royal Berkshire Regiment said : D. hit three times some in a place " ? of the testimonies which returned from the war gave as to the good feeling that exists between our officers and their men. The only complaint against them is that they will not take cover. of our regiment. was. a sergeant of the " Captain Shott. is way they the ' Come on. cheerful." Describing the fighting at Mons." This war has shown that there never was in our Army more comes from officers with each other.. and the boys to obey. where may shells and men being A man who in friendly touch was lying were exploding. when we were in our trenches with shell .O. This is from a corporal's grand and they cheer our jokes in the trenches.' THE BRITISH SOLDIER 20 Ours are the best in the world. said to his I retire. The Boer War lesson they teach to the men. any chance : and quick to of delivering a punishing see and blow at any part of the enemy's lines. I The men kind of discipline which of that best have been following are " Sir. but won't profit by it them- selves. I think. cool. officer.

COURAGE AND DISCIPLINE fire 21 constantly around us. were bursting over our heads. a soldier said to keep on firing. he yelled. to keep up the spirits of his men." wrote two days one of his men. He was puffing a cigarette and he said. Our : the German officer stood up in the trenches and clapped his hands like as clappin' a star turn at the Empire. with his cheery words.' would not have gone under for him. humour about Brock's displays But when we got into close quarters. gave us good heart. he would buck us up with it and soul life not a Tommy who it." Writing of the terrible fire of at the Marne." " Captain Berners. stick to it ' ' ! if he was Good boys That was ' ! all . he walked out into the open and. of the Irish Guards." We read of an officer of the ist Hampshire Regiment reading " Marmion " aloud in the trenches. we will He was an officer and a gentleman in ' smoke. his was he who was fight I ! and didn't he don't know how he got knocked over. under a fierce fire. Lads.' every sense of the word. but in the thick of me one of our fellows told There is of our lot. " He is shop. and when he was killed later it was a great blow to us. " was the When shells at the Palace. * Good artillery "All we could do was boys. he died a game ' un. as cool as a slab of salmon in a fishmonger's He is a top-hole chap and worshipped by his men.

" This showed we were all subaltern position his zeal A man but he stood up in the midst of the and shouted. from a biscuit to a cigarette with So." was heard to say in his sleep. charged our weak of retiring. They came out of the trenches. a guardsman wrote in the whole Brigade of readily admit that : his When we a hero. His death was a terrible blow to us. and they came out under the command of one who had become their senior officer. too. At last the time for relief came. He gave them the ordw drive . Our Major (Mathieson) was were hard pressed and they we were almost on line. When they came out he formed up his men. ' Never let the point fire be said that a Cold- it streamer retired in front of a German dog. A not a read the following from a corporal's letter in The Daily Chronicle that is the hardships the all endured have been shared by the I men. a boy of nineteen. " This must be held at any cost. full strength. went into the trenches. overwhelming forces which were trying to them out. They stayed resisting there day overworked nerves.' After as one man and never flinched." THE BRITISH SOLDIER 22 The next moment a piece of shell crumpled him up. Guards but what would " : men have officers." " There and the tension of his battalion. He did not know what fear is. after day without relief. but only a fourth of those who had gone into them. and shared everything he said.

" Another often told He soldier wrote to his parents you what a fine fellow : "I have our captain was. such help Come men have been on the march the run down that they honour as the start singing.' ' men on. the Oxford and Bucks Light and the Con- Infantry. at the same time righting rearguard actions day after day. he was cheerful. wrote " : The High- land Light Infantry. When officers 1 regiment. all naughty boy of ' ! and feel fit for another 10 or 15 miles. and he broke down. ! Think That does Hold your hand out. but strain fell it it was too much. of the 2nd Highland Light Infantry. In a letter to his wife. the Worcester Regiment. but kneeling on one knee. got knocked over with a piece of shell . Private McKay. fainting to the ground. and kept saying. naught Rangers have beaten by doing 190 miles in eight all records for marching and a and half days.COURAGE AND DISCIPLINE and then he burst to march.' . make sure of your man. but our feel like falling them on with a few words. had done all was over the 28 and into tears. so down. While duty required he when that was wanted of him. of the They it." The men way said that they were " of putting bucked up " by this it. " Surely British soldiers can keep back any amount of German waiters. ' My bonnie boys. An officer said to his men.

these are a few of the instances which made your son liked by all his men.' wrote this about his He was his a gentleman. When a hero." A soldier thus wrote. " he nearly He has been good to us. bounders. and we asked him to have a drink. men . so that each shot tells." Bandsman Imeson. who had been asked to tell fell in action. get under cover. frequently requested don't waste a shot aim. ' Men.' It ' take careful . was alive ' . Wynn about his son's death at Land- recies " Sir.' Another soldier in when he saw cried so His last words were.: THE BRITISH SOLDIER 24 When he was taken away in the ambulance he shouted. The last day he we had got a cup of tea in the trenches. and later died. Middlesex Lieutenant Williams : he would in the trenches expose himself to danger so as to take good aim with his we although rifle. was while he was taking aim that he was shot through the stomach. him to Look at the His answer was. them. give it " a letter said that his captain shot. No. General A." Big strapping troopers of the Horse Guards are said to have " cried like kids " when their Major " If you knew how much we loved that man you would understand. " To 4th officer. Regiment. He said. ' Keep cool men he was always and mark your man.

crept out under a heavy artillery of his squadron. Word was the right of the to see if Lieutenant just putting up my Wynn was told to hold head when they and I Wynn was through the eye and died instantly. of Wynn Lieutenant accepted only one pear and a very noticed this. ' 25 We my But it was the usual answer You require them yourOur selves. and Lieutenant Wynn was company. you are then with a smile. A private soldier carried on his back for 800 yards a young subaltern. at Mons. He died and gentleman officer he was.' regiment was holding the first line of * : trenches. Trooper O'Brien.COURAGE AND DISCIPLINE Drink yourselves it . in want We pears and two loaves of bread. bottle of pickles in haversack and asked him to have some. of the 3rd Dragoons.' we had been and someone brought a sack had a small little bread. and like the was I me. of have to hold the Again. told in a letter to his wife how Captain Wright. who afterwards died in hospital." and men were always on the watch to help each other. and rifle fire to . he added. until he had and then fell fired his last shot seriously from wounded. I And it.' fighting all day. trenches to-day. and hit heard from a neighbour that Lieutenant hit down passed all right. At the battle of Mons an officer stood over the body of a private who had previously Officers saved his life his revolver. doing his duty.

wounded man under different to the risks they take Lieutenant heavy Amos rescued a Several of us volunteered to do fire. Toomey. and that the educated. temperate soldier of the present fights just as well as did his pre- decessor. every other man my in is a lovely man. it. said treat to hear Medical Corps.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 26 and bring try in " two wounded men. and and I squadron would follow him anywhere to the death. been wounded in the back by a of shrapnel. but. well the officers managed their men when . He brought one back to the trench and bandaged up and placed He in safety the other. the Royal Irish shouting at the top of his voice." Because of a foolish Army What hell." Private R. Royal an told of officer of hell He had ! lump boys. Ireland." A private wrote : " Officers seem to be mainly concerned about the safety of their men. our not so long ago was said to be insubordinate. whose mind was too uncultivated to realise danger. but the lieutenant would not hear of anybody else taking the risk. " It was a him shouting. give them Toomey. to it by How and who was not unfrequently blinded drink. and in- upon themselves. answer has the war given to this ? It has shown that officers and men never worked better together. " Give them " Army affair in Ulster.

COURAGE AND DISCIPLINE 27 they were sore and disappointed at the order to retreat after the battle of Mons ! A General told the South Staffordshire Regiment that they were doing splendidly. He when he has time to have a chat for the sake what we think of it all. At St. The men were pleased by Sir John and his staff going among them to see their life in the trenches. Try and not worry too much about the . They were ground that one of all so un- them. expressing made a comment he would never of doing in peace time." The and the men through them. have thought The General only smiled. and whether they were being properly looked after* " He has no side/ and is just as ready to smile on ' the ordinary private as on the highest stops officer. Quentin Sir John French. " smiling his face." explained to the troops the the repeated retirements. willing to yield impatience. and whether of finding out we are properly looked after. is shown by words written by Captain Norman Leslie a short time before he was killed spirit : " which animates our officers. in cheerfully strategic all over meaning of men had but after with that movement to the rear. but that they must retreat or they would be surrounded. Up to this the almost to be pulled back by their the explanation they most hated thing —a fell officers.

" go out . matters not .THE BRITISH SOLDIER 28 war we units. but up against big things let us forget individuals and let us act as one great British unit. We and die. united and fearless. Whatever our individual virtues. are Individuals cannot count. and to others no chance comes. new page writing a of Remember history. It is better far to with honour than survive with shame. Future generations cannot be allowed to read of the decline of the British live our Empire and attribute it to us. and to some are given little lives the choice of proving themselves men. Some will live and many will die. it faults. or qualities when we may be. are but count not the loss.

the sergeant-major. placed him . He did not leave arm was blown off off with a shell and he had four bullet wounds in him. did this heroic deed. picked him up. Hospital at Woolwich. " He is a little hero. The was pour- lad. declaring that it officer tried was sheer mad- ness. in face of the awful shell fire that ing like rain all round that spot. and the lad decided that he would make an attempt to take him out His of the line of fire. however.CHAPTER IV Boys of the Bulldog Breed A sixteen years of age was. wounded all By its British battery men except a one of the guns lay in the leg and shoulder. and. was determined. had lost all its lieutenant horses and and a trumpeter. being taken to the Royal Herbert One of the soldiers said to looking on. the people who were and deserves a dozen medals. on return- bugler only ing from the war. who is a sounding his bugle until his left A trumpeter. getting hold of a spare horse from the rear. to dissuade him." Another boy of the bull-dog breed. galloped off to where the wounded sergeant-major lay.

the French were being defeated on the right. A party of Royal Marines were going by train from Antwerp to Ostend. as it proved. the men became almost " Stalwart members of the Scottish and Irish regiments wept. The were ordered to fall back in order that They British they might not be enveloped by the Germans and completely cut off. While the British were gaining a series of great successes. lost number. were unable to hold the Germans. and brought him safely to the hospital. however. understand. the order came.surrender boys fought their way through." replied." says the New York World correspondent. The no. The of the great complaint our cavalry had against that enemy was that they would not stand and have a respectable charge against them." The men. Great was the pain that an order to retreat gave to other boys of the bulldog breed. at the time. though they many of their in officer He surrender. " prin- cipally concerns the bulldog-like resistance of the . got even more opportunity of showing courage in the retreat that they did not. When rebellious. to " Royal Marines never surrender. At 10 o'clock at night the train was stopped and the Marines were fired at by Germans from all command was asked The directions.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 80 across his saddle. " My story.

and came unhurt from the battlefield. another occasion a portion of a supply column by a detachment of German cavalry. of the far-flung while the French troops were engaged in push- ing back the right flank of the Germans. losing only two It is no wonder that a French lorries. The following incidents have been mentioned in despatches During the action at Le Cateau on : August 26th the whole of the British batteries of the officers had been and men killed or one of wounded. kept up a sound rate of On fire. Official statements conveyed but an incomplete idea of the tremendous undertaking of the British and French troops. You cannot wear out their spirits . nor did the Germans. These continued to serve one gun. with the exception of one subaltern and two gunners." "If there be truth behind the splendid boast That freedom makes of every man a host And multiplies his courage and his might Above the strength of peoples without right To liberty now is the hour to show The universe how Britain meets the foe. He refused. not know that We did that they could fight as they do. and starting his motors off at full speed was cut off dashed safely through." . officer said British soldiers were always " le bulldog. and the officer in charge was summoned to surrender.: BOYS OF THE BULLDOG BREED 81 British troops against the constant ferocious attacks by the Germans holding the centre line.

as if it were a hundred yards sprint and the It officer giving the word to the next ' : Go. I man got over safely. It was a race across under I fire.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 82 even you walk them if somehow. ran the race of was down a all valley. but advanced up a side of a hill. and lots of men fell in the river and were drowned." The same battle The Engineers built a pontoon bridge across the river. obstinate resistance in the face of any odds and absolutely refuse to consider the possibility of their They won't admit being beaten.' was an exciting time. and did not explode. they will off their legs they will crawl never stop. cheerfulness extraordinary and nothing is is Their able to depress them. six yards between each man. and when we got on open country. but they stuck to the work following account of part of the illustrates the above remark : " Luckily the shells dropped in the river. a British officer used these words is " There : an extraordinary English atmosphere over the whole show. as the river top it was I We my life. They were under shell fire all the time. gamely. The order was given to cross the bridge man by man. at any time that the Germans have got the best of them. and their infantry . and the Germans held a position on the hills in front of us. I mean that the men display a dogged. saw men getting ready for their turn." Writing about his soldiers after the battle of the Aisne.

tell you. killed. fires put out. was raining all the time. when all of a sudden shells started bursting around us. Our boys only £ . doing. when the supplies used to creep up to us at shells started again.' BOYS OF THE BULLDOG BREED had trenches just Their shells started We advanced a bit. The shells ceased a while. and we could see We lay there helpless stand. They were they meant below them. and we were lying in water. slaughtered. but as soon as they left their them. getting biscuits and bully beef at night. Still. and the order given to stand to our guns and horses . to make a against their artillery. as it was red-hot with the continual firing. We could not move an The inch. We were just getting ready for some food. waiting to be like It the risk of their lives.' Another instance of bulldog resistance was thus recorded : " At one place we had a surprise attack. our tea I can Dixies spilt. We were getting We lay down flat on our stomachs. it was a case of being and tea-cans were flung one up and side. trenches our rifle fire They were trying to rush played hell with us. It was was miserable lying in wet. we were not to be caught napping. 33 well in the trenches. but we drove them back time after time. and their infantry tried to rush us. everyone to prepare for action. We lay there for four days. My rifle I could hardly It hold. to drop on us. I had to keep dropping my rifle and wet my hands on the ground.

fast. told We by one of them had chosen the : position very and our flanks were protected by barbedwire defences. The enemy suffered fearful losses carefully. our death-dealing pea- until them put shooters bay at to flight . ' to one of the machine gunners to try to scrap Yes. what range ? ' ' Four hundred yards. along that narrow strip of road. easily sufficient is in us. The engagement proceeded all . them held gallant boys. One of them was a particular danger. but our lads held The German big guns were very troublesome.' came the reply.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 34 when we get a chance of a sleep. and it was only after a hard struggle that we managed to be victorious. and it did not bark again that night. so you we were wide awake to the fact that it was a close one eye can tell Our case of do or die. One shot was sufficient. and let drive. The gunner adapted his machine. but they did not keep it —we soon had long it back. and the order after rush came it." How the Coldstream Guards saved a division of British troops mans were to swamp " The Ger- tremendous numbers. Rush came during the night. the Guards. nevertheless. but they never by storm. It got the German gun right in the breech. So Germans did manage relaxed their efforts to take the place fierce was the fighting that the once to capture one of our machine guns. sir. the Germans made a strong resistance during the night.

while the extricate itself from a most precarious position. however. Warren. and the their home who were hotly The Germans threw up Northants ceased to press As they approached. instead of and the Northants were compelled to Their danger was recognised by Colonel withering retire. and our lads fell back in some confusion. He by himself served a gun. surrendering." A soldier of the 1st Queen's described this case of bulldog resistance "On : September 17th we were supporting the Northamptons. and Colonel Warren and Captain Wilson were instantaneously killed. assisted and helped to pour who in a suffered severely. on the Germans. the Germans opened a the attack. and the . fire. A fire his adjutant. their gun was shattered. pressed forward to feed the fighting Reserves were line.BOYS OF THE BULLDOG BREED A night. heavy Both gallantry with their lives. huge German force was held up by a comparative handful of British latter's 35 main body was able to soldiers." A soldier related how when unable to sleep one night with the cold of the trenches the regiment wished for some warming work and got it. During the action at one point the line broke. engaged with the enemy. hands. whose machine-gun section was disabled. officers paid for their shrapnel shell from a German gun burst over them. " We were called out to support an infantry brigade.

were too heavy for our chaps. just grace to to warm us up and give us the exercise bur aching limbs are crying out for. and praise from him more than from other men. After relating held its regiment at one place a soldier proudly added " General French has thanked us for the behaved. There was no falling was very hard work was cleared and indeed. terrible in I tell you that the trenches at times. and though it back this time. and maybe the soldiers. but when he does speak we know he means every word of more.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 36 Once more the Germans advance began again. They dashed up the slope and then began like wild cats by and closed with the Germans. They halted for a little to take a rest again. and again they were forced back. the whole line of trenches the Germans sent flying." . That's the way to get round it. who were this time getting tired of it." how his ground to the last. that it is so we mutter through our chattering teeth prayers to Almighty God only to give the Germans sufficient make them come out and attack us. is He : way we worth a great deal is not in a hurry to say nice things about us.

The As they were after the evacuation of British forces reluctantly retreated. Again and again they came on only to get more machine murder. boys. 37 . This is going to be Coronation Day." shouted one of the twenty-six. " the grey devils we are going to cinematograph when they come along. twenty-six Fusiliers entrenched themselves in a farm overlooking a long. straight road. At will not easily be forgotten.CHAPTER V Facing Fearful Odds This how some is 3. Let each of us take many pictures as possible/' As soon as the Germans appeared on the road and started attacking as a canal bridge the Fusiliers very coollv turned the handle of their gu The picture witnessed irom " living screen " the farm on the by the canal bridge was one that The " grey devils dropped down in hundreds.500 Germans twenty-six British soldiers faced Mons. only giving ground step by step. machine They were in possession of several guns and these they placed inside the doors 01 the xcum house. " Now.

had buried them and this record. to it they hung twenty laurel wreaths. so with folded arms until he was shot down. admiring their bravery. who had fought The enemy to the last against overwhelming odds." tribute to our countrymen. came Around a mounds enclosed by a large tree were significant On palisade on which were hanging laurel wreaths. when Parliament.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 8$ it was wiser to continue march and leave alone the twenty-six who length they thought that their had for a considerable time delayed A well-known Member it. Here is how the brigade to which the Welsh regiment belonged faced fearful odds. we should have been overwhelmed. " ' The contemptible little Army ' were opposed by 300. A company of French through the wood later on saw left soldiers passing They stayed it. Had they had the pluck . One of the Lancashire Mons continued to fire gone. Our brigade got a position that. had the enemy made a dash at us. of visiting a locality in France where there had been much to a lonely wood.000 Germans. a part of the tree from which the bark had been " Here lie the stripped was a rude inscription : bodies German of This was a twenty English heroes. His bayonet was at Fusiliers when left behind was he stood up until his last cartridge also gone. fighting. and upon erect the palisade to guard the graves.

but we were checked by a storm of the sound that force.FACING FEARFUL ODDS 89 mowed they could have come over a ridge and down. advanced to the saw the Germans and then shouted. Advance. terrible artillery fire. Captain Haggard. top. We popped away like this for three hours. and our officers standing up to locate the enemy every now themselves. On we all went. Shrapnel shells were bursting over us. on. We knew by against a tremendous There was only one game to play now them into the belief that we were as strong as we were ordered rapid firing. Just near about twenty me was Still we hung lying our brave captain . but our General from any attack was to keep up a in the open.' and advance we did. Our regiment had a centre position. We lost four officers in Men were getting hit. here they are. bullets coming at us from our front and both flanks.' soldier He ! What an himself used a ' officer rifle. never moving an inch from our position. minutes. boys. but amid we took heed of only one word. yards from the crest we lay About twenty down and our company commander. we were for knew we were All they did all in safe us a valley. so ' gives an and again.' which enemy the impression that the firing force is strong. We neared the crest all this ' of the hill behind which was our goal. bluff maxim we were up fire. We ' ! What fixed ' a and were prepared to follow him anywhere. Fix bayonets.

but they We were taken to a little farmhouse got hit in doing to wait for the field ambulance wagons. into stick full of — up and down the firing dishing out the ammunition we were unable wounded managed line very weak 'twas over us burst shells So our lads stuck action. barricades of them up and made their dead. several of our volunteered to collect and carry wounded. so and out call —but Welsh Regiment.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 40 As the mortally wounded.' pain." private of the Royal Munster Fusiliers when the regiment had to bear the brunt of the whole German " They attack. shouting and the air men waving us like blue murder. We at it until our artillery got Out won. and to They even we were still move was almost lads piled courting suicide. swords and blazing away at Our lads stood up to them . told the following story of fighting : — and all. artillery. he would occasionally open his eyes. foot. Welsh. us to crawl ' to use. was thick with screaming. Towards dusk. Officers were sending everywhere for milk and resolutely refused to be bandaged until we were seen A wounded to. away the so. though exposed to terrible shell fire. Stick ' Many of it. Many cared nothing. were telling us yarns. while the rest of the brigade fell back came at us from all points horse. in that field were strewn thousands and thousands of German dead and wounded. ' it.

for all we wouldn't surrender. but we never hoisted the One of our men has been recommended hell's When for the Distinguished Service Medal." of their heavy losses on this occasion was said that the Germans had cleaned up the "Well." The nickname and because of the regiment is " Dirty Shirts. and when their came down on us we received them with fixed bayonets in front. them collecting until there was hardly a hole fit for a wee mouse to get through. and his a shell. Rather . A German patrol called at the house and found them. anny way. and tried our hardest to cut through the stone wall of the Germans. own work. the rear ranks firing away All round us we saw as steadily as you please. and then it was without the least taste of cavalry that the hardest fight of took place." it Fusilier. " It was white flag. man —who was working the machine gun—was killed the Then the gun was hand blown off with he came up and took his place.FACING FEARFUL ODDS 41 fear. " it was a moighty expensive washin' them." said an indignant "Dirty Shirts. From behind a barrier the Dragoons kept the Germans at bay. The Germans then brought a machine gun up and threatened to destroy the house." for One of the Irish Dragoon Guards carried a wounded trooper to a farmhouse under fire. smashed altogether.

It put us in mind of I was tossing hay. 200 yards to cover before we got near them. . I had already made sure of two." The special correspondent of The Daily Mail One hundred and fifty Hightold the following. I had a lively time and was nearly done when a comrade came to my rescue.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 42 than bring suffering on their hosts or the village the two hunted mad men made a rush out with some idea. only we had human bodies. and another body of them greatly out- Aisne. Then bridge. the threshold of They got no further than the door. of taking the gun that had been brought against them. perhaps. " like a lot of schoolboys at a treat " when ordered " We had about to fix bayonets and charge. already had about three inches of steel in my I side when my chum finished him. separated from my neighbours and was on my own when I was attacked by three Germans. but the third would have finished me. They were being fired at by outnumbering artillery and infantry. and they were. as one of them said. numbering the Highlanders rushed towards the For a time they were kept at bay. where they fell dead. landers were detailed to hold a bridge over the river The Germans opened fire from the woods around. The 4th Royal Fusiliers were in a warm corner. their blood bespattering the walls of the house. and then we let them have it.

too. In a night attack upon the Worcester Regiment the Germans used the bayonet. and opened a hail upon the advancing column. wavered." At Ypres our Army had to face and hold in check . slung tripod and all his back. seized the maxim. belt the of absolutely gun was alone. on to and carried at a run it across the exposed bridge to the far side facing the German attack. but the Germans. A Highlander ran forward under the bullet storm. The Germans have the numbers we have the men.FACING FEARFUL ODDS maxim gun the belonging to the whole of its fire. and in that moment we gave them the bayonet. and then broke. and it was far from a success " there were great masses of them. and hurled them back in disorder. In addition to the ordinary shell and shrapnel there were shells from . amid a ring of dead bodies. For one terrible moment our ranks bent under the dead weight. and the gun stood there on its tripod silent. said a sergeant of volley. Under the fire the column wavered." the Worcesters.000 Germans for five days. for them. the still soldier view of the enemy. 250. though We gave them. which they seldom did. in full of bullets tempest of Almost the moment after the Highlander fell dead beside his gun. for the its little 43 force ceased crew had been killed. charged. " one terrible but nothing could have stopped the ferocious impetus of their attack. and sat down The there.

tion was saved. shell. situation became men would be borne by sheer weight of numbers. they Still over- they held when relief came and the posi- . shoulders as shell firing their with rifle.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 44 heavy These guns brought from Antwerp. rifles mown down and machine-gun fire. fled. and shrapnel rained upon our infantry were brought up. poured in a volley. on over their Many hundreds were ran. again masses of the enemy's infantry advanced Then they halted and They had no relish for a within a few hundred yards. it seemed as if The our until the fifth day. critical . Over and over again men leapt from the trenches and went at them with the They bayonet. and thousands were captured. bayonet charge. with Still their Fresh trenches. siege churned up the earth in the trenches and often buried our men who Over and over lay there.

They got trenches. but we kept them bay at until they played a trick us that cost us dear. but not so dear as selves. their treachery.CHAPTER VI Fights to a Finish Those were stirring words which the Colonel of the men when Manchester Regiment addressed to his they were surprised at Douai by very superior numbers your your : rifles. sprang. sight of a Straight into and with their . but it them a moment German masses they 45 was the later. rifles. then the fire it cost them- two hundred yards to was hoisted the white flag. so hot for on of our them that they Of course we stopped and some got up to go out and take them firing. then the butts of then your fists " ! Even with their fists our made the Germans pay for soldiers. but as soon as they got up to them they opened a pitiless fire on our were taken by lifetime to see the For a moment our chaps fellows. surprise. lads you have First ! then your bayonets. on one occasion. prisoners. " They attacked our position in very strong numbers. "No surrender.

Soon the Germans had had enough of Tommy Atkins when his temper is roused. they rushed upon our men. and even their fists. The slaughter was terrible. of the " Here Fusilier is : a typical Irish description from a Munster " The Germans seem to think that you can catch Irish soldiers with fly-papers. but they were mowed down like grass. . but and signed thing. Alas these were not sufficient. for they just stepped up the other day and called on us to surrender. butts of their they set about them. They were digging trenches near Mons when a mass of Germans. seem in any great hurry to After a bit they opened lire on us with a couple of maxims. but they didn't meet us. You ought to have heard them yell it was like a wild beast show let loose. bore down upon them.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 46 rifles. but we fixed bayonets and went . as bold as you like and bolder." A company of the Middlesex Regiment were also handy with their fists. who seemed to come from nowhere. and downed two Germans with two successive blows. ! pared in the matter of equipment. They broke and fled in utter disorder. Bayonets in hand." The whole company followed their sergeant's lead. but the sergeant company set the lead by the use of his fists. We didn't in telling them to go about their we just grabbed hold of our bayonets to them to come on if they wanted any- waste any words business. who were quite unpre- bayonets.

FIGHTS TO A FINISH for the guns with a rush. and the front British : ' ! ' ranks waited with the bayonet. but men knew what he meant. and can't stand very much rough usage with the bayonet. The Germans' pluck lasts until we are fifty yards from them. and came crashing down on Now. while the men inside . We we let them have got sick of them it with bayonet and altogether before long." A Guardsman related how his regiment " Suddenly the cavalry received German cavalry remounted their horses. and then they gave them it blazing hot with the bayonet. relieve a The Germans home just like the police at trying to turn back a procession that wasn't approved of. 47 They appear to be delicate boys indeed. You wouldn't think it was war. and then they are off. The Royal until they Irish boys didn't take the least heed were right up at the Germans. They lined up in the good old British square that has proved a terror to European armies before. it tried the other of the got their guns. but rifle. and they braced themselves for the tussle. and they A big party of four companies Regiment advancing to French force hard pressed on our lined off Their later on. Guards our chaps. was all the officer in his command said. them back cavalry had a try at getting Royal Irish day to cut up along the road left. It would do you good to see our little chaps chasing great big fellows shouting and laughing.

came closer and closer. and then they The order was given to the Guards. their ground." another occasion the Brigade of Guards. shake and quiver beneath their rush. recorded. The game down our ranks. as though he were giving a some noisy youngsters who had been making a row. were doing a slow retreat for rest.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 48 kept blazing away at the advancing horsemen. The Germans came just then they got a volley to a dead stop. nice piece of advice to Steel met steel. and hiding in a In a pitched battle. ! and way. but they set their teeth. in spite of the weight of horses. was all he said commander the it in a dull They and the earth seemed to ' Guards of the Steady said. who and who were being followed by a brigade of Germans. but they didn't trick won't work with men kept and of the Germans was know to ride that that and the Guards- British troops. with fixed bayonets. The men answered not a word. Then the crash came. suddenly stopped. and sparks shot out as sword crossed bayonet. it General French had this was read out to all the troops on . from the centre men and of the They broke and scattered. and they dashed after them towards the square. and special parade. wood waited for the Germans. got another volley. they wiped the whole crowd out — over 4.000 of them. point where our other On men were expected. over double their strength.

500 yards of The shelling was terrific and the D air . of the Black Watch. of the King's Royal wrote to his mother first it silence shall Rifles. we watched a battery of our guns. we held on We knew it all was part day and part of the scheme. crash of eight shells bursting along our line at once was terrible. and the General had sent word had to be taken was a dark road and we were all in single file. off it was our with a cheer across 1. gives " The account of an engagement on the Aisne this : Guards went up having to retire. After one or two charges the bridge was taken at the it at all costs. in spite of heroic efforts. of the night. and. our retiring. There was a continued stream of wounded coming up from the bridge. when turn we went open country. * Now for a well-earned rest/ when we were suddenly ordered to fall in. The ear-splitting day under in a short "I : It fire. It point of the bayonet. although hundreds must have been suffering agonies with their feet.FIGHTS TO A FINISH 49 Rifleman Cummings. However." Private Fairweather. One night we reached a town and had just settled down in our billets saying to ourselves. Our officer told us the Germans had captured a bridge about a mile from the town. and then the Camerons. and time. never forget the commenced on our left. the boys always managed a song and a cheer. both Although we had watched the first awful slaughter in these regiments.

I bore a charmed my jacket." when they in a letter my I officer will wrote come back. my was then that it with bullets. Shrapnel screamed round. had been presented with a souvenir of Then with a Crack my in ! ! I knee. full of us got up to 200 yards of the Germans. and melinite shells all earth shake. yell and we went The at them. I shall at be how another Scotch regiment cleared a road artillery when German guns were pre- French venting them from passing along it." is war and wondering whether they all. through the elbow of life. air whistled shout of 42nd ' for ever finished with a different kind of yell. and anybody about the glory of war. The General commanding the British troops demanded for his men the honour of clearing the way. and a piece of shrapnel found a resting place in a tin of bully beef which was on I was picked up eventually during the dead from There of the glory of is little be picked up at : "If ever me wounded up by the for the No wonder that an home talks to d rude to him. A made the went bullet my another through equipment. I lay helpless and our fellows retired over me. loss of blood.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 50 was Only a few the screams of shrapnel. They left the road and advanced in open order across the . A Scotch regiment was ordered forward. nearly are waiting to be picked stretcher-bearers for back. d This night.

its useless.FIGHTS TO A FINISH marshy ground on the towards the position left where the German guns were fire 51 The German firing. and a from quickfirers did not stop them. to take cover. and with a ripple the whole dashed forward. making men. soon within charging distance. minutes sufficed to damage the breeches of the guns and so render them fell back. The brief period this brilliant charge of the Scotch regiment had lasted was sufficient for the French guns to gallop along the road to safety. and they soon came into action. barbed wire. but nothing could stop the Scotch They made a series of short rushes. . The order for bayonets was given. of bullets Ditches. and then the regiment task accomplished. and A few they bayoneted the gunners at their pieces. which every hundred yards They were or so cross the peat bog. ample use of the ditches. rush carried them right up to the German fix line hail A guns. was deadly.

cut down wire entanglements." it in considerate hostess said." Terrible When came they Horses and the brave fellows got near the guns across hidden men went down however. to the guns. and put the guns out of action. They got Nothing. alive. the gunners." and ordered his men to charge.CHAPTER VII Cavalry Charges A nervous young man broke down when trying at a party to recite Tennyson's " Charge of the Light The Brigade. Mr. At last the commanding officer of the Lancers said. " We must take those guns. could stop them. The Lancers took the praises that were given to ." declared a spectator. " and it seemed incredible that any one could escape at Toulin. "Just give " your own words. My words are very inadequate to describe the charge of the 9th Lancers damage was being done to British infantry and artillery by eleven German guns concealed in a wood. They rode straight at the guns though " stormed at by shot and shell." "They were like men inspired. in a heap.

" said a wounded eye-witness and losses. Quentin the Black Watch and Scots Greys acted in concert. taken completely by foot. a wounded cut at non-commissioned officer leading. As at the battle of Waterloo." They charged no less than five times at the battle of Mons." they said. each horseman accompanied by a comrade on the Germans. and the gallant Greys and the Kilties gave a fearful account of them* selves. The Greys plunged straight into the ranks of the enemy. they turned on hewed their way through. and came back the way they went the Potsdam Guards and their officers following. One of them . the Highlanders got into the thick of the fight by holding on to the stirrup leathers of the cavalry. the officers took command again. Truly the Greys lived up to or died up to their motto " Second to none. even though the retreat had been sounded. and.CAVALRY CHARGES 53 them very modestly. broken up and repulsed with tremendous " Our men. " came on with a mighty shout. " We only fooled round and saved some guns. At St. Having got through. wheeled." On another occasion the Scots Greys. and fell The upon the enemy with the utmost violence. of the charges. seeing the by the German officers. weight of the horses carried them into the closeformed ranks of the Germans. went mad. were surprise. formed them up.

as our chance would come. impatient to get at them. They did not wait long. Another episode was the capture German guns by of fourteen the 2nd and 5th Dragoons. Our thus wrote officers told : us not to worry. We tore down into them. They . Our men turned about and charged back. cutting and thrusting. Then. kept creep- up slowly in spite of tremendous losses." commanding the brigade said that it went through the German cavalry as circus horses The officer might go through paper hoops. and when they came close enough we had our chance. I don't think there were ten Germans left the out of about 2. a sergeant of the Berkshire regiment "It was grand. greatly outnumbering our chaps. we were covered with blood and so were our horses.000. I could see some of the Germans dropping on their knees and holding up wrote : their arms. Germans picked up their rifles and started firing again." ing Of a combined charge of the Scots Greys and the 12th Lancers. and we soon found that they were right. It was no use the Germans putting up their hands a second time. Our cavalry cut down every one they came to. The enemy. as soon as our cavalry got through. One body was endeavouring to work round our flank.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 54 " The Germans and our people had been fighting at long range for several hours and we stood looking on.

CAVALRY CHARGES
were attacked at dawn

in a fog,

and

it

55

looked bad for

them, but they turned it into a victory.
An officer wrote " There was no stopping them
!

Many

once they got on the move.
tunics

and fought with

above the elbow.

flung

away

their

up

their shirt sleeves rolled

One

trooper with his shirt in

ribbons actually stooped so low from his saddle as
to snatch a

wounded comrade from

instant death at

the hands of a powerful German.

Then, having

swung the man right round to the near side, he made
him hang on to his stirrup leather while he lunged
his

sword clean through the German's neck."

Well might Sir John French write in an
despatch, "

Our cavalry do what they

like

official

with the

enemy."
I

was

at Pekin at the

end

of the

Boxer trouble

in

China, and was standing one day near a German
officer when a regiment of Indian cavalry marched
past.
The German officer made many disparaging
remarks about them. The following is a description
of the first charge in this

war

of our Indian cavalry,

and the Germans must have learned from
Indian soldiers are as
rest of French's

"

army

The charge took

and were

it

contemptible as

little

is

that

the

:

place one

had been pressing us hard

had been at

it

all

hammer and

feeling the strain.

day when the enemy
along the

line.

We

tongs for three weeks,

Towards

nightfall the

56

THE BRITISH SOLDIER

enemy kept

pressing closer

and

closer,

and

it

looked

as though their deadweight alone was going to force

Their plan seemed to be to break our line

us back.

men to be most
when they were half way towards
Indians, who had arrived the day

at a point where they guessed our

exhausted.

Just

our trenches, the
before

up.

and were anxious to get into

At the word

of

command

it,

were brought

they swept forward,

only making a slight detour to get out of the line of

our
the

fire,

and then they swept into the Germans from
a whirlwind. The enemy were com-

left like

pletely taken aback.

The Turcos they knew, but
and

these men, with their flashing eyes, dark skins,

white, gleaming teeth, not to mention their terribly

keen-edged lances, they could not understand.
Indians didn't give them

much time

The

to arrive at an

understanding. With a shrill yell they rode right
through the German infantry, thrusting right and
left with their terrible lances, and bringing a man
down every time. The Germans broke and ran for
their lives, pursued by the Lancers for about a mile.
When the Indians came back from their charge they

were cheered wildly
think

much

of

all

along our

line,

what they had done."

but they didn't

CHAPTER

VIII

Grit and Guns
In no

way has

war than

British grit

in the capture of

shown

itself

more

German guns and

in this

in the

defence of our own.

At Neri three artillerymen of the now famous
L Battery R.H.A., inspired by their heroic commanding officer, continued to serve the only gun

The

not silenced.

three heroes have been given the

Victoria Cross.

Driver Grimes, of the Royal Field Artillery, gave
" We

the following account of what happened

:

were about two miles away when we got word to

come

to

the

relief

of

'

L

'

battery.

arrived on the scene a terrible sight

The

When we

met our

battery had been blown to smithereens.

eyes.

Guns

some were untouched,
but useless, because there was nobody to work them.
Officers and men lay dead and wounded on every
side.
All the officers were killed, and one poor young
were smashed or overturned

fellow

lay

crushed

;

beneath an overturned gun.

Haystacks were blazing round about
57

;

the place was

THE BRITISH SOLDIER

58

dense with smoke from

them by

surprise,

The Germans took

shell fire.

and opened on them at no more

than 600 yards' range. It was wonderful that anybody could have lived through such a hell it was
nothing else. But there were the sergeant-major

and a couple

of drivers

working away

at one of the guns, coats

worth.

We

were only

madmen
and

They never looked

bleeding from minor wounds.

away

round, but kept potting

like

shirts torn open,

off,

for

all

they were

For almost im-

in time.

we came on the scene they fired their last
remaining charge. The Germans cleared off as soon
as we got agoing, and we never heard them that day
again.
I was one of those who assisted the three
men back to the ambulance.
Have you got a glass
of water ?
one of them asked.
We got it pretty
mediately

'

'

'

hot in there just now,' he added.
to

tell

us that,'

we replied,
German

holes which the

ground on every

'

You

don't need

looking round at the great
shells

had torn up

in the

side."

Captain Bradbury, R.H.A., had served a gun himself,

and knocked out one German gun.

leg shot

away

;

but

other leg was taken

and

all

fired off
off.

A

He had

one

a round or two, until the

doctor came to help him,

he asked from him was morphia so that the

men might

not hear him screaming.

In a charge at Toulin, Captain Grenfell, of the 9th
Lancers, was hit in both legs, and had two fingers

GRIT AND GUNS

59

Almost as he received
at the same time.
couple
of
guns
posted near were dewounds
a
these
shot

off

prived of their servers,

were struck by

all

of

whom

bursting shrapnel.

save one

man

The horses

the guns had been placed under cover.

for

" We'll get

the guns back," cried Captain Grenfell, and at the

head

of a

number

of his

men, and

in spite of his

wounds, he did manage to harness the guns up and

them away. He was then taken to hospital.
The final scene at a British battery during the
retirement after the battle of Mons is thus described
get

by Gunner B. Wiseman, of the Royal Field Artillery
" Our battery had fired their last round. The Germans were only three hundred yards away. The
Every man for himself.'
order was given, Retire.
It was a splendid but awful sight to see horses, men,
and guns racing for life, with shells bursting among
them. The Germans rushed up, and I lay helpless.
A German pointed his rifle at me to surrender. I
refused, and was just on the point of being put out
when a German officer saved me. He said, Englishman, brave fool.'
He then dressed my wound,
and gave me brandy and wine, and left me."
About fifty men of the Royal Berkshire Regiment
were trying to save some guns at Soissons, and this
is what happened in the words of a sergeant in a
" We had an order to abandon the
letter to his wife
guns, but our young officer said, No, boys, we will
:

'

'

:

As my off his rifle of cavalry. and kept up a rapid fire. fast as I could farther on. came to it I saw it was full of Germans.' Our chaps let up a cheer. about 200 yards away. Germans them to make sure they their minds. ment I loosed off and I to gallop for Suddenly about the others followed. Then the Staffords came up and reinforced us on our left flank." The following a is letter of Field Artillery. We then saw the gun teams coming up never let a to fetch the guns. I then suddenly saw there I with mounted the party and my revolver held out. to his wife : " a major in the Royal At last we came to the edge of the wood. bolted out firing at us. and bolted. I —so yelling. ' Three officers and over forty men . but we kept on. so I yelled and pointed the revolver at Hands up them. The guns had fired all their ammunition. little Germans. as it. They all chucked down their rifles and put I ! ' their hands up. were more in the copse galloped at and it. as couldn't shoot I like that myself. lot to fire at revolver as from the regi- few they suddenly stopped and dismounted I my didn't change held the horses. and the enemy's trenches with machine-guns a felt sure this them go on wood was full of I started earlier. was a little cup-shaped copse.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 60 German take a British gun. for except a yelled them loosed fifty I had seen They must have thought we were a saddle. and in front of us.

and an infantryman . them away from their rifles and handed them over to the Welsh regiment behind us. and our own German we were hostile cavalry. He was the a German's helmet is ' little off his I've got it. I tore on with the trumpeter and the sergeant-major to the machine- guns. We got back very slowly on account of the gun and the men we have wild with excitement. head and waved wild with excite- an extraordinarily brave boy. who who understands volunteered to help." . was too couldn't wood and they hailed shrapnel on us there. but said we were mad. and ran up to the maxims. ment. At that moment the enemy's shrapnel. opened move the beastly things.GRIT AND GUNS 61 I herded to ten of us with six rifles and a revolver. The Welsh asked what cavalry we were. The who swept it funniest thing in the air shouting. and mounted all my lot behind the bushes and made them sprint as I gave the word to the cup to gallop for cover to the company was. hot altogether. We couldn't manage the other. There I woods where the Welsh got them. and took out the and breech mechanism of both and one of the belts and away one whole maxim. thinking fire on and it We us. I waited for a lull. and got the one gun complete and the mechanism and belt of the other. so we galloped back howitzers. I told them we were the staff of the carried battery and they cheered us.' trumpeter. the infantry who'd got away.

Mons. gun jammed. single-handed cap- tured a German Six Germans were Wilson picked the gun. bayoneted the sixth.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 62 Lance-Corporal Bignell. A private in the ist Lincolns. and an it coming up helped him to destroy it. called Wilson. yet they led their horses calmly through a hail of shell to where the gun Then one man held the stood. on the enemy. long. was a good quarter of a mile away. Shells drivers bring a had been drivers how he of action at round the position.A. Wilson has been given the Victoria Cross. flying and the gunners had been tells gun out whereupon the two killed. horses while the other limbered up. " It went to rescue the gun. of In a night fight he guns than he lost his regiment. saw two R. Another Highlander had more bargained for." A Highlander. and was picked up by a battery Artillery. five off and then in charge of with his tried to turn the Unfortunately rifle. home wounded. described who has returned how two companies of his German guns. minutes afterwards with their visitor sitting on one of their guns. officer gun. one regiment captured a battery of six of which is now " During the in London German : retreat the British were held . Royal Berks. of the Royal Field But he did not rest the kind gunners went into action ten who gave him for a lift.F.

Our artillery continued The other two firing on the guns and smashed four. a volley. of the charge in which Lieutenant Sir Archibald Gibson Craig gave his M He was of a life shot while leading his : men to the attack German machine gun which was hidden in a wood." round every first That was all we of the fired. and found themselves unexpectedly face to face with a large men and Gibson Craig They crawled to the consent. 63 companies of us the right.GRIT AND GUNS up on a ridge by a Two battery. ahead of calling to Our them ' Charge. body of Germans. In The Times appeared the following account. which was doing a lot of damage The major gave went off his to our troops at the time. He got . to get the gun. about 200 yards away. marched made a detour on out of sight of the German a wood on the enemy's down a valley gunners. battery. top of the hill . his fired . . were taken. and entered The German left. He located the gun and asked our second in command whether he might take his platoon (about twenty men) and try to capture the gun. gathered from letters received from brother officers at the front. men ! At them his ' ! men. and at the man German battery fell. In extended order we took steady aim. not flank. We were afterwards commended. and then the lieutenant drew sword and rushed forward. were busy with their work in dreaming that we were on their front.

the gun. the subaltern in of the troops engaged. and not one was touched. and the gun was captured and carried off. knew we But we had a were going to have a heavy shower.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 64 to within ten yards of them and then fell. One who was present described this " double result that some of the event " " The sky turned pure black. and. I shouldn't like . and 1 double event see ' —a shower we were attacked I of bullets also. It was like something fusion for a few minutes. with a Germans were killed. and we got the order to fix bayonets. A brilliant little exploit was performed by one of our cavalry patrols. The Germans stood dumbfounded. of the whole The remaining men silenced two killed and three wounded back to the lines. the rest scattered. It was all over in ten minutes. We got the order to charge the guns. two miles. 3rd Coldstreams and 2nd Grenadiers rush on them like an avalanche. and lightning and thunder. under shell fire all the way. and all I could was con- men soon woke up. Coming suddenly upon a German machine-gun detachment. in fact. and you should have seen the Irish Guards. in the rear. I stood for a moment to survey the scene. By his gallant action he did a great deal to assist the general advance of the regiment. but our you would read about. and brought their comrades — — command at once gave the order to charge. Down came the rain.

This got up the Connaught blood." A corporal wrote " : of the Northamptonshire Regiment The Germans. and calling E ." The Rangers left their mark on the treacherous and foe saved the guns. " There's been a divil av a lot av talk about Irish disunion. The horses were shot from under our men. and the Uhlans grit in helping Then the Munsters They dashed forward with fixed bayonets. and as one of the Rangers said.A." On one occasion. put the Germans to flight." says Mr. At Charleroi another Irish regiment showed their our cavalry to save guns. The horses got frantic and began prancing. sent shells shrieking and hissing around a battery of R. us twice as wild. only it Such dare-devil pluck I was glad to see. that " is nasty to be up agin. captured some of their horses. and all their guns. but we didn't Our men care. " but if there's foightin' to be done it's the bhoys that'll let nobody else thread on the Union Jack.F. when the Connaught Rangers were charging with their bayonets to save guns of the Royal Field Artillery. tried to capture our battery. were drenched to the made skin. Dooley. the white and afterwards flag Germans put up a fired on the Irishmen. who seemed to have the position to a hair's breadth. kicking.GRIT AND GUNS 65 to stand in front of that charge myself. stuck to the guns.

and and did A The drivers on the ground were who were mounted all party of at last with the guns in the direction of the knocked down. whom had of in readiness for unlimbering. stuck to their posts mad horses. and this was done after some Then it was necessary to take out the difficulty. and the shells were bursting overhead. dismounted some drivers. and not the Germans in the field could have driven them away. and we gave the Germans party of as German infantry much as they could stand." Simple heroism simply told is the keynote of a . Half of the men were but they meant to stick to their posts. away a scene. dead team and put the new one in. and now they came within range of more German guns. they dashed on they could to restrain the new men with carriage. but the animals were in German off lines.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 66 The out in terror. There was nothing for it but to shoot them. horses were brought out and dashed off in pursuit of the terrified animals. They caught them up soon and rode alongside to get hold of the runaways. making the horses madder than ever. but by Just as they were getting the guns came on the that time our battery had moved out to cover the withdrawal of the guns. while German shells hit. and one was run over by a but those like such a state of terror that they could not be restrained. however. It was no use. all were dropping round. held grim death.

We for had been fighting for three days across the Meuse. through. came back through fires of hell. the sooner we'll get home. but not dangerously. ' . letter written to the parents of says : him I " God the of Gunner bless your son.. S.G. should not be alive to R. lads the sooner we get The noble carried me lad to safety. Your off. has Mann. guns. I We but we were determined to save the again. He F. All over the line you could hear him shout. We are all proud of that boy he is always in the thick of it. and He was wounded. . and was severely wounded by shrapnel.GRIT AND GUNS which Gunner Batey. and had to retreat. I fell son and I fell.' " .A. Lads. had fought and our men drove side by side. If it tell 67 had not been the tale. and he missed me.

named Pledge. A third messenger almost reached the endangered regiment when he was shot. tossed for the honour. crawled and delivered the message. They men Half-a-dozen all were hit ran out to bring him but the wounded messenger . Who would go ? Every man offered himself. though they knew that they would have to cross an open country raked with They rifle fire.F. 68 . Similar gallantry was Fusiliers to the regiment shown when the Munster were surrounded and a driver of the R. making a supreme effort. but he rushed on a little till man Another a second bullet brought him down. who was shut up with them. took on the message and got only way when he was hit.A. and the first man who started with the message had not gone more than 200 yards when he was wounded. in.CHAPTER IX Gallantry of Individuals An Irish Fusilier regiment was a dangerous in and a messenger was wanted position to bring to the men an order to retire.

In view of the death of Prince Maurice of Battenberg. he got his horse on its feet. stop. through without being hit by a single bullet. the King's Royal Rifles were the advance guard. of the The Prince made a joke of the occurrence and laughed. not did but rode however. Nothing daunted. J. and searched brave act for an officer British got across the bridge. On reaching a height overlooking Chorley-sur- Marne. the story told Royal by Corporal has special interest. He which tore and saved the situation. but they got away on seeing the The British. short time before he was shot the cap Prince was struck by a bullet. A all The by himself first —a man over. They noticed the Germans preparing to blow up a bridge. King's After the retreat from Mons the Germans were severely punished. His horse fell and Pledge's legs were injured. Prince Maurice was the a house alone. To get to the artillery he had to pass down a narrow road. and again set off at a great pace. which was lined with German was asked the of Pledge artillery. conveyed the message to the off artillery. latter were ordered to take the bridge.GALLANTRY OF INDIVIDUALS 60 to " cut through " and get the assistance mounted a horse and dashed through the German lines. He riflemen. Jolley. to the assistance of the Munsters. Rifles. Among those who fell at Cambrai was Captain .

THE BRITISH SOLDIER 70 Own Clutterbuck. doing Antwerp until sur- lay on the he hadn't a bayonet was gone he stood up with folded arms while they shot him down." a bayonet wrote a wounded and adding. but the officer. " Lieutenant Steele-Perkins also died one of the sergeant. firing and as away his prisoner. but protested and crawled back again till he was mortally wounded. prisoner forts When shells. "Just charge. grandest deaths a British He was lifted officer could wish for. Lancashire and refused to He render to two hundred Germans. He was getting on very well until a party of cavalry outflanked him. of the King's He was ment. out of the trenches wounded four times. sealed the officer ordered the garrison to save themselves. ground and kept in stuck to the fort as was made a told mixed They succeeded who ship. as they were right on top of him there and was no . Brigade held a company two hours by firing at them and so making them think they had a crowd to face. while killed (Lancaster) Regi- leading like Clutterbuck. a captain to his sinking A German Fusilier who had been cut about a off cartridge left." A British when its it was officer in one of the was being pounded by great doom was so. A corporal of Germans from of the Fusilier at bay for different points. describing the officer's valour.

3rd Cavalry Brigade.. and the Germans took the position he Wyndham Rev.O.GALLANTRY OF INDIVIDUALS 71 deceiving as to his " strength. Guinness. took a message under heavy fire from 4th Hussars to headquarters of 3rd Cavalry Brigade. Percy had held so long. being the only individual with a horse in the shelled area. came across Twice he passed it. tion alone. when mortally wounded to an ambuForces. had there fought till overwhelmed by numbers." so he bolted. and such was his determination and accuracy of aim that the villagers declared . An Englishman. Chaplain to the was awarded a D. and the soldiers explained that the grave was that of an English soldier who. 16th Lancers. On the pontoon bridge near by a French detachment was keeping guard.S. quite a solitary grave. making his way by who had just returned from the banks of the Aisne in an attempt to take cigarettes to the troops. them he took up carriage. lance under heavy fire. During the great retreat he had strayed from his comrades and able to find abandoned fallen exhausted from fatigue. Un- his quarters in an but thirty-six hours later the Germans appeared on the other side of the Aisne and fired at him. and on the afternoon of the same day. because on November 5th he brought Major Dixon. and his attenwas arrested by the fact that kindly hands each day strewed fresh flowers over it. Undeterred by the fact that he was utterly alone he replied.

was severely wounded. what his carelessness He had one chance of fault.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 72 he accounted for six German a general. which he did. A the private in the East Yorkshire Regiment tells following story " One of the hardest night we had to face was made possible by the momentary carelessness of a lad of the Loyal North Lancashires who was on guard and somehow allowed attacks his thoughts to stray in other directions so that he didn't noticed the him. to swim the canal. Just when the Germans were half-way towards the sleeping camp redeeming his . one of them under a volley. Cropp (that was the sergeant's name) went on the bridge. seized the wounded officer. and erected a cross in honour The ist of his gallantry. encumbered as he was. with the wounded officer He swam out of the line of fire to a place of safety. before he fell officers. Instead of risking a journey across the shot-swept bridge. The French buried him where he had fought. and became terribly dis- tressed over the prospect of had brought on the Army. Royal Scots Fusiliers were defending Germans were firing into them. and he took it. he decided. He was Germans until they were on top of disarmed. and placed him a bridge and An officer the called Stephens on his back. and would have fallen into the hands of the enemy if he had not been rescued by one of the sergeants.

but he was quite happy when I told him there wasn't a soldier who wouldn't shots fired think that his heroism had atoned for the original At that he smiled and passed away. to shell part of the horse He just fell This and managed and the chap could get up. came and blew another wounded man. named of One do so.C. I am glad to say he is getting better. He happened to overhear some conversation between German soldiers. then after that a a horse right in two." Another private wrote " One poor fellow here deserves the V." This story was told by a sergeant of the Northum- berland Fusiliers. Morris. 73 didn't go far. at the same time blowing half of Morris's right leg off. : heavy firing . chester " There was a man Regiment who was lying ManGerman of the close to the wounded. He saved two officers under fault.E. and the advanced guard held them in check until the main body got under arms.. and lines terribly . The brave fellow has a wife and three children and is only twenty-five years shell shoulders old. when another came and blew the wounded chap's head and off. but the by the Germans warned the camp of what was coming.GALLANTRY OF INDIVIDUALS he made a run for He it. although the whole of his leg has been taken off. rushed out tried to pull the horse off him. across the legs fellow. of the R. When we found that lad he was just able to explain what had happened.

Watts rushed . just half an hour before the time fixed for the German attack. his life. and his wound began to bleed. and beat them off but his anxiety to warn us had cost him heap. In the early morning. but he stumbled along in spite of that. E. Brigadier-General H. we were ready for the Germans when they came. and managed to tell his story to the officer in charge before collapsing in a Thanks to the information he gave. Later he ran into a patrol of Uhlans. was in great danger of being broken. but before they saw him he dropped to earth and shammed being dead. of over miles. ." There was a time during the battle our line. of Ypres when so thin in comparison with that of the Germans. and then he resumed his weary journey. he gathered that they intended to attack the position night. but the courage of individuals of all ranks saved the The General commanding the division spent one day with his staff in the trenches encouragsituation. five moment he and he set out on the weary tramp He was under fire from the got to his feet. But this time the strain had told on him. marking his path towards our lines with thin red streaks. and soon got out of range. They passed by without a sign. ing the men. we held that In spite of his wounds he decided to warn us of the danger.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 74 being familiar with the language. he staggered into one of our advanced posts.

the Vennicombe. my sword. Sergeant-major White. I accounted but we had to retire. fast. ran through a storm the head placed himself at of the formed them up under cover of a road. battalions. had fallen. shrapnel. for a " to us hot. of He He acted at once. Jones Private and Coldstream Battalion Guards.GALLANTRY OF INDIVIDUALS 75 into the firing line on one occasion to rally the A infantry. Private Although German bullets were colonel's body. Regiment. of the Army was awarded the Victoria Cross of move a convoy. and then headed them at the charge back to the trench they had vacated. they managed to get back safely into the cover of their companions. Uhlans and they gave for four of them with it deed which We got orders We ran into an ambush he thus described to an interviewer. From his post in a chateau the Brigadier saw the movement. So great was the gallantry of the Leinster in under fire no of Private Goggins. a German in a British uniform. spy. carrying their colonel. had brought an order to retire at a moment when retirement would have meant annihilation. that in a night he brought less than sixty wounded men. two men made a dash towards ist who falling their They found that he had been shot Between them and was unable to walk. . decided would rescue Colonel Ponsonby. in the leg. they that their colonel. at night to Service Corps.

and placing him across my horse. both legs. His of the gun). Your son ran out from under cover. but after he wound gun out in the leg.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 76 When we reached a place where we could pull ourselves together the officer asked seen Captain Grey. recommended officer Fusiliers. by taking contained no mention of his was invalided home with a : Militaire and had been for the Victoria Cross. King's Own a wounded fire W. During an advance the man carrying one of the maxims was see he is too modest to wounded and tell lying in the open. and I said I would I went and found him. in It was had been shot down. received the French Medaille An 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Light Infantry. I was hit in stated he go back for him. of the 2nd Battalion Royal Dublin "All maxim Tom by men have to Your son is under letters written be read and signed by an (on the bullet he informed her that he had writing to the parents of Private Barry. Holmes. officer. and I read his letters. galloped back to safety with bullets whistling round. said me of action who had been wounded. brought the gun up to the firing . who was if anyone had charge. out of the trenches under heavy assisted to drive a letters to his wife deeds. after carrying man the place of the driver." Lance-corporal F. I you that he has been mentioned for conspicuous conduct.

" has given to described a duel between a airman. If you here. and then went back for the previously been carrying. however. the machines swaying and oscillating violently. An officer thus in the air opportunity of ammunition he had He proud to have him 77 German and The German manoeuvred for a British position and prepared to attack. and darted tried to circle into a higher plane. firing at each other all the time. the and with a dive the aeroplane came to earth half a mile away. reel. is in many individuals an showing gallantry. in short spurts they fought for mastery. round and The German and so follow. well main- tained his ascendancy. Then suddenly there was a pause. and then calmly lines to reconnoitre. Tom.GALLANTRY OF INDIVIDUALS line. send them out " soldier. the German machine began to wounded pilot had lost control. Our man hovered about for a glided away over the German time. and I am have any more War like a good my section. The British airman." . but our fellow was too quick for him.

We are so accustomed. and never mind me. " Push on.CHAPTER X Self Put Aside The following are abbreviated letters printed in several narratives from papers Five wounded British soldiers who had lost their regiment managed to limp in the wake of the army until they found an officer lying wounded in a trench. self-forgetfulness almost ceases to surprise. and soon almost jumped for joy to see a motor-car flying the British flag. to read of officers when mortally wounded." he " England wants every man who can replied. possibly save himself. They were all too weak to carry him. " Do your duty. however. lost than six." Better for one life to be But they did not leave him. They were taken in the car to a French hospital. to their men. One officer was hit. but they told him that they could not leave him there to the tender mercies of the butchers. and 78 his men were for putting . my lads. my lads." that their saying.

" There was a man a clean sheet for who had not He one thing or another. blew up a railway station. he steadily went on firing at the enemy. and he was shot in the right arm. His comrades did so." There was a British gunner whose marksmanship was the wonderful One talk of his battery. culty made his got he was always getting into trouble ." said he. Again he made the difficult and painful journey to the field hospital. despite his with bothhis arms injured.SELF PUT ASIDE on his " No." he implored. of the 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards. left ambudiffi- There. he stubbornly insisted . Even then he would not leave the field. Tipper. him in the trenches way back field We advised and with to the firing line. and without a groan he took his A last aim. Some time passed. " Carry me to the gun and let me have one more shot. G. the second shell plump German into a third lopped off the Finally the victualling train. team of German gunners fell and the an advancing battery. He lance. and had got hit in the crawled back to the nearest his wound dressed. first field 79 past that. wounded arm. arm. " dressing. to go to the rear. hit him in the legs. and again. but for God's sake don't let the I am Germans break the line. but he refused. similar instance of self-sacrifice for the sake of duty was related in The Evening News by Private R.

so help me ! have done rested where he Prop ' ' Hoist had me them I'll give me up. .THE BRITISH SOLDIER 80 on crawling back to the trench. without any trace of excitement. before you go. to the operator on the other side. me this time.' they told him. rifle still its blighters loophole. Several comrades ran to him and raised him." With these words he dropped the receiver and he has not been heard of since. You must get back now. Don't believe anything more you hear. The be. young lieutenant posted himself in a tower a few hundred yards from the German trenches.' They knew they could do nothing. stairs. In many instances artillery subalterns took up dangerous positions well in advance of the front line of infantry. By-and-by he shot clean through the body. I " I hear the have my Germans coming up the revolver. They propped him up beside his rifle and went to the other wounded men. gave the range to the gunners A with perfect calmness. telephone in hand.' he muttered. collapsed. larly for half He an hour. With fumbling hands the dying man pointed his rifle. No/ he said with ' ' a white face. .' been up ' let me His supported in firing. and." The fighting around Ypres involved a great amount of very risky observation work. quick. telephoned his orders regu- Then he said. and let drive two more rounds at the enemy. Then he slipped down dead. another round.

so the church was being vigorously shelled.F. Early in the day our gunners had found R. and the overwhelming force The church held. At dark was done. H. As he left the ruins a fall of timber in one F his task . The impossible to locate certain were fast country was so of flat that there was no possible point vantage from which the gunners could observe except the steeple of the church in Lourges. Davidson. and he came down to rejoin the battery. position." so he calmly went to the church. was successfully was rendered a scrap heap. the infantry. It shells had been pitched into was the duty of Lieutenant Davidson to " observe. proceeded to telephone his information to the battery. was saved. but on the remnants of his tower. danger of after battery which at one time was extermination. in spite of an attack in by the enemy. N. climbed the already tottering tower. was in In consequence German battery silenced. still Davidson sat For seven solid hours expecting death every moment. the Germans knew that as well as we But did. he calmly scanned the country. and already no less than twelve lyddite it. and telephoned his reports. seated on the top. it German guns which rendering our trenches untenable. but think of the heroism of such lonely work as that which was done by Lieutenant F.SELF PUT ASIDE 81 When there is the excitement and stimulus of a " gallery " it is comparatively easy to be brave .A. and.

He said. though it seemed that my arm had been blown away. he walked to his battery." .THE BRITISH SOLDIER 82 the burning houses of sudden was the crack there glare." A man who was struck with four thighs remarked. gave them his final information." and rolled over on his back dead. What esprit de corps ! What for- getfulness of self The gunner who wrote the freedom from " self following had the which enables us to sympathise : had comparatively little pain. " I think I'd better go and find the field beggars have drilled a hole in ging. up everything with a lit of a rifle —the German trenches were only a few hundred yards away and a bullet passed through the back of his neck and out through his mouth. for the me that needs plug- half a mile to the nearest " collecting point. and then said. to fight the Ger- mans. because I to move." A private of the ist War wicks was hit with a shrapnel bullet at the battle of Mons. " Good luck to the old regiment. I could not I verify this." And he walked ambulance. pal around 1 snuffing was so numb it was impossible What did hurt was the sight of pal after me either killed outright at one go. But. or it ' in agony quite near. " that What bullets in his luck to have got means three comrades more all four . without — hurrying his pace.

me ' prevented I'm no good. He with said. us up how. and gamely firing to keep the The Dragoons found both men thoroughly worn out. once to ' an' die.SELF PUT ASIDE Another 83 though mortally wounded him- soldier. After hesitation he told the story to a newspaper ' lot. so much for a wounded pal that he said to He is the doctor." Some of the Irish Dragoons went to the assistance of a man of the Irish Rifles who.' Never mind. an' it's if Red Cross chaps they don't — well. M They knew that. " and enemy off. men weren't the to expect the general safety to be risked for them. self. but urgency required the regiment to take up another position.' I got .' I I'm keeping out somebody who could do more good than me. Irishman." said the trooper who related the incident. anny- " Private F. mate . make room for a better man. ' Don't bullets.' go in this said. '11 pick we've only the grand fight we've had. Neck you'll get riddled or nothing. felt home he will be home before me. Bruce. was yet kneeling beside a fallen comrade of the Gloucester Regiment. " See to that poor bloke first. and the wounded men had to be left. acted in this self-forgetting much interviewer me from so I'll : " The shooting. going . of the Suffolk Regiment.' said the young shure the ' all right. way when wounded. wounded himself. bullet that hit I said to a mate.

I I was determined to go. all I came in five After giving wounded man water." and himself went out to pick up the man.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 84 up and ran about twenty yards. live shell ' . A for God's sake shoot him I could not do Highlander came up wound straight through the elbow. I saw my company captured just at our rear. and a lyddite-shell burst about five or six yards in front of me. footing. 1 Yes. artillery further. I had burst and hit him in the lower part I asked him if I could do anything of the body. I bandaged him up. He was struck by several bullets . misery. me out of that. so I my ' Well. a dash for it. We had to make a dash for our lives. the with the suffocating fumes. At that time the Germans were only about 60 yards away. as they were closing round firing at corn. Yes have you got a rifle ? for him. began But company.' he said. but we managed to get to safety. I tried to get to another Every time I made a start the Germans fellow.' I said. got to the poor fellow. a British officer with a ordered the " Cease Fire." Even for one of the enemy self was bravely put aside. and dived some standing into A me. and he said. Seeing a wounded German lying between the German and British trenches. until I and the other was right.' - I told gave him water. nearly bringing me down regained my two to places. and I my made ran about twenty yards. and ran One was wounded men.

artillery. and. mans. Britisher He was recommended trenches. of the poor lads got German I in front of devils pay away artillery got away alive. A German officer received him with a salute. British the for Then the hero an Iron Cross. Our men early morning refused to surrender. They wanted to get information about our strength from him. and one. when he made a dash . and thought they had only to offer him his life in return. and then they were going to shoot him. He refused to tell anything. to his wounds.SELF PUT ASIDE 85 Germans saw what he was doing and ceased firing. a battery of horse of the finest deeds I ever saw. A wrote soldier " throw themselves : who were trying to cut It was one saw a handful off of Irishmen a regiment of cavalry. all who was overpowered by were shot down but the Germans. Not one but they made the anyhow. own returned to his succumbed but Victoria Cross." A private correspondent on a hill told : "A following a newspaper picket of our regiment posted overlooking our left was surprised in the by a party of German infantry who had crept up under cover „f a mist. Thereupon the British officer staggered to the fallen man and carried him to the German lines. the to account for many more Ger- the to kind. before the pinned upon the breast of the calling for cheers. in and.

. He thinks he didn't do anything out of the common. Buffs life of a French private kept the deed a secret for fear of " a beastly fuss " being made about it. He had gone without and had given the biscuits to the wounded man. shown by a Highlander who helped a wounded comrade for four days through a Similar modesty was country full of wrote a lance-corporal. came of our up. me to shut up. alarmed Germans were cut off. an English colonel who had saved the sergeant wrote . When our men reached an embankment running sharply down to the river the offensive against the Germans. and doesn't see why his name should be dragged into the papers. but he always got angry and told anything . too. but if you suggested a Victoria Cross for that man he would punch your head. me how When " they I I found them.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 86 for At that moment a party it." Near Cambrai one dark night the British took who were holding a bridge spanning the canal. man tell to " Germans. and the men. by the firing. and as he's a regular devil when roused the men say as little as they can about it." So." had only a few pressed the un wounded they managed to get through the four days on six biscuits." A " There was a man of the who carried a wounded chum for over a mile under German fire. biscuits between them.

.30 a. river of the 87 rescued all up the shell four in He turn. you've had a very successful had just left the trenches ' " day.m. and walked over to the German trenches under a perfect hail of bullets and brought back the adjutant. He has been recommended for the V. Our officer in command was wounded at 3. but notwithstanding his wound he stuck to his post. and it was not until 1 p. embankment was when him in- himself. then made ten more journeys. were in and German to swim.C. plunged into the clambering a of into the fell men who were unable imminent danger Brindall. Four water. As we marched past him it cheered us greatly to hear him say.' In one of the soldier first battles of the war a British rode on a bicycle through the bullets of German sharp-shooters to warn French soldiers that . drowning. " of the A soldier wrote in this way of We got the order to retire none an engagement too soon. exploded near him. A man West Yorkshire Regiment took off his coat and equipment. that we discovered he was wounded and unable to walk.SELF^PUT ASIDE and several failed to secure a foothold. Good boys. when Corporal an excellent swimmer. for we when the Germans swept across the plain where we had been entrenched. killing stantly.m. bringing in the colonel and nine men.

took had won from his own cyclist's breast. Then I saw Private Howson. He led the men splendidly. it " It on the British was given to me. their trenches being far more We formidable than ours. had not very long wait before shells and bullets began to us in hill.C. I made a dash and brought him back to the trenches. of the 2nd Durham Light Infantry. " for saving one life. The Germans were entrenched not 80 yards away on the other side of a hill. Our men about fly tried to rush to up the one and then the other fell under the The Germans were at least twelve to men held their own. We had a great leader Major Robb." Private J. fighting as I have men fight before.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 88 they were going into an ambush. tunic a medal he himself and pinned for bravery. shot. did not wish to speak of the deeds for which he was recommended some persuasion. he for After the V. all directions. " told the story. tried to advance with a company up the down. but hail of first fire. was I flying saw him and hill. Lieu- one. however. a Darlington chap. After the daring deed the French commander dismounted from his horse. one of our number. fall. but he was quickly shot and although the shrapnel bullets were coming like rain. Warwick. but our never seen in tenant Twist. rade" he said. honour to present it you to mon camaI have the for saving the lives of hundreds. .

of all. see home . still then went back and succeeded in bringing Private My Maughan. on. one could the heat of some of them. had to I journey was the most last travel over the crest of the hill to within 30 yards of the I German escaped being killed crawled on and could. German shrapnel began to burst on the trees above us. I did not think we were all I should cool enough.SELF PUT ASIDE 89 and I succeeded in bringing him from the firing line. believe he I is I living. but . . must get there somehow. The poor chap was shot through the neck and the though shoulders." A Royal Fusilier wrote " While : we were chatting and smoking. and my chum another. again. ' We volunteer. to get him. really I my stomach and I am glad to say bringing Major difficult do not know. Eight volunteers were wanted to cross the bridge and retire. as it were. . and I said.' and four bullets . so close did of us came went over. from It was a hard job was shot through the the very noses of the Germans. Robb back and how trenches. . . back and and in my effort I fell. were walking between some railway trucks began to whistle through We down lay for a minute. We a section in danger of being captured to tell I made one when bullets almost feel they pass. I got along as best that I I succeeded in right. Four stayed there Directly we got up more and one poor fellow got one in .

THE BRITISH SOLDIER 90 We the neck. We got there and warned Coming back we had down alternately. left and made a run the section. but got with only one wounded. and lying him for in the care of the other four it." to keep running back in the end .

" He that sheds his blood with me. I was thrown a lot We took refuge one day the Irishman had the himself to a party of took it into his game by After Cambrai with a wild Glasgow Irishman belonging to the Royal Scots and a of the Dorsets. and ill-luck of showing Germans on the prowl.CHAPTER XI Brothers-in-Arms Whatever ence Christians who brotherly love. He had not an after reporting their presence he said he out just for a bit of earthly chance of escaping." letter in The Out there sublime deeds of being performed every day by common following News Evening heroism are soldiers whom from a sergeant's is M : the ordinary ' civvy ' with contempt in times of peace. be shall The my brother. He head that he hadn't played the bringing the Germans down on us. and was going a dander. would pass by in wounded man a farmhouse. Each man seems to say. to more do in refer- soldiers are profess British real brothers to each other on active service. 91 Before he left I told .

and if I rush out they'll get me and go off content. and they went after him. ' Oh. ' So's that chap my if I'm shot this I'm as in the corner. with bullets. " In Quick as lightning one of mates sprang between him and the German. He fell front gate. his received the thrust in his chest.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 92 him so. bad as they make 'em. and made a rush into the fields to the The Germans saw him and fired. left. and when they asked answer was. hour. but that didn't weigh with him at like this/ he said. They must have thought that he was the only man in the house. and we lay there for three days until we managed to get back riddled to our own Another lines. a wife and kids. God. him with a bayonet. He walked coolly out to the carelessness in going about that gave us to the Germans. and : their cries for water were pitiful. you've got a missus and children will be a thraneen very minute. a night fight one of the Gloucesters had his knocked out at his rifle and a big German lunged of his hand. It was away They don't know there's anybody here but me. and nobody the poorer It's all.' I couldn't help it. to look after. He's got " A corporal of the Bedfordshire Regiment wrote " Near our trenches there were a lot of wounded." man also thought of wife and kids. In the trenches . for they didn't come back. and He died within an him why he did it.

and had more bullets in him than would set a battalion of sharpthe wounded. rare good one.BROTHERS-IN-ARMS was a quiet chap it no longer. who lay with a smile on his white face. but that was the end and hotter. and to show rifle fire. and were greatly cut up at his death. After attending to the first man he crawled along the ground to others until he was about a quarter of a mile away from Then he stood up and us. we did. out. for to have seen a deed It's ' He was a something worth living like that. could lay hold air was of the Engineers. all That chap knew who could stand collected all the water bottles he and said he was going and thick with shell yourself at 93 was to it The sign your death warrant. He was hit badly. but that was got to the first man all No sooner right and gave him a swig from a bottle. zigzagged towards another batch of wounded. but he was as dead as they out here. shooters up in business for themselves. and now that I . One of them who was hit so hard that he would never see another Sunday said to me as we passed the Engineer chap. slight upward like the The German fire got hotter and with just a of him. he was. as well as He not going to stop him. did he show himself than the Germans opened fire. arms he dropped to earth Later he was picked up with make them The wounded men for whose sake he had risked and lost his life thought a lot of him. He of. fling of his hero he was.

long I J. " When lay there. and dropped dead within 50 feet of the The wounded chap had his apple brought in goal. here's a Sandy' (his other chum) i Poor Tommy got a piece of and was buried the same night.' about all felt it. and said. shell ' how shells. I we That's what don't care what becomes of me." In a lancer charge near Cambrai a letter. after an artillery man had been wounded in getting at it.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 94 have seen it. under a perfect hail of bullets and me to safety." Sergeant Rifles. wrote : 2nd Battalion King's Royal Rolfe. had arrived man dropped just as the order a was given and he had not had time to read it. Tommy Quaife. dragged Cheer up. u He got the apple all right. It to mount. and that was a heavy fire to an orchard near long time ago. I couldn't say I chum of mine. I'm going back He for never got there. Smiler. but he got a German bullet or two in him as well on the way back. for it was the costliest apple I ever heard tell of bar one. but a got hit. I hope he valued it. Also Connaught Rangers rushed out how a boy of the of the trenches under by to get an apple for a wounded comrade who was suffering from thirst and hunger. ." One how a Highlander milked a cow under of the King's Royal Rifles told in a letter fire rifle and shell to get something for his wounded mates to drink when the water ran out. fag.

know and to go back for He the value.BROTHERS-IN-ARMS Even in his tunic Two mid-charge a comrade saw and returned it out of fall it at great risk. religious Dublin because he stayed just long Fusilier lost his enough to cross the hands of a dead comrade. After the charge of the Highlanders on the German heavy guns near Hanbourdin the Hussar was sent with a message to the base. All that night he stood in the One night a of the trenches in his shirt-sleeves. with water quietly returning the noon up to and the temperature near to freezing waist. In full view of his companions he was hit by a case life and bullet where a fell There was another dead. and he dropped a stick of chocolate. not more than two hundred yards away. He never came back. related by a British Hussar. a thing of which only soldiers in the conditions about it. were Highlanders 95 a carrying wounded comrade. the after- day he had acute pneumonia. and say a prayer for his departed soul. man West Yorkshire Regiment took off his coat and wrapped it around a wounded chum who had to lie there until the ambulance took him away. On his point. to where it under trying and worried chums volunteered fretted at last one of his it field had been dropped. On the way he encountered a Seaforth Highlander going in the same . of the following The following was German fire.

my Get on I'll many walk. than I care to I tell. We Our casualties were greater was with a fatigue party col- lecting the wounded and burying the dead. ' I can wait. the question " Are : was matter. Had he been taken at first his life would same battle have been saved. perin for insub- started on came back Unknown He must have known that when he made us attend to the others. F. said the set face " ? prompted " Aye. He waved us away. said. you'll find just worse hit than me. and That was what he angry. much worse." said the cavalryman. of the Seaforth Highlanders. He was stone dead. They're We superior you report it. shattered from shoulder to to sick bay?" and a half away. a sma' The man's arm was " Are you going elbow. and for the sergeant. Get the others We ' I'm I'll settled your so we got the last away." Private D.' sisted." the you hurt reply. "It was on the Aisne. got you disobey if That ordination. He rank. first.' the others." gee. The sergeant was nearest and I signed to my mates to take him first." The night before the beginning of the . " It's a mile " No. " Scot. Gilmore. no. We came on a sergeant of artillery and about twenty wounded men. to us he had been bleeding to death. told this in a letter : had had a hard day.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 96 Something in the man's direction.

Duffy." What could they do but let him have way all pull You won't ? me. In the fighting around Ypres one night one of them got hit in a bayonet fight. and the problem was to the worst case. the select came on seven men wounded.BROTHERS-IN-ARMS of the Aisne. together. scrapes Rifle and ' "They had 'listed don't know how many Brigade). and he was dead. resist. if And ? so he was An left. he had nearly dragged him to a place of safety a shell killed both men. and been scraps in ' I side by side. two men of the 97 Middlesex Regiment had a disagreement and came to blows. These other chaps will through and make good soldiers yet. " If you take me I'll seventh. be taken." probably die on the way. later " There were two men of the Camerons who had been chums since their boyhood " (writes Sergeant R. leaving the wounded to take their chance for the time being out in the cold. The regiment had to return to the trenches. man's chum caught sight way of him The wounded lying in the road- witlf the pallor of death in his face. so you'd better way. and his G . A stretcher party Only six could One man solved it. let me have my Leave you try to take me I'll be the end of me. The conqueror was struck with shrapnel next day. hour and that'll his Well. they came back. and the man who was beaten endangered his life When to save him. " I'm he said.

but his chum meant to have his way. set him on his own horse and sent him back out of the way. wrote to a friend his assistance regiment : " We gave had been raining We were only just and thoughtful were sent to help the Queen's Regiment one day.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 98 teeth chattering with the terrible cold. how Roberts. was awful. and we found them side by side both dead. and he got it.' We helped to carry out the wounded.' he exclaimed. that's lying there ? stay wi' ye tae the morn. men were . It was The trenches were full of water. time. They were nearly wiped out with arms and faces smashed. A canna' lee ye. The wounded sergeant bound up the other man's wound. Then the sergeant limped along on foot as best he could after his regiment to fight again. so ' is it a'll you My ' God. and the . and they had given up The Germans were just about to charge them. it timely It was for three in just getting dark. ist Life Guards. Jock." cavalry sergeant. W.' The wounded man wouldn't hear of it. but when they saw us they made it as you all hope. Next morning we had a look for the two. ' were. though he had got three wounds. and days without stopping. They had crept together under — greatcoats their found them A all keep warm. It chaps terrible. went to a badly wounded corporal who was shouting to be taken out of the way of the line. but death had to the same.

" and there good is ! " is a fine fraternity between the out. and they like. but it shows will. and we took their the dead and We made places in the trenches that night. Tommie ! not the case in the is French and the British replies. One of the Royal Lancasters said in a letter that the sign manual of friendship between the French and the British soldier is a cross on the throat " The French indicating their wish to the Kaiser. in time of pull well together there but happily this present war. when of kindness ! and It is The French calls his British brother not a long conversation no dangerous discussion. when they have time. making them fags and giving them tea. them as comfortable as we could. and often played with them when under fire. Tommies copy us a lot. French and British Seven of our soldiers men having were lost their regiment joined a French one for the time being. " Right." jam served to us and . refuse to do small deeds do not allies There is soldier." How these acts should rebuke us we peace When trouble. and as our chaps went to carry out wounded the Germans fired on them. Once at least play-fellows.BROTHERS-IN-ARMS 99 blue with cold. " Bravo. to game. They taught the French how to play football. They stroll into our lines for a chat or a are fond of the exchange things for it.

" and when the regiment marched back the French stood up in their trenches and soldiers roared applause.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 100 On one occasion the appreciation of the French was even embarrassing. who only became felt shy about like the idea that and that their battle . The Irish Guards. They did not their first time in action. honour was brand new. They had seen the Irish Guards put to flight great numbers of the " Kaiser' crush. a regiment after the Boer this it French was fuss. war.

It I and my chum took photographs was then that we had with us from our pockets and looked long we had left at home. You awaken in your sleep and think you are being fired at. for I heard the bullet whistle by several : ' inches wide. I bet you he won't hit me.CHAPTER XII Under Fire Asked what replied : it feels like to be under a soldier fire. and none of ours had been touched." The feeling of waiting to described costs. : " We go under fire is thus were to hold the trenches at all and things began to take a serious turn. Not that the German infantry are good marksmen (the artillery are).' And he didn't. I stood up and said to a chum Watch that chap. the other day I noticed a chap who had been aiming in my direction for several minutes. The first few weeks at the war are awful. "It makes you sweat waiting shock of getting hit. Then into the faces of those 101 . the for It is the suspense that tries. Why.

" to be under fire." It's another —well you feel my man that a really dangerous thing. make a screaming plosion. splinters fire but the These ' Black Maria noise. A from a shell came over the corner of the shed and dropped not more than 8 feet from me. Then we knew it. It seemed to me as if I had 1 Black Maria ' been suddenly thrown into a white hot furnace. An depends officer upon the soldier's had the moral courage to . ' shells ex- terrific except for Next day we came under as big gun fire. war is feeling. but the feeling soon wore off. and then waited. It killed the poor driver and blew one horse up and the other horses into a heap. and one was asleep in front of me on a truss of hay. " I wouldn't give twopence for chance." Much of course temperament. and a big metallic door slammed on me. as well rifle It was not a pleasant sight to see men falling around you screaming. It is wonderful how soon you get over these things. flying." A private of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment " There were many field artillery drivers wrote : with spare horses behind a shed. I was dazed for five minutes and shaky all day. I remember saying to a chap alongside of me.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 102 we took out our small books and made our wills. followed by a effect is purely local." " It's a curious sort of wrote.

was annoying to us to have to lie still under it bad. and sometimes felt . it was far worse than anything ever experienced in frontier fighting. Then the battery doing most on us stopped and I safer got the for a moment to reload men on a hundred yards. Still. telling and saying that they would be to go on. and of course the shell singing through the down only a you could always hear air. and like it I 103 have been under less fire a few every time. soon got used to us more than thunder. for the it when we " like to An officer My platoon be getting to close grips. and then the shells began bursting like hail just where we had come from. further up the of the firing and resight. I was soon ordered to bring them up. hill." described a retreat under fire as follows : men) was some 200 yards behind (fifty the firing line to start with. Then they kept altering their range from time to time. The it rifle didn't trouble wasn't so fire Germans aren't very good shots. as shells of us." An Indian soldier gave the impression of himself and of his fellows " The shell fire was a bit trouble: some at because first.UNDER FIRE write a in " letter. times now. which was not a too comfortable were bursting by now just in front job. them However. I shouted to the men. and you could some- times hear the shot and shell come few yards off. and we had few of us had had any experience of being under We fire. and it.

sorts of little things that I I had been to kept passing through of this mind. think you get so strung into I have often heard happening to a drowning man. all had done. (The whole regiment has been con- splendidly. think that none of us will ever forget the I — what moment we might next perhaps blown to atoms. and then the order to retire I told my platoon . as when I tried to Germans. came our company got spy at the as I could do with the When it late. to my eyes. it if use was as greatest effort to get I could scarcely my looked at ! get seemed brain collected. to again I was hands an extra- in they didn't belong to me. it was going kept wonder- I and to feel like to be dead. extraordinarily proud of and cool am and still I which and saw them moving and twisting ordinary way. gratulated on having done its We well. but have never experienced I my and don't want up that your nerves My an abnormal condition. but . and my field-glasses to much them up see. and fire if any German infantry came lay under that shell feeling of thinking that the be dead ing fire for three hours. and places years ago and had quite forgotten.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 104 Around me the men behaved the breath of them.) the potato crop like partridges. it before. in were we too petrified to all move lay there we think I but where we were . lay just below the crest of a ridge waiting to crawl up to see to We along.

and what happened told by the sergeant-major : " We is thus were going along . creeping along of . we got over another wall and so up a path exposed for a short way. and the German infantry were getting close. but a friend of his told much about him that it me so was with sorrow that I He and a read the dramatic story of his death. stopped I behind to collect stragglers and to carry a couple wounded into the house. I and a last party of five climbed up a pear tree and over a garden wall. so it was high time to clear out. We ran along this. of my my little hair-brush ! I did not myself Lord Cowdray's know Mr. Geoffrey Pearson. son. and risked a life for a hair-brush I found subsequently two holes in my haversack where a bullet had passed through. and I ran back five or six yards to pick it up." instance of the stupid things one does in excitement. and I remember. and it may have been then that it went through. with the bullets now flying all round. where the doctor was and I believe I was the last to seeing to them leave. this time the bullets had begun to By sing all round us.UNDER FIRE those who were left 105 —to double back and assemble behind a house in a road behind us. just grazing my clothes. sergeant-major were acting as motor-cyclists with the motor transport. and so. as an moments jumped out suddenly from haversack.

than German cavalry rode into a group of it. and it was most bitterly cold. lying on the roadside between two men. We with the rest under a terrific fire guns and infantry. with open country on either side. without the least warning. in safety. they and were were our machines out for letting We worth. They gave us nothing to eat. all Suddenly. The Germans took us on with them on their advance against the French. as there was no getting away from them at all. so we tumbled off our bikes. We were thrust in the line from the French decided to make a dash The Germans were all very busy with the and we were able to crawl away unperceived . That night we spent in the open. were alone. and surrendered. I think I have never been so cold in my life as I was that night. we'll ride for and we dashed through had we entered the wood of us the road belt. little wood. We had no overcoats. Ahead Come on. trenches with them. for it. we seemed to ride into a perfect hailstorm of bullets which came over from somewhere on our left. They made us go into the of road. and taunted and jeered at us at every opportunity.' Hardly —about we fifty — them scattered about on either side of the They immediately fired at us. The Germans treated us shamefully.THE BRITISH SOLDIER IOC a straight piece of road. We saw the game was up. fight. however. put up our hands. ran into a ' I said.

thought "If we badly as they do we would be put in fired as jail. could not sing whistled. out of your head. safe I think I shall get a job as doorkeeper at an oyster shop.A. Those who who could not and joked with each other." Speaking of a particularly fierce fight a Highlander said that it might have been a sham one the way the Gordons took they sang Harry Lauder's it Gordon In the thick of it. He however. wrote to his wife " I am time a round. ' but still messenger from the Kaiser It is : have to keep ducking every ' comes whistling not exactly like throwing eggs about . R. cool as Liffy water. we were about 200 or 300 yards Germans saw us. and those whistle talked about football. were under fire with a vengeance. and a number of them Moreover. as having a course of shell I am dodging." A Dublin Fusilier said that while the shells shrieked blue murder over their heads they sang about the girls. One of the West Kent Regiment speaking of the German artillery fire said that the din seems to hit you. all right. We Pearson was shot through fire." Corporal F. feel fall as if your ears would burst. latest. of the enemy's infantry.F.UNDER FIRE 107 out of the trenches and through the long grass. " If I should arrive and were as home smoked cigarettes. Leeming. You and the teeth little.. when away the immediately opened the head.

we thought it all little to worry us with around." off 1 One day a pot. ground about 20 feet You feel pretty shaky at first. shells were absent. Highland Light Infantry. best to stop. so to Afternoon tea under fire was like this : * ' speak. for want of and nerve-racking. were fellow-soldiers Of course. shells were not as much appreciated at a dance as ladies would have been "In the trenches last week we held a dance. for just when we had settled down to enjoy the jigging the shrapnel. " We . : something better to do. My next-door neighbour. According to Private Thomas Mulholland. the monotony of shell still it was a change from Not that the fire. The shells enemy began burst burst in the middle of a a Gaelic four-hand After that reel. but it was hard work messing without getting more than we wanted. Private Plant had a cigarette shot out of his mouth.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 108 when They make a hole in the across. and a comrade got a bullet into his tin of bully beef. It saves the trouble of opening it. and another two doors had his biscuit shot out of his hand. shell smashed a breakfast porridge and another scattered a dinner of stew. the only partners but . and the noise is terrible their shells burst. group of and one men Every man was giving killed." " The mugs were passed round with the biscuits and the bully as best they could by the mess orderlies. got a shrapnel bullet in his tin.' was his remark.

than city traffic. that. of just the smell to look for a blooming Ritz Hotel in the firing line. "It is a most extraordinary thing. has burst within and One half rilled their gets so used to may sound less noticeable Men incredible." said a jocular private in the Royal Irish." Men can even sleep when under fire.UNDER FIRE 109 cursed more about that stew than if we had been hit ourselves." it round them. though soon becomes far for instance. " how these Germans always dis- turb us at meal times. the it firing. " to see soldiers lying German on their straw soundly asleep when shells are bursting all keep on snoring even after a shell 5 or 6 yards over their heads trenches with fresh earth. I suppose it's They seem the bacon that they're after." said an officer to The Daily Telegraph special correspondent." " It beats Banagher. .

some and a curse. an affair of his only." as soldiers say. Still. " I've got it. " I've got a ticket through. An "I'm done for. ing of his when Some pray. if a bullet the bullet will in Then. is to be a billet for seeing comrades falling on will find this to a poor fellow he place " before he he own time the end comes generally gone to " another knows he dead —as an Irish does the average soldier say or do when is soldier said. A soldier men hit said. no I'm put ." act differently according to tem- perament." or " Men speak and I'm hit." but immediately thinktold them to lie down. according to moral and physical condition. Some as they roll over give a groan cry to mother or wife. What wounded. how casually and does he take it ? He usually remarks quietly. officer said. a more personal When matter. he who has been either side of him its is find him out.CHAPTER " I've Sometimes a man XIII Got It " under after being fire for a con- wounded begins to fancy that he has a charmed life and that he is " not siderable time without being for it.

Five or the ten minutes afterwards my coat began to stick to my down my sleeve." wound soldier is too excited to feel a is A man over. thick blood came realised that I One man. Don't you think you had ' better have " bound up it ? It's beginning to make a mess. dad Tell poor old for. sensation was I I felt any kind. I'm died at the front. He we were half through the me got a wound in the upper sang the chorus to the finish. 111 was not as bad as and said to a chum done I it IT " GOT I'VE you . into me. The : bullet struck no pain there and no except in the tops of fingers." shot through the arm.11 out of mess. and I arm. Another " Good-bye. I dropped out my only a bit of Just like a needle going was nothing till hand and my arm fell. old man. and did not seem to know he was hit till a comrade on the other side said. a sting. wrote in a letter the following when describing the battle of Mons " When the Germans attacked us we were singing : 4 Hitchy Koo." but fell began a : him letter to Sometimes a until the fight that. which began to stiffen and freeze. But even then I didn't know I was shot." thought of 44 felt it my rifle That is .' A sergeant sent back to a hospital in England said 44 It me was at Ypres in the elbow. I finish it. nothing particular. was wounded.' chorus the Before man next to part of his arm. of shot.

rejoins." harmless pebble. " Why. A leaps Bill. asked a corporal Are who came pointing to I replied. ' Looks ' ? like at found out that a bullet I of my spine. He had it. small pebbles at him. flicking is munching a man with indignantly. it. and he fell forward shoulder. mate up to me. Bill denies perceiving the occasion for and the other particularly the biscuit fancies. sharp stone. but afterwards had entered my in a letter described shoulder. a clean bullet of Shrapnel. grazed lodged pretty firmly in the back you wounded." This how "I is being hit : another man know what had happened didn't the time. demands biscuit. so he was when hit in the pulled back into the trench and told that he rather amusing. " Say. however. mate. as the strikes was silly. " It was hailing lead.' and ' my With that he ripped up the sleeve of my tunic. and had just bound up my wound when a shell struck him full in the back. got a bullet and not a . He him on the neck. and. dead without a word. but Two men is are resting in a trench but not lying low One enough. that stone at me?" you're wounded." A man hand jumped out of the trench and shouted to the man who had shot him to come and fight him." round and did you chuck the charge. " hurts pretty badly. my neck.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 112 the feeling wound.

was a grim joke until Writing in a letter of a second occasion on which " This makes twice their shrapnel has pipped me. " That's blackguards might leave a party alone after they've him wance. he came hail of bullets round us and we did not know from whence A man all This was once it.Firing in battle distances that may if IT " TVE GOT " now is one is carried on at such long in the neighbourhood at not be able to keep out of the case with me 113 A in China. The third hit he expostulated. the left ! brutes have hit me. exclaiming " That's one me arm when transferred the pannikin to hand. was visible I thought that I saw blood spurting up." With a machine gun a Highlander at a bridge over the river Marne kept back a column of Germans until reliefs came up. If they do it again I shall say. " Be and drink- a bullet got him an Irishman. When he fell dead and was hit H ." if and said." A rifle Then he got them." As no enemy did the same. hit again they haven't struck was too much number three." fired his back ter and observed. the second toime. a soldier said : ' too rough ! " ! ' man was hit He carefully Another ing tea. it "I'm hit. it came. I ain't going to play any more You are he was wounded. and finished his tea When "The in the right jabers. on the right of and another on the left me and fell said.

them.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 114 away carried thirty bullet wounds were found on his body. too. " I should think you'll give way now ! " said the man from Birmingham. " Weel. nor do they to war." was the reply. when he was shot in His legs were them like barrels. After a little experience of campaigning in France . for it is his duty. The Cockney was of evidently having the best of the argument. I and wonder they didna do that before. you haven't a leg to stand on. talking of really very man has to die in the performance of him with honour." very fat pipe major. " Why ? " asked the Cockney. when a shrapnel shell burst above them and the Londoner received a bullet each in leg. home and have been They seldom express feel much. " Well. Strange. while the Birmingham man escaped unhurt. And what might seem a natural sensation due to a conviction that a do and that to it covers pity for the want of is fine. ior is the way soldiers can joke when hit when someone near them has "got In one of the Highland regiments there was a it. It is strange to hear soldiers at who have gone soldiers wounded or died. themselves. he said." Two chums their were discussing the relative values birthplaces.

The last fight I was firing in the carnage and dead and dying together. Further along I saw two men.'' war. " I tried to like a young many heard and read so could not . a French artilleryman and a British rifleman. He will of the glory of a battle field see those who have " got it " from shells or bullets many writhing in agony. he will hear someone for the love of God to kill of them asking them and put them out of their misery. and emptying his pockets in quest of some treasures to soothe the last moments of the other two. having about one it. Close by a British Guardsman was propped against a tree smoking a cigarette and gazing intently at a photograph.IT " GOT " I'VE 115 officer wrote. quietly playing cards while awaiting their turn to be taken . A member of the Royal Army Medical Corps gives the following vivid picture of a battlefield guns had ceased after the " ful. it is fine things Any just beastly. while a Frenchman near by was doing his best to cheer them up. Tommy : of had been fear- both sides were piled In one corner you could see a British with a bad wound lying with his head pillowed on the shoulder of a dying German. holding a little glass in one hand while he tried to curl a straggling moustache with the other. but who I talks war should be invited to walk over when the fighting has ceased. Near to him was a wounded Frenchman.

THE BRITISH SOLDIER 116 to hospital. stick of chocolate." How much more than " beastly " for the wounded must be the waiting for the stretcher-bearers to pick them up and the fear that they may not be able to come or that they may not find them ? What mind there is in the uncertainty The next time we are impatient because a train is unpunctual or the dinner a few moments late. Under a little cluster of trees we find a party of wounded Germans. face. ' It's ma with a wry I approached birthday the day. was what he said. and trying to hide the twitching of his face as the pain racked his body. battlefields. another Highlander. English. Next to them was a man Cameron munching a of the Highlanders. Beyond them a Seaforth Highlander was lying with his Testament open at words were right out of his the story of the Crucifixion. danger of getting more wounds and falling rain or . He was beyond human aid. we torture for the ! should think of those sometimes in who wait on sometimes exposed to great cold and snow. 1 and before the mouth he was dead. and French men. with both legs shattered. They were quietly praying for what they believed to be the last time on earth.

" One remarks." he replied." Speaking of the science of slaughter. stuck to the ground. " I felt like making for the nearest hedge that would " hide me comfortably. a soldier re- marked : "I don't believe there 117 is a man living .CHAPTER XIV From Fear to Heroism A common topic in letters from the front is the feel- ing of the writers on going into battle." girl was overheard asking an who has shown himself brave above the In a ball-room a officer. and whether men rise to the occasion. of which the present war has been an exhibition. engagement." he said " on the spirit of the man. was asked what it was like to be on a field of battle. you may be sure that he is a liar. what he felt when he went into his first My dear young lady. They were " half mad with excitement " they " did not know . " That depends. and. as it were. " If anyone tells you that he is not afraid in his first battle. what they were doing " ." The South African soldier and statesman. they felt " hot and cold. Louis Botha. average.

officer had a is afraid confidential talk a day or two before a battle that was imminent with a subaltern that had just come out. and then took him by the hand and walked with him where the firing was This reassured him. never saw him again . when is first interviewing an nin.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 118 who. just as the most eloquent orators are when they begin to speak. The bravest soldiers are often the most nervous when they first face an enemy. delicate looking and nervous. After the first ten. in his first battle almost unable to stand up from company fear. but I heard that he had . they are terrible When Lord he felt Clive was an " ! ensign. not pink with funk. and I " I saw him just before the next looking pitifully white and haggard. but no one so much as him- self. but really. used to say that no man ever performed a better this the captain of his told service for another than this captain did for him. Seeing him that he used to be that way himself. and the great general heaviest. and then he astonishes the world. He He was said that he was a born coward and that he would disgrace himself in his first battle. fight began. Each must warm to the work before he gets his nerves under control. There is no man so brave as the man who An of being afraid. This is because men fight and are eloquent by means of nerve power. one gets quite used to them. howitzer shell.

and this is what he did.FROM FEAR TO HEROISM fought like a hero. " one would say you were afraid." one did not know you." Shakespeare represents a hero thus speaking to body before a battle begins his " : Thou tremblest. the terrible ordeal for a week. was fatally hit." This was related by a sergeant of the York and " Every soldier knows that the Lancaster Regiment first : experience of being under fire is terribly un- and the best of men will admit that at times they are tempted to run away. my poor body. He made nerving. a bit every day. and that he had lost his effort to " If I life in an save one of his men. Colonel. but if thou didst know Where I will bring you before the day is over Thou wouldst tremble much more." afraid as away. " was 119 if am you would run you were half as much "Boy. can they me ? ' were. There was a young lad of the Worcestershire Regiment who had this feeling very badly. can't say I On so His The poor but his soul was bigger than last and he went through On the eighth day he words to was a coward. it a practice to go out of the trench and expose himto self German boy trembled the weak fire for like little a leaf." said a sub- altern. but he made up his mind that he would conquer it. ' They " one occasion a subaltern of the Munsters was little afraid of a fight with the Germans that his . body holding it." the answer.

Young soldiers somewhen the order to charge or to face a bayonet charge. still who had been walking last the subaltern. men who have done or they will do it us no to us. and It is it horrid putting a bayonet into a sometimes " It was his him. but cried for a sudden courage loomed up in me.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 120 only fear was that they would not come on. fine harm difficult to get it is I ran the bayonet only for the merciful." said a soldier des- battle. wrote " Once I had my bayonet in a : German's shoulder. man. cribing his first through him. awful killing big. times get a sinking sensation is given. trenches Hour after hour passed. could not have enough nerve to stick a I all of thought man I with a bayonet. " and In war mercy but we do it out of or mine. but during a charge one goes mad. The regiment was waiting for a night attack. It is is life . up and down behind the trenches could stand it no He longer. The men in the who had been warm with excitement began Yet to feel cold again. no Germans came. of the Coldstream Guards. glanced anxiously for the twenty-fifth time at his wrist watch and mut- "I do hope tered." Much courage is needed to charge with a bayonet." Private G. nothing happened has to " them ! A young went silly wrote soldier and "In : the first action I mother ten times. Glew. and waited in vain. like At incessantly a caged lion. .

your chums you see knocked down.FROM FEAR TO HEROISM and could not get on the German it 121 out sharp enough to keep an eye that was behind me with his bayonet ready for me. saving Soldiers do not my life. however. nor shall : prayers the night before a battle was expected. the madder you seem to feeling fight. in the artillery wrote in a letter home A driver M We have got some brave men in the British Army. to scorn danger from of all when much The highest motive the " gallant private " professional gets a kind of bloodthirsty who cannot hope advancement practises his obscure " simply from a sense of duty. and you seem to see all red. which Soldiers it is One impossible to quell." nerved are different motives. when the captain drew his revolver and shot him. but I saw more than one kneel down and say his ambition urges him on. but one u interviewer that about what they did tell feel a newspaper man the sensation of killing a is not nice. known of in other moments The more possesses you. is for " heroism Sometimes we blame him. after . In several letters men of a wrote. Once done." strange that this is ! should think that there Surely the best to realise How is any between praying and being coura- inconsistency geous man way of getting rid of fear by prayer the presence with us Higher Power." like to talk man during a battle. your blood grows A passion unhot.

Shadow. darkness and doubt vanish.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 122 describing some danger that they had prayed then as A young I never did before in officer service like the once told me Holy Communion to face death. Religion under fire is not apologetic . and a sincere call . He my to face. it is quietly dominant." that there was no for men who had said he felt " square " after- wards. " My God " is the call of the heart. " I life.

Bateman. when I whipped this out (producing a formidable related jack-knife) and. and was spotted by a German soldier. it into his throat.CHAPTER XV Uncommon Combats The following curious bit of war-to-the-knife was by a sergeant to a newspaper correspondent " I and four other wounded men got together and hid under some wheat sheaves." knock-out blow was thus described by a young 123 . was about to batter out my mate's brains. Presently one man put out his head to see if the coast was clear. M. The fellow came towards us. grasping his rifle by the barrel. jabbed See. I kept at his windpipe so as not to give him a chance to bawl for assistance. We managed to crawl or limp for some distance in the wake of the army until we came upon Lieutenant B. A He helped us to safety. B. of the Royal and I with him. springing up. the blood stains are still there. He went down I had finished with weapon he was done for. and by the time this little Field Artillery. and.

me his story. and was disarmed. if I matched with my cousin Fred Welsh. side of their prisoner. ' Rather ! he was a boxer. off the bullets whistled past his ears. I asked him and he answered me. Soissons. composed of six Uhlans.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 124 Frenchman. attached to the Interpreters' Corps " Last week I took home I met him He my : parents had a pleasant surprise.' ' and The other Boche got up and went for him. his regiment in a told bayonet charge. and jumped on his horse. for a quarter of then suddenly gave the Boche an an hour. Landrecies. but luckily he escaped. and the Charleroi. down on After a the grass. who is now a world champion in the light weights ' " ! Corporal Isherwood. his one went for an interpreter. but kept Three of the six went to get some tea. short time one of the two lay while the other stood Tommy was still by the horse. battles of October 15th he was captured by a German patrol. The other Boches had heard the struggle. how " a boy led On October . but the English Tommy knocked him out with the first blow. 2nd Manchester Regiment. and as he fell he rode exhausted. and he upper cut. and two watched Tommy. of the war. as interpreter. to supper one of your brave Tommies. when he came home wounded. On the Marne and Aisne. and he told fought the Boches (nickname for the Germans) from the beginning and was at Mons.

around us. threw up and with a ringing cheer yelled We did. and he dropped.' returned the youngster.UNCOMMON COMBATS 20th the Germans were all enfiladed our trenches. bayonet from the his fifth German to go down. this story " At : our attention was attracted by Soissons He was He a young lad of the Connaught Rangers. and they were such big We told him if any man said or hinted he hadn't done his best. and we were out a single command officer to their fire our lieutenant was First left with- the platoon.' ' : his Fix bayonets. there wasn't one of . For God's sake. of the Coldstream Guards. managed and just last breath went. and more. We were wondering what to do when a drummer-boy. don't ' stick me. then the sergeant. fighting single-handed against seven was doing but just as he was withdrawing nicely. was too many I'm only a boy. the cap.' " Corporal Gleeson. said we won't for me chaps.' 1 it is ' It is too late. fought our way over. and charged the advancing Germans. to catch the poor lad before his ' You saw You think I me because ' it. one of them caught him. of the company. through you. baby of eighteen. Germans. best. The boy was in the act of bayoneting a German when the latter shouted. blame ? tells and We finished the other two.' had. 125 and wounded. lads.' did he my seven and we and they said.

" and it The Bavarians by the London was once too often for them." The London Regiment gave a good Scottish account of themselves in their first fight. " just once. give them the bayonet ! " the London Scottish rushed into the village they had to take. drew our coat sleeves across our eyes to stop or hide the blinding tears that came in spite of us. and that men in kilts instead of trousers could not fight. when addressing a Bavarian corps. On one occasion the Kaiser.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 126 He him. said. us wouldn't kill and then he died. meet the British have met the " —just I want the Bavarians to once ! " British. We smiled ever so sweetly. and in a way that Sir John French highly of the they did it praised. represented Scottish. and the London Scottish greatly helped to enlighten them Shouting " Remember you're Scottish. and showed that for pluck and dash this " crack " regiment of Territorials —the first Territorial corps to take their place in the firing line —has nothing to learn from They were ordered even the pick of the Regulars. The defenders resisted . to dislodge from an important body position a large much vaunted Bavarian troops. They know better now. Before the war the Germans used to say that God had given British soldiers long legs to run away with.

to hold a position in face not only of infantry. but were seized with panic and fled. Then the and made up or rather squeal up. R.. it was. Scots yelled. The Germans were not soothed by the charms of this the bagpipes speak music. Geary. Private S. Several times they got right the trenches but were hurled back One young men officer did a magnificent bit of work. let off rifles.C.A. but at last 127 they broke and fled. On next the day the regiment had. At the end of the was necessary to retire through a storm of and they marched back as steadily as on parade. stalking their prey as silently as cats. A. wrote the following : "I was near the trenches against which the Kaiser sent his crack Guard Corps. " A perfect hell.M. rattled tins." The those noise of bag-pipes who hear it must be very for the first time. . making a detour Scotch of another On a dark. day but of artillery fire.UNCOMMON COMBATS with great obstinacy. witness. got up to a position from which the enemy had to be ejected. " and the wonder is that any of them got back. the picked of his army. terrifying to and it seems on one occasion to have been instrumental in winning some for men bloodless battle. without adequate cover. up to by the bayonet." said an eyeit lead. rainy night the regiment a men of a field of roots and.

spellbound. we grabbed hold it when invalided home. Germans were rushing on four big The to one. and our boys returned to their trenches cheering and shouting. Old England for ever ! of his Follow company he dashed forward and he and his men simply As I watched them I was half a yards. and as was supper-time there were plenty articles A worth. lads. but not a single man got within 10 yards of the trenches. but of the first things proved dozen or dark and received handy." One told so of of the Scots Greys. not killed or wounded got away to shelter. for quite 50 he jumped out . but they Those who were could not beat our fellows back. came were handy. containing our supper. strength. me. " lost their after which No guns their way. They seemed superhuman to possess Caked from head to foot mud in they presented the most fearful picture that could be imagined as they attacked like wild beasts. of domestic Dixey-tins and frying-pans. were banged on their heads until they had had enough and gave themselves up to our tender care.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 128 Nothing could stop him trench and yelled." A detachment of British'cavalry. fighting with Germans who must have stumbling into our quite a warm camp welcome. frying-pans. and Five minutes later the Germans came again again.' With * performed miracles. while playing .

suddenly spotted a patrol of German Uhlans. out of the dark- German appeared ness." would seem from the following that a combat me. and thrust his bayonet my face. would have gone to the back settled with their it fists. His rifle went off as he fell down on top it of my left hand. and that day they went into action with more than usual eagerness. the Connaught Rangers who had a row Under ordinary circumstances they of the trenches and girl. a me : with a fixed bayonet. A private of the East Surrey Regiment recorded grim experience this as " Suddenly. and man of the let the girl it out of the decide which was the better two when the facts were put before her by a comrade. and the bullet went into It caused by love men of about a is " There were two very severe. I near. I my left hand towards just managed me down to catch hold of with pushing it from me. The British. When fought it came to close quarters each of these chaps he knew against as many Germans as he all I . but the regimental peace- maker intervened with a suggestion that struck both as being reasonable. naked as they were. jumped on their horses and charged the enemy.UNCOMMON COMBATS 129 water polo in the Oise. and at the same time I thrust my own bayonet up into the German. It was that instead of spoiling each other's beauty they should take Germans. making He came straight for right above stood in the trench. They agreed.

who has returned a chivalrous duel that took tells of place between himself and one of the enemy. . " there was nothing for it but to shake hands and walk away from each offered to give other. On one occasion the corporal had got close to a German. German. showing a party of Germans You never saw men more at the same game astonished in your life. lowered The his him another chance. against him." A the Royal Engineer told mole-like trenches : " manner We spent towards the German this story in reference to attacking of the enemy's two days on a long mine out and lines. and they hadn't quite as fast and hard as you ! like. " Of rifle and course. R. Smith. and both levelled their the trigger first. all knew their assist- when the day was over everybody agreed that the one who had downed eight Germans without getting a scratch was the better man of the two.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 130 We could find to stand up what was behind and so did not go to it. but the sixth German." says the corporal. seeing what had happened. for she decided in favour of the chap who got badly wounded in his fight with ance. The corporal pulled but the weapon jammed. getting to the close of our job just when we were we heard pickaxes going and then the wall of clay before us gave way. rifles. A corporal. The girl thought otherwise. named W. from the war.

We had a we got the laid out. though we had four of our chaps One German devil was just caught in pretty sharp scrap time with a fuse which he was going to apply with mad idea of blowing us all up " the ! .UNCOMMON COMBATS 131 recovered from their shock when we pounced on them. but best of it. down there indeed.

but as happy as sand- When boys. " " I'm on it Sounds seem to have Durham in the " your An lie old down all day and life ! " The like a bit of all right ! This was a joke. night I was hit we were an interview with some The just leaving the trenches for Germans who were trying 132 . " hand in the trenches answers. it felt. under fire I after eight I read in books of the coolness of thought somebody was weeks of it I men blathering. for instance. but can say that no book has ever done justice to the coolness of British soldiers under conditions that would try anybody. wrote and enjoying it. Light Infantry.CHAPTER XVI In the Trenches '* Punch " represents a soldier newly arrived at the front asking. and managed to drive back the enemy. We are still at it. " Well. was very like what our One of them. : " We had We are in an engage- ment on Sunday. new What's the programme the thick of it. but soldiers of ? you and you get peppered and you have the time night. arrival remarks. in this water.

he said was. cricketer in his day. it as we dashed into The Germans must have thought us a mad crew. stood up there was a ghastly shower of bullets and Into shells bursting all round. of our chaps said.IK some THE TRENCHES 133 about our of their fancy tricks As we left.' Men if we had it of taken up all it comes on I and think it's . wet to the skin C company ' started Put up your The song was wet. up with that officers were no that they have to put war time. umbrella when to go. into the thick of it. Out. as Better luck next innings. Another day there was an officer of the Cheshire Regiment who was a bit of a and some the of us German trenches. and as he fell back all leg-before-t he-wicket. a grouse. He got uncomfortable after lying in the trenches for so long. as we looked ahead one we'll have to get our great raining bullets to-night. and then they took to singing.' we went were humming along as ' boys coats. by George umpire would say t : " of the nights spent in the trenches in will bare thought of me. He was leg in shifting his position. we'll get laughing. We never leave it me while Soldiers The horror our soaking life lasts. and we're not careful. sends rheumatic pains all know isn't fire. and our The through minded that more than the German but you must understand that this sort of thing in ! " A trooper of the 15th Hussars wrote wet clothes his .' and he raised the ' hit in the thigh.

and was an The burstIt was continuous." "If all goes well we are going to have a football match to-morrow. " : of the We surroundings. and some of us had got better off." who are always swank- . we burrowed ourselves in trenches at we remained for over fifty hours. when it was at the base hospital.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 134 Some them were worse. and night. we fought got the we were paraded and not unpleasant experience. The officer caught pneumonia and died a week later One night. Talk about We had all West Kent Regiment wrote to his get at 'em A private brother ' like demons. making such remarks ing of shells overhead monotonous. as I have selected a team from our lot to play the Borderers.' Another when " I can't play hit in the " knee calmly remarked. now on Christmas Day for Maidstone United. unusually wet and miserable. fever/' have been living the life of rabbits. as • There's another rocket. ing what they can do. for here exciting at mid- glad to have something to take us away from our miserable fight ? Why. . and it became One chap used to raise a cheer each time shrapnel and shell spoke. the assembly sounded. There was an who gave up his blanket to a poor devil who had the shivers something awful. John. the all of the artillery officer of humps that were ever seen on a camel's back. We fell in.

instead of the usual please ' ! at. for will when everything everybody sang out. like ." officer wrote football match. for else ceases to ' in the trenches ' ! to set in fits. that was a ticket collector on when he was railway before the war. : " We did seventy-eight hours on This morning we had a Football is takes the stiffness out of the the trenches. and we at night crowed over it just like One's joys are of the primitive type (it A was not we turn to live in the fields padre turned up yesterday. and I the back called to the colours he wasn't able to forget his old trade. One of our mess had a small tin of biscuits sent through the post yesterday youngsters. they surrendered at once. please end in the trenches last spell.THE TRENCHES IN " There's a corporal a of 185 regiment. One day he was in charge of a patrol that surprised a party of Germans in a wood. but you have only to shout out An ' never hear the end of the story. kill We become rather like schoolboys over food. and. to call life from a we played banker with in the trenches letter : "To cigarette cards. and woods again." Scottish Borderer described in the following extract time amuse Tickets. all our ancestors. when. safe to begin earlier) we held . that won't name. the only thing that men after being long in They are such sportsmen. The Germans seemed to understand what he was driving that chap he surrender. A Tickets.

making any moves that deeper into the earth. up the turf. burying him and two others. One fellow decorated with a few cigarette cards it and some pictures he had cut out of a French paper. but we got them out safe and sound. and we have to wait till the Germans knock them down for us. when things are quiet. A jollier and kinder lot of officers you would not meet in a day's march. One officer who them was well stocked among men. You ought to see us scramble down our holes when we hear a shell coming." The experience thus described : of ten " We days in the trenches was dig ourselves deeper and we are completely sheltered from above. and drinking water are brought in by night . There are apple trees over our trench. ranean mess-room where they took their meals. the wounded are sent away to the hospital. food. . coming out now and then. may till be necessary under cover of darkness. Am- munition. to cook and eat. officers. and the roof and of shells tore sides collapsed like a castle built of cards.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 136 men a service at which a great number of our We are a light-hearted lot and so are our We dug out for them a kind of a subter- attended. and we were able to repay him for his his kindness A number with cigarettes divided by digging him out from his mess-room. They were in a nice pickle. Their grub was not exactly what they would get at the Cecil.

and firing at the flashes of their rifles. with straw and perhaps a sack or two for warmth. interpreter use of his said one. and those good ladies who have made us woollen caps and comforters have also. spade in hand. •' The Frenchman and both left isn't comfortable. ." regiment was in trenches under fire and re- Two privates noticed that the French was placed at a spot where the trench was not wide enough to enable him to make proper turning it. we are getting used to it. The cold is intense at night. earned our thanks The coldest moments are those when there is an alarm of a night attack. knowing well that they were serving the enemy as targets. we do not change our clothes we sleep at odd intervals whenever we can get the chance. Little holes dug beneath the parapet just big enough to sit in are our homes. It is rather an odd existence. There was a humorous attempt to be homelike. It is exciting.IN THE TRENCHES 137 We do not wash.'' the trench. sleep to stand shivering behind the parapet peering over the wall to see our enemies. dug out the trench in front of their French comrade. and we spring from our . rifle. and daily we get more accustomed to our lot. you put as much as your there A is little Every time finger over a trench a hail of bullets. A sergeant-major by the name of Kenil worth put . and returned with unbroken calm to their own places and their rifles.

Soldiers called ordinary trenches. firing a 901b.M. and * . Beware The dog was picked up at Rouen. I don't believe precautions. shell very accurately. his experiences in the trenches in a letter to his father. " The Germans have a battery of four guns six miles off.' I make a point of entirely disregarding fire when it comes to the point of seeing to a wounded man.' * c ! Here comes Jane respective holes. deep and 20ft. " Little wet homes in a sewer. With a cry for It and leaves a of occasions.C. R.A. Two medical officers have been killed up here. about 40 within 100 yards nearest about five yards christened You can ' their of eighty We had us this afternoon.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 138 outside his bivouac " Kenil worth Lodge. do any good. a miniature earthquake. men's entrance at the back. etc. and I am . in circumference. terrible bang. Shields. Weeping Willy ' and Calamity Jane. and two wounded one had his leg blown off by Jane. except killed and wounded about it is less dangerous than the it shrapnel. Ritz Hotel." Cecil. ' all dive into of fact. Villa De Dug Out. Other shelters were named Hotel Trades- of the dog. men when altogether. As a matter two makes a hear the shell screaming towards you. beyond the ordinary one of not exposing yourself more than can be helped. hole 4ft. described J. pay no attention to it. the Two of them have been off. Doux. S." the Billet H. Lieut. which hails once or twice an hour.

Battalion King's Liverpool Regiment. wide. ist "Of : at short notice. smuggling in your food and ammunition under cover of darkness. with such cover as one can branches and a day in day deep by out. has never been Yet. not daring to leave little it except for counter-attack. me killed. W. Can you imagine one for three or four weeks living. make with a few straw. Quartermaster-Sergeant A. in a trench 6ft. 3ft. means to get though I don't feel that God before I came out I had a conviction I should not come back alive. the Liverpools' line has never been Compliments from our General have been showered on us. killed best THE TRENCHES After all. thank broken. one if it is is the mentally repeat that Somehow. months have played description of mine could give you even a faint impression of the present war.IN rather a fatalist. I always think doing one's duty one can't help way of coming to an am end." to myself when I getting plugged at. Harrison. 189 I and it. ! but I have seen very little mention . and perhaps being shelled hours at a time without seeing a single Fancy not shaving nor even washing for this If you can imagine all that you will have just an inkling of what not only the private but foe ? length of time ! the officer as well has to undergo. God less Certainly there than three to one against us. wrote course but I we am are ready to move forward afraid the first three No havoc with one's nerves.

There were strains like hymns. They refer to What Do you want jam on it ? the way some of the favourite battalions have been of us in the British Press. blown to atoms. and then body of we fell listened. several hundred We voices evidently taking part. One section of them was the other was singing hymns and we firing shells . At the the trenches a that time there was a heavy artillery fusilade from the .THE BRITISH SOLDIER 140 Our men laugh and say." A British soldier described in a letter a curious " While the shells Sunday morning occurrence : were flying we heard the most impressive music." A private of the Royal Scots wrote to his wife We were thirteen days in the trenches at one place. not a bar except when a shell a moment. . hardly two hundred yards away. were playing nap Sergeant " ! Harlow. 1 ' ! lauded for events which have been almost everyday occurrences with us. Johnnie Salmon. said we would be the better of a cup of tea. the sun on the top or be of us. of wrote the following in a the letter Connaught Rangers. : w where we only had to stand up a minute to bring a battery of German artillery and for hours we had to lie still But never mind. missing and deafened us discovered that Germans holding some sort it of for was a big Sabbath festival at the other side of the little village. : " When we were in chum of mine. will shine again.

It was heeling one boot a I had to run for it. water in the kettle had reached boiling point. of my chums was exciting work. but he wouldn't be pacified. when crash came a Jack Johnson and whipped the roof from the house. As you may imagine. and you can bet the chap belonged to was very cross over him a new : apprenticeship as a bootmaker it. and walking over to me he nonchalantly remarked. there is great difficulty in work of this kind. and my I don't think I've experience last week.' lost the tea ' it your- apparently more annoyed at having than startled at his narrow escape. shell When I in the Just dropped near came back the boot had disappeared. but we solve it by collecting the boots from the dead and cutting them up for making necessary repairs.IN enemy's THE TRENCHES To make lines." Rifleman Edward Strong wrote to his mother " Since I I my served have had many strange jobs. The next time Harlow. I offered pair of boots from one of the it to get Germans lying dead over the way. you want tea. and he was about to make the tea." getting leather for . 141 the tea Salmon had to The enter a deserted house close to the trenches. you can go and make He was self. but ever had anything to equal when I when I by. had to mend the boots trenches under fire. ' ' Fortunately Salmon when he extricated himself from the debris found he was uninjured.

Early doors ninepence. Cer- was not downhearted who pasted and stuck " Business as Usual " on a biscuit tin. " Are we down" and this would be loudly answered in Frequently some in the midst of a British joker hearted ? the negative by all tainly that soldier British soldiers near him. Another regiment went " Early doors this way. sang " Pop goes the Weasel " as each shell burst.CHAPTER XVII Not Downhearted heavy German fire would shout. They were all as cheerful as football match. Two soldiers in the trenches H2 shells . One into battle shouting. The Hampshire Regiment. when advancing against the Germans. it on top of his trench for the enlightenment of the enemy." if they were going to a soldier said that wound because he became when arguing about the he got his too excited to take cover relative qualities of two when were famous boxers.

" It's British soldier if his not that. but A Do about our hardships. not believe I haven't complaint of can't expect a six-course dinner on active service. A German aviator who observed this sent in a report that the British forces were thoroughly disorganised and running about their post in blind alarm. letter trying to worry us. though being bullets fired at by artillery. they were trim and smiling. and said that they looked as if they had arrived from a day's holiday on Hampstead Heath. for though dusty." Times correspondent told how he asked a wounded roadside who was sitting on the wound hurt him. On one occasion our men. " half the man who made seen or heard of a You anything. stories we get plenty to fight on. Parisians admired the way Mr. were kicking about a football. and seemed to be The excitable fit for anything. . but I'm blest if I haven't lost my pipe in that last charge." but added. Many men remarked casually in their letters that the letters were written with bullets and shrapnel One soldier told his mother that his was deferred " because the Germans were flying round.NOT DOWNHEARTED 143 bursting round them played marbles with from a shrapnel shell." The same correspondent saw a number of British come to Paris after a " terrible tussle " soldiers with the enemy. He replied.

just to oblige you. but some of have done splendid work. meals aren't The Englishmen swear most when the all they might be. " for work. A Bravo You ! hope that you sir ? Frenchman get used to it. " a private of the ? was asked now it's in a hospital in hard to unless you've been there. faith. so long as they have full stomachs and the Irish are devils won't . The English don't seem to mind that so much. try." " What Royal is it like at the front Irish Fusiliers England. from what it is in peace time. " I arrived. course and They shrieked with admiration when they saw two Highlanders with arms wounded dance a reel on a railway platform. except that instead of fighting among ourselves it's the Germans we fight. The day's made up of grousing and fighting. In another part of France a train soldiers them. said to soon get home.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 144 Thomas Atkins took everything a matter of as accommodated himself to circumstances. Maybe the grousing' s a bit different." will warmed up full of British It why " Home. but. too. It's very tell I'll you that make a good little different from what goes on at home. " replied a gunner. " Well. we're just getting took us a few weeks to now we love and are as it fit as fiddles. but the Scotch mostly angered because the German come out and fight so's we can give them the cold iron.

but as . that the harder men are. said admiringly. " No-o-oh " Well. where saw a brand new to the front. don't seem to realise we are at war. little travelling in a train. So Germans with the at the rifles. be when you get in those will trenches. wrote feeling awfully well. thought that inexperienced a soldier who was on the line well to give the He was warning. " Are we downhearted ? " A pause ensued. " You are a little lively lot his You of beggars. shouted " No ! It is " with a last breath and a curious fact in the fell Army the conditions the more cheerful the everything is all right there is back dead. then a bloody spectre raised himself from a trench.NOT DOWNHEARTED and can keep firing and the big guns away "lam : Engineers. " Are you dahn'earted Terriers." Graham Hodson. it ran parallel with the road he it Territorial battalion He a wounded At a point marching up stuck his bandaged head out of ? " The the door and yelled. enjoying myself no end. shouted. from the colonel to the smallest drummer. downhearted were a great it's and am " life ! men that an officer. after observing them." One man. Royal Corporal to his parents ^5 Oh. however." W hen they were T being heavily shelled a regiment shouted to their comrades in some distant trenches. When grumbling. you ! " soon The wounded man replied.

was I were fighting a football in match. and that soldier no doubt meant what he " You said believe can't the Germans. after describing the terrible marches our troops had to make in their strategic retirement long ordeal came to a sudden end. the General who led so well Paris.' Sir Douglas Haig. and instantly new life flowed into our It is amazing how speedily we forget our veins. long way to It's a wrong. 'It's a long. I when he wrote how happy as felt if I to his parents.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 146 soon as things are bad they get as all happy as sandboys.' or the new version. is full of excite- hardly think of your funeral. " wrong way to tickle Mary. the men stepped back to the Marne singing. 5th * . Tipperary." wrote. " Our For reasons we to the neighbourhood of Paris : could not understand the Germans were retreating on our left and forsaking the tempting On September bait of we got the order to advance. You ment." A wounded " You An made him wish everybody forget all fear. fatigue and the mental and physical horrors we had gone through. The " wild pulsation of strife " seems to be a n rapture " to some. officer was a soldier said that there tion in battle that fascina- to be in one again. Though their feet were sore and many of them bleeding.

had good reason for saying. but nothing has surpassed the by the troops." 147 " We in our history fine soldierly qualities displayed .NOT DOWNHEARTED in the retreat. have had hardish times.

was to go to the man hitting most Germans in fifty shots." Seven men able to do a of the Worcestershire little when they were They encountered business one day told they could go for a stroll. A corporal was sent up a tree to signal Half the company hits and misses as best he could. and the prize was won by a chap who had It The runner-up had twenty-two. nothing. last cigarette in done the company it. and as a sort of consolation prize he was allowed to sit near while the winner smoked the cigarette. entered.CHAPTER XVIII Play and Work So well did our soldiers keep they were always ready for a engaged in hard work and instance given little play even fighting. their spirits that Here by a Coldstream Guardsman were down to the to get up for a week. m Regiment were . : when is an " We a box that had There was a fight but the sergeant-major said we would have to shoot for it like the King's Prize at Bisley. He said being near the smoke was better than twenty-three hits.

wonderful trenches. still got little affair call a night our position along little village near our for a bit of a lark. It was so simple. It you had some leisure in where we used to go night. east of Soissons." A soldier invalided home told of this mixture of play with work. Here comes the gamekeeper.PLAY AND WORK 140 a party of Germans. and were peeped —there I never hear of was what you might the Aisne. of our own.' and darted into their holes. taking our turn in the trenches in shifts of four days and nights with two We made days' rest south of the river. my wound in a fight that because in official despatches. rabbit warren The men and themselves the most them the called and when the rabbits. coming back we were was a of revelry in. This is what an of us take our easy officer wrote : " For three weeks we remained near the Aisne. big guns gave ten seconds' warning they cried out. " We just covered firing them with our Few rifles and they surrendered. and there were about fifty We Germans . or of work with play." work in time of peace in the playful spirit which was shown by our soldiers in the trying experiences of the trenches. and there was a lines it will " empty farm- more surprised to find sounds coming out through the window. and captured them all without a shot. One were about ten of us surprised to find a light in an house. We attack.

THE BRITISH SOLDIER

150

drinking and eating and smoking, and generally
trying to look as

A

time.

we ought to
we were all
fierce

if

they were having a

jolly old

daredevil of an Irishman suggested that
give the
in

Germans a little surprise, and
Doing our best to look

with him.

and create the impression that we had at

least a brigade

behind

without any ceremony.
passage, where
their rifles,

most

we flung open the door
Our first rush was for the

us,

of the

Germans had stacked

and from there we were able to cover

the largest party in any one room.

They were

so

taken aback that they made very little resistance.
The only chap who showed any fight was a big
fellow, who had good reason to fear us, for he had
escaped the day before after being arrested as a
spy.
He whipped out a revolver, and some of his
chums drew swords, but we fired into them, and
they threw up their hands, after one had sent a
revolver

them up

bullet

through

my

arm.

securely, collected all the

We

fastened

smokes and grub

they had not touched, and marched them

off

to the

camp."

A

soldier

wrote

:

" One day last week

the move, and were about as

we were on
hungry as men could

when we came on a party of Uhlans just about
to sit down to a dinner, which had been prepared
for them at a big house.
They looked as if they
had had too much of a good time lately, and wanted
be,

PLAY AND WORK
thinning down, so

we took them

151

prisoners,

and

let

them watch us enjoying their dinner. They didn't
and one of them muttered something
about an English pig. The baby of the troop asked
like it at all,

but he wasn't

him outside

to settle

having

After the best dinner I've had in

it.

we went round

life

mandeered the

it

with the

fists,

to where the Uhlans

and

supplies,

offered to pay,

the people were so pleased that

we had

my

had combut

got the food

Germans that they wouldn't hear

instead of the

of

payment."

On

another occasion Uhlans were driven out of
" supper

their

room

"

by a small body

of

our

They left a finely-cooked repast of beefand fried potatoes all ready and done

cavalry.

steaks, onions

to a turn, with about fifty bottles of Pilsener lager

which was an acceptable

beer,
It

was

as good as a play

relish.

when some

of our soldiers

were looking at and wishing for walnuts, and a

German
for

shell

came and knocked them

off

the tree

them.

On

another occasion when a German shell had set

some wood on

fire

they cooked their food on the

opportune flame.

A

bombardier, R.F.A., wrote

to sleep for the pouring rain,
fire

and

Annie Laurie,' and

"

We

were unable

sat at a big

camp

The boys asked me

with hot tea and rum.

to sing

:

I

was never

in better

THE BRITISH SOLDIER

152

When

voice.

even the

I

staff officers,

in the rain to join in.

and
the

officers,

and

who had come

over the

field

They were nearly

Annie Laurie,' after

'

*

there were

finished

bullet

*

to a Scot

what

One fellow
Boiled Beef and Carrots,' when a

Marseillaise

was singing

is

all,

Scotch,

all

is

'

to a

came and knocked

Frenchman.
cap

his

An

off.

officer

nearly died of laughing."
" The labour that delights us physics pain," as
the corporal of the Garrison Artillery found, who
" There is something terribly
wrote of his work
:

and every day
some new excitement and experience. I feel

fascinating about this sort of thing,

brings

more the hardened old veteran each day, and don't
care a straw where they send us.

where we

much

are,

but

I

am proud to

sport as most of them.

I

may

say

We

not

we have

tell

you

seen as

are being looked

Our officers are all kindness and
consideration. The major is a typical warrior, and
a thorough sport (as you well know). We don't
care where he leads us, we are so fond of him."
When at one place the German searchlights were
after splendidly.

turned on the British lines and an artillery fusillade
began, a

man

of the Middlesex

M

his

comrade,

in

the limelight."

I say, Bill, it's just like

that

some

of

our

a play an' us

The enemy had not got

range accurately, and so
fire

Regiment shouted to

little

was the

men laughed

the

effect of the

loudly and held

PLAY AND WORK

153

up their caps on the end of their rifles to give the
German gunners " a bit of encouragement."
Rifleman Horace Copley,

Royal

mans have
think

is

u

King's

The Ger-

just fired over forty shells at

what they

wrote

:

Such a good joke
There

a line of trenches.

flashing in the sun,

Some

Battalion

ist

!

Rifles,

and they think

joker has fixed the tin,

is

a biscuit tin

it is

a heliograph.

and they

fired at it all

day yesterday, exploding thousands of pounds' worth
But the tin is still flashing. Ha,
of big shells.

ha!"
If

on

this occasion the failure of the

Germans

caused amusement, on another occasion the success
of our

"

The

war) did the same.
in charge," said a looker-on, " gave

gunners
officer

the order to

(so

fire

hideous

is

and no sooner was

to the gunners,

the order given than

was carried

it

out.

What

made me laugh was every now and then the officer
would say, There are some Germans over there,'
*

and the reply from the gunner was,
I'll

soon have them down,'

the gun, and had

Even out

of

;

them down

'

All right,

then he started
in

sir,

firing

a few seconds."

the fighting at Mons,

Bandsman

Wall, and others of the Connaught Rangers, got all
the fun of a fair. " We had nothing to do but

shoot the Germans as they
ing dolls

down

came

up, just like knock-

at the fair ground.

are beginning to fancy

Some

of our

men

themselves as marksmen.

THE BRITISH SOLDIER

154
If

they don't hit every time they think they ought

to see a doctor about it."

So playfully did our
a

man had

soldiers take their

work that

a football tied to him as he marched to

battle.

Another could not help writing almost
letter

home

for the
I

in football

European Cup

terms

:

"

The

all

great

his

match

being played out, and

is still

daresay there's a record gate, though you can't

see the spectators
rules of the
of all their

from the

field.

That's one of the

game when this match is on.
swank the Germans haven't

In spite
scored a

goal yet, and they're simply kicking at the ball any

way

in their blind rage at not being able to score.

Our team is about as fit as you could have them,
and they're all good men, though some of them are
amateurs and the Germans are all
pros.'
The
German forwards are a rotten pack. They have
no dash worth talking about, and they come up
'

the field as though they were going to the funeral
of

their

nearest

and

dearest.

charged they nearly always

fall

When
away on

they

are

to their

backs, and their goalkeeping's about the rottenest

thing you ever set eyes on.

I

wouldn't give a brass

farthing for their chances of lifting the Cup, and
if

you have any brass

Franco-British team,
that

we haven't time

to spare

who

you can put

it

on the

are scoring goals so fast

to stop

and count them.

The

and a French machine gun was brought into action. ? war. It finished the aeroplane and the game was continued. and French soldiers looked on. as one football devotee you can never count on getting your team together. During the game a German aeroplane came over and dropped a few bombs. asked the artilleryman as he glanced over the pages. " You English are very misunderstand- Fancy playing football are dropping from the skies The difficulty is. Ashton." Harold Ashton. showed to a Horse Artillery gunner a copy " Where's the sporting news ? " of that paper. The game was stopped and there was a rush for the rifles. Most him what they think of our side of him and team. able. The Frenchmen cheered and said. I was when bang came men Only the other day talking to four of our best .PLAY AND WORK 155 Kaiser makes a rotten captain for any team. The Daily News and of Leader. Mr. and it's little would his wonder they are like to tell losing. " Shot " away What ! Arsenal the the in " exclaimed Well. They fired. " not a line about I'm blowed ! This is a war " ! One day men of the Lincoln Regiment had a game of football. Mr. but did not succeed in winging the aeroplane. that " when German bombs !" however. but no one was injured." replied Tommy. explained.

relief out. too." said the gunner who related the adventure. and they try to put into crude verse and apply to a well-known air something that If has happened a private has lost the photograph of the left it girl he behind him. but think which enables the men to play of the spirit The heard way following Some it. " Their was great when one of the cavalry shouted Where the hell do you think you are going " " I do not approve of swear words. see. It made us know that we were with friends. at night amused those of our gunners wandered about to drop with fatigue.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 156 a big and when shell." Football is difficult in such circumstances. There are rhymesters. for the of on the previous day. and not infrequently rival jesters enter into competition. see a trace of them I picked myself up —blown to atoms I couldn't like that. They could not make out the colour of their uniform and feared that they were Germans. Then it at all in the trenches having until they who lost their were ready in the darkness they ran into a detachment of cavalry posted near a wood. whole company would hear . " but I was to ? more than glad to hear one then." " Yarns " to watch or There is like this are spun by those who have who have nothing to do but wait and always a funny man to raise a laugh. and sing about it. he cannot get consolation from his best friend.

PLAY AND WORK
Sometimes

their

work

157

led the troops to a little

bit of sport.
We billeted for two days at a place
two days' march from Belgium and had a pretty
good time bathing and what was most amusing
fishing in a small pond for tiddlers/
I and a chum
went to a woman at a house and, making her understand the best way we could, begged some cotton
and a couple of pins. We had a couple of hours
fishing and captured quite two dozen, although

"

'

before long lots of our chaps caught the complaint

and did the same as we
ment.

I

did, causing

suppose that French

much amuse-

woman had

to

buy

a new stock of cotton, but she was a good sort and

was as much amused as the

soldiers.*'

CHAPTER XIX
War

as a

It has been said that war

would not play

if

is

Game
a

game

their subjects

at

which kings

were wise, and the

German nation was certainly not wise when it
allowed its Emperor to make war against the world.
Germans, however, do not think of war as a game
at

all,

but as a most

serious,

even moral thing, and

they are indignant with our soldiers for applying to

grim experiences the

its

and
It

common

especially of football.
is

enables

sporting spirit

this

them

Commons

forgive

of its great

our soldiers that

said of the

House

of

" dull

it
was
with some great
The same may be said of war, and our
its dangers and dullness for the sake

that

moments."

of

to fight gamely and to die gamely.

Disraeli (Lord Beaconsfield)

men

terms of sport,

moments.

In one engagement the Royal Highlanders jumped
out of the trenches and charged
kicking

off in

a Cup-tie

final."
158

"as
They

if

they were

commenced

WAR
to shout, "

men

On

AS A

GAME

159

the ball, Highlanders

!

and " Mark

"

"

They continued yelling to one another
Who
until they had driven the Germans back.
"
"
did
not
have
a
men
your
Mark
that
can say
stimulating effect upon the Highlanders ?
your

!

!

"

Dodging

son, R.E., "

shells

far

is

and bullets," wrote Sapper Ander-

more exciting than dodging

foot-

ballers."

A

subaltern wrote

big picnic

We

;

:

" I adore war.

It is like a

have never been so well or so happy.

I

are enjoying all the benefits of a Continental

holiday.

It

has done

me

a world of good coming

out here."

A

private of the 3rd Worcester Regiment wrote

:

" In the trenches the British are excelling themselves as
killing

men

work

;

of

stamina,

for,

believe me,

Six

men and an

to go into hospital with frostbite, and

not got the circulation back yet.

is

Yet they

perfect murder, in fact.

hardly ever complain.

it

officer

my

feet

had

have

Never mind, we

must keep up our reputation as British soldiers, and
stick it.
The snow has gone again, and it is up to
your neck in

mud

in the trenches.

I

have had one

or two pack ponies to look after, but I have thrown
up the job, as it was too tame. I prefer being with
the company in the firing line, as I felt lost being

with the transport and no shells flying over

makes you long

for

it.

It

your chums after being with

THE BRITISH SOLDIER

160

them

all

We

the time.

helmets, which are

A

young

all

over the place."

who had been

officer

German

play football with

fighting ever since

the beginning of the war was ordered a month's
" I've got a month/'
leave for the sake of his health.

he said to a correspondent, " but
be back

shall

in a

—and—and—

week.

I

rather fancy I

It's fine to

be at home

But when you've once
been in the thick of the game it holds you like a
magnet. I'm only a few miles away from the hot
again

stuff

of

now, but

am

I

that magnet

going upstairs

all

that.

already beginning to feel the pull

I'm

off

to bed.

Funny

We've been diving

!

weeks and weeks

—rabbit

sensation

into

holes for cots

bed

for

and straw

you are lucky) for counterpanes, and the only
chambermaids we've had to knock us up in the
(if

morning have been the 12

Some

of

our

battle of Mons.

men were

Good-night

lb. shells.

defending a

cafe*

"
!

at the

In the cafe there was an automatic

saw the enemy coming one
" Put a penny in the slot,
soldier said to another
Jack, and give them some music to dance to." So

piano,

and when they

first
:

every time there was a German attack after that the
"

band " struck up.

declared, as though
of

game they had

it

They fought, eye-witnesses
was a new and delightful kind

discovered.

Lieutenant C. A. E. Chudleigh,

with the Indian Force, says in a

who

letter

:

"

is

serving

One usually

WAR

GAME

AS A

161

spends most of one's slack hours in

terrific efforts

and

to dig oneself out of several layers of grime,

cold water out of a ditch.
I

it

a job, too, with nothing but scrubbing soap and

is

expect, but

it isn't

one thing we are getting

bad as

No

to

and

it,

I really

!

if

becomes

spirit it really

rotting

For

sounds.

it

used

so

approached in the true holiday
quite a sort of picnic.

sounds awful to you

It

really as

have

we have
many jolly

thoroughly enjoyed the last few weeks since

been here.

I

good laughs

in

don't think

looking back,
search

in

and

people,

It is as

my

think

I

I

and now

I

Speaking

came

I

times,

life

scenes

shell (he

splendid

my
work

motor-

"I've never really lived

We

to the war.

have to rough
is

laughed

came down about
is

my

in profusion.

of dispatch-riding in the war, a

got through with

This

of

interesting

have found them

but the fun we have

Yesterday a
this)

and

good as a cinematograph."

cyclist said to a reporter,
till

a funny thing that, on

have spent most

I

excitements

of

have had so

It is

life.

fifty

it

at

simply gorgeous.

much when he

said

yards from me, but

I

dispatches without a scratch.
for

the nut

who wants an

outlet for his high spirits."

And

our Indian troops get equal enjoyment from

the game.

A

dusky warrior being asked how he

liked being in action replied,
beautiful, but this one

is

" Sahib,

all

wars are

heavenly."

L

games There were to be inter-trench and inter-army football A matches. when when wounds frost bites. do not realize what the infantry have to go through. At I shall ness of The it I shall of one of their of a letter. phonograph company sent songs. are. to say " People at home. and even the least. could be " turned on " to any trench at any time. but the horror and foolish- never get over. which. perhaps no . pack A of Hunt Club was formed. must echo the sentiment number who wrote at the end soldiers must admit that comes. with the aid of field telephones. when of war goes a long way. Such things as many nights out in the open. were arranged for leisure days and evenings. rain or no rain.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 162 At the beginning of winter at the front. long marches over roads which have almost become bogs. young who soldiers and think of war as a to be played out when winter days have to be passed in cold wet trenches. Many poor food and other supplies are delayed. We new suspect that chiefly it is arrivals at the front The game must seem game." following extract from a letter of a young officer to his parents suggests that the pleasures of war. are inflicted. other corps out here. fleeting. and a Battle foxhounds brought over from England. depending as they do on excitement. " I not be sorry when peace A little of the game first it is interesting.

We you are too exhausted to eat it. Corps don't all bring AS A you have a lot too much and when you haven't got anything up. and almost from head to foot. manage to keep our spirits up and are quite cheery to do. and . but we impossible to turn aside the wheels of fate. which isn't all day. . forget about them and cheer up. is it. . one feels feel it is very down when one loses a pal. They shell us nearly At present we are holding back thousands compared to our hundreds. . to-day in masses.WAR food GAME 163 day." am . They attacked yesterday and expecting the infernal things to burst on you. including hair." Another hell officer on earth this wrote " If there : must surely be the firing-line for four days three. not because the A. but were driven back. So we leave them to their behind rest us.S. . but because it to do to eat it. washed or had mud my boots off since I I haven't got here. and you have to creep into the farthest corner of the trench much better. such a thing as I have been in in the trenches for just behind in support to-day.

Not less of the courage that bears was shown by Corporal Lancaster. those men were who went through the days and 164 in nights of .CHAPTER XX The Courage that Bears The courage that bears and the courage that dares are really one At a and the same. a cry to escape him. certain period of the night ingly important that the it became exceed- enemy should have no indication of the position of a detachment of British had been moved up towards him. but was warned by his comrades that if he groaned he would disclose their position to the silence for six hours If patience is very brave Germans. where he held it in position until to crawl back through the it into his he was able lines. a form of courage. Unhappily a stray shot shattered an arm of one of infantry which our men. and then He endured died. In his agony the poor fellow allowed Next moment. of turf seizing a piece with his uninjured hand he thrust mouth. of the Coldstream Guards. He received an agonising wound.

boots. few had lain had been too A asked though for four days. ' Buck it they fire. A fine. our wounds are going on where they fell The We're ' on wet ground of artillery A man whose nose had been hit said that big. always chap who had been wounded twenty-five times.' who have wounds often speak mere scratches.' I reply. said to a was chum. could move. If indeed they groaned and whimpered they would be told by their comrades to " shut up " and " make less Soldiers got bad u row. was. at times." They are plucky of them as and do not want to annoy other people. the blood coming through the laceholes of my Even when they were marching men fell The Army Service Corps had. one carriage in " man how they were. My feet were bleeding. for starting. as away because could not be taken all right. " We were told if we fell out it was at our own risk as we would be captured by the advancing Germans. work twenty-two hours out to of twenty-four to get food up to the men. " chum when I'll meet you the train in Berlin Christmas dinner." asleep. Jack.THE COURAGE THAT BEARS 165 marching that had to be done during the retreat after the battle of Mons." A friend of the writer who is a Chaplain to . are up. A Royal Medical Corps hospital trains wrote terrible. not a : man who worked on Some the of wounds but the patients are very plucky.

He consoled himself with the elaborate tattoos on the other arm " But the loike of that butterfly I shall niver see agin.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 166 the Forces. into An for any Irishman a hospital a mere wreck." was his sad reflection. ." a soldier who had been shot in the foot remarked. the patient endurance of these it men. take chloroform. but deeply repined that it had taken off a tattooed butterfly.C. in a letter from the front referring to the British A wounded. " But. — " What gets over me. not only without complaint or murmuring.M. but with an unaffected gratefulness for not being worse." Give them a cigarette and let them grip the operating table." wrote Corporal Stewart. give consent to have their limbs amputated just as if M they were going to have their hair cut. " is how it ain't done " more damage to my boot ! And wounded attention that soldiers are is who was brought most grateful shown to them. They get their and wounds for having escaped at all. speaking of the wrote : wounded would not have conceived I after a battle. which had long been his pride and joy. and they will stick anything until they practically collapse. possible that they should have borne what they did bear so absolutely without complaint —nay. dressed.. oh.A. private of the Royal Munster Fusiliers did not mind a shrapnel wound in his left arm. R.

" Of a nurse in a French hospital." War is always not exciting. a British soldier wrote "If ever anyone : deserved a front seat in Heaven she did. " How what you have done can for ing for you. most of but frequently All this is taken " Sore feet are the great us being a bit lame. trouble. bless her ! She has the prayers and the remnants of Fourth the God the love all Division can give her. and we buried the book with that him. edition of He was Ruskin's ' it and I "He : of thought he was Wild immensely. tedious and painful. which was a church. and when he died he wanted it to be buried with him. 167 shaved and put between sheets told his nurse that he could not " sleep for comfort. for there is me I thank you enough for There's no use pray- ? a place in Heaven reserved for the likes of you. as in the day's work. with him for a few minutes he told book had been his companion a had two quietly reading a Crown seemed to be enjoying little whom of the Lancashire Fusiliers of sergeant of the 5th Lancers wrote all little Olive. monotonous.THE COURAGE THAT BEARS after being washed. booked through.' and As I me that this chatted through." How Ruskin would have appreciated the gratitude man of a ghastly wounds in his breast. We also ." and then asked. His end came next day.

' What gets at ' much you is use for their not being able to come to close quarters and fight man to man. we see very little of the enemy." of the 3rd Hussars wrote That's the One here is doesn't in the is It is all way the rations meant for bound to happen. For hours we stick on one spot. boys. and see nothing but smoke. But . even on Keep smiling. to win the game. Our grub department works through our well.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 168 and lying so much on get sore hips from sleeping the ground. As a fact. but blaze away at the given range and and only know by the trust to Providence. in a lifetime. lot collaring another. . . The funkers. but it sometimes happens that outlying companies. come anywhere near " : The work out the Shop Hours Act it. We go out early morning and about the following week we think of coming in for a sleep. as lines we have not moved very rapidly. caused by one manoeuvres. lose touch of their kitchens for a There has been some trouble day or even more. in fact. and something like a football crowd swaying half a mile off. and our officers hadn't Steady. You would be . but that very stiff. first imagine don't we were time there in action are most of us were a bit trembly. passing what regiments are near us. own ambulance men For that matter we see very little of our fellows. and even regiments. but soon the nerves got in hand.

said : "It is surprising to me anybody should ever complain of ordinary aches and pains when you see men here with legs and parts of their bodies plastered up in plaster of paris." . Percy Higgins. Writing from an ambulance. quietly reading and telling you they feel that grand." A soldier wrote to his wife gone through shall if I ever get : " After what I have home from the war never grumble at meals or care where I I sleep. of the Royal Medical Corps.THE COURAGE THAT BEARS surprised if you were to see how 169 cheerful all our troops are." Surely the thought of the hardships and wounds which our soldiers bore so bravely should cure our " nerves " and give us a little of their courage to bear.

" The self-forgetfulness of sublime. Dr. he could not speak. as the result of having had his left Of course. 14 Clearing : poor fellow whose tongue was actually on his neck. on it I gave him a sheet was that his captain 170 off. when. all was worthy Cross. at a sign of paper." jaw blown he wrote of the Victoria .M. " It's a treat.' when ' wounds their ask them twenty times and they will say ' being are No.A. Ludwig Tasker said through No. and from him. " to see the ' Tommies dressed. they are brought into hospital they have is of is it of battle and when found that also the courage that bears.' or ' if they Only a until at last they collapse.C.CHAPTER XXI In a Military Hospital When of there is war a military hospital but the heroism miseries. trifle. man. You may are feeling pain. Writing of some patients wounded is who had passed of the Hospital 5th Division. " We had one in France." wrote a R. the greatly mitigates soldiers show the courage that a microcosm our soldiers field dares. its On them.

C.' I — as he ' ? German and the buttock. the back. to Good-bye. did you try to stop three ? We in the head. and couldn't get out of the way. I said. hundred a or Last The good man medical mind don't one.M. ' Our night. and said. cigarette ? used to this. Funnell. and he I'm a in pit accidents. we ' I all ' got three over. they are six if else ? and he two or three on my but they don't matter. last coal-boxes give to the big Black Maria ' in What happened " : was one There fellow. with serving grand a is R. he said. died in a French Military Hospital. Your husband was apparently thinking about the battle a good deal. dressed him - Why him to you to ' said.' " To have been wounded in eleven places is the . man—brought and Derby Notts done. old Sussex. in a letter to a friend. lads. mostly nasty wounds. ' I Will you give gave him one. right me ' a I'm I've been twice but I'd sooner go through those than run up against another coal-box. I think there are leg. I said to and he said. S. and I said damned him. Then ' collier. a nurse wrote this to his wife " .IN A MILITARY HOSPITAL When 171 Private H. the last he called out for quite at boys." at the front. said Tommy on. A I ' : Come I'm fight. 1 —the name Shells.A. of the 2nd Sussex Regiment. the He was peppered lay on the table. the right shoulder Are you hit anywhere Well. at 'em again.

undergone to the end he chatted who had come to solace his last The dying man. told them he did not fancy living with his two legs off while all the other " boys " were out playing. Johnson. who in his time had with two visitors moments. but declared he would not have missed the excitement of the last battle for anything." A who had been maimed Highlander asked afterwards in Hospital for life was he regretted becoming if He replied. Duchess in the Westminster's Hospital at La Toquet." .THE BRITISH SOLDIER 172 remarkable record of Private E. was a professional footballer in the died in hospital. his wife in a letter that that nearly and thinking nearly breaks Violet he has pains make him mad my but never mind. another Christmas. because I've had a good home and a man with a good home should fight for it. of the now Yorkshire Light Infantry. " No. North previously Up of England. Refusing grapes and chocolate. amputation of He had both legs. who before the war a soldier. heart to think and Bessie and tells children he continues of his Lillie of He I "It : cannot send little something for Christmas us hope we shall live for . been a great centre forward. let in the head but forgetting himself ." An English artilleryman. he took a cigarette and said papers with you football ? news before : " Have you any news- should like to glance over the I I pass out.

and yet he bullet 173 the Fusilier at who is known as He has three bad as cheerful as a lion is comique. " the Joker of the Regiment. I wrote from Portsmouth Hospital have been home I have had a now one 4 inches below the knee. After telling his mother in a letter that he was " This : " in dock for repairs." Another Highlander. and keeps his fellows as cheerful as children at a circus. said : "I be will taxi doors in the Strand . " Since " a Royal Irish Rifleman was shot of leg : was very despondent about could he earn his living he broke out with a laugh. however." a soldier continued leaves me good-bye. ? his future." Rifleman P. first-rate for lucky it was opening my left . King." wounds. boot to clean So them it is as I shall only have one ! that the brave spirit of our soldiers enables A off hand of at the battle For some time after being admitted to hospital he How amputated tin of blacking to joke even at serious wounds. I'll get a job as a shorthand writer.IN A MILITARY HOSPITAL There an is Welsh irrepressible Stanley Hospital. 2nd Battalion King's Royal Rifles. Liverpool. with a smile on lest we my only face. One day. Mons. I'll say should never meet again. with arm terribly shattered by a shell. " If all else fails. so will last twice as long.

the danger of catching infectious diseases There is and the . It's loast.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 174 A soldier told a reporter this about a wounded When brought to hospital he began and those who had picked him up at great Highlander. He hae tee pay for anither oot an' A' 11 is. The in a foot was a great loss to by a shrapnel bullet he refused to go to hospital. " dour way. Maybe o' pocket. you have. him that this was a strange risk told to men who had most likely sort of gratitude saved his " life. onnything aboot that is what did ye dae me wee wi' life." At all hospital . Great courage men is shown by orderlies and ambulance connected with a military hospital. to swear. and chargers had been killed under shot dead. my A'm no me ain times a good soldier dislikes to go to but especially so on active service. mark for to wear a boot This and made him a led con- after two him he was himself sharpshooters." ance of Colonel Loring. it but what . which Wounded the Army. to go to hospital caused his death. and maybe you haven't saved he said in his dogged. wants to do all he can for his country and he dreads to be suspected of " skrimshanking. had his foot bound up in a puttee his men on spicuous when unable horseback." saying A want to hear cap. Battalion of the who commanded reluct- the second Royal Warwickshires.

no . excite- yet they . For ambulance men there is ment.IN A MILITARY HOSPITAL 175 danger of collecting the wounded during and after a battle. or the stimulus of " hitting back " often get hit themselves.

CHAPTER XXII
Ready to Return
the letter of an Army Service man
Evening
News. " There was a Guardsprinted in The
I

read

man

in

this

in hospital in

France with

me who had

eight

bullets in him, besides three ugly bayonet wounds.

He had
his

'

the constitution of a horse, and after he had

rattles/ as

he called the

bullets,

taken out he

swore that he would be back before Christmas to
square accounts with the Germans.

was

All he

wanted

to return to the fighting."
"

He

lies

upon

his

bed of pain.

Despite of nurses deft and kind

He

is unhappy
it is plain
That something weighs upon his mind.
Ask him his dearest wish to name,
And, smiling even on the rack,

He

;

tells,

How

without a trace of shame,

he

is

anxious to get back."

In a half humorous

wounds.

way

They knew from

our soldiers took their
experience,

as a dis-

tinguished officer once said to me, that a battle
176

READY TO RETURN
field is

177

a disagreeable place, but keen soldiers that

they were, they thought that there

was one thing

worse than a battle, and that was not to be in one.

Many
home

soldiers

were quite indignant at being sent

what they

for

" scratches that will

called

heal."

A

sergeant

was anxious to return

war

to the

because he thought that he ought not to have been

He was

sent

away from

why

for this trifling

it.

hit

by

five bullets,

but

matter should his colonel have

ordered him out of the firing line and into

ambulance
"

an

?

Men make light of wounds in arms, hands and feet.
They have just earned us a little rest. We shall

soon go back to the trenches again."

A correspondent thus wrote of a second Lieutenant
of the

me
'

Royal Scots

:

" Only this morning he drew

a picture of war and

upon the novice.

its effect

Imagine your chaps groaning

all

around you, your

best pal shot through the heart at your feet

the

shrapnel

down and stunned
shells

exploding

shrieking,

bodies of
I

and

above

screaming

all

I

;

imagine

knocked

was

four times in a few minutes

—imagine

men and

houses burning,

by

women

about the place the mangled

and blood, blood, blood.

horses,

suppose I'm chicken-hearted,

but

I

only

left

school last year.'

"

'

And your wound ?

'

'

Oh,

it's

not

much

M

;

THE BRITISH SOLDIER

178
still,

I'm going home

to see

any more

"Two

hours later I saw him leap into a train

labelled

Back

'

Never want

this afternoon.

war.'

'

.

Where

are

you

to

off

?

'

asked.

I

my

Can't bear the idea of

to the front.

regiment being there and

me

loafing about

some

health resort."'

A
this

private of the Royal Sussex Regiment wrote

from a hospital

painful,

but

it

France

in

:

"

My

soon get better,

will

I

hand

very

is

hope, as they

want us back in the firing line, and every man away
means fifty Germans kept alive and kicking."
Rifleman G. Harper wrote to his brother from a
"A bullet went through
hospital at Paignton
:

the

left side of

my

face, struck

my

teeth, turned

downwards, and just missed the main artery.
surgeon says I am one in a thousand to be
so

it is

better to be born lucky than rich.

think they will
if

I get

A

a chance

medical

let
I

me

am

go out there after

I

The
alive,

don't

but

this,

blood again.'
an interviewer, " I am

off after their

officer said to

glad to have been through the hottest part of the
battle of the Aisne,

and

at the hottest corner,

and

only hope to get back in time to see the aftermath.

The

attitude of the

those

who

wounded

those

wonderful, for

all

are not seriously hurt do nothing but

talk about getting well
1

is

Germans.'

"

and having another go

at

READY TO RETURN

179

After our King had visited in an hospital soldiers
sent back from the war the spirit of all the wounded
was voiced by a man who, describing his impression
of the King's visit, said, " He's real human, that's

what he is, and I, for one, shall be glad to go back
and fight for him again."
" So shall I," came in chorus from every bed in
the ward.

A

corporal of the Coldstream Guards wrote

:

"

If

you look over the official lists of casualties you will
see that I was killed in action,' so, strictly speaking,
'

I

ought not to

tell

you anything.

forward to getting back to the
the Germans will find

For bringing

me

fifty-nine

am

I

looking

and hope

firing line,

a lively corpse."

men

out of action

when

the officers and non-commissioned officers were

all

wounded, T. Burns,

or

killed

of

the

Middlesex

Regiment, was made a King's Corporal.

At the
him between his
eyes and he got a bullet through a thigh and one
through a wrist. Even this was not enough of it.

battle of

"

I

am

am

Mons a

bit of shell hit

going out again as soon as

I

am

well.

I

itching for sweet revenge, or another coconut

game

All

'

shie.

you knock down you have.'

What

a

"
!

The Morning Post correspondent wrote "

I

saw a

invalided

three

:

colonel

yesterday

times.

He had

who has been

seven bullet wounds, and had lost

THE BRITISH SOLDIER

180

two toes by a shell. The last time he was wounded,
though he lay exposed to a murderous fire, he
ordered

away

When

him.

all

rash attempts of his

his

last

men

to succour

wounds were healed in an
was so anxious

hospital in the South of France he

to return to duty at the front that the only leave

he asked for was twenty-four hours in Paris to
"

Not that the front
but because being away from it

his wife.

A

newspaper correspondent

saw a

train full of officers

and

is
is

visit

exactly pleasant,
just impossible."

lately

wrote that he

soldiers leaving

London
"funk

to go back after a few days' leave to their

holes " at the front.

"

They were," he

wrote, " as

cheerful as boys off to the seaside for a holiday."

Probably, however, some of our soldiers are not

now

as ready to return to the

war as they were when

less about it.
They have no
wade knee deep through blood."

they knew

desire again

to "

A

man who

returned lately to England said

found himself

do with a

me

in a

wounded
when he

comfortable hospital bed, "

rest here until they send for

me

I

could

to

make

Kaiser."

One

of

the Coldstream Guards,

who had been

invalided home, was asked if he was keen to return.
He replied, " No, I am not a liar or a lunatic, and

only a

liar

or a

madman would

anxious to return to

me

hell.

with a good heart."

say that he was

Still, I'll

go

if

they want

about Once bitten twice shy turn . retired from the It does them Army credit that desire to help their country. and my brother. Send out the rank and file. But for goodness' sake don't send me. It will be remembered that he gained the V. when he continued playing " The Cock o' the North " after being wounded. of these heroic volunteers is Piper Findlater. . They easily can run a mile. my sister. (I don't think !) Send out the boys' and the girls' brigade. is fair " Send out the Army and Navy. They will keep old England free Send out my mother. 1897. play. at Dargai in October. (Have a banana !) Send out the brave Territorials." : Many soldiers who had were ready to return to they should in this One way it.C.READY TO RETURN When is a man 181 has done his " bit " in the war he sometimes unselfish enough to wish to give some one else a chance.

CHAPTER XXIII Fashions at the Front Sleeping out clothes. tighter than his skin. An complained that the trousers he Irish soldier had got from a dead man were " I can them sit down in my skin." A trooper is like officer in the " knocked out is Army fit six of the blighters. and of a Glengarry cap of his own corps. wanted rough on to look particularly smart he When he wore a German cavalryman's cloak. His nether garments were so short that they made him " look blooming boy scout. new in the and our open in all weathers is had soldiers to treat themselves to whenever they could pick them up. but I can't sit down Another said that he bad been trousers." an extract from the Veterinary Corps 182 a reported to have said that he did not get a pair of Uhlans' boots to him until he had The following in : letter of an ." almost equally unfortunate. the khaki tunic of a Guardsman. suits Highlander was rigged out in the boots infantryman killed at the A of a Belgian Mons. the red trousers Frenchman.

remember. for instance. swansdown. writer of fect They is of the individual. no one having shaved for weeks. soldier as warning — then felt hat. woolly Balaclava caps. badges and of his 188 and by not washing or shaving for a week at a time makes himself look like a tramp or a gipsy. ist just all scarf. He all right. of " consists of a short greatcoat of goatskin.FASHIONS AT THE FRONT " The When most curious creature. and nice thick gloves and a Regiment said filled feet. something to gaze on and are not by any means what the a lady's novelette would describe as a per- dream. I got a complete change of tell new with We have you. Beards vary according to the age Mine. and sandbags straw for the legs and Rifleman Roberts wrote to his wife all — got nice fur coats and they are : Teddy Bears we ' ' can all right. and as unlike a with a chauffeur's cap or a it fighting The He can be." Leicestershire barber would do a roaring trade here. The Sergeant-major of in a letter : the "A " call I them have underclothing. —without proceeds to show that he man dress the slightest the finest is in the world." worn in the trenches makes us think The "Trench Kit Robinson Crusoe. with the hair outside. gives away most marks done British soldier has to the nearest is a he goes to war he all distinguishing and replaces loses his hat girl." .

It could see cooks with a pair It all.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 184 In a letter to his mother an haven't washed for six days at officer as all. A private of the 4th Middlesex Regiment found two German haversack. and an enormous comb with A German since I it is "I : we have fired the shot All was a hairdresser. T." it's and with one accord they stripped and jumped into the barrels This was told of " wee Private Infantry. and men were about stopped them. The luxury company of Berkshires at wine barrels nearly the thirsty officer of a full of bath was indulged one encampment. and suddenly found the attentions of the Germans were . took the cap of a soldier off his head and made a groove in his hair just like a barber's parting. who thought that the German London I have had a bath. McDougall. loose scissors. wrote one water-bottle each day for drink and don't know how To-day I long had my it. only and . Forty water were discovered. by a in to drink it when " Well. " not good enough to drink it'll do to wash their if in. the teeth split. Hecky went Hecky MacAlister of into a the Highland burn " by Light for a swim." all bullet once did a little hair-cutting. and pieces of scented soap in a got greatly chaffed for using scented soap on active service. hair cut you would faint if you was done by one of the battery of very blunt." said one.

" and so they just hailed bullets at him. I happened to pass him on the had been badly wounded. As it was It made a rare bit of fun. always carried a little to take occasional peeps at himself to see that right. His was a beauty. and bid yourself goodthen Advance The laugh went round look at yourself." and emerged from A his bath happy but breathless. now and even in war-time hand mirror about in order at Newcastle-upon-Tyne). his glass quiff A ' was It was too still had been curled I had to pass on we intended late. but the next journey him and ' to hospital." Times correspondent wrote : " Within sight of the spot where these words are being penned the chauffeur of the General Staff motor-car is completing . curling his moustache. is You know what 185 mark he a fine with his red head. Have a sergeant wrote : ' last my boy." says the writer to his corre- spondent. till it dead. all when he I suppose he was anxious that when death found him he should be a credit to a smart regiment." of the Life Guards was very particular about his appearance (says Trooper Walter Dale. There he field was with the lay.FASHIONS AT THE FRONT " directed to him. however. passed from comrade to comrade we said. glass in his hand. "I happened to find a bit of looking-glass. to take He was clutched in his hand. One man all at it again." Hecky. " dooked and dooked. ' ' bye. that time.' and we were " ! .

THE BRITISH SOLDIER 186 ] his morning and face After washing hands the open. " 'Shocking fingers/ the French nurse said. toilet in in a saucepan. but I it is a have by the . persisted in wearing a tie most a frightful ' ' This What tie is proceeded to adjust A just rifle fire. wound in his left thigh he told a friend that his finger nails had been manicured. minus the handle.' he replied." Another man had his toilet completed in a French any trouble to hospital without sent to England because of a After being himself. the shock and I am may kill glad to say me. for a young man to go about with. and complete change of underclothing glorious feeling. which is balanced on an empty petrol can. No. " the time. under heavy ' who is it. using the window of the car in which he has slept as a looking-glass.' so she brought a of soapy water and a box of tools and ' bowl manicured (that what she is called it) my finger nails. whereas all of us reduced our needs to the simplest possible. and it." motor-cycle despatch-rider wrote : "I have had a hot bath and shave.' he said." A corporal of the Coldstream Guards wrote " There was a chap of the Grenadier Guards : was always mighty and particular about his appearance. ' ? not straight. he was seen to be in hit then ' ? he was asked. he carefully brushes his hair with an old nailbrush. . Are you ' fluster. One day.

this lady's father lady. arrived at the house. cigars and cigarettes." Army writes Lance-Corporal Laird. or rather mansion. and had a regular brush-up. reply. in it." when an Army We stayed at " The inhabitants were four days. Royal Medical " At daylight I found that a piece of shell had taken the elbow of it. and were quite out of place. We shaved. cakes. busily examining his shirt. him had he caught many. as we thought. We It was a the perfect took a seat by a big round table. tea. had wine. ourselves up as best we could under the to tea. lady and me and my two mates an invitation They came down the lines to fetch us. which so many fellows suffer from " hung I my out here. washed. I put on a clean shirt." to a party. with our big heavy boots." shirt out all night to dry on a tree. Good job I wasn't Corps. tiles in . much safer. . To our sur- The was mayor of whose husband was with his regiment about prise." Some a man of the shirts wanted washing badly. slide. " I think there's a new draft shirt man went see us as they felt of what was sir.FASHIONS AT THE FRONT 187 use of iodoform kept free from vermin. We made circumstances. walking on polished passage. Fashion demanded a clean Service Corps an Seeing delighted to they dream Little did A later on. asked officer " Yes. in store for a gentleman gave them was the come in.

dream.188 THE BRITISH SOLDIER eleven miles away." ' legs Killarney. 1 The Holy City treat to ' and have one's cups and saucers. sang us two songs in English.' It was a perfect under a table to drink from Next day we thought it was a .

lot. don't they." Another soldier described French tobacco as . It's as bad as bein' a parlia- they seem glad to see us. what an American millionaires to wait on right.CHAPTER XXIV Graphic Descriptions Many things surprised our soldiers on coming to France. Well. An' the grub ! All French. an' cooked by a real French chef. Had 'ospital. As sir ? up they gather round and want hand. soldiers a sergeant remarked : They can march ? D'you know what they're get a halfpenny a day. where he spent four weeks wounded : " My word." This is what a soldier said of the American Ambu- when lance at Neuilly. and they're paid every five days in a crossed cheque. They're a decent Waited on us 'and an' foot. paid ? They much humour. though. us. them They did it millionaires. and they described them with Speaking of the French " Aren't their trousers baggy all the same. soon as ever to shake I pull my mentary candidate. too.

is fighting tea-party to sort of hiss. when partridge beginning at home. of death wrote " : We charged the a yell that would have put into the heart of the most and with our bayonets we dug them out of their trenches. and if you are near you probably lose your head and arms." After his with the Germans a soldier first fight who had been through the last Boer war." An Irish soldier Kaiser's crush with the fear stoical. thunder in if you South Africa was a it. The shells go by with a horrible and then burst with a roar that puts the shade. an' fight again. with maybe a crack on the 'ead once in a while. same as you'd dig bully beef out of a can.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 190 11 something you have to smoke all day to get a smoke. said " This like." An Irish soldier remarked to an interviewer when asked what the war was to talk about. like : It's fight. and various portions of your anatomy. ." Writing of a wound. sure enough among man ' was winged over. " when the shrapnel came a motor-'bus and to hit him said that seemed as big as all shooting was the turnips. an' " There ain't anything march." Another it I The were shells like small beer barrels in the air. a sporting soldier said " The next day.

of the 4th Royal Fusiliers " I have slept with strange company since I came out. Another remark was that he had slept so much in odd places that now he thought he could on a sleep clothes-line. another in a schoolroom. Another soldier who slept odd places was in Lance-Corporal Waller. in 4 inches of snow." odd pieces One of the Black Watch wrote a fiendish week of fighting around to force our way step by step. have sold I battery until : we don't think a gun on the we had for old iron after and the German gunners would be just of clothing and bits of accoutrement. fell in September was so heavy that it was in the trenches. once on top of a pigsty. in a feather bed. One night with sheep. : " A We have had . It was had like passing of our through . in several ditches. We Every inch we marched was coloured red with the blood men and the Germans. once in a manger." The he rain that said. position could finished.GRAPHIC DESCRIPTIONS It is the biggest rifle meeting saw— Bisley ever I 191 isn't in it. in a first-class drawing-room." " A gunner thus described the work of his We just rained shells on the Germans were deaf and choking. like as if the earth had been turned upside down and water had been poured in at the other side. behind the counter of a and cafe.

jaunty until they get a volley into them. ' . It was pitiful. and have looked We at are showing the Germans that there are a few goods marked Made in England. If the Germans had been worth their house-room they would have put an end to the whole of us at the battle of Mons. are done for. for and then they at the sky to see who's throwing things at That's the ones some way of them who are able to look up.' Our officers are the real goods. The ones who know what to expect come up very gingerly. stare up them. and we did enjoy it. The new hands come across in a fine. They came on It was like a swarm of bees. (' Where's ') . Sorry I We are going my gun ? What can't stop to write more. As we picked our way through the long lane of dead. we noticed among them now and then wounded men.m. that never seemed to have any turning. to business at 7 p.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 192 a graveyard where an earthquake had turned up all the corpses and left them lying above ground. who begged hard for water or some assistance in doing up their bandages. the very best." Another wrote soldier : " You can always tell Germans who have never been in action against us before. and we were so helpless. like men sneaking into the the vestry of a church to rob the collection boxes. like firing at a mountain you could not miss it. the sky for the last time.

but the enemy might have saved himself the trouble of dishing out those doses. as we thought towards the British but to our disgust found we were going right into the German We lines. so that the German was the German Head- this we can say we dined with generals that night." One men gave a dying German soldier's " When I was hit the British Army N of our opinion of : ." soldier said of a battle that it was " like a display of fireworks at the Crystal Palace with the wounded and dead left Last week out. We passed quite close to him. as they were absolutely ineffective. therefore. we got shrapnel for breakfast. and we had swedes etc." lost their regiments gave " When Germans this description of hiding from the : came we endeavoured to escape from our perilous position. We found quarters Staff. and tea. and just outside the door we found a German sentry. How we but we did it.' me of life tell.. dinner. and no A we were outside . to anchor there for the night and get away in the morning. etc. night but didn't stop to say did can't for the it I and then made lines. off ' Good-night. the only difference being that they were inside and they were having wines. decided.GRAPHIC DESCRIPTIONS would you out of the crown jewels in Berlin like That's where we are bound Some 193 soldiers who had ? for.

' was as cheery up. but we'll never forget or forgive. our Army. and got chummy who had got a nasty sabre with a German chap. and some day a new Germany The last will avenge ' us.' says I to Tommy . when rum to put there arose a frightful din for only some heat all round. though a team and the pickets were of mad bulls was chasing them through the meadows driven in as at home. cut in the head as well as a bayonet stab in the kidneys. were ' : Almost the words he said and you deserve to You'll win this time. talked about the fighting. not a chance of getting any more warmth than you can of soldiers : pared with lying in your get damp from a wax match. between which we were muttering prayers a spoonful of good brandy or into us. clothes in the We were lying in the trenches in the early morning. but he his as though he He were at a wedding instead of a funeral. and spoke highly of lot of He capacity. said it He thought its fighting was wonderful the way we faced odds and difficulties that would have beaten any other army. and British alike. maybe. and dealt out praise and blame to French. ' We're in for it.' following descriptions are from the letters " Fighting's kindergarten work comwashed out trenches night and day with. win your victory. with chattering teeth. a German. and number was was ' He knew booked through.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 194 I lay for hours on the ground.

I It our best time. but have not started eating frogs yet. well as brandy.GRAPHIC DESCRIPTIONS Gledhill. so the we could stand word was passed round that . I swear it was bullet-proof. rearguard it no all it was the grand time we had wouldn't have missed it for lashings was near to Cambrai when we had The Germans kept pressing our the time.' picking up French felt seems better all right. you tell of fighting since the 5th. left I We strong words. it went down with a little jam." The following is from a letter written by one of the Connaught Rangers and printed in The Evening News " Sure. entirely. and I never in less 5th Lancers found a house in "I am cooking pots. all the same. my chum. had a fine complete with all preparing the supper." of the had been Nothing " lid off will describe it accurately." One of the Somerset Light Infantry wrote " I made a pudding for the boys the other day. of and money. Anything's better than lying ' Anyhow. On —a proper Guy Fawkes' turnout. here/ said he. ' and 195 it'll it'll warm up just as Germans us help a few more to a place where they'll not be bothered with " We have had a lot Sunday we got than but please excuse time. it with the hell chills. and at last longer. and . am a hurry my I am I life. I can Three that men my smells all right. but. very hot indeed. which perfectly happy. as this the proper country for me.

The German officer day. babies.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 196 we were and on pressing on was until there like to * them to give be cut Rangers and hell murderous fire and we were With that up got the colonel.' says he. ' him ' to surrender Is it way Sure. at least five to one. off. and ' I the eyes of all know you never could disgrace the old country by letting Germans beat you while you have arms in your hands and hearts in your breasts. now. and at them. but next day more of rushed off to Tim Flanagan. then. fall in until they we should if charged through and through broke and ran in terror of the hounds. and managed to cut off half a company of our boys holding a post on our left. in spite of our you this day. and On. the biggest caution in the whole regiment. of Connaught.' went for them with just prayer to the Blessed Mother of our Lord to be merciful to the loved ones at them We the fight. honour's after talking to in that in that bold way of his. it's yourself . Ireland are on They kept all. you don't give them the soundest thrashing if me in And we what you would know of a they ever got in their lives you needn't look the face again in this world or the next. home like frightened hares They screamed just like After that taste of the fighting quality of the Rangers they never troubled us any more that them came up. ? ' me your says Tim. and called on the file of men under his orders.

dear. my my it for a couple of hours.' you're not you ill-mannered German omadbe after giving you as much cold this very minute. as cheery as a cricket just before. smashed it knocked off Then I " At 12. me it's of will do you between word you. all " Fellows : how's ta gettin' on ? ' but Bill. however. Our ranks were so thinned that by the time we got within charging . my money. and haun. of his that get off and the Kingdom was I men gave the officer and what happened to his men. steel as' 11 if 197 after that just then I got a bullet can tell you that neither surrendered. Here is what even a sensible English soldier wrote in reference to a battle .GRAPHIC DESCRIPTIONS that ought to be surrendering. for I can't tell to my ribs Tim nor any Germans it but . my head.30 a to matchwood." The Connaught Rangers." Here is a pen picture of part of a battle were being knocked out ' Bill. I up. and wounded were Frequently one would say to his crying for help. and my rifle and next got my cap shell hit I I went to pick got a bullet in the muscle of which put me down never mind. right arm. were not the only soldiers who revelled in a fray. nor did the position until pleased it the colonel to order the retirement. who had been round. between this Then the German Heaven. was found to be picked off. neighbour. had a good run for But.

We could see them hunting about for someone to pot at. looking the shells whistle. I was close to Colonel Knight when he was killed. An R. To see the blooming big lane of light working round and round.A. was like a we heard monstrous eye. Never mind me. He had not gone 10 yards when they shot him dead. man had his head blown off while putting wounded men into an ambulance. and ordered the un wounded man to run. Uncanny that was. and one who was not. crawled number of other wounded fellows.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 198 distance of the enemy's trenches men and left for I a charge. to a haystack. I thought my time had come. us up so that could see each other's faces. where there were a ' . His last words were. Lord. The latter was assisting the wounded.' The German shrapnel firing was absolutely deadly. happen next. And when weird light came round to us and we — just as I used to feel a nipper and woke up and saw a was a ghost. but the Germans made off.C. for its prey. men go on and capture the guns." the pale. I me. blood run cold it lit It Then light made my when I was it and thought and lay there wondering what would . Presently some Germans came up." The effect of searchlights is thus described: " In the dark the Germans turned on searchlights. thought I had A lost we had not sufficient shell burst close to both my legs.M.

CHAPTER XXV Unconscious Humorists It cannot be claimed. it." When our soldiers come home." Our soldiers began the campaign against Germany facetiously by printing in chalk on the troop trains at Boulogne " No-stop run to Berlin. you will hear some wonderful French. A man war correspondent to " I did into French. me soul the guarrd'll . or be 199 . As the British soldier is brave without knowing so is He he an unconscious humorist.' • me I from Limerick asked a translate it to the best of very solemnly did it an English sentence again. does not set — up to be that sad thing a " funny man. day and night. or ought to have. my then said ability. but as soldiers more humorous than are live. and their training has. they sharpen each other's wits. Whisht. ' : Do it and he stopped me. the effect of making them good observers. sorr. in a crowd. perhaps. hold yer jaw. for any one class of society that they are others. He looked at agin.

a private shouting : " You won't get to London again. Naturally they couldn't understand him." wiped out the German company with the bayonet. get some bread at a farm.' arrest ye for a made an' . The eggs came promptly. ' Waiter ! ' and up went five So at last I called heads at once. is home- A bombardier of the Royal Field Artillery wrote : " One of our fellows thought he would try for some eggs at a farmhouse. probably joking : " Our trenches and the enemy's were only a couple of hundred yards apart. of the Royal Fusiliers. but we could not get the beggars to give us a chance to pot them. M'sieur." Private Macnamara. rubbed his stomach. flapped doodle-doo chap arms and all sorts of and to understand queer signs the said. out. and ' picture. so he opened his mouth.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 200 German spy yer Frinch " brought up on th' bottle.' rushed back into the house and brought back a bundle hay There was a ! terrific of roar of laughter from the The non-plussed look on the woman's face fed up expression on the chap's made a troops. relates that during the fighting called out to a we catch you Fusiliers company on the Aisne a German of Fusiliers in our barber's : " Wait till The shop in London." Another soldier wrote." . ' Cock-a- ' cried. oui. ' ! tried to had made his Another After he woman seemed Oui.

" There was a good laugh. or want to know. a private of the ist Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry called out. about and for the time being. to amusement of his comrades. when the German ticularly shells 201 were par- numerous. shell. smoke cleared away the man was dis- covered to have escaped with very slight injuries to himself . " Fall in here for your A pay. It exploded. This is the only war we cruelly once in a while. two and one actually When the sat caused a good laugh.UNCONSCIOUS HUMORISTS At one time. there's mightily little that's civil " are behaving yourselves. ' ' know. When they knew they had been captured by an Irish regiment they wanted to know how it was we were not at home in the civil war that was going on. company.' whatever else we may have lost. You could not help laughing at some of the tales the German prisoners have about us.' way you about it or the . Another shell also rush to avoid it. the great but his trousers were torn to shreds. A private of the Royal Irish Regiment wrote this " There's plenty of hard fighting to his mother : coming our way these days. Says I to one of them that came off with that blarney in his queer English. and though we suffer we always give them something to let them know that we have not lost our fighting powers in Paddy's land. of our men upon the fell In the over each other.

thank the and this sermon was subject was one . wrote Sunday week about 6 p. and fell into the grounds of the hospital. of the Connaught Rangers." Private William Price.m. reply." was the and I surrounded them. Sorr. placed on it We This buried the is shell. of of the greatest. with a fence. to catch the two.A. midst of a bayonet charge an Irish in the by soldier caused laughter thim German tow. anyone.C. and came dusk with two big Germans back after How or where he got " Sure. ' had Miracles. for but. he of the trenches in the afternoon. Strange to relate. a shell (coal : " Last boxes we call them). smashed shell beams. where we were having a God. in them nobody knows. eight inches wide and four feet long. and he thought that he ought to do something to celebrate went out Without it.. the verse I should heavy have and enclosed it we made up and .M. hurling them just where been resting.' come a it little later there would have been several of us having food and rest in the The barn. passed through the roof and side wall of a barn in which the bearers sleep. R. didn't it the service little explode.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 202 It was the birthday of Pat Ryan. with their backs divils retratin' at facin' us. The company asked him how he managed captain of his Even telling "Look calling out.

even from her son. the danger is o'er au revoir. hardships they had to endure. ' An Irish soldier told his they had German shells mother for in a letter that breakfast —not egg She was not to believe. " Prussian cannon are requested to do the same. flew in all directions." .' Still if it goes off we'll say So now we'll conclude with love and affection. were about was necessary to hold them back long enough to enable the British troops to retire in good order. selected for this duty. Underneath a joker wrote. " I never believe anything I hear and only half of what I say. A handful of Scots were Sheltered in one of the first houses of the village. Sincerely trusting there'll be no resurrection. but had to endure themselves a perfect storm of bullets. September 27TH. however. a shell of German invention. to enter a town. they kept up a well-sustained fire on the enemy." The Germans. " Here lies 203 1914.m." was the notice." Outside a temporary post " We close office from noon to 2 p. To do us great harm was their intention And in striking a barn it caused great alarm.UNCONSCIOUS HUMORISTS Sunday. While the troops were singing the But don't be afraid. bullet holes. about the shells. Already The The shattered windows walls were riddled with several of our men had . th Psalm. in crushing It numbers. .

so raising himself with his unwounded arm he cried. Jock. if sergeant. An few packets of chocolate. lasted. The little only one stretcher available." and to the winning there were few prize winners who lived to taste their reward. he held up the packets. evidently shifting ground to a better his frail a shelf he found a idea occurred to him. saying : " Whoever bowls his man over gets a piece." The German fusilade began anew. The busy. The Scots. roaring with laughter at the sergeant's marksmanship prizes. enemy were position. fired back as coolly as at target practice. were both and there was one refused to entei it hit. you'll gaur remember when am a' wait any longer after that. ye'll A me gae ye something richt again. watched of chocolate Got him." British cavalry subaltern who was Jock didn't cut off from . Here is an instance of dour Scotch humour. M recorded each successful shot with marksman. and the big one got angry at the refusal. an if you're not slippy about it. men. " You go the noo. a Scottish sergeant noticed that our fortress was a On grocer's shop. Turning to the .THE BRITISH SOLDIER 204 Suddenly the German dropped. one bigger than the other. Two Highlanders. while keeping his the effect of the fire own rifle handed over a cake Alas ! He on the advancing enemy. ensued fire ceased and one of those silent —the worst moments of waiting While the pause of all to endure.

and Instead of showing fight the startled and pained German gave a ran for dear leaving the subaltern laughing too life. A on soldier told . A patrol of the Gloucestershire Regi- ment met two German soldiers looting an orchard.UNCONSCIOUS HUMORISTS his men hid in the edge of a wood by a 205 road. They did not like to shoot them with their backs turned. kill him felt that it in cold blood. call him. This sort of chivalry. It was not long before he saw an unsuspecting armed German soldier patrolling the road. riflemen by the enemy. Gunners dear old wager about the number the number of misses of their hits. One of the Germans turned about and sent a bullet crashing into the brain of the man who had been the first to suggest that they should be warned. yell and hard to shoot." as our Allies would gave him a ferocious kick. ran up behind the " boch. He could have shot the man without warning. however." Bets are common in the trenches. so they shouted to give them a chance of defending themselves. the spirit of combat into he crept out of cover. had for once to pay a penalty. but would be akin to murder to In order to the a instil little of affair. therefore. A Highlander writes home from the war to a friend that things are going so badly with " our chum Wilhelm " that " I've bet X a new hat that I'll be home by Christmas.

I think now we have put a spoke Kaiser's wheel for good. always a favourite. A beetroot field carved caricatures of the Kaiser on beetroot and inside put reports of the successes in East then adroitly hurled into Allies' The " busts " were the German trenches. —wait held I One day ! I get But I up a little There was ! not that enviable position three times. I am very fit and and trying to force British culture on the well. me me in the sweepstake. Germans." Here is an extract from a your request for knocked over. but our soldiers consider that as was near. tumble down with a bullet would have been worth It 15s. draw names and sweepstake. . and West. that I am have been a small splinter I It is in the proud to think in the spoke. or letter a German helmet : off "I received a head I had Will try to get you a German's ear some other portable article. my backers We'd altogether disappointed noticed that a fellow a few yards away kept on turning round to look at me. to him. He did it so often that at last I realised with a bit of a shock that he had drawn He was waiting to see through me." unlawful to trade with the enemy. and sometimes the so our men their trenches are near case. is it is legitimate to play practical Germans when jokes on the ours.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 206 a correspondent that they gambled in the trenches on the next man " to be killed.

while the British roared with laughter.UNCONSCIOUS HUMORISTS 207 This sort of pleasantry frequently led to furious abuse and the exchange of liberal bullets. and let the string run out as he crawled no less cautiously back again. Crawling very cautiously out in the dead of night. For nearly a week a battery ridge had been shelling the the Germans could not find of the R.F. on a enemy's position. they removed the guns to a fresh did. At one place the German trenches were advanced to within sixty yards of the British trenches. generally harmless. jam tins. but at last they and made it so hot for a time that the gunners had temporarily to leave their charges. one of our men fastened the end of a ball of string to the nearest point of the barbed wire. to which they attached here and there a number of empty jam way couples in such a tins. which startled the German duced a fusilade the clattering The next proand the Germans blazed away at . arranged in that on the slightest disturb- ance they were bound to jangle. but. and them . however. in order to mislead the enemy. first The tug at the string when he had regained the shelter of the British trench started a faint jangling. The Germans had fixed first line of up barbed wire entanglements. position on the left. they rigged up some ploughs and bundles of \ . sentries.A. When darkness fell.

In one trench. where a German sharpshooter regularly opened the day with a shot through a cer- by insuring being waked up for the fighting.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 208 straw to resemble guns. —every Tuesday." Here is a tale of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. The clang of bullet on metal woke them up an alarm clock " made in Germany. The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders found this out. and them left position. and brought back quite a lot of grub. They hung a strip of metal at the back of the loophole. and Saturday night. and regularly on these nights they did a bayonet attack. and meat Thursday. The men were laughing up their sleeve for the dummy ruse was in the old entirely successful. The Germans opposite them get their tain loophole. bread. the trench amused itself — rations —cognac. . Germans kept up an all incessant and our the next day. fire upon the guns.

" " Jimmy." " The Warbler." Some " Sighing Sarahs. or " Jack M Guns were christened " Black Peter." " Lightning." All shells are " Woolly Marias " are shells that burst in double puffs of white woolly smoke. of greasy black account of this they are irreverently dubbed " Coal-boxes." is " called " The CarThe Alarm Clock." Some are called " Will-o'-the-Wisps " and " Humming Birds." some " Porridge Pots. " Baby " and " Mother " are far-reaching 209 guns of o ." " The Gramophone. and on impact they send up columns On smoke." " Weeping Willie. Army show The German howitzer shells are eight to nine inches in calibre." Johnsons " by our soldiers." " Souvenirs.CHAPTER XXVI Nicknames The nicknames that are given in the what keen observers soldiers are." Stammering Sam." " Black Marias." The German machine gun penter.

shells now ' Palmer's writing this under fire. " The Hot Cross Bun " because it is hot. He the patient. and takes the bun by its ability to hit what it is fired at nearly every time." . but no damage is being done. 1 a ' neuralgia's gone." This is from a soldier's letter company has got a he isn't " A chap in our ripping cure for neuralgia. Bang ! Another message. And so's six of Oh.' says we." partly because of his name and soldiers called the partly because his troops nearly always attacked at that time of the night.' says he. because and might risky. wasn't for a when hit. snorts as if always cross.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 210 The ours. that's why we call Neuralgia Cure. German shell but the explosion knocked him senseless ' Me came round. Every now and again a little message from the Kaiser comes whizzing in this direction. and we don't worry." Our " Old German General Von Kluck One O'Clock. and German am when he your mates. : kill it's too He was lying in mad with pain in burst close by. bit. but going to take out a patent.' says he. cricky.' the I His name's Palmer. the trenches the other day nearly his face. German the Uhlan soldiers are known Lancers as the " as " Sausages " and Ewe The lambs. Bullets are called " Haricot Beans. because it takes good Another gun has the name of latter is so called care of our infantry.

NICKNAMES Kaiser himself the Weed." name for French matches. where the attacks are really met. because you have to " Wait and see " what happens when you strike one." Between 9 and 10 p. where the men are posted at first to draw the German fire." and the inner line. ration. which " describes spies as playing off side " and prisoners as " ordered off the field." The emergency ration becomes " The imaginary himself. German sharpshooters came out to fire on any man who exposed generally This was called " The good-night kiss." a " Taube " aeroplane approaches British When lines the men call out " Here comes a stormy petrol. fond of his pet." at the rear where the dead are buried is the " dormitory." The outer line of trenches. though kill and it. because." . he might one day have to eat . The ground is called the "reception-room." A British soldier was given by a French- man a tame rabbit. is known as the " drawing-room. German snipers are known as " Little Willies " and some of the shells as " Whistling Willies.m." In letters from the front there used to be puzzling Now we know this is the references to " Asquiths. He kept it in one of the trenches but called it an emergency ration. Very appropriate is the football metaphor." is 211 no more to our men than " Willie or " Crazy Bill.

" A certain village was traps " and called shrapnel village be- cause the Germans shelled a chicken. Barbed wire entanglements are " " spiders' webs.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 212 Metaphor comes when a man also from picture houses. fly it all day and only killed . and says that he " has been given a stall for the pictures " it is understood that he has to do duty during the night in a rifle-pit close under the enemy's line.

" soldier told with much sympathy his chum immediately 94 have got through without a scratch so 1 that after writing to his mother. Lord Kitchener told them to be " invariably courteous. far " was " I could have cried. and kind." and considerate they this certainly were. a their everybody showered on him. is a tit-bit from a private soldier's letter our chaps got a letter from had given birth to twins. by a bullet. when I saw the letter." killed 94 lines. and there was not one have gone Another of us It was hard who would in his place. home and : " One of to say that his wife just at the time when he had cause to be proud of being a father twice German bullet knocked him out.CHAPTER XXVII Tender-Hearted Because Brave In his farewell advice to the British troops sent to France. Here First of all they were kind to each other." he said. That was way of adding to the congratulations that over. not rather In letters from the front 213 many cases are recorded .

are told that the only thing that put our out and saw of A man a of the Army Service Corps wrote pitiful sight to see the people fleeing : "It was from their Our soldiers were very kind to them." one marched through France. We men made their faces sad was the instances they German savagery to the civilian population. and courage.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 214 men who have of would not accept lost their regiments. but homes carrying all they could save. woman with his coat. I saw one young woman trying to reach some fruit from a tree which was a good way out of her reach. went into a French farm house . his kilt The and gave her part it so a Highlander tore for a covering. I went over and gave her some pears which had been given to me. and another covered a shivering old soldier shouted. and gave them whatever they could spare and sometimes more than that. A French woman's clothes had been taken by the Germans. She ate them rather hurriedly. — me before doing so gave It was the tender hearts as well as their coolness old a kiss on both cheeks. shelter or food but who from the French peasantry for fear of getting them into trouble with the Germans. children took hold of the hands of the brave Allies." women and little of the British soldiers. or tried to get A of British sergeant a ride on their shoulders. mother. that made the children take to them as they " Cheer up.

missus knows that now and then more good glasses than's anxious. A sergeant thus wrote of a brawny Yorkshireman who had lost his regiment " His chief grievance was : that he had not been able to write and tell his where he was and how he was getting on." And our soldiers were most thoughtful about those belonging to them whom they had left at home. and one of her arms was missing from below the girl of The elbow. She had given me her rosary. and I wasn't the only one. poor. I thought I had a heart of look. down on I sat and she just the floor opened her eyes Then she moved her sound arm. age. lad. Her arm dropped. yet the only thing that worried him was the fear that the ' missus ' might . and she was just conscious. She was dead. and it slipped over my shoulders.' he remarked in perfect seriousness. and the next thing I found she had lifted something to my head. but I cried like a child that night. Both her legs had been blown away near the knees. stone.' terrifically A ' for I wife Tha' ' th' drink one or two me. and gave me a grateful into the wreck- greatcoat and wrapped the it. and she'll be gettin' few days before he had been in a hot engagement.TENDER-HEARTED BECAUSE BRAVE He by the Germans. and I rain took moaning to hold her on was coming down off my child in my knee. that had been shelled that 215 found the family had been killed " except a all little about seven years. sees.

only ground just made a very aeroplane. I only hope You will that I have been honour fact." Private O'Dwer. large hole in the where we were digging trenches. and didn't I enjoy during a my tea much better. his wife I was : "It was a great just having my tea when I got your letter. and a Brigadier- General. never thought would come I do not yet my took recommended received I comrades. chance." ." A sergeant of the 18th Hussars ended a letter to his wife with these " home-sick " cup of tea with you.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 216 be anxious about what he called the lay teetotal ' " ' ! Private F. way. our wedding anniversary write this I —September we shall spend the next one together. as it is Guards. On Tuesday last I escaped by lull a miracle from a It bomb thrown from an did no damage. of the Irish Guards.C. 2nd Coldstream wrote this to his wife " It : with the greatest pleasure that is letter. W. officers. duty to save but the congratulations and forget my I only com- my never shall I praise In my realise that it is possible. said in a letter from the front to relief to hear from you. and did —an for the V. come in very nice words Your worst cup : " Oh of tea for a would now. I rades. It was my from our really nothing. know by the time you receive this letter 30th. Dobson.

" " : Don't dream of home." A King's Royal Rifleman wrote to his wife that the framed photograph which was and of herself dreamt I again and was playing with telling her some if it is Private G. up. in his breast pocket. wrote this to his out here. for that afternoon he was struck in the throat with a . am now : lying in a forest with and don't know when the ambulance leg shot off will I 217 It's awful. and laughing with They were all happy. The two little ones were crawling all over him. "Last night in the trenches home of their children.TENDER-HEARTED BECAUSE BRAVE Scrawled on the back of this letter which appeared The Evening News. and the thing was so delight. Love to baby and turn up. was the following in " Darling.' be killed in his next Tell her I the Royal Sussex Regi- a particularly vivid dream of will little was back Gracie and I stories of the fighting. all. We have a saying When a man has home he knows that There was a man fight. will bring he stopped a bullet. her something. had to tell us all Sure enough about his it. and he had a great reception from his wife and two children. of ours that vivid that he to please him. of ment. It number was seemed up. He thought he was back at home on the conclusion of peace.—Jack. — I my We were completely cut hope to see you again. ' sister only the Kaiser. Tomkins. awoke the other night from a beautiful dream.

was opening a parcel and a in the excitement of the forgot to take cover letter from his moment wife. as I with his back —dead.' In the trenches on the Aisne after a hard wounded Seaforth Highlander found one fight. as he much these to the people con- Another chap had of his wife Talking one evening at a and camp in his child. and said spoke " Tell Annie I : will be home in time to make her Christmas tree. while in the trenches.' hand the photograph : in a circle and photographs. hopefully of the future. wife.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 218 and as he died the only words he uttered bullet. A pathetic incident also occurred in the case of a private. and around him all his letters : sitting Please post am dying. and the poor fellow and he was shot through the heart." He never got further. a the of Gloucesters with an unfinished letter in his hand. He was shot in the chest and the bullet also passed through a corresponding spot in a photo- graph of his A " I which he carried with him. a soldier re- . for a German shell had laid him out. private in the Northumberland Fusiliers wrote came across a against a tree had placed as to say young chap ' cerned. I shall never see my children again. God. An officer of the Bedfords. were ' : my Oh." fire. was written to It and his wife It little girl.

The was sent by Private Ingram." In romance and even in history shines in war. is country I am a glorious one.' never forget to do that before I I go to sleep. a help to win battles and wars. whose deeds of daring save situations at the psychological moment and When war. is a proper little He chap. George. the Germans do want we are all trying our best to do it.' I am and glad Army. At a parade service near the trenches they were singing away in fine style : " Can a woman's tender care Cease toward the child she bare The singers broke down and " ? the lines had to be left out." Our soldiers certainly have domestic affections. To achieves. 2nd following Welsh Regiment. and remember to hear Arthur [a brother] has joined the Do not worry. to cheer up his mother and en- courage his brother " As you say. and for the best. it is who the lover who conquers. nippers. little sent 219 me a post- card out here of a black cat and wrote on the back of ' it Please stroke the cat every night for luck. boiling. is who die the greatest honour I glad Arthur thinks so too. for it is all that a soldier's death fighting for my could have. ' too. the Guards were leaving girl leaning on the arm London for the of her soldier lover .TENDER-HEARTED BECAUSE BRAVE marked " I've got four : the eldest.

West Kent Regiment. for better of had crossing of the just breath not have been able to do It of us.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 220 said. more cold nights Sergeant E." A man said that when hit by a splinter of shell ." In a letter from the front. " as needs keep German Women Bill. Dick. at Mons went tell her. enough to and ask me to write to seems awfully hard that me now 'listed I'm sorry we had that row. it was At the his girl. at-homes. : " The into one breast out of the other." down a Thy voice is heard through rolling drums That beat to battle where he stands . like after a row with " There was a chap of the : many more hit. and had Aisne he got ' we hadn't had if to explain things to her." up.' no " Turner. bit for it I my can never see her again I but I'm sure she had been one if I old should country. think be me. " Keep your pecker my he replied." keeping up or keeping " " Taint me. and in its wounded pocket and came bullet that course passed through your photo. Thy face across his fancy And gives the battle to conies his hands.' he said. but for the best. anyhow. a private of the Leicestershire Regiment wrote Berkshires who. me of the girl ' the name Tell her. chap will of the stay- there'll . but have much to do with soldier's " pecker." pecker up. than Good-bye. wrote to his sweetheart me my in the trenches for W.

but was now sure that when the bruises had gone from his eyes his girl would recognise him. Artillery gunner wrote after a into our was It mad first " harnessed up. opened think everybody realised that composed of flesh fire immediately.F." Yes. but having to concentrate our minds on the working of the guns it soon passed off." Somersetshire Light Infantryman saw a . except that just like our practice targets : we were I firing at and blood instead of canvas." In many letters we read of when they had not much for our soldiers giving food themselves to wounded Germans. arm and A off He The leg. " Put that is hit in the leg and I am on a man hit in the able to walk. our soldiers did realise that the feelings like themselves. enemy had After a battle a gunner we couldn't get our guns we were squeamish about riding over their dead in case there should be wounded men mixed up with them. off German officer at the stretcher.000 yards or so We action.TENDER-HEARTED BECAUSE BRAVE 221 he believed half his face had gone. I we came gallop of 2. wrote " Their dead lay so thick at one point in : front of our trenches that because across. A and R. noticed a being helped in with a wounded once got on here. camp. saying. A British officer who was being moved stretcher with a shattered arm.

He dived in and was bringing him out when a German shell burst and killed them both. desert." feel better. You ain't up naow. take a goin' to give be'ind drink o' water an' you'll man. 'Ere. protesting under his breath that he could go no His friendly enemies almost carried him farther. The German prisoners got quite fond of our soldiers. ol* . we are. ol' pal. Almos' there. Come. In a lane through a wood at Soissons a corre- spondent met two British infantrymen helping a wounded German towards the place where they The German had been badly hit in the upper part of the body and again in the thigh. but returned next day with eleven others whom he had persuaded to . and they were talking to him after this fashion : " Come on naow. between them. An Army Chaplain saw an English wounded soldier lying next a German wounded prisoner who was shot in both arms the Englishman was holding a cigarette whilst the German smoked it.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 222 wounded German in the river Aisne. One of them escaped. Jus' them there trees over there. be a sport naow. One German gave a gold ring and another his helmet as souvenirs to two British soldiers who had given them water and bandaged their wounds. He was in agony and kept hoped to find an ambulance.

"In : slightly 223 a corporal of the retreat wounded. and this we divided among them as best we could. in broken English. asked a German for water. of the 2nd Connaught Rangers. and About terrible one died at four o'clock in the afternoon. and the German stopped his crying. and was refused. You never saw anybody look so shamefaced as that German. At daybreak the Germans' shells fell all round the cave. for biscuits and water. whose Aisne last cries for The water couldn't be attended to quick enough. Cooley. while shrapnel came through the opening. back his in his coin.TENDER-HEARTED BECAUSE BRAVE The following is from the letter of Highland Light Infantry the from Mons an artilleryman. The German officer wanted us to put out a white flag but you can guess what reply I made to that." Private Cooley. in charge of a German officer and eleven German privates. and we managed . " They asked us. was left told this story. who had been found wounded in a cave. six o'clock it began to rain. We only had eleven biscuits and half a bottle of water left. water bottle and handed . thinking he was sure to be paid own The artilleryman took out it to the German without a word. Three of the poor devils were suffering from wounds. and part of the roof fell in. On the week the artilleryman recognised the same German among a party of wounded. with a comrade. recognition was mutual.

and was buried a few days later. for self-sacrifice cost the he developed blood poisoning through the wound not being bandaged at once. came two of He had five . whose life he was saved application in time of that antiseptic bandage. When the German who had profited by that lad's sacrifice heard of like a baby. and for a while they had him under own life. restraint for fear he should take it he cried to put his A private of the Coldstream Guards said that they heard a German who was lying on the ground " Comrade. It was the worst twenty-six There was a bearer party A wounded sorry. Englander our ! " When men went and brought him wounds. and have ever spent. handed into hospital. them was The bandage the that one of danger of bleeding to death. night in." Dublin Fusilier lay for a time among German wounded and found Fusilier recognised us up. comrade between the lines calling out. and they took the in their could not help pitying them. with him. Unfortunately that act of Fusilier his life. About the voice of the officer we were not hours I eight o'clock we who had brought mouths. Englander. men had to use by the it for his own wound was Without the one available.. THE BRITISH SOLDIER 224 to collect We enough rain-water to moisten were Germans. although they the only slightest hesitation over to the German.

and kind heart. his Fatherland. mean. They did it with just the same reverence and sadI went ness as they do to our own dear fellows. at all is To are out to kill. don't He died bravely fighting For And under lies We that. An officer in several discoveries about know now that he has a the Prussian Guards put P . Not bad Really that shows the spirit. the other night four German snipers were shot on our wire. out here.' ' got mitt uns all the men for a bloodthirsty Briton. that being the German. highest effort of know his name. and had written on : it : ' Here a German. is comes over ' what of I and But." The Germans have made the British soldier. The next night our men went out and brought one in who was near and get-at-able and buried him. to look at the grave the next morning. eh ' at ? (sic). any and every opportunity. we do. done and the battle universal ' soldier spirit some idea give you 225 over. : one kill when the splendid all the men. and one of the most uncouth-looking men in my company had placed a cross at the head of the grave.TENDER-HEARTED BECAUSE BRAVE An Yorkshire Light Infantry wrote officer of the " There is of that insensate hatred that none We hears about.

They always dismount and feed them on all occasions with hay and wheat found on the farms and in horses and give stacks in the " fields. officer of a British officer Brave men are kind to were and said. " ! A dumb animals. 'Thanks for remembering my . had a curious adventure." Writing to his father a trooper in the Royal Horse Guards speaks in this " Dolly goes very well. also with clover. and our veterinary officer wrote " Our horses have stood the tough marches with soldiers this. since riding with patrols. After the new master was put out of action there was a joyful old scene between the old master and the lost horse.: THE BRITISH SOLDIER 226 his arms round the neck " Mercy. which is testimony to the very great consideration and kindness which the troopers and drivers show to their dumb friends. In a fight with a patrol of Uhlans he recognised his mount ridden by a German. remarkable freedom from lameness and sore backs. The animal recognised him and broke away from the enemy's ranks. carrying the German rider with him. I have particularly noticed. corn. so is way of his charger : She doesn't always get a bit thin. how anxious the men have been after a heavy day in the saddle to feed their them a rough rub down before taking a bite or a drink for themselves. who had lost his horse near Binche in August last." A man of the 17th Lancers.

I could not hear I got down and came on a He had a meant to get me in the long grass. sword bayonet. Royal Scots Greys. if always pinch the smallest thing for I muddy be only a it 227 crust. of perhaps a was on outpost horse kept neighing and betray- ing signs of restlessness." I His let yells got away. wrote Stanley. her. and evidently unawares.TENDER-HEARTED BECAUSE BRAVE best friend. but ticket for another country. brought his mates down. You eed that night. my and that I and though rushed." Trooper thus : S. German crouching life old horse. and the spoiled their attempt at bet the old nag had a special . "I owe my own my whole army to duty at a lonely or see anything spot. but row alarmed the guard and surprising us. and then the post would have been I didn't him have a wait to ask his intentions. She greatly enjoyed the sugar you sent for her.

and arrived at Rouen.' convinced that everything is towards Amiens perhaps meet Germans. is a sportsman. know what does not ' soul.' will matter. That doesn't was will shoot them. who views war as a continuation of the sports he practises in peace No times.' someone told them. He is we meet them we That is ' This ' the state of ' Tommy's will never loses an opportunity of taking . you He Two one could be more placid than he. And for nothing in the world will he neglect to . be right. . . If the reply. . war were driving at the beginning of the a motor-wagon from Rheims to not the way. ' They Amiens.CHAPTER XXVIII What the French and After studying our Belgians Think soldiers for a considerable time a special correspondent of L'Indefiendance wrote " Tommy loves to laugh he has clear : ' ' . missed the way. eyes and smokes almost continually a cigarette or He a pipe. 1 Tommies ' it is to be nervous. ' un tub He ' as thoroughly as decency permits in the circumstances.

large towel.WHAT FRENCH AND BELGIANS THINK shave with care. in shell the and one to the barber's They pointed him that the ambulance entrance was at the I see. 229 floor of the hotel. two He side. I lost sight of him just when he was putting his tooth-brush into a pot of paste to clean his teeth. admired. first of all.' he said. much soap and rubbing with a shaved first. over He had English soldier. I saw him one when Taubes were flying over our heads and dropping bombs not far away. " In my regiment ! men. but I must be shaved shop on the ground out to flag. a piece of a wounded went. " exclaimed a French you only hear such ." The correspondent of the Petit Parisien wrote that he was impressed by the excellent spirits and devotion to duty of the British troops. those British soldiers officer. right hand. He's a perfect morning making He his toilet and then. whose smart appearance and jovial manner I greatly toilet of : soldier. washed himself. Recently there arrived at an which flew the Red Cross hotel. bullets in his left shoulder. in his stomach. with a bucket of hot water standing on the step of a railway carriage. ' ' " first ' ! A French officer was also surprised at the extensive our soldiers "At Ypres I had the pleasure making of the acquaintance of Tommy Atkins. and the fraternal solicitude of the officers for their " Ah.

William. They liked their gaiety and sporting spirit.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 230 Quel soldats expressions as How and \ ! splendidly they behave ' sont lis superb. William. since ye're dancing. Dance till ye swoon Dance till ye're deid.' In their discipline ! their respect for their officers they are mag- nificent. woman shouted out in admiration as they marched of the Highlanders. ye puir loon ! ! Dance till ye're dizzy. The French were surprised to see our into battle singing songs men going and playing mouth-organs." She thought that was the biggest compliment she could pay. Dance. If they had understood the words they would have relished in the following marching song the allusion to the order for the extermination French's " contemptible little army " Kaiser's of General : " What ! Wad ye stop the pipers ? Nay. 'tis ower soon Dance. my laddie ! We play the tune ! " ! The French must have been astonished at the when they heard them first pipes of the Highlanders at Boulogne and at the marching song of the Irish : . A past : " There go the women from hell." The French people were delighted with the size and with the kilts they wore.

and the curiosity of the fair sex must have been at times embarrassing. heart's just there. The French soldiers said that the charges of the They also was served. But the dignified bearing of patrol — " the men. Piccadilly girl I know. To streets every who might be duty in day looking in the city for the people on the boulevards this was a popular institution. and they gave loud Heep heeps " and cheers for old England when they saw them coming. a long It's It's a long And the sweetest Good-bye. way to go. way to Tipperary. ! Farewell. admired the way the British and on one occasion for doing so. attention to the business in plained their popularity. and patrolled the after British soldiers any reason. their genial and their strict hand sufficiently ex- courtesy.WHAT FRENCH AND BELGIANS THINK " It's a long way to Tipperary. at least artillery . and the regiment almost surrounded by guns. long my But way ! to Tipperary. they had good reason British cavalry at Lille were marvellous. Leicester-square It's 231 a long. Their 205th regiment of infantry was German infantry with machine One by one the officers fell. The kilt of the Highlanders no doubt had something to do with this admiration." For some time about twenty men of the London Scottish Highlanders did military police Paris.

. several batteries of the Royal Field Artillery dashing up behind So terrific across the shell-swept field towards them. unlimbered. wheeled round. following extract from a letter from the front us see one reason why British soldiers were popular in Belgium and France : " The last place we were reserve. Our company was at an inn. traces of the horses struck were instantly cut men jumped to seize the reins They swept out into when comrades more extended fell. In ten minutes the Germans retreated and the French regiment The lets was saved. His wife and family and many of the women of the village had already gone. and often asked me confidentially to tell him when I thought it was necessary for safety to depart. People began to push carts full of It women and was too much for off. He solemnly dressed himself in his best. One day we got a little shrapnel over us. to their immeasurable relief. THE BRITISH SOLDIER 232 was led by On sergeants. The innkeeper used to get very nervous when he heard the firing of big guns. and in a few seconds were shelling the German positions. and one saw huge going to safety. was the German fire that The it seemed almost come impossible that the guns could into action. and almost with . the point of being forced to surrender they saw. and occupied a village. children Monsieur when the shells began to burst over the village. order. and you should have seen the excitement everywhere.

quieter. a thing was locked. and don't like to be chivying them off." W. so they usually get buttons. Next day. should see how happy and petted by jolly they are. Q . It's just : we goodness of heart. They wounded Eng- are nursed in one of You and how the largest and newest hotels there. off of everything in the inn not . Green wrote " The French girls are awfully keen about our men. or anything they can beg off us just for a keepsake." How France wounded shown by the were tended in well our soldiers is following letter from a French nurse. soldiers had the run The some miles back. expecting to find half his things gone make it out as he went up and ! He couldn't down and found not a thing touched. who received her training country in this : " Last Sunday I went to see some lish soldiers at Versailles. We couldn't be better thought of. and you should see them when we arrive in any of the towns. badges.WHAT FRENCH AND BELGIANS THINK 233 tears in his eyes entrusted his house to us to be at our and pushed disposal. and "yet the soldiers had been there all the time ! Finally he came to us excellent discipline and expressed Army and his entire admiration for the British the which prevailed. They come and link arms with us until they are a bloomTrooper ing nuisance. as things were Monsieur turned up with a beaming face.

at one of them wrote billeted. ." Here is another pleased with the little way tribute " I : am very the French have treated us. I spoke to them about England and English people. Of a French soldiers all kill The soldier replied and that she could were whose house four British lady.' They made some tea and gave some to all — ' ' ' the ladies present. and we sang English songs Dolly Gray and Tommy Atkins. ''If you you may marry my daughter. Don't matter who you see out they all salute you. etc. They are good-hearted people. : " She was wondrous kind. This man went on to say that he was always addressed as Monsieur (Why began to think that he was an And not ?) and that he officer. with somebody who them and take them Your soldiers are great so glad when they meet to see tea. grapes. and when we left for the front Madame and her mother sobbed as if we had been their own sons. cigarettes. the Belgians also think of the British soldier as a kind-hearted rescuer. are speaks English. and the ladies bow " What more could you wish for ? to you." A woman who French could speak English said laughingly to a Highlander.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 234 the French people who go They favourites here." that he would do that have a hair right the Kaiser of William's moustache.

men with a I Two grey hair and moustaches. soldier. and he wore khaki. and their tongue was strange. "sharing starving Belgian refugees. was taken and cared for by a family in a London In spite of the kindness that encompassed suburb. rushed in and saved both mother and child as a roof. One day came home. but they were strange." says his breakfast with In a corner of the big courtyard where the British troops are quartered. and flung herself at the boy.WHAT FRENCH AND BELGIANS THINK A little girl. Seaforth Highlander heard that a was being Red shelled As he by the Germans. whom with people their she stayed were kind. saw a little girl of English troopers. ten fast asleep on the straw. At the sight of the the son of the house khaki the about his little girl legs. He was in the New Army. and they terrified her. and the brutality and horror that followed The English incursion. Anglais with a newborn baby was in a cottage in a village that left ! left shell another crashed through the shell demolished the cottage. . an orphan refugee from Flanders. clung called out " Anglais She knew now she was A wounded woman the " ! safe. she 235 was unhappy and full of terror. " I have often seen the British French correspondent. She re- membered the strange people with a strange tongue who had swept down upon her home in Flanders. her. He Cross van.

London und Rtad\ng . officer cigars and cigarettes. seeing a stranger talking to her friends. Directly they see any British troops they seem to think that all will go well. in and. child." $0 Wyman & Sons Ltd. It was almost embarrassing riding in at the head of the column . was soon fast asleep again.THE BRITISH SOLDIER 236 had tenderly covered her up in a thick brown and were watching over her as rug.. don't want to be taken away. It is very extraordinary the faith the Belgians have in the British Army. to stay here. No wonder that " The Belgians entered one town a British was able to write are delighted to see us. and the pacified. I'rtntm. went up and asked them how the They there. asked anxiously if he had come to take her away. and she was alone the world." ' . it was almost like a Royal progress.' little one. I had come child as they were returning from the front after hard fighting they came upon the Her parents had been shot. told me *she slept. At that moment the child woke up. all : As we the population turned out and and gave the men cheered.' she cried ' I I want The stranger reassured her.

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