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Title: What the "Boys" Did Over There - By "Themselves"
Author: Various
Language: English
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By "Themselves"

Edited by HENRY L. FOX


Published by
Allied Overseas Veterans' Stories Co., Inc.
145 W. 45th Street, N. Y. City

Copyright, 1918, 1919, by
Allied Overseas Veterans' Stories Co., Inc.




  BRINGING IN A SNIPER                         20

  ON THE FLANDERS FRONT                        26

  A "DEVIL DOG'S" STORY                        31

  IN THE VERDUN SECTOR                         38

  THE HUN I WAS SURE I "GOT"                   42

  LIFE IN THE TRENCHES                         44


  A NIGHT ADVENTURE                            56

  A MACHINE GUNNER'S STORY                     58

  THE FALL OF CANTIGNY                         64

  THE RETREAT FROM MONS                        70

  MY SERVICE IN FLANDERS                       78


  WITH THE AMMUNITION TRAIN                    88

  HOSPITAL EXPERIENCE                          93

  TWO YEARS AND A HALF OF WAR                  97


  "WHY I HATE A GERMAN"                       115

  MY DUTY TO MY COUNTRY                       123

  THE "DARDANELLES" CAMPAIGN                  131

  THE FIRST OF THE "TANKS"                    139

  THE SUNSHINE OF THE TRENCHES                142

  CANADIAN INFANTRY                           152


  In Memoriam

This book is affectionately dedicated
to "The Boys" who found
their final rest in the Hallowed
Soil of Martyred Belgium and
France, by their more fortunate


[Illustration: SERGT. DOUGLAS AYLEN]




IN ASSEMBLING the stories contained in this book we have endeavored to
put in realistic and readable form some of the actual, and authentic,
experiences of soldiers and officers of the Allied Forces, who have
returned to their homes after nobly sacrificing themselves in the
service of their respective countries. It has been our endeavor to
give to these stories as much of the personality of "The Boys," who
have told us their experiences, as possible, by using their own words
whenever their physical condition permitted them to write their own

Literary style has been a secondary consideration as we believe that a
majority of the public would prefer to read the truth unabridged, than
a story garbled by editorial tinkering.

We are indebted to the following heroes for their aid in the
publication of this book:

Private Jesse W. Wade, Dispatch rider No. 151023. Wounded by shrapnel
in the shoulder in Flanders, wounded in the leg at Soissons, Veteran of
the Mexican campaigns of 1914 and 1916. Seven times cited for gallantry
by the French Government.

Sergt. Jack Winston, No. 55525, 19th Batt., Canadian Infantry, 2nd
Canadian Contingent. Wounded in the right arm, left ankle and right
knee. Shell-shocked and buried; also gassed at second battle of Ypres.

Pvt. Al. Barker, No. 118, 43rd Co., 5th Regt., American Marines. Shot
in the knee and gassed at Chateau-Thierry, bayonet wounds in both feet
at the Marne.

Corp. Frank J. Sears, Co. A, 9th Infantry, 2nd Div., A.E.F.
Shell-shocked and gassed at Chateau-Thierry. Decorated by the French
Government with the "Croix de Guerre."

Private A. F. Edwards, No. 6857, 1st Batt., 1st Brigade, 1st Div.,
Canadian Inf. Wounded in the right hand, right arm and buried by shell.

Machine gunner George Eckhart, No. 105688, First M. G. Batt., 1st Div.,
A.E.F. Wounded in the leg and gassed at Cantigny. Decorated by the
French Government with the "Croix de Guerre."

Sergt. T. S. Grundy, 15918, Royal Fusileers, Middlesex Regt., English
Army. Wounded in shoulder at Ypres and gassed at Loos. Decorated by
the British Government with the "Mons Star." One of the first hundred

Sergt. Alexander Gibb, No. 444476, 26th Batt., New Brunswick Regt., 2nd
Canadian Contingent. Wounded in both legs, shell-shocked and gassed at

F. G. McAvity, No. 91805, gunner of the 8th Battery, 1st Canadian Field
Artillery. Wounded in the left foot, left thigh, left shoulder and

Sergt. Frederick Ralph Muir, No. 81611, 10th Batt., C.E.F. Wounded at
Festubert, Belgium. Leg amputated at the knee.

Private George Oxton, 10th Batt., C.E.F., No. 81680. Wounded at
Festubert, Belgium. Right leg amputated at hip.

Pvt. John Miller, No. 122957, 96th Co., 6th Regt., U. S. Marines.

Pvt. Jack Kneeland, No. 105, 43rd Co., 5th Regt., American Marines.
Shrapnel wound in the head at Belleau Woods, wounded and gassed at

Sergt. Mark L. Nicholson, No. 3736, 10th Liverpool Scottish, B.E.F.
Wounded in head at Dardanelles. Partially blinded and gassed, Hooge,

Sergt. E. D. G. Aylen, No. 475337, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light
Infantry ("Princess Pats"). Blinded in right eye at Hooge, France.
Wounded in left shoulder.

Sergt. Harry Hall, No. 19805, A Co., 10th Battalion, 1st Canadian
Contingent. Shrapnel wounds, left arm and leg, Givenchy, June, 1915.

Lance Corporal Edmund Hall, 2nd Scottish Rifles, B.E.F. Regular Army,
15 years' service, 3½ in France. Wounded, Battle of Somme, 1916.
Decoration, Star of Mons.

It is the hope of the authors that "What The Boys Did Over There" will
give to its readers some idea of real conditions in the field, and
bring to those of us who remained at home a realization of the debt we
owe to the men who have suffered for us.




I ENLISTED in the U. S. Army some five years ago, and have had
continuous service ever since. Being in the army before the war broke
out enabled me to know something about both sides of army life, but
peace times and war times are as different as day and night. One war is
enough for any man, so now I am ready to settle down, but, before I do,
I will endeavor to tell you some of my experiences in this Great War
"Over Seas."

Being already in the army, but in a branch of the service that was not
likely to go over among the first, I volunteered to go with the first
contingent as a dispatcher. We started the first leg of our journey
across the Atlantic, and then we began those anxious nights of watching
for submarines--and that awful seasickness for some twelve days. At
last we set our feet on solid ground again and started our long journey
across France, in some French cattle cars marked eight horses or forty
men. About three days in one of those, and one really believes there
is a war going on somewhere. We were all very much disappointed when we
were all landed a long way from the Front, and told we would stay there
until we were trained in modern warfare; but all being blue-blooded
Americans we took it very easy, building camps and getting things ready
for the other boys that were coming.

The small village near our camps was full of our boys every night.
Mumm's Extra Dry Champagne was selling at 2½ francs per quart (49c.
U. S.). It wasn't very long before our boys were taking baths in
champagne. After having a few weeks of camp life there were fifty men
picked out, to go to the English front, to receive instructions in
modern warfare. I was among the lucky ones, and then the _fun_ of war
began. We were sent to one of the most active British fronts, and there
we lived in the trenches night and day for two months.

There I began to realize that Sherman's words were only too true.
Anyone who never had the misfortune to be in Flanders, up around Ypres,
at the time, will never know the hardships that the British, and a few
Americans had to go through. We stood it wonderfully well, though. We
could have enjoyed ourselves much more on Broadway. But the French
say "cest la guerre" (it's the war).

[Illustration: PRIVATE JESSE W. WADE]

We had been in the trenches some three weeks before we had the
opportunity of going "Over the Top." One's feelings the first time he
goes "Over the Top" can never be known to anyone but himself. One will
be dozing on the firing step, and the platoon leader comes around and
whispers in your ear to get ready. The time is set for 1.13 A.M. You
can hardly talk above a whisper for the least noise draws fire from
the enemy. As the time draws near, you look at your watch and see that
you have only seven or eight minutes. Yet, you almost sink down and
it seems as though the bones have gone out of your legs and back. The
time is getting short, and at last the big guns open up, and something
just seems to push you up and over. Before you are aware of what is
happening you are out on No Man's Land, acting like a veteran. After
one or two of these successful raids you do not think war is so bad
after all. It is real fun, but you have not seen enough of it yet.
Tommie says: "Wait till you have three years of it and you'll be bloody
well sick of it, Sammy." One year was enough to make me sick of it.
Another very pleasant job is to crawl out on No Man's Land some dark
night on patrol, dragging yourself along on the ground, an inch at a
time, for fear of being heard and fired upon, and just as you think
everything is going fine you run over a twig and break it. It snaps
and sounds like a ton of dynamite going up, and then they send up a
star-shell to light up No Man's Land, and you begin to say your prayers.

Then all is quiet again and you finish your work and feel your way back
to the trench. There is never a happier moment than when you drop back
in your own trench, safe and sound, among friends. It was on one of
the patrols that I got my first wounds. I was sent out about 1.30 A.M.
with a patrol of English to do some very ticklish work, and, in cutting
our way through some wire entanglements, the wire snapped and made a
ringing noise and the Germans opened up on us, throwing everything at
us but their shoes. We were giving them a receipt for all they sent
us until, all at once, I began to feel sick and my arm became numb. I
almost collapsed, but I knew that that was no place to act like a girl
and faint, so I began crawling back toward our trench. It was hard to
do, having only one hand free, but at last I crawled into the trench
where I found another horror waiting. Our trench was full of gas and
I did not have my gas mask on and as I got one breath of it I was
finished, and the next thing I knew I was back in a nice little bed,
between two white sheets, with a little blonde nurse smiling down at
me. I thought that I had died and that I was in heaven until I heard a
Tommy say:

"Where in Hell is me 'Fags'," and then I knew I was not in heaven, but
was not sure I was alive yet. At last I found out I was, for, about
thirty minutes later, the gas began to make me sick. Gas sickness is
the worst sickness in the world.

After three weeks in bed I was getting along fine and was sent to a
convalescent hospital. There we had the time of our lives for two
weeks, when we were sent back to duty. It was just like a homecoming
to get back with our own boys again after everyone thought you were
dead. Everything ran along smoothly for awhile until I was detailed as
a dispatch rider, one of the most dangerous jobs in the army.

The average term of a dispatcher's life is just twenty-three minutes,
so you can't blame me for taking out $10,000 worth of life insurance.
At first it was not so dangerous, for our troops had not yet taken over
any part of the line, but we had to make trips to the Front every day
or two. At last we were ordered into the line and took over a sector
of our own, and a prouder bunch of boys was not to be found. We were
then doing what we had come over to do. Everything was quiet for the
first few months, except for an occasional raiding party. We spent the
hardest winter I ever put in, or ever want to, and if it had not been
for the "cooties" we should have frozen, but they kept us scratching
and moving and kept our blood in circulation. At last spring came and
things became more active as we were getting more men on the Front. On
the 18th day of July, 1918, it was just like turning out a bunch of
hungry lions, for they turned us loose, and said "go get them." We have
been "getting them" ever since. At Chateau-Thierry we began driving
them back so fast that they threw the Prussians and Bavarians at us;
all big fellows six foot and over, and very wicked fighters. Being a
dispatch rider I was around some point of the line most all the time,
and had the opportunity to go "Over the Top" with the boys when not
otherwise occupied. Once in awhile the dispatch riders would be given
twenty-four or forty-eight hours off during which we could do as we
pleased. Most of us went up in the line, and "Over the Top" with the
boys, or those who had any qualifications as a shot would go out with
a sniping squad which was very interesting as well as dangerous. At
one time I had the pleasure of going up in an observation balloon, and
seeing the fighting from the German side. I have seen with my own eyes
German officers driving their men into battle with a whip or the point
of a gun. I have also seen some of the atrocities committed by the Hun
in Belgium and along the borders of France. It just makes one's blood
run cold to think of it, as some of you do. You ask why a boy wants
to stand up and be shot down by those dogs? I'll tell you why. It is
because he doesn't want his own mother, or sister, to be treated as the
Belgians and French women and girls have been treated. Every man, woman
and child owes the deepest respect to any boy who has done his bit in
the World War.

Now to get back to the Battle of Chateau-Thierry, and tell you a
few of my own experiences. In that battle one of the most thrilling
experiences happened to me. The fight began at 3.30 A.M., July 26. I
had just ridden up to a section of our line where the enemy had started
a box-barrage, which it is almost impossible to get through alive and
is almost like madness to attempt. At this time it was important that
a certain message be delivered at the rear. Such a message is sent
with from two to six riders, so that one of them will be sure to get
through. There were five of us there at the time, but, owing to the
fact that I had just come back from a trip, the message was sent by the
other four riders. We watched them, but not one of them got through
the barrage. Then the commander looked at me, and I looked at him.
He didn't say anything but his look had words in it, written in big
letters, saying:

"It's up to you."

I'll admit that I was scared. Not the cowardly kind but a different
kind of fear. I once heard a general say that a soldier's life was
made up of four parts--"Smiles and tears, profanity and prayers," and
I think I executed all four of them at the same instant. It was only a
delay of a few moments as he had the fifth message already written out,
and in his hand, so I jumped on my machine, grabbed the message, and
was gone before he knew what it was all about. I delivered the message
without a scratch, but I think I was insane at the time; for it all
seems like a dream. It was nothing short of a miracle. The fighting
was very heavy for some days after that, and there was a similar case
that occurred shortly afterward. This time I was the only rider at hand
and I had to go. But rather than take another chance with the barrage
I could go across a corner of No Man's Land and circle around to the
left. This avoided the barrage, but I had to face the enemy machine
gun fire, which was very heavy. I started out on my last trip, as a
dispatcher, and was not seen until going over a slight rise, when the
enemy saw me. They opened up on me and threw everything at me but iron
crosses. The machine gun was the worst, but after three minutes of
hard riding, over rough ground, shell-holes and craters, I was out of
range of the machine guns. Then they began throwing the larger guns
at me. My machine was riddled with bullets. The engine was about out
of commission, but as I was through the worst of it and was shaking
hands with myself on how lucky I had been, I realized that I had been
hit in the leg and after the excitement had died down I was so weak I
could not sit on my machine again. Good luck came along in the shape
of a Frenchman and he helped me to headquarters some 500 yards away. I
delivered the message and then collapsed and a few days later awoke in
a French hospital in Paris. Since then I have been having the time of
my life, and am back in the dear old U. S. now, almost well but willing
to go through it all again for the same cause.



ABOUT two hours before dawn on the morning of Oct. 8, 1915, my company
were in a sector of the front line trenches near Kemmel Hill. My
comrades were taking their ease as we had been in comparative quiet for
the previous three days. They were variously employed: some writing
home, others idly smoking, the signal man lounging in the dugout near
his telephone instrument, and sundry others doing their bit toward
cleanliness by removing "cooties" from their shirts. Our lieutenant was
looking hard across No Man's Land through the trench periscope, and
I wondered what was keeping him so long looking at a spot I thought
we all knew by heart. He stood there perfectly immovable for at least
fifteen minutes, while several star-shells, fired both from our own
lines and the German trenches, flared and died. Finally he turned to me
and whispered, "Jack, I do not remember that dead horse out there
yesterday. Take a look and tell me if you remember seeing it before."
I looked at the spot indicated and sure enough there was a dead horse
lying at the side of a shell-hole where I could have sworn there was
nothing the day before.

[Illustration: SERGT. "JACK" WINSTON]

I told the lieutenant I was sure that nothing had been there on the
previous day, and waited for further orders. German snipers had annoyed
us considerably and as they took great pains in concealing their nests
we had little success in stopping them. Several casualties had resulted
from their activities. The lieutenant had evidently been thinking,
while taking his long observation, for he said almost at once: "I
believe that nag is a neat bit of camouflage. One of those Huns is
probably hidden in that carcass to get a better shot at us."

He then told me to have the men at the portholes fire at the carcass,
at five second intervals, to keep "Fritz," if he were there, under
cover--and taking advantage of the dark interval between the glare of
the star-shells, he slipped "Over the Top," having told me he was going
to get that Hun.

Imagine my suspense for the next half hour. I kept looking through the
periscope but for fully fifteen minutes I could not find my officer.
Finally I spotted him sprawled out, apparently dead, as a star-shell
lit up the ground within the range of the periscope. As no shot had
been fired, except from our portholes, I knew he was not as dead as he
seemed. And sure enough when next I could make him out he was several
yards ahead, and to the left, of the spot where I had last seen him.
Then I knew what he was after. He was making a detour to approach the
carcass from the rear, and as he could only move in the dark intervals
between star-shells his progress was, of necessity, slow. At the end
of another fifteen minutes I located him in a position, as nearly as I
could judge, about ten yards in the rear and just a step to the left of
the carcass. I then thought it time for me to take a hand, and give him
what help I could.

Running into the signal man's dugout I told him to call for a barrage,
giving the range at, approximately, thirty yards behind the point at
which the carcass lay.

I then jumped back to the periscope only to see, by the next flare,
that the lieutenant was no longer in sight. Leaving the periscope I
selected three men, whom I was sure I could trust, and, by the time I
had brought them to the firing step, the barrage from the guns in our
rear for which the signal man had telegraphed began to fall.

Quickly explaining to the men what I had in mind, that we were going
to help the lieutenant, I was about to give the order to go "Over the
Top," when another man, who had overheard, begged me for permission
to accompany us, and as I had need for some one to repair the barbed
wire, which the lieutenant had cut on his way out, I gave him the job
together with permission to go with us.

After a few words of instruction to the corporal, who, during my
absence, was left in command of our sector, we went silently "Over the
Top" at the point where the lieutenant had preceded us.

The barrage had by this time aroused the curiosity of the enemy
and they were replying with a brisk shelling of our lines, and the
batteries that were laying down the barrage.

We advanced at a walk and were fortunate enough to find the place where
our lieutenant had cut his way through our barbed wire. There I left my
volunteers with the necessary tools to repair the wire, after we should
have passed through it on our return.

It was now beginning to get light enough for us to see several yards in
either direction around us, and after moving forward about fifty yards
beyond the wire, we ran straight into the lieutenant, who was driving
the Hun before him at the muzzle of his automatic.

We wasted no time on the return journey but hustled "Fritzie" along at
a brisk pace.

Just as we had passed back through the barbed wire, a piece of shrapnel
struck my volunteer in the shoulder, and I was forced to stop, and
leave a man to complete the repairs on the wire, while I helped the
wounded man back to the trenches. The remaining men, who had started
with me, had remained with the lieutenant and his prisoner, and we
found all safe in the trench on our arrival.

My wounded man proved to be not seriously hurt and the man who remained
to mend the wire also returned unhurt.

When all were safe in the trench, the lieutenant called off the barrage
and the enemy in our front was doubtless wondering what it was all
about, until the sniper, who, as the lieutenant surmised, was hidden in
the camouflaged carcass, returned no more.

The lieutenant had arrived at a point about five paces behind the Hun
before the sniper discovered him, and then had him covered with his
automatic. Like most of his breed there was a wide "yellow streak"
in this baby-killer and he cried "Kamerad" instantly. By the time the
lieutenant had secured his prisoner's rifle our barrage was falling
and, under its protection, he began his march back with the prisoner,
and met us before he had gone twenty-five yards. The rest you know.

The prisoner expected to be killed at once and begged piteously for his
life, saying "he had a wife and three children." One of the men replied
that if he had his way he would make it a "widow and three orphans."

Needless to say he did not have his way, and for all I know that sniper
is still eating three square meals per day in a prison camp.



IT WAS in November, 1915--we were at Kemmel Hill, when the wet weather
started in. I remember one night I was sent out of the trenches to the
Dump, near the dressing station, for rations. We had no communication
trenches then, owing to the heavy shelling we were getting from the
German artillery, and we never had the guns to come back at them. We
had to go out at dusk through the fields, known to us as "overland." We
got down to the dump all right, but coming back the Germans saw us, and
they turned three machine guns on us. I was about fifty yards from the
front line when the barrage started. My pal was just behind me. About
four yards from us was an old French trench, with about three feet
of water in it. I jumped into that with my pal. The Germans kept the
barrage up for about a half an hour and as soon as it stopped I made my
way for the front lines.

Just imagine what condition I was in when I reached there. I was
soaking wet, but the rations were worse. Well, anyhow, I had to do my
sentry duty, just the same, because if one man was shy those days it
put all the work on some of his comrades. I could not get a change of
clothing so I took off my pants and wore my blanket like a Scotchman
would his kilts. It's wonderful to me the hardships a man can contend
with. We could get very little water up the front line and water means
an awful lot to a man over there. Well, there was a creek running from
the German front line across No Man's Land and into our trench, and
coming over No Man's Land it ran over quite a few dead bodies. We were
told by our medical officer not to drink this water because the Huns
might have put poison into it. But we had to get water some place, so
we all took a chance and drank it, and I am still alive and just as
good as ever.

We were in the trenches for six days at a time. What good times we used
to have when we were out in our billets. It was there we used to get
the chance to have a good feed from the Belgian peasants. "Eggs and
chips" was our favorite dish. Even when the men are out of the trenches
they have to be ready in case of an attack. One night we got the orders
from the front line that the trenches had caved in and of course we
had to go up and help the boys build them up again.

It was this night, while carrying up sand bags, a bullet struck my
right arm. I made the front line all right, but as soon as I was
dressed by the stretcher bearer I was sent back to the dressing station
to the medical officer to receive attention. I was then sent to the
field hospital, and the next day I was removed on an ambulance train,
and sent to the base hospital in Etaples. I might state that this
hospital was an American hospital. How wonderful it was to me to find
myself back in a nice white bed again. I was there for two weeks and
then sent to a convalescent hospital for another week.

At the beginning of December I found myself on the way back to the
front line. Of course all my pals who were still there were glad to see
me again; but, believe me, it was hard to leave that nice white bed and
go back "somewhere in the mud." I made the best of it. I knew it was
doing my duty, as every soldier does.

I had quite a few narrow escapes after that. One day as I sat in the
trench a German high explosive shell hit the next bay to where I was
and when they explode they throw up with them all loose stuff that is
in their reach. This one threw up an old French bayonet which missed
my head by about two inches, but as long as it did not hit me I should

Our routine there was, six days in the front line, six in the billets
and six in the reserve. The only thing I did not like about the reserve
was, that the poor fellows that got killed in the trenches, if there
was anything left of them to give a decent burial, were brought out
of the trenches at night and put into an old barn near the dressing
station until the next morning for burial. It was our duty to watch the
bodies so that the rats would not eat them. Just imagine, about six
fellows lying in an old barn all riddled with bullets and shrapnel, and
the wind blowing, and the rain coming through, and to go and look at
these poor fellows with a flash light. Some with their heads and arms
blown off--but we had to do it.

From Kemmel Hill we were moved in March, 1916, to St. Eloi, where we
put up a good scrap against heavy odds. I pulled through that all
right. I remember we took some prisoners. There was a little Scotchman
in my company who was always looking for souvenirs and he brought a big
German down the trench and made a grab for his hat. The Dutchman made a
grab for it and said:

"If you want to catch a cold, I don't."

I thought that was very funny, but Jock did not.

From there we moved to the Somme and it was here that the first British
tanks were used. I got it again on the morning of September 15 from
a German high explosive, was buried, receiving shell-shock and some
wounds. A few days later found myself in a hospital and had a wonderful
time, but I found that the doctors would not let me go back to France,
so I was returned to Canada.

I was in Canada two weeks when I came over to the good old U. S. A. to
help recruiting for the British and Canadian Army. I have worked on
the Liberty Loan drives, Red Cross, Knights of Columbus and all other
drives to keep the boys over there. One thing, to my sorrow, during
the Fourth Liberty Loan drive was that I sold all the buttons of my
overcoat to each person who bought a five-hundred-dollar bond. The only
thing that worried me was that I never had enough buttons, but as we
all know a fellow would not want to have two or three hundred buttons
on his coat to fasten. I only wish I was in France to stay to the
finish, and come back with the rest of the boys who are left.



THE U. S. declared war upon Germany April 6, 1917. I was going to
college at the time. I went to spend a week-end in New York City and
happened to be in Union Square where recruiting of soldiers, sailors
and marines was taking place. A captain of the U. S. Navy was speaking
on patriotism. As I stood there and listened a thrill went through
me and I decided to enlist at once. I chose the marines because they
were always the "first to fight." I was sent to Paris Island, South
Carolina, for my training, where I spent three months, and on August
12, 1917, I was sent to Quantico, Va., for my overseas equipment. On
August 21, 1917, I sailed for France.

The trip across was a very eventful one as we were twice shot at by
submarines, but we succeeded in eluding them. Nine days later we
arrived at Brest, France, where we were all stationed in barracks. My
first real training began in France; drilled from morning to night,
together with such things as trench digging, bayonet fighting, grenade
throwing, and all other things necessary to an American marine. This
lasted about three months. My first real encounter occurred when we
were ordered to the Belgian Front with Australian Anzacs. There I had
my first glimpse of the Germans. We battled with them for twelve hours
and I received a bayonet thrust in my right foot which laid me up for
three weeks, and I was sent to base hospital No. 3 near St. Lazarre.
After I recovered I was again sent to the Belgian Front where, in the
next encounter with the Germans, I was captured and sent to a prison
camp, built in the German trenches. I was there with eight other
marines, for twenty-one days, when a French air squadron descended upon
the Germans and killed or wounded all of them. A French aviator--I do
not recall his name--took me in his machine and we flew 102 miles to
the French forces.

Being weak from loss of blood and sleep I was kept there a week, and
then sent back to my own company. My fellow-marines had given me up
for dead, and were more than overjoyed to see me. A few days later I
was selected as a sniper with a few others, and we advanced to a point
as near the Germans as possible. Together with another marine,
Jack Kneeland, who later saved my life, I climbed a tall tree as near
as possible to the German trenches and stationed myself there very

[Illustration: PRIVATE "AL" BARKER]

We could see the Germans setting machine guns in position to be used
against our forces. We both had our rifles and plenty of ammunition, so
we began to pick off the men who were operating the machine guns. These
machine guns are the most disastrous and dangerous things in warfare.
We succeeded in putting four of these guns out of commission when we
were discovered by German snipers, and had all we could do to defend
ourselves. I received a bullet wound in my knee and fell twenty feet to
the ground. The other marine, Kneeland, quickly descended and protected
me with his own body, and although he received three bullets he carried
me to safety. As we were far from any hospital we were treated in the
trenches to the best of the abilities of the doctors there.

We had Germans all around us, and, although we kept up a heavy fire,
we could not persuade them to come out and fight us as men. They
preferred trying a means to defeat us which insured their own safety,
and that was to try to starve us out. For six days we lived on hard
black bread and dirty water. Our commander, previous to this, had
sent out a marine, who had volunteered, to get through the German
lines and bring us help. We never dreamed that he would succeed in
getting through, but on the seventh day we saw several black specks in
the air but thought nothing of them until they came close, and we saw
that they were American airplanes come to our assistance. The fliers
descended as low as possible and threw us food in water-proof canvas
bags. They also dropped bombs on the Germans and then flew away after
promising to send a company of marines to our rescue. This promise we
found in a note contained in one of the bags of food. It also told us
to keep up our courage as we would surely be saved. All this time I was
laid up with the wound in my knee, but I could hear our boys firing
at the enemy, and they had all they could do to keep me in bed. Five
days later I was aroused by an attendant and was told that an American
scout had succeeded in making his way into our trenches, and told us
that our relief was on its way, and would be here at any time. I felt
much stronger after I heard this news and felt that I could fight the
biggest German and finish him.

The detachment of marines arrived after we had been in these trenches
for sixteen days. We now outnumbered the Germans, so we speedily put
them to flight. After the conflict we counted 421 German dead bodies
and we also took 1,200 prisoners. Our loss was sixty-two dead and
thirty slightly wounded. We were then sent to a rest camp where we
spent two weeks, and I had my wound treated. At the end of our two
weeks I was able to walk about, and was sent to the western front near
Cambrai where the Germans were gaining, and we were instructed to stop

This time we did not fight from the trenches but in the open field, and
there were plenty of human targets for both sides. It was a terrible
battle; shells were bursting in the air, cannons were roaring and there
were loud reports every time a shell hit the dust. I was operating a
machine gun, and, as a machine gunner's life on a battlefield only
lasted an average of twelve minutes, it must have been a miracle
that saved me from being killed. My other two comrades were killed
immediately and I was left alone to operate the gun. A German sniper
took a shot at me, but instead of hitting me he put my gun out of
order. That left me with only a revolver, and drawing this I kept
popping away at every German I saw. At last we were given the order to
advance and for the third time I went "Over the Top" to glory. As we
pressed on the enemy gave way little by little, and by twelve o'clock,
at noon (the battle had started the day before at the same hour), we
had either killed or taken all our opponents prisoners. We were then
given a much needed rest. We spent a month in a rest camp and were
then sent to Chateau-Thierry, about forty miles from Paris, where we
engaged in a battle which proved to be the turning-point of the war. I
think I shall remember this fight all my life. We had drawn up all our
ammunition trains, food supplies and other munitions and were gathered
around our campfires telling stories. At a little past midnight we were
told to get ready. I was in the second division and we were ordered
to advance first. Suddenly someone fired a shot; whether it came from
our lines or the enemy I did not know. The battle had begun. With
two hundred others I was cut off, and we found ourselves surrounded
by the enemy. It was all hand-to-hand fighting, and more than once
I felt a hand creep to my neck, or a cold blade touch my face, but
always managed to ward it off. Five hours of hard fighting still found
us in the midst of the Germans. Whispering a few words to my nearest
companion, we made a dash and cut our way through the thick masses of
the enemy. Having no cover, we gathered together the bodies of German
dead and piled them one upon the other and used them as protection
against our enemies. While here a gas bomb exploded and I fell back
unconscious. When I came to myself I was aboard a ship bound for the
good old U. S. A. As I was so badly gassed that I would no longer
be useful as a fighter, they were sending me _home_. I made a good
recovery and I thank God for my life.

That is my story, and if I had to go through it again I would do it
gladly for my country and the flag.



IN THE winter of 1917 we found ourselves marching along a little road
somewhere in France. It was cold and dismal and the hail came down in
sheets, but we marched on and on. I looked at the fellow alongside of
me and could not tell whether he was ready to laugh or cry. There was
not much talking en route. I didn't feel much like talking myself and
couldn't understand what made me feel so downhearted. It was the day we
all looked and hoped for our chance in the battle. When we took over
our sector, one kilometer from St. Mihiel, the French told us it was a
quiet sector and to keep it that way. The first four days we did not
care how quiet it was so long as we were allowed down in the dugouts.
The shells whizzing past our heads annoyed us a little, it being our
first experience. It took us a few days to become accustomed to our new
home and the noise of bursting shrapnel. We knew we were not going
to stay there long. In the American Army we never do linger long in one
place as there is no retreat in our army.


There was only one direction for us to follow and that was toward

The idea of the French telling us to keep Verdun sector quiet amused
us, for, while we had no desire to start anything for a few days, there
wasn't a "yellow" man in our bunch. Yet we hesitated, before we became
accustomed to the noise, to take our first chance at, what we termed,
slaughter. However, one night, about seven days after we took over our
sector with the French Army, a "Fritz" sent over one of his 77 shrapnel
shells which wiped out our entire mess shack. That was a bad mistake
on "Fritzie's" part for it was a serious offense for anybody to tamper
with the Sammie's "chow." No matter how hard a night he has spent he
will always get up an appetite where there is anything to eat. That
night we formed a raiding party. We crept out of the first line trench
with three squads. It was our first entry into No Man's Land and we had
heard so many strange tales about this place, we shied at everything
we saw. We split up into squads. Our password was to knock three times
on the helmet. So we parted. I went off to the right with a squad.
Each man covered his ground, trying to find out whether the Hun had
any intention of making a raid next day. The trenches are protected by
barbed-wire fences and when the Huns intend going "Over the Top" they
cut the wires on the previous night, and it was our duty to find out
whether or not these wires had been cut. The barbed wire was O. K. on
the ground we covered, so we started back to meet the other squads.
We did not go far, for about ten feet away we heard a noise, which is
something unusual on a raiding party in No Man's Land. We stopped short
and looked at each other. We did not know what to do, for, as I have
said, this was our first experience. One of the boys said to me, "Give
them the signal." I knocked three times on my helmet, but received no
reply, so one of the boys said he would creep over and investigate; but
it wasn't necessary, because just then a skyrocket went up into the
air. Every soldier knows that this means to get under cover quickly
for the rocket would light up the sky and make nice targets of us for
"Fritz." Luckily for us there was a shell-hole to jump into, for as
soon as we laid low, there came the "pop," "pop," "pop" of the German
machine guns. We laid there in the mud, through what seemed to us like
an eternity, but which was in reality only about two hours. However,
luck was with us, and we finally crawled out of our hiding place and
arrived behind our own lines once more.

 Editor's Note.--For his gallantry in this raid, of which he says
 nothing in the above article, Corporal Sears was awarded the "Croix de
 Guerre" by the French Government.

      --H. L. F.



IT WAS sometime last April, 1918, when we got the order we were going
over. Our artillery opened up with a full barrage. We took the right
flank, and another regiment of infantry took the left. The marines took
the center. We had been told time and time again if we had to use the
bayonet to pull it out quick. But somehow or other I was doubtful about
that. We were having a real American hand-to-hand fight with them when
I got my eye on one, something we very seldom do. Just as I got near
him he threw his gun down, and his hands up, and yelled: "Kamerad,
Kamerad." I said "Kamerad, hell," and became so excited I gave him a
long jab with my old American bayonet and hesitated before making an
attempt to pull it out. When I tried to, it was too late for it was
wedged in too firmly. I put my foot on him and pulled and pulled, but
the body lifted right up with the bayonet, so I thought I'd try my luck
without a bayonet. I released the bayonet from my rifle and left it as
an American souvenir to the "Fritz"; one which he will never be able to
appreciate. This is all I remember of that battle.



LIFE in the trenches is made up of "cooties," "rats," "mud" and "gas

We had heard from fellows who had been there before us what we thought
were jokes about "cooties" and trench rats, but it was no joke to me
when I looked, for the first time, at a rat almost as big as a cat.
It was lying in my bunk and I heard it squeal. Looking down I had my
first view of a trench rat. I threw a heavy hob-nailed shoe at him
and he merely changed his position and looked around to see who had
interrupted him. After that it wasn't strange to wake up and find them
running across you. But I will say that if it were a matter of choice,
I would select a hundred rats in preference to two "cooties," for the
"cootie" is an unreasonable bird, and when a Sammie has come back from
the lines exhausted, he lays down in the hopes of snatching a few
hours' sleep before being called on; but the "cooties" have no respect
for Sammie and they pester him until he has no more idea of sleep,
only to start in and hunt for the "cooties" that are annoying him.

You have all more or less had fever, but I guess there are none of you,
over here, who knows of the "mud fever." We all used to shy at mud,
during the rainy season in the year 1917. After a heavy storm the boys
hated to go out to drill, as the mud got so bad there that the only
way of getting out from the drill was by going on sick report in the
morning. I remember the morning six buddies and myself went over to the
infirmary. I happened to be the first one in line. The doctor came up
to me and said:

"What's your trouble?"

At first I said, "I don't know, sir," and he said:

"Well, what are you doing here if you don't know? Where do you feel

And I told him all over. So he called the pill roller over and told him
to take my temperature. I sat down and the pill roller put the glass
tube in my mouth, which always "balled the detail up." He then held
hands with me for a while and I asked him what he was doing. He told me
he was taking my pulse. He then gave the final report to the "skipper"
who came to me and said, "You have the 'mud fever'." He then turned to
the orderly and said, "Give him two C.C. pills and mark him 'DUTY'."
That's how I happened to get over the mud fever. We became so used to
mud, up in the lines, that if our "chow" did not have some mud, or
muddy water, in it we could not digest it. It was just a case of mud
all over: eat, drink, sleep and wash in mud.

And now for the "old reliable," which tortured us while wearing it, but
without which we should have been lost. The gas mask!!!

We were not fortunate enough to have ever received the American gas
masks and have never seen one over there. The first two American
divisions received English and French masks. The English mask looks
like a false face with two big glass eyes, and a nose clip which
resembles a clothespin, and keeps the gas from going through the
nostrils. There is also a tube which goes into the mouth, with a hard
piece of rubber on it to make it air-tight. This mouthpiece is a long
caterpillar tube which connects the mask to a tin can containing
a chemical composition of charcoal, rocks, sand and other medical
decoctions. There were times when we endured these masks from eighteen
to thirty-six hours. Sometimes we would just get the order to take them
off, and, thinking the danger passed, would get ready to eat, when the
command to put them on again would be given. This is done by means of
horns at intervals along the whole line of trenches. Each horn gives
the signal which is repeated right through the lines. It is a wonderful
relief after having a mask on a long time to be able to breathe fresh
air again.



 Editor's Note.--These were the first Canadians to go overseas in the
 Great War.

      --H. L. F.

I WAS born in Canada, but had lived virtually all my life in the United
States. I thought war was coming and returned to Canada to be ready
to do my bit when the time arrived; and I was just in time; arriving
in Toronto on August 3, 1914. On August 4, 1914, I was at dinner with
seven other boys when the word came that war was declared, and the
whole eight of us determined to get in it without delay, so on the next
day, August 5th, we enlisted in the Canadian dragoons.

After two weeks in the dragoons I was transferred to the infantry, went
into training at Toronto, and afterward at Valcartier, which occupied
the next two months.

One Sunday morning we were called for parade and thought we were going
to church, but were notified we had to pack up for overseas service.
We went to Montreal where we took a boat down the St. Lawrence to
Halifax. We there joined the convoy consisting of 33,000 men of the
artillery and infantry.

[Illustration: PRIVATE A. F. EDWARDS]

We sailed for England on October 22, 1914, and as nearly as I can
remember took about sixteen days to make the trip to Plymouth. Though
slow the voyage was without incident worthy of mention.

We were, for some unknown reason, held five days in Plymouth Harbor
before disembarking, and then they hustled us off to the training camp
on Salisbury Plains where we had a miserable existence until February,

At Salisbury we drilled in mud and water that was at times waist deep,
caused by the continuous rains and floods. It sure was fine training
for the Flanders mud that we were to encounter later. The storms were
so severe at times that tents and their contents were washed away.

As a result an epidemic of spinal meningitis hit the camp, and of the
33,000 who arrived at Salisbury 4,400 were stricken with this disease,
only a few of whom recovered.

While at Salisbury I was granted my first leave and started for London,
together with my pal, a boy named Frazer, who also had leave. We had
three days' absence from camp coming to us and they were "some three

We arrived in London at 5.15 P.M. and, in accord with English custom,
had tea at once in the Corner House, Piccadilly, where many soldiers

At the Corner House we received sixty-one invitations to the theater
and dinner for the next day. That night we attended the Princess
Theater where, as we entered, the orchestra played the Canadian anthem,
"The Maple Leaf Forever." The audience cheered and we were forced to
make a speech. You see, we were the first Canadians the English people
had seen who had come to do their bit. That night I lost track of

After three wonderful days I returned to camp as my leave had expired.
Frazer was not on the train with me, and as a matter of fact did not
arrive until twenty-four hours later. He was called before the colonel
for overstaying his leave, and, on being questioned, told the colonel
that just as he arrived at the railroad station a band started playing
"God Save the King" and he had to stand at attention so long that he
missed the train.

He was excused and returned to duty, but they do say there was
a suspicious twinkle in the colonel's eye as he dismissed him. I
sometimes wish I had Frazer's powers of quick invention.

On February 3rd we left Salisbury encampment, en route for France,
landing at St. Lazarre, thence by train to Hazebrouck and St. Omer
where the fever laid me up in the hospital for about ten days.

I joined the battalion again at Armentieres where we remained a few
days and then went forward to Ypres. On April 22, 1915, we went into
battle at Ypres and for the first time in history were called upon to
meet a gas attack by the Germans.

 Editor's Note.--This was the first time this inhuman method of warfare
 was used by a supposedly civilized nation.

      H. L. F.

At first we thought the gas we saw coming toward us was a bank of fog
and it gave us no anxiety. It was at 4.30 P.M. that the Huns turned the
gas on us, and I was fortunate to be in the first battalion at a point
where the gas was not so thick. The thickest part of the gas swept over
the 8th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th battalions. Eighty-five
per cent of the men who met this attack were more or less severely
gassed. At points the gas was so severe that it turned the brass
buttons, on the tunics of the men, green. Some of the men killed by gas
fell, but some remained standing even in death so swift was its action.

Our artillery, although short of ammunition, was our main support in
this action. Had the Germans forced a passage here, the roads to Paris,
Calais and the English coast would have been virtually open. There were
72,000 Germans opposed to 13,000 Canadian infantry in this action, but
the boys from Canada held fast.

The next day, April 23rd, a small fragment of shrapnel in my right hand
sent me to the hospital in Boulogne. Fine treatment by the American
doctors and nurses there soon had me in shape again and I was returned
to the line through the Canadian base at Le Havre. Thence I went
through Festubert to Givenchy where the old 1st Battalion went into
battle with 919 men and six hours later over 600 had made the great
sacrifice. Minor casualties left us only 137 men able to answer roll
call and several of these had to go to the hospital on account of
wounds received here.

The first week of July we went to Ploegstreet which we called "home"
for a long time. We called Ploegstreet "home" because it was so
peaceful. (The Germans dared not shell us as we were so close to their
trenches that they were afraid of hitting their own men.) The shell
craters through which our trenches ran were only thirteen yards from
the trenches of the enemy, and we could hear the Saxons who opposed us
singing songs in English which they all seemed to speak fluently.

One night I was on patrol when our party passed German patrol not five
yards distant. Neither side dared fire for fear of starting the machine
gun fire. One of the Saxons called out, "Hello, Canuck, how's Quebec,
Winnipeg and Vancouver?"

Evidently he had been in Quebec as he spoke of the St. Regis Hotel.

At Ploegstreet the British had started a "sap" forty-eight feet deep
where a tunnel, with twenty-five galleries running off from it,
undermined the town. It took two years to build and was planted with
one hundred thousand tons of high explosive dynamite. When it was
exploded it blew up the entire town and also blew 61,000 Huns "Hell,
west and crooked."

This was the only way to take the position as the elaborate trench
system of the Germans was practically impregnable. It was at
Ploegstreet that the Huns "got our goat" by showing the wearing
apparel of Belgian girls on the points of their bayonets.

After exploding the mine we explored the German trenches and found most
wonderful underground living quarters for the troops fitted with every
modern convenience.

We remained here three and a half months and then were moved to Kemmel
to the C-4 trenches, where we spent the winter. Here I was taken sick
and sent to the hospital at Bailleu, and returned to duty again at
Cambrai, and thence went to St. Quentin.

Remained at St. Quentin until September 17th, when I had a piece of
shrapnel lodge in my arm and was burned by a shell while trying to dig
out a comrade in a similar predicament, except that he died before we
got him out. I was buried, but conscious, for four hours and twenty
minutes, and I thought of every event of my life in that time. When
finally rescued, the fresh air and reaction were too much for me, and
I lost consciousness, which I did not regain until I was in England in
the Duchess of Connaught's Hospital. I had been sent there by way of
Le Havre and remained six months in bed in a plaster cast. I was then
returned to a hospital ship and taken to St. John, New Brunswick,
where I received electrical and massage treatment. From St. John I went
to the convalescent hospital at Fredericton, N. B., and was discharged
on August 19, 1918.



ONE night in October, 1915, while on patrol, I found an officer, and a
private, of the Prussian Guard, fooling around our wire entanglements.
They had evidently been under our fire as the officer was suffering
from three abdominal wounds and died as I was trying to drag him into
our lines.

The private was a big fellow about six feet three inches tall and was
furious at being captured. As I had him at my bayonet's point he gave
me no trouble, but when we arrived at our lines he took it out on the
sentry by spitting at him and slapping him in the face.

We sat Mr. Prussian on the firing step and told him a few things that
would not look well in this book, and he finally spoke in English,
when we called the escort to get what information we could from him.
He asked after some friends he had made at Columbia College, New York
City, where he had been educated. He told us that just before the war
broke out he had been called back to Germany, supposedly to attend a
military fête, as he was still subject to military service. He had no
idea, he said, that he was going to be sent to war and he had been
drugged and sent into battle, forced on by officers in the rear. After
we had "pumped him dry" he was handed over, together with fourteen
other prisoners, who were taken the same night, and sent to the cage,
four miles to the rear. On the way to the cage he complained to a
soldier, in the guard accompanying the prisoners, of the difficulty of
marching through the mud, which was very deep. The guard told him he
should be thankful that he was not in his (the guard's) place, as he
had to walk back again.

I should have stated before that I cut off the buttons from the
officer's uniform when he died and kept them together with his field
glasses as souvenirs. I have them still as no one has claimed them.


  DIV., A.E.F.

I ENLISTED in the service of my country April 6, 1917, when we declared
war on Germany. I was sent to Fort Douglas, Arizona, in the same month,
put in the 18th Infantry, Regular Army.

On June 4, 1917, we got orders to pack up and leave for another camp,
and one night when our train came to a halt I got up from bed and said
to the boys:

"Boys, we are in Hoboken," and we all knew then where we were going.

We got on the transports the same night about eleven o'clock. There
were a lot of sad faces watching their dear boys going "Over There" to
fight to make the world safe for Democracy.

We sailed away from dear old America, June 14, 1917. When we passed
the Statue of Liberty we watched her holding the light of freedom and
strained our eyes as our transport moved out into the ocean for a last
look at her, wondering if we would ever see that dear old Statue of
Liberty again.


We had a pleasant, fourteen-day trip across the ocean. And one bright
morning we saw land. All the boys shouted "France, we have come to
you." Four hours later we were beside our dock, and got off the boats.
All the French people kissed us and were glad to see America come to
help her sister republic.

The French people shouted "Vive la America." We shouted back "Vive la
France." We had a big reception and the peasants took us around and
showed us the villages.

We did not stay there long, but moved toward the front where we could
hear the thundering of the artillery barrages. We had two months of
strenuous training with the French Blue Devils.

After completing our training period we got orders that we were going
to go to the Front. One day, before we left to undertake the biggest
job in the world, our general (General Bullard) held an inspection, and
gave us a talk.

He said, "Boys, you are going to tackle a real job tomorrow, and show
the Huns what kind of stuff the Yanks are made of."

All of the boys yelled, "We are with you, general, until the end. We
are going to give them hell! and, we won't go back until it's over,
over here."

The next day we were ready to move to the Front. The colonel gave the
command, and we marched off. We had to walk fifty miles.

As we came nearer and nearer to the front, the guns were roaring and
machine guns rattled away like fire. The first division, consisting
of the 18th Infantry, 26th Infantry, 16th and 18th Infantry, started
to sing, "Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here!" At last we arrived at the
Front. Our French comrades hailed us, and were surprised and overjoyed
to see the Yanks coming to relieve them and give them a rest.

Company after company moved in and relieved the French division and as
they moved out they bid us all the luck in the world.

This front was the Lorraine front, Luneville Sector. The next day,
October 14, 1917, our artillery fired the first shells into the German

The Germans got kind of restless and wondered who was facing them. They
sent out a patrolling party to gather information. But we boys were a
little too wise and our patrol party captured this German party and
brought them in. When they came in our trenches they asked us who we
were. I spoke up and said, "We are Americans," and the German officer
who spoke a little English said, "No! No! you are not an American. You
are English in American uniforms." But they soon found out that we
_were_ Americans and we did "treat 'em rough!"

I was now transferred to a machine gun company and was on duty one
night about 11.30. It was very cold. My loader Frank Martin and I
were talking quietly about our dear homes across the sea. Suddenly
the German machine guns opened up and we ducked down in our own gun
emplacement and could hear the bullets hissing over our heads. Then it
was silent again. We knew the Huns were getting restless so our signal
captain sent up a "very light" which lights up No Man's Land. And we
saw about 5,000 Prussian guards coming at us with bayonets fixed. I
held fast to my trigger, waiting for orders.

The lieutenant came to me and said, "George, don't get nervous. We are
going to get them in a trap." And I said:

"Lieutenant, do you think I will ever see the Statue of Liberty again?"

He said, "Cheer up, George, I will send the order soon."

So they fired another "very light" and there they were 100 yards from
where I was stationed. All was quiet. We kept still as mice.

Then suddenly a big red rocket went up which called for an artillery
barrage and I heard the shells of our artillery firing behind the
Germans so they could not go back to their own lines. This was followed
by two red rockets, meaning direct fire from our own machine guns. And
then I yelled, "Here's where the suicide club shines," and opened up.

We gave them all the "presents" they wanted. My machine gun was red
hot, and my hands were burning, but I didn't mind that. We were going
to get them and give them what they deserved.

We gave them "sweeping fire" and mowed them down like grass. Daylight
came and there were the Prussian Guards in big piles, dead and wounded.
We certainly did catch them in a trap.

That morning I went into the dugout and we boys sat around on bundles
of straw and sang some songs and told stories and jokes.

When the mail man would come around with the letters from home, we
would gather around him and listen for our names to be called.

The boys that got letters from their dear mothers had smiles on their
faces and were happy, knowing their mothers were thinking of them. And
those that didn't get letters were sad and disgusted and would have
tears rolling down their cheeks.

We stayed on that front two months. Christmas was on its way, and we
went back for a rest. At Christmas time all the boys gave ten francs
(two dollars, U. S. money) to give the little children of France a real
American Christmas.

After six days of preparation, we went to the Salvation Army hut and
had a big entertainment. Elsie Janis was the chief entertainer. After
the entertainment was over we all returned to bed.

The next day the church bells rang out and the little children ran
about wild with joy. The Yankee soldiers gave the children candy,
cakes, pies and other little presents and they could not get over it,
as they never had a Christmas like that before.

 Editor's Note.--The simple pathos of this story so appealed to me,
 that, knowing no words of mine could so vividly depict the feelings
 of this hero, I have given it to the readers of the book without
 revision. I simply desire to add that the action which he describes
 in the above story was the first of the Great War participated in by
 American Troops.

      H. L. F.



BEFORE proceeding with my second story, I wish to state that Cantigny
Village was the first town ever captured by the American troops in this
war, and also the first battle we ever had. My division, the "First,"
known all over France as the "Black Jack" Division, was named after
General "Black Jack" Pershing.

After leaving Lorraine front and spending Christmas behind the lines,
we were ordered to a more active front in Picardy, where some of the
biggest battles have taken place during this Great War.

We relieved the 2nd French Colonial Division and took over their
sector. We faced the town Cantigny, which is situated twenty miles
northwest of Montdidier.

This town was hard to take, as there were two Prussian Guard divisions
against one Yankee division.

Our general said, "Boys, we are going to take that town and we will
take it inside of seventy-two hours." Us boys all felt proud and were
ready to go "Over the Top" any time the order came.

Jimmy Doyle, the loader on my machine gun, was the youngest boy in the
battalion, and he was kind of nervous when he knew we were going "Over
the Top" in seventy-two hours. He sat down in the dugout, writing a
letter to his dear mother, with the shells and shrapnel going over our
heads. He expected a letter from his mother for three months but never
received it.

So Little Jimmie put in his letter, "Mother, I am writing you this
letter and it may be the last as I am going 'Over the Top' for the
first time, and I am going to do my bit even if I am only seventeen
years old. I wrote you ten letters and you have not written me one, so
mother, dear, please write your little Jimmie a letter. Good Bye and
God bless you. Jimmie."

The seventy-two hours had come and it was growing dark. We had extra
ammunition stacked beside our machine gun, ready to open fire on the
Huns. "Little Jimmie" worked hard stacking up the ammunition. The
infantry was "standing to" waiting for the word.

Everything was quiet. We had five minutes to think of our people back
home. "Little Jimmie" said to me:

"George, you were one of my best friends. I am a kid, but if I get
killed, tell my mother I died for her and the Stars and Stripes."

The time had come and the French tanks had started their engines. The
red rocket went up. Our artillery laid down their barrage and we opened
rapid fire with our machine guns. "Little Jimmie" was feeding the gun
like a veteran.

Shells were whistling all around us. The captains of all infantry
companies yelled, "Over the Top with the best of luck and give them
Hell. Up and at 'em, boys!"

And when they went over the boys yelled and cheered, rushing onward
to the Hun trenches, "Remember the _Lusitania_," "Remember the
_Antilles_," "Remember the U. S.," "Remember dear President Wilson and
the Stars and Stripes."

They kept on gaining, facing death and danger. We followed them up with
our machine guns. The Huns started with their artillery. They thought
they could stop us but they couldn't. We always had our fighting spirit
with us.

The German Prussian Guards came over to meet us. Our infantry went at
'em, facing them. Some yelled, "Kamerad," but that didn't go with us.
We gave them the cold steel instead. We had 500 yards to go to before
we could take Cantigny. "Little Jimmie" Doyle was working hard at the
gun and he would say, "I wonder if my mother is thinking of me." We
kept moving our gun and giving them all they wanted. All of a sudden
"Little Jimmie" fell with a Hun machine gun bullet through his head.
The blood was pouring down his cheek. I went to him, gave him my first
aid packet with bandages, put it around his head,--but in vain. He was
taking his last breath. He said:

"George, good bye, I knew this was my day."

He wanted to say a few more words, but could not. He lay still without
breathing. He was dead, and he died with a smile on his lips. The
poor lad was always happy and had a smile for whoever he met. "Little
Jimmie" died for his country and died like a man.

After taking Jimmie away I ran back to my machine gun. The Prussians
were coming over, driving back the infantry. They overpowered us but
the machine gunners all said: "We are going to hold this line until the
infantry gets reinforcements." We eight machine gunners were checking
the Germans finally. Now and then we stopped firing. Then the Huns
would rush at us, thinking that they had killed us, but we were very
much alive and as soon as they advanced a hundred yards or so, we would
open up our machine guns again and give 'em Hell. Four of the machine
gunners were killed and it was up to the remaining four to hold them
back until the infantry came.

Our ammunition was getting low and I was shot through my leg by a
high explosive shrapnel, but I kept on with my machine gun until our
infantry came up with the reinforcements, and went over with a yell and
chased the Huns back and captured Cantigny. We got that town in two and
a half hours.

My leg was bleeding and I had an awful pain but I stuck to it. We went
into the Hun trenches, which we had captured, and there I was treated
by the Red Cross dressing station and then we went in and brought out
the German prisoners who were hiding in the dugouts and cellars of the

Then the Germans, who were driven back to their reserve trenches,
wanted to get square on us, and fired over the poisonous gas. We got
the signal and put our masks on, and kept them on for seventy-two
hours. Mine was an old mask and it began to leak, until suddenly I
fell, and was unconscious for twenty-four hours. When I awoke I was in
the hospital, in a nice white bed such as I had not been in for ten
months. Oh! didn't I sleep. They couldn't get me up for anything.

I was nursed back to health, and, when I went back to the front, they
had a great surprise for me. I was summoned to General Headquarters and
there I was awarded the French war cross, or "Croix de Guerre," for
heroism during the battle of Cantigny. We all sang the song of songs,
"Over There," by the Yankee Doodle Boy, George M. Cohan. We used this
song all the time when we would march into battle, and sang it again
when we came out victorious.

Then I was sent home to dear America and my people were more than
pleased to see me march in a hero from "Over There."

Then they had me talking for the Knights of Columbus drive, Liberty
Loan, also the United War Work Campaign. The American people may
well be proud when their sons and sweethearts come marching home
victorious,--as they all fought well to make the world safe and a
decent place to live in.



I WAS one of the first 100,000 men of British Expeditionary Force
sent to Belgium in August, 1914. The great retreat from Mons and the
different battles (rearguard actions) that took place afterward were
some of the worst and fiercest actions that the British Forces ever
fought. Of course we know that not so many guns were used and nothing
like the barrage that is put down nowadays, but it was hard and severe
fighting with hardships that are no longer necessary today. The Lewis
machine gun, and the new types today, were not known then. We went
to the field with the old Maxim type used in previous warfare. Such
was the equipment of the first 100,000 men of British Expeditionary
Forces. Our forces were spread out on a twenty-two-mile front. Just a
mere handful of men that, without a doubt, saved Europe from Prussian
rule; although thousands do not realize this. If the enemy had known
of the weakness of our forces he would have walked across Belgium
and France. However, the enemy underestimated our forces, and the
stubborn and determined fight of, what the Kaiser called, England's
"Contemptible Little Army" saved the situation. At Mons it was a case
of, if the enemy broke through the line, there were no reserves to
bring up, so, officer and man alike, we stood to the last. When the
enemy broke through in certain parts of the lines--then came the hard
fighting. "Fritz" would break through on the left flank and endeavor to
cut us off, then came the time man after man went down, and, slowly,
we had to retreat assisted by cavalry, against, literally speaking,
hordes and hordes of Germany's best soldiers. Some companies were not
so fortunate, being completely surrounded, and annihilated, or taken
prisoners, very few escaping to tell the tale, and those that escaped
to the woods had no rations, and lived like savages, on anything that
could be found.

[Illustration: SERGT. T. S. GRUNDY]

Unfortunately not many of these men are alive today, being afterward
captured by the enemy and killed by ill-treatment in internment camps,
or starved to death in the woods. It was when the retreat was looking
very serious, and no reserves forthcoming, that the most wonderful and
thrilling incidents of the war occurred, and this is vouched for by all
who were there. When comrades were falling, one after the other, and
the Germans advancing in great masses, Angels appeared from the skies
and seemed to stop the approach of the enemy. They appeared to fall
back temporarily in sheer disorder. This was only a temporary collapse,
but it gave time for better preparations on our part, and this is what
saved us from being wiped out, as reserves were forthcoming afterward.
An incident of the enemy's method of warfare by unscrupulous means
came to my notice. We would not have lost half of the men we did, at
Mons, if it had not been for this. It was the fault of a French colonel
who was under the influence of his wife, a German woman, a spy of the
German empire, and she so used her influence over her husband that he
kept back two or three regiments of reserves for three days, under the
pretext of resting them, when they might have been up and probably
saved the situation. This colonel was afterward court-martialed and
shot, Lord Kitchener coming from England to investigate this.

Our enemy, as we have seen all through the war, has used these
unscrupulous methods. We lost 60,000 out of 100,000 1st B. E. F. Over
half our army was taken prisoners, killed and wounded. Out of my
battalion there were twenty-eight survivors--I being one of them.

After Mons came the great battle of Ypres, in which our regiment
took part. Things were nearly always very brisk in this sector of
the line. I remember one particular night, my chum and I were out on
listening posts when my chum thought he saw the enemy advancing. I
looked and could not see them. He started making a row, and I warned
him to be quiet, but he didn't heed me, when suddenly he went down
mortally wounded. I dived to the ground, and in diving my hands came
in contact with a man who had probably been dead some days. This was
not an unusual occurrence. About Sept. 15th, when we were up at Ypres
again, there was a party of us who went on a bombing raid one night.
Nearly every night a bombing party went out into No Man's Land. At
this particular time, however, we were returning from a bombing raid,
perhaps without as much caution as usual, when a shell burst right
among us, killing every man except myself and a chum, who was badly
wounded. I, however, found I had escaped with but a few scratches, and
taking along my chum who had a bad wound in the leg, managed, after
much trouble, to return to our lines. My chum, not being able to walk,
made it difficult for me. I had to carry him back, and to look out for
"whizz-bangs," and avoid tumbling into shell-holes. The weather at this
time of the year was very bad; raw and cold weather, up to our knees
in mud and water, stuck in the trenches, day after day, and week after
week. Such is trench life in winter time. But when springtime came
again, then things started to "liven up." "Fritz" was at it again. Our
battalion was up at Ypres salient, where a terrific artillery duel was
being put up at the time. Shells were dropping all around, star shells
illuminated the skies, and the word was passed around for getting ready
to go "Over the Top."

It was dawn, and, the rum ration having been handed around, the order
was given, and over we went. Some were just up and over and down they
went. I remember our captain was one of the first to fall. His words
as he fell were: "Carry on, boys, don't mind me," and the boys carried
on. All I could see before me was blood. It seemed as if I had no other
object in mind but to kill. Such were my feelings as we went over. We
hadn't advanced above 300 yards when a bullet whizzed too close for
my liking, and, turning my head, I saw my chum fall, and dozens of
others, but our orders were "carry on," and get our objective. Next
our first lieutenant fell and mustering us together, our remaining
lieutenant, a mere youth of eighteen years, and a small handful of men,
reached our position, not without severe loss of life. I remember one
little incident. A German officer lying severely wounded, called in
almost perfect English for a drink. One of the boys (probably a little
more human than some of us) went to give him a drink out of his water
bottle. Then the Prussian officer drew his revolver and shot this boy.
Those who witnessed the incident, I being among them, made short work
of the Prussian beast, but this incident goes to show the Prussians'
hate of his enemy.

The Saxon troops are the most civilized of the bunch. An incident of
just the opposite, I witnessed down at the Somme. A wounded German
soldier called for water to drink and one of our Tommies kindheartedly
went and gave it to him. They conversed for a minute or two. The German
spoke in broken English. He said to the Tommy, as he undid his tunic
and displayed a Salvation Army jersey, "I am a Salvationist," and the
British Tommy replying said, "So am I." They shook hands and the German
fell back dead. Never shall I forget the sights that I have seen in the
trenches we took from the Boches. I remember one particular trench we
took, we found a young girl about nineteen years of age, who had one
of her eyes taken out, an ear cut off and her right breast severed.
This was not an isolated case of the Boche's villainy. I personally
witnessed, in villages in France and Belgium, the bodies of old men
that had been crucified or slowly tortured to death. I have seen a
little baby bayonetted to a doorpost and the bayonet left sticking in
the body.

It was down at Loos that I was gassed. I have a recollection of the
gas coming over and was unconscious for twenty-four hours, and had
oxygen pumped into me. When I returned to consciousness I found myself
in a hospital with a Red Cross nurse bending over me. Another sector
of the line I was in was at Cambrai (after my recovery from the
hospital). Here we caught it pretty rough. It was the time that British
divisions were being drafted off to Italy that things were lively.
Several battalions were being marched off to Italy, when "Fritz" broke
through part of our line down south, and advanced in mass formation.
Then we were ordered to retreat. It was some retreat! Guns were left,
ammunition dumps not blown up, and we retreated about thirty miles.
Our losses there were great. However, in small counter-attacks and
skirmishes, which our battalion took part in, we captured quite a few
prisoners. I was quite surprised to notice how young some of these
German soldiers seemed--not more than seventeen years of age. In the
early part of 1918 I was up in Ypres again where one night we had after
severe fighting recaptured a few hundred yards, I was just standing
around in the captured trenches, when a shell burst and a piece of
shrapnel caught me. Down I went, to awake once more in a hospital,
where the boys were all content and happy, in spite of wounds. So was
I, especially when I heard I was for "Blighty" once again.



IN THE month of October, 1914, the second Canadian Division was being
formed. I being too young at that time, could not enlist, but in the
month of February, 1915, I did enlist with the 55th Battalion. The
commander of that battalion was Lieutenant Colonel Kirkpatrick. It was
in the month of March of the same year that our regiment went into camp
at Sussex, N. B. Every day of our life in camp was work, day and night,
but of course our battalion found time for their sports; even if we did
have to work very hard during the day.

In the beginning of June of that year there was a call came to our
regiment for volunteers to go overseas, with the 26th Battalion, which
is now known as the Famous Fighting 26th; at that time under command of
Lieutenant Colonel McAvity, better known as "Colonel Jim." Of course
I was eager to get over and do my bit. I was one of the many who
volunteered. It was on the most unlucky day of that month, June 13,
1915, that the 26th sailed on the transport _Caledonian_ for an unknown
port in England. As the transport moved from the pier amid cheering
crowds, the boys were happy and gay.


Our voyage across the pond was uneventful, only we were all given life
belts which we had to wear all the time of our trip, and of course we
had our life boat drill, which took place in the morning after our
physical training. The afternoon was spent in sports of all kinds,
boxing, running, etc. We did not come in contact with any U-boats and
I might say we had very little seasickness on board. Our trip of nine
days was the most enjoyable trip I have ever had on the water. When we
were a few miles from our landing place, away off in the distance we
could see two destroyers coming toward us. At first we thought they
were "Fritzies" but as they came nearer we found them to be British
destroyers coming to escort us into the harbor at Southampton.

On arriving at that port, amid cheering crowds, we disembarked for our
training camp in England. We marched to the station and boarded the
train. At every step we made, the English people would give us hot tea,
cake and fruit, and we sure did enjoy it.

We arrived in the City of Folkestone, and from there marched to the
training camp, known as West Sandling camp. We were tired out from
our long train journey, and had a quiet repose in our new home. Our
training started in real earnest there. A lot of it was quite new to
us, such as musketry, bayonet fighting, trench warfare, bombing, etc.
After two months of hard work, and long marches, the word came at last
for us to show the Huns what we were made of. We received orders for
parade in full marching order--then were marched about five miles to
the transport, which was waiting for us at Folkestone. I might say that
was in the month of September, 1915. Our voyage across the channel was
very rough, but of course we did not mind it.

We arrived in the city of Boulogne, on the coast of France, and marched
from there to a rest camp, staying there for three days. Once more we
got orders to move on. We marched about forty or forty-five miles to
St. Omer, then on to a rest camp behind the lines at Kemmel Hill, which
is in Flanders.

After a brief rest, our battalion went into the front line, at the
above mentioned place. As we were nearing the front lines we could
hear the big guns and shells bursting overhead; also the whistling
of bullets. Of course, I naturally started ducking my head, and I
have been ducking ever since. In the week of the 12th of October, our
battalion was in the front line, in the P. E. O. trenches at Kemmel,
and on that day "Fritzie" sprung a mine in No Man's Land which formed
a big crater. On the morning of the 13th we got orders that we were
to take that crater. The time set for going "Over the Top" was 2 A.M.
and every man was ready and eager to show what he was made of. To the
minute a blast of the whistle came, and we were over. "Fritzie" saw
us and he also came over. Then a hand-to-hand fight started. I came
in contact with a big Hun, and of course we went to it. Before many
seconds had passed, I got his bayonet over the bridge of the nose,
but it did not knock me out, and a short time after I got him; my
first Hun. My, but I was a proud boy. I put my hand to my face and it
became covered with blood--so I started back to the trench to get my
wound dressed. On arriving at my battalion dressing station the doctor
started operations. He put four stitches in my nose and then I was sent
back to a field hospital for further treatment. While at the hospital I
heard that our battalion had taken the crater and covered itself with
glory, but our losses were heavy. It was during that fight that my
regiment made itself famous.

After two weeks in the hospital, I was sent back to my regiment which
was in a rest camp. I carried back with me two lovely black eyes from
the effect of the wound.

Once more we moved into the trenches, under a heavy downpour of rain.
The winter had just set in. It was cold and damp under foot, and the
water reached up to our knees. During our stay in the line at that
time, I recall an incident which happened. I was sitting in a dugout,
having a bite to eat with some of my pals, and enjoying the meal quite
well. Something had to spoil our lunch, of course. A shell came over
and burst on top of the dugout and buried us for about four or five
hours. We were in darkness--then we were dug out, and were none the
worse from our little experience.


  Part 2


DURING our stay in the line at Kemmel Hill, after the crater fight,
the winter started in real earnest. The snow and sleet was something
awful. Nothing but wet feet all the time. Had it not been for our rum
ration, we should have died from disease. A great number of our boys
did die. Some of the boys in our working party who went up the line,
while we were in billets, were drowned in the shell-holes, that were
filled with water, or got trench feet and were sent to the hospital.
During the Christmas of 1915 we were in the front line, and it was
very cold. We had our Christmas dinner there, which consisted of our
regular rations, but when we came to our billets again, after six days
in the front line, we had a Christmas dinner which consisted of turkey,
dressing, pudding, tea and other nice things. I am sure all the boys
enjoyed it to their heart's content. In fact, it was the best meal we
had since arriving in Flanders. We also had our New Year's dinner out
on the line, much to our joy. During Christmas and New Year's we had
entertainments at the Y. M. C. A. huts and a few movie shows.

About two days after New Year's we went back into the line; also the
mud and water. The rest of that winter was very uneventful.

It was on June 21, 1916, that the third battle of Ypres started,
our regiment being in the line at Kemmel Hill, and our 3rd Canadian
division at Ypres. On the second of that month "Fritzie" made his drive
for Ypres. The battle started about 2 A.M. The Huns came over in massed
formation, and very strong in number, almost six to one of "ours." All
the boys in my battalion were sitting on top of the trench, looking
on at the attack. The noise from the big guns was dreadful; also the
machine gun fire. The prettiest sight I ever saw was the star shells
bursting in the air. They were of colored red, white, and green, which
was the Hun's S. O. S. call.

On the fourth of June, "Fritzie" managed to drive our boys from their
position in that part of the line. Our third division put up a very
strong fight, but they were outnumbered and could not hold. So the Huns
advanced quite a bit, and gained a lot of ground. The 48th Battalion
was separated from the other battalions and other regiments were in
the same fix. That was the reason the Huns drove them back.

On the 11th of June our battalion, the 26th, was taken out of the line
at Kemmel Hill, and after a few hours rest, started for the support
line at Ypres, which was Bedford Farm. On arriving there we stayed
for two days, and on the 12th of the next month our famous Canadian
Scottish made an attack on "Fritzie" and succeeded in driving him back,
after very hard fighting and hand-to-hand work.

It was on the 14th that our battalion, accompanied by others, moved
up to relieve the tired-out Scotties, who were tattered and torn.
They came straggling back, but not in the same strength as when they
went into the conflict. They had a great number killed, wounded and
missing. As our battalion moved up the road leading to the trenches,
under heavy shell fire, we lost two hundred men, killed and wounded.
As we moved along, we could see our chums falling. That made us more
eager to get at the Hun. On arriving in the front line, late that
evening I was detailed off as a battalion runner, and, of course, it
was very interesting work. I was to report at battalion headquarters
which was about three-quarters of a mile behind the line. After great
difficulty I found myself at that point, and reported myself to the
sergeant-major. A short time after I was ordered to take a battalion
into the trenches at Hooge, and after great difficulty, going over the
shell-torn ground, I landed the regiment safe at their port.

On the following morning at 9 A.M. I received another order to take a
dispatch to every boy in my battalion. Of course there is always two
men who go with the dispatch. The idea of that is in case one man gets
wounded, the other can look after his wounds, and carry on with his
orders. My partner and I started out from battalion headquarters, and
going up the communication trench, found it all blown to pieces, so
we decided to take to the open. On arriving at a company we delivered
the dispatch and went on to the next company. It was very uneventful
but it took us from 9 A.M. one day until 4 A.M. the following morning
to get back. On our way back we arrived at a company in time to get
a little party out to headquarters, but at the same time "Fritzie"
started shelling us very heavily, so we took different routes. About
fifty yards from the front line my pal got a bullet in the back, which
brought him down. I dressed his wound, then carried him for a distance
of about fifty or sixty yards. I then laid him down, so I could get a
rest and straighten myself up, but when I picked him up again he was
dead. I continued the rest of my journey alone, but before long I got
hit myself in both legs. I dressed them and crawled to headquarters,
delivered the dispatch, then fell into a fainting spell. When I came to
I found myself in a hospital in Boulogne.

Canada's casualties in the war up to eleven days before the capture of
Mons on the final morning of the conflict totalled 211,358 men.

These classified as follows:

  Killed in action              34,877
  Died of wounds                15,457
  Wounded and presumed dead     52,779
  Missing in action and known
    prisoners of war             8,245

Canada's losses have been very great and she has fought very bravely
for a just cause, the freedom of the world and everlasting peace.



IT WAS back in 1914 when the word came to Canada for soldiers to serve
for King and Country. As I was very young, not quite eighteen years
of age, I thought I would like to enlist, and go to war, not really
knowing what I was going into.

At that time, anyone enlisting under age had to have his parents'
consent, which, I will say, was no easy matter. After having a little
battle of my own, with all my relatives, I finally managed to get the
signature of my parents.

We went to camp a few days later and had about two months' training at
Valcartier, and then sailed for England. After training a few months in
the Old Country we sailed for France the early part of February, 1915,
where we first got our taste of war. I was more than surprised, because
I was young, and my idea of war was sniping at each other from behind
a tree or stump, but this trench warfare was a new thing. At that
time I was attached to an ammunition column which fed the guns with
its ammunition. Then it was a case of starving the guns, because the
shortage of ammunition would only allow each gun of each battalion four
rounds a day and as the soldiers call it out there, they had our "wind
up" all the time.

[Illustration: GUNNER F. G. McAVITY]

We had lost quite a number of men at Ypres and pulled out of that
position for another part of the line, when I was wounded on the
forenoon of September 21st. It was only a slight wound in the left
foot. After a few months at the hospital and proving A-1 again, I was
sent back to the line, and joined my unit at Ploegstreet in the fall of
the same year. Now, as you know, the fighting was not so great, but the
hardships were terrible through the winter. It is simply wonderful what
a human being can stand. If anyone had told me before I enlisted that I
could lay in mud and water for day in and day out, I think I would have
called him a "liar," but I have come to the conclusion that nothing is
impossible nowadays.

Some days when it was a little quiet, we would spend our time in fixing
up our bivouac, which we had built on the ground, as huts to live in.
After the winter of 1915 and the spring of 1916, we moved to the Ypres
salient and we had a pretty tough time of it there, as they had us
pinned in the shape of a horseshoe, and they could hit us from all
sides except the rear. The Germans had us overwhelmed at that time, but
even with their wonderful fighting mechanism, they couldn't drive back
the fighting race from North America.

We fought on in the salient until July, 1916, when the first division
got word we were to move to another front. It was rather a surprise.
We thought we were to have a rest at that time. The fighting was heavy
on the two fronts--the Somme front in France and the Salonica front in
Greece. So it was a question with the boys which one we were going to.
At last word came to move somewhere and after a number of days on the
train and on foot, we at last came to a sign along the roadway marked
Somme River.

Well, then we knew we were on our way to the Somme front, going into
action the same night. We arrived on the battle scene, and that was
the introduction of the Canadians in the Battle of the Somme. It was a
tough fight and we lost a number of men, but it was much worse for poor

We had it pretty rough all the time on the Somme, and oftentimes when
the rations did not get up from the divisional train, we had to lay
back on the hard-tack, which looks like dog biscuits, and we thought
one of these biscuits dipped in bacon grease was a great treat at that

I fought on the Somme through the summer of 1916, until the fall of the
same year, and in the early part of the evening of November 9, as I was
in horse lines of our battery, having a nice friendly game of "crown
and anchor," the corporal of my section called me from my game (I was
winning and did not like to leave the game) and said:

"McAvity, you will go up with rations to the battalion tonight. I think
you had better leave about eight o'clock." Well, I went back to the
game and played until eight, and then I started for the line. As we
placed the rations over pack horses and started to plough through the
mud, leading our horses, it was a case of ups and downs, stepping in a
shell-hole here, and on a dead body there. Fritz was putting a lot of
gas shells over, and it was getting late in the night and raining like

We had one of our boys up in the air by the concussion of a shell and
he also lost his ration. At last we got to the battery. The gas shells
still poured over and the major gave us orders to get back as quickly
as possible after delivering the goods. I think we were about fifty
yards away from the battery when a big shell burst, or at least a "Jack
Johnson" as the boys call it. The boy behind me, the one who lost his
ration, said to me:

"Mac, we had better hurry as it was pretty close," and let me tell you
the next one that came over "got" both of us, killing him and wounding
me severely. At 11.20 P.M. on the eve of November 9th, after spending
nearly two years in hospital, I was discharged, May, 1918, in St. John,
N. B., Canada.



BEING wounded on November 9th, my first stop was at a stationary
hospital, Rouen, France. I had one operation there, and had some
shrapnel removed from my body. One of the pieces was taken from my
left shoulder; a nice-sized piece, which is shown in the photograph
illustrating this story. When I came to, after being under the
operation, I felt something hard on my shoulder. The nurse, seeing that
I did not pay much attention to it, came to my bed and asked me if I
did not want my souvenir, meaning my shrapnel. Well, as I was in great
pain at that time, I did not prize it very much, but I value it quite a
lot today.

After a few months in France, they moved me to a Red Cross hospital at
Southampton, England, called Netley hospital. I had a long stretch of
hospital life in Netley. When I was sailing from France to England,
aboard the hospital ship, they asked me where I would like to go.
Naturally, being a Canadian, and having no relatives over there, I
promptly said, London, so I could meet some of my pals. When I got off
the boat, and aboard the hospital train, I asked the orderly if I was
near London, and he gave the answer: "Don't worry. You are not going
to London. You are on your way to Netley, and will be there in ten

I was a little downhearted at first, but after a few weeks, I was
satisfied with my treatment, which was the very best.

When I got my little lot of wounds, on the Somme, I also was exposed
to gas shells, which left my stomach in such a condition that I could
not eat for two months until after I had that sea voyage from France
to Netley. The nurse there asked me if I would try a poached egg on
toast, and that was my turning point. From that day until the day I was
discharged I have not missed a meal, except after an operation.

I had nine operations altogether, eight in the Netley Hospital at
Southampton, England. After the shrapnel was removed, the doctor found
out that the bone in my shoulder was severely fractured, and I had
four different operations, just to clean out the loose bone which was
keeping my wound from healing. All the time I was in the hospital
and even until three months ago my arm was completely paralyzed. But
through the wonderful treatment they gave me I am very glad to say I
have pretty good use of my left arm.


Another one of my large wounds was in my left thigh, where I lost about
eight inches of flesh, from the knee up. I have had four operations on
this limb. I lay for eight months in suspense, awaiting the official
word, whether I would have to lose the left limb. I can honestly say I
had a great deal of confidence in my surgeon, and one day he came to me
and had a personal chat with me. He talked to me just like a father. He
asked me if I thought I could stand another operation because he stated
that I was in a pretty bad condition. I was very anxious to know his
view on the subject as I put all confidence in him. I promptly asked
him his decision, and he replied that he thought I could stand it.
Knowing he thought I could pull through, it did not take me long to let
him do anything to get me healed up.

The operation was performed and I had all the skin taken from my right
thigh and grafted on the wound on the left. I can say it was a success,
and after a few months I was able to get along on a cane. The doctor,
seeing I was able to move about, had me sent to a Canadian Hospital so
I could be boarded and sent to Canada.

I was in the Canadian hospital for about a month and was very anxious
to see my native land again, when one day at noon the word came for me
to pack up and get ready for the boat.

After nine days at sea on a hospital ship, with all lights aglow, at
the time the Germans were sinking Red Cross ships, we pulled into
Halifax, N. S., safe and sound. Here I was detailed off for a hospital,
after I had my furlough, to visit my relatives.

After I had seen my people, and was exhausted from talking, and shaking
hands with old acquaintances, I reported to hospital again in St. John,
N. B., Canada, where I received electrical and massage treatment.

At that time I could not bend my knee, and my leg was stiff, but
through the wonderful treatment, and my own will power, I finally got
very good use of it before I got my discharge, May, 1918.



      5th October, 1915.

It is a matter of sincere regret to me that the death of
Colour-Sergeant Frederick William Hall deprived me of the pride of
personally conferring upon him the Victoria Cross, the greatest of all
Military Distinctions.

      George R. I.

  Mrs. M. Hall,
    179 Spence Street,
      Winnipeg, Canada.]

The original letter of the above photo was sent to Mrs. Hall, together
with the Victoria Cross, from King George. This medal, the first
Canadian Victoria Cross awarded in this War, was won by Sergeant Major
F. W. Hall at Ypres, April 24, 1915, who was shortly afterwards killed
in another attempt to bring in a wounded man under rifle and machine
gun. The story of his two brothers appears in this book.


  BY SGT. F. R. MUIR, NO. 81611, 10TH BATT., C.E.F.

SIX months before war had been declared I left New York City for
Winnipeg, Canada, to play at the Winnipeg Theater and remained there
until war was an established fact. On August 6, 1914, I enlisted as an
American and joined the 32nd Battalion, C.E.F. After about five months'
training, my battalion was ready and eager for service. From Halifax,
Nova Scotia, we set out on the former Red-Star liner _Vaderland_ bound
for the battle grounds of Civilization, each and every boy of us keyed
up to the highest pitch of patriotism. When we were three days at sea
we ran out of cigarettes. A number of the boys had boxes of strong
cigars with them and these they passed around quite generously. We
smoked with the usual gusto and also the usual results. A ton of fish
must have been fattened on food that was intended solely to strengthen
us for the combat.

This experience, coupled with seasickness, made four of us refuse to
wake up one morning, for which we were brought up before the major and
sentenced to cleaning port-hole windows. We did not relish this labor
and one port hole each was the extent of our efforts for half the day.
In the afternoon we were set to peeling potatoes, cleaning the dishes
and scrubbing the lower decks, which we finally accomplished after much
pouting and grumbling.

As we neared the coast of Ireland the ships which comprised our convoy
seemed to be making a bee line for any port they could reach. Word had
been received that subs were in the vicinity and full steam ahead was
the order of the day. The fact that our ship was the slowest tub of
the bunch, making only about nine knots per hour, added darned little
to our comfort. Finally after much excitement we docked at Queenstown.
Major Ashton, in command of our battalion, had the gangplanks lowered
and invited us out to a route march through the city. We aroused quite
some enthusiasm and curiosity, as we were the first Canadian troops
to ever land in Ireland. Our next stop was Liverpool and there the
dinkey trains, which to us were a real joke in comparison to our own
huge monsters at home, afforded us opportunity for funny comment. These
trains are little bits of things and from fifteen to twenty men were
crammed into a small compartment normally holding about ten. Several
of us were unable to sit down all the way to London. The best feature
of the train service was the fond good-byes, given us by the young
ladies who usually gave them with a kiss, something that not many of us
found fault with.

On our journey through London we were royally received by English Red
Cross ladies who fed us with welcome lunches that sure did fill the
vacuum beneath the belt. From Folkestone, fully equipped, we left
for France. We knew we were going over to reinforce the gallant 10th
Battalion, and this knowledge added to our good spirits. We were
relieving real heroes and we knew it was up to us to "Carry on" as
nobly as had our predecessors. Every mother's son of us was eager, yes,
anxious, to start in on real action. Canada expected much from us, and
we would not disappoint her. Arriving at Boulogne we were a bit peeved
as we anticipated being received by enemy shell fire, but silence was
the only reception we got.

Red Cross ambulances were arriving in countless numbers, bringing in
the wounded, and this was our first glimpse of battle's havoc. This
sort of took the heart out of us, but only for a few moments, for,
with that scene, came a gritting of the teeth, and on each face could
be seen a new-born determination to see this thing through to a
successful conclusion.

After a night spent, tentless, in the pouring rain, covered only with
straw and the mean, wet sky, we entrained for an unknown destination,
and landed at Poppraine, which surely looked like an unknown
destination, as it was a typical jerk-water village inhabited only by
a few old men and women. Through this village we hiked and up a road
leading to the front line trenches. This road had been shot full of
shell-holes, which made walking very uncomfortable. The further on we
walked, the nearer came "Fritzie's" forty-two centimeter shells, fired
from the largest cannon ever known up to that time; the "Jack Johnsons"
as they were called. We were kept busy dodging the shells that seemed
to burst all around us, yet never hit us, but in our hearts and souls
we realized that at last we were on speaking terms with Mr. Death
himself; and this sobered us up some, you bet. 'Twas no unusual thing
to feel your hair stand right up straight on end and hear your knees
beat a tattoo as they knocked against each other. However, we soon
overcame this feeling as the purpose of our mission dawned upon us. I
had a good opportunity to observe how young fellows act when each
knows that death may be his portion at any moment.


In a section composed of eight men I noticed that one was laughing as
lightly as though he was safe and secure at home. Another was singing a
crazy song and kept marching along defying death, or any other horror,
that might overtake him. Still another took the matter so seriously
as to walk along in a sort of semi-conscious daze, with a look of
stupidity on his face, oblivious to all surroundings. There is the
case of Private Fred Wheelhouse, a Canadian lad of about twenty-two
years, who while walking under fire of the German guns kept on playing
his mouth organ or harmonica until struck on the head by a piece of
shrapnel which killed him instantly and spattered his brains upon his
nearby comrades.

This was our first casualty and right then and there we solemnly swore
that we would avenge him. On April 21, 1915, while awaiting orders in
our reserve trenches two miles from the front line which was being held
by the Canadian troops from the 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 8th battalions, the
Germans let loose a heavy gas attack upon them. At that time the gas
mask was hardly known, the men being equipped with small, inefficient
respirators, and naturally the casualties were very heavy. As a result
the men had to fall back, losing a lot of the lighter guns. This made
necessary the use of the men in the reserve trenches, and an order was
immediately issued that we "stand to" ready to take our places in a
counter-attack which was to be launched in the morning.

Imagine, if you can, the feelings of the lads awaiting the rising of
the sun which, probably, meant the last sunrise many of them would
behold. The tortures of the death-house, I am sure, are mild when
compared to those endured by the boys, in the tense hours prior to the
attack; especially when one has to listen to the moaning of the wounded
who are being carried back of the lines. It is far from encouraging,
and it did not surprise me when, after going through a night like
this, that each and every one of us became fatalists. At five-thirty
in the morning, the time set for the attack, we received word to go,
and, believe me, we were glad of it. I felt as though I was ready for
death to end my anxiety, or else to fight it out, right on the spot,
to a finish. Our officer, Lieutenant Ball, was the first to jump to
the front. After a lusty "Come on, boys," he shot forward into the
turmoil, caused by our heavy artillery, with a recklessness bordering
on insanity. His action was an inspiring one and we boys were ready to
follow him to Hell, if needs be.

In that charge I enjoyed the experience of getting my first German.
I crashed into him, a big burly six-footer, and now that my wish to
meet one had been gratified, and I stood before him, I did not know
whether to shoot him, punch him, kick him or stick him as you would a
pig. Not having much experience with the bayonet, I acted on impulse
and rammed it right through his stomach. Oh, boy! What a squeal he
let out. Putting my foot on his breast I pulled the bayonet from out
his vitals, taking along with it his bowels. This nerved me, and I
rushed forward like a raving maniac stopping for nothing. I plowed my
way through them using first my butt and then the bayonet until I had
rushed right into their second line, and, Holy Jerusalem!! right smack
into a whole nest of them. We were proceeding rather methodically,
in cleaning them out, when a shell from a "Jack Johnson" burst in
the midst of our gallant little company, killing five outright and
separating two from their legs and arms, I myself losing a leg and
having my shoulder put out of commission. I was conscious all the time
of what had happened, and managed to crawl into a shell-hole, and slap
a bandage about my leg. With my shoulder I could do nothing and after
lying exposed for two hours the company stretcher bearers picked me up,
and carried me back to the dressing station. From there I was sent to
No. 13 general hospital, Boulogne, but by the time I arrived, gangrene
had set in, and the doctors there could do nothing for me. Again I
was transferred, this time to London, and from there to Cambridge. A
Doctor Cook, holding the rank of major, and from New York, announced
he would cure me in two months. But the job was a more difficult one
than he anticipated and six months was required ere I could walk again.
During that time the leg had to be amputated to the knee. I was then
discharged and received, from the Canadian Government, an artificial
limb which I later discarded for a better one made in little old New



IT WAS the latter end of the month of April, 1915, that the 32nd
Canadian Battalion received orders to embark from the port of
Folkestone, on the south coast of England, for the western front.

By reason of the fact that the Canadians had suffered great losses at
the first battle of Ypres, our order to leave England came at an hour's
notice, but the regiment to a man was extremely anxious to get over,
and get busy.

While we were on board, our time was occupied by assembling our new
issue of Webb Equipment, which we had practically thrown at us, prior
to leaving our huts at Risborough Barracks, Shorncliffe. Consequently
some of us found we were short a portion of the accoutrement while
others had parts to spare. Being sociable, we were all able to make a
complete rigout.

The night was of the pitch-black sort, but, thanks to the science of
navigation, and sea and air escort, we docked at Boulogne, France, safe
and sound, but in a drizzly rain.

As long as I live, I'll never forget the peculiar odor that filled the
air while marching up the long, steep, winding road that led from the
docks to the camp. It seemed miles, and more miles, long, but thank
goodness, we arrived at last, to spend our first night on damp ground,
or I had better say cold mud. It's very true we had canvas over us, but
I'm sure the tents had just been thrown up, for it was quite as dry
outside as inside.

I had no sooner put my head on my knapsack when that poor miserable
little bugler bellowed out his early morning song.

On April the 27th we entrained for parts unknown, at least we poor
privates didn't know where we were bound for; probably our company
commander knew, and, if he was in the humor, the sergeant-major might
have known also.

After traveling all night and part of the next day, packed in cattle
cars like the proverbial sardines, we arrived at Poperinghe. The name
was the largest portion of the town that the German gunners saw fit
to leave. Detraining here, we made a rapid march to within a mile of
Ypres. Here we joined our respective regiments. I went to the 10th
Battalion. It had then earned the name of the "Fighting Tenth."


This night we dug ourselves in, along two sides of a large field.
Each man dug a shallow hole large enough to lie down comfortably in.
Owing to my height I had to dig one at least six feet in length. I
was wishing, at that particular time, that I happened to be that poor
miserable little bugler, as he was a little more than five feet tall.

The next morning I, for one, was up before reveille. I found it much
more comfortable walking round in the cool of the morning than lying
in a mud hole with only a greatcoat within a mile of me. I imagine
something always happened to those lovely army blankets, for they were
generally conspicuous by their absence.

The evening of the 28th was reasonably fine when we answered roll call
prior to going up the line. Here we found ourselves in the last line
of reserves, the idea being to get used to the "heavies." At times the
shells became far too familiar with us, consequently I lost some of my
best pals. We spent a week like this on the Yser Canal bank, living
like the old cave dwellers, only we were not there long enough, and it
wasn't peaceful enough, to construct any labyrinths. Our work consisted
of making shelters, after a "Jack Johnson" had obliterated them.

On the move again, this time to billets about seven miles south of
Baieulle, it took a full night to march the distance, with full kit.
The roads didn't appear to get any softer, as time went by, but still
one heard the everlasting (Kipling's) boots, boots, boots. As we had
ten minutes each hour to rest, I was absolutely unconscious for nine
and a half minutes of that time.

On the nineteenth of May, we were on foot again. I had a feeling it
would not be to the last line of reserves this time. Neither it was,
for, by the next night, we were heading for the front line trenches,
one mile east of the village of Festubert. At dusk we traversed
communication trenches to our destination: the front line on the edge
of No Man's Land. At last! After training and waiting for over seven
months. We relieved the Berkshires and took up our posts along with
the "Little Black Devils," as the 8th Battalion is called, in a trench
which was only captured from the Germans the previous day. The portion
of the trench we held was dug in a roadway, and being fairly high
ground was comparatively dry. This speaks wonders for a trench, for we
plodded through much mud and water to reach it. Every second man was
detailed to mount guard, while the remainder fought for forty winks,
then relieved guard. The first two nights were uneventful, though a
heavy artillery duel was the standing program.

The third night, the twenty-first, we were not going to give "Fritzie"
a chance to come across, but we were going to push him back. If a man
tells you he was not nervous going "Over the Top" for the first time,
he lies. I felt nervous, though I never confessed it, and I wager
everyone else felt the same way, as we had to wait about two hours,
after being told we were going over. At eight o'clock we were sent up
to a small communication trench about half way across No Man's Land,
on the side toward the enemy. It cut across diagonally. There was a
good-sized gap, on which some snipers had their rifles trained. At
this point, we lost a few of our company. It was a case of running the
gauntlet for each man who passed it. All of us had to pass it three
different times; for, in our first advance, the order was cancelled, so
we had to return till later on.

About nine o'clock, at dusk, we finally went ahead to the end of
the communication trench. Here we branched out on either side, and
spread out in open order, to charge. By this time my nervousness had
disappeared. My mind was set on the one object of getting someone--and
I gripped my gun, and prayed for all the strength I could muster. With
a wild cry of _"Lusitania,"_ we received the orders to go. All I could
do was yell to the boys to give them "beans," for I was knocked down,
and found my right leg was half blown off, just below the thigh. If
the boys hadn't taken their objective that night, I should have been
a prisoner, instead of a hospital case, for over twenty months, in

    I'm just a plain buck private,
      Who fought with Canada's Sons,
    In a regiment of the Maple Leaf,
      That made it hot for the Huns.

    I'm just a plain buck private,
      And fought on the side of right,
    To serve the world for democracy,
      And beat the Hunnish might.

    I'm just a plain buck private,
      From the land of ice and snow,
    And gave all I could, for my country,
      To help to vanquish the Foe.

It was probably an hour or two after the advance that some of the men
came to see what they could do for us. In my particular case the
shrapnel, which had penetrated and completely shattered the right
femur, had also numbed the nerves, therefore I was left conscious.

However, one of our battalion sergeants tied up the top of the leg for
me with a length of cord, which I was always in the habit of carrying.

Four of the machine gunners, who had just returned from the new
trench, made an attempt to carry me into the old communication trench,
but their good intentions were completely frustrated by the company
captain, a real cantankerous sort, who levelled his revolver at me, and
declared he would shoot, if the boys took me in. Though I felt sore,
in more ways than one, I came to the conclusion that he was perfectly
right, as it might have blocked the trench to the reserves coming up.

The only thing to do was to put me on the ground again. Here I was
expecting another shell every minute, but Providence evidently thought
I had received my share, as I was free from any more shells, though
they were bursting close at hand continually.

About 2 A.M. our battalion stretcher-bearers managed to reach the
position where many more, with myself, were lying. The shelling had
then subsided to a great extent, making it possible to continue the
work of carrying out the wounded.

I knew one of the three men who came alongside of me with a perfectly
good-looking stretcher. Though the way was long and very rocky, we
finally arrived at the first aid dressing station. After resting here
for probably an hour, I was conveyed in one of the "London Scottish"
ambulances about five miles to a field hospital. I saw many of the boys
here. Most of them appeared to be walking cases. The next thing I knew,
I was placed on the operating table, where I smelled ether for the
first time. I remember the doctor saying: "Be perfectly still, now, and
breathe naturally." After that I knew no more till the job of inserting
numerous rubber tubes through the leg was finished. Having to spend two
nights on ambulances and trains, I arrived at a British base hospital
in Boulogne. I remember the people cheering as our train pulled in, but
I wasn't in the mood for caring what they did.

The treatment was of the best in this hospital, though I only remained
in it fourteen days. In the bed next to mine there was a Scotchman who
kept yelling continually. His leg had been amputated so I couldn't see
what he had to kick about. Nevertheless, it made it quite impossible
to get any rest at all.

On the morning of June 3rd, the doctor marked me "out," which meant
that I was going to "Blighty." I hardly realized what it meant then.

Again I was on the table--this time to cut an abscess and to put a
cumbersome iron splint on me. I think they called it a Hodgson's
splint, one of those affairs that extended down two sides of the body
to the feet. It took up a lot of room--so much so that I had to have
a Ford ambulance all to myself; consequently at the boat's side I was
taken for an officer and treated as one. This I didn't object to in the

The _Abert_ set sail soon after, and about two hours afterward we were
in Dover, where we entrained, in a regular hospital train. I was marked
for Norwich, in the County of Norfolk, a short distance from the east
coast. The night of June 5th our train pulled into Norwich station,
where the Red Cross ambulance conveyed us to our hospital. I found
myself in a military ward of the General Hospital of Norwich, but only
for a few minutes. They discovered that the beds were too small for
both myself and the splint, so I was shifted to another ward, where I
was put to bed, and became very much attached to this same bed for ten
long months, undergoing nine more operations in the hope of saving the
limb. They eventually took it off, but I always have the consolation of
knowing that I am far better off than a good many others.

 Editor's note:--The verses embodied in this story are in no way
 changed, but are printed exactly as Mr. Oxton delivered them to me.

      H. L. F.



ON THE afternoon of July 24, 1917, as I was walking along the streets
of Detroit, Michigan, my attention was attracted by the beat of
drums and the tramp of marching men. It then dawned on me that I was
big enough to do my bit, so I went to the Marine recruiting office,
enlisted, and was sent to Paris Island, S. C., where I was trained for
four months. On January 19, 1918, I left New York and after thirteen
days arrived at a port in France. It was there I got my first glimpse
of war. We were loaded in box cars about half the size of American
cars. They are built for eight horses, but forty marines had to spend
sixty hours in them. We were then in the zone of advance, but stayed
only about three weeks. We went into the line the first night. It was
an experience I shall never forget. Cigarettes were barred and no loud
talking permitted. I thought it very funny, but soon learned different.
The third night in, "Heinie" paid us a visit. There were thirty-seven
of us, holding about 500 yards of front line. This at one time was a
quiet sector but it woke up on this night. We had no reserves, and
retreat was impossible, so all we had to do was to stay and entertain
our visitors. There were about 250, and none of them looked starved
to death. After the barrage lifted we saw some of the boys that we
had traveled over three thousand miles to see. I was in a daze when
I saw my first "Heinie," and he looked about as big as the Woolworth
Building. But I woke up in time to realize that I had a rifle and
hadn't forgotten how to use it. "Heinie" stopped in our wire and stayed
there. Our visitors were all given a royal reception. Six of our boys
went to the hospital but we left over a hundred of the Kaiser's boys
in front of, and in, the trench, and had the trouble of burying them.
From that night on we took more precaution and I was one that was made
the goat. My "bunkie" and I took up our post in No Man's Land at sunset
each night and stayed until midnight. We were put there for the purpose
of announcing "Heinie" if he should call again.

[Illustration: PRIVATE JOHN T. MILLER]

"Heinie" did not worry me so much, but the rats, which we called
"war babies," insisted on sleeping in my arms. And as we were in a
position where the slightest noise would send us to the hospital
or perhaps "west," the "war babies" had everything their own way. And
the "cooties" would keep us company every night. They would parade
up and down my back and of course I had to stand for it. I laid out
there three nights with my pal. On the fourth day about five o'clock
we decided to wash, as it would be the first time in five days.
We got down to the spring without being seen and were enjoying a
wonderful bath when the "Heinie" spotted us and started to snipe with
his six-inch shells. Bill and I made for the dugout and had about
two hundred feet to go when a shell hit under Bill's feet. I did not
stop, for it was useless, as all I could see was blood and a part of a
shattered leg. We picked Bill up in a box. It sure hit me hard, but it
is all in the game. I swore that night I would get even, and I think
I have. After three months in the front line, in and around Verdun,
we went out for a rest, but not for long. We had been in a rest camp
about ten days, when on the night of May 28th, at nine o'clock, we were
ordered to move up the line, and stop "Heinie," who wanted to make
Paris his headquarters. We were loaded in motor lorries and rode all
night and part of the day.

We arrived at a little town and got something to eat, the first we
had in twenty-four hours. We then started on a march which lasted
thirty-six hours, when we arrived at a town about five miles behind the
line, tired and hungry. I will go on record, right here, to say that
I have been over every inch of France, in box cars, hospital trains,
motor lorries, and the rest I hiked. We arrived at this town about
2 A.M. and were ordered into the line, but thanks to our commanding
officer we did not go. The inhabitants had evacuated and we were told
to go and sleep in any house we could find. It was here that I saw the
first example of German "Kultur." In a room in the house I went into,
I saw a mother with part of her head blown off, with a six-months'-old
baby in her arms, both lying on the bed, dead. In the corner was a
six-year-old boy who had evidently been killed by the same shell that
killed the mother and baby. But with all that I had a good night's
sleep, which I needed. In the morning we killed what live stock we
could find, and sure did eat. That night we were ordered into the line
and there we began to see real war.

"Heinie" started to send over everything he had, in the way of shells,
high explosives, shrapnel and machine gun bullets. There were no
trenches and the only protection we had were the holes which we dug to
lie in. Things were flying and I did not take time to get my shovel,
which I had in my pack, but used my mess gear instead. We laid in those
holes for three days and dared not stick our heads up. If we did it
meant "taps," and that we would not have to answer "reveille" in the
morning. What we had to eat we had at night, and it was very little,
a French ration, consisting of "monkey meat" and French bread; but
anything tasted good. One night a lad from Texas, who was not satisfied
with his "Boudoir" in the ground, decided to change hotels. About that
time "Heinie" saved him the trouble by sending an eight-inch H. E.
which made a hole big enough to put a regiment in. So "Tex" decided
to take up quarters in it. He had just arrived in his new home (or
hole) when "Heinie" duplicated the order, which hit on the edge of the
first hole. "Tex" came sailing over my head. I first thought he had
joined the aviation, and was going to Heaven, but when I looked around
there was "Tex" sitting on the ground trying to find out if he was all
together, and cursing "Heinie" for being so attentive. Looking at me he

"Can you imagine those Dutchmen sniping at me with an eight-inch gun?"

On the afternoon of June 6th, we received orders to pack up and we
all had the idea that we were to get a rest. All were counting on the
sleep and bath we would have. But no such luck. It was here when the
French had retreated so far that the artillery was no good to us, and
the general in charge of the division said the words that will remain
in history forever, "Retreat, Hell, we are going ahead." And we were
ordered to go "Over the Top" at 5.15. The order came at five o'clock.
I cannot describe the feeling one has while waiting for the word. It
seemed to me that the time would never come. But suddenly the silence
was broken by the blast of a whistle and we were on our way. The sun
was shining and the country looked wonderful, and across the wheat we
started, to reach our objective, which was the town of Bourches. We had
gone no more than about one hundred feet when our captain, the first
man to go down, was hit six times in the body. I began to realize then
what we were up against, for "Heinie" must have had a million machine
guns and they were all working.

The boys started to fall and all that was heard was, "I'm hit," or
"Heinie got me." A lad beside me "got it" in the ankle, and said to me:
"Kid, what do you think of that dirty bunch of Dutchmen. They won't
even let me get started. When you get into the town, kill ten for me."

I promised him I would, and left him. I don't know whether I fulfilled
my promise, but I told him I did when I saw him later in the hospital.
When I arrived at the town, which was our objective, there were
forty-seven left of 256 in our original company. The Germans were in
one end of the town and we were in the other, and, as the reader will
understand, one town could not hold both parties, so we started to move
"Heinie." Some of us were detailed to put "Heinie" out and it was no
easy job, for every "Heinie" had a machine gun. But it was the same old
story, they would fire their guns until we were on top of them, then
throw up their hands, shout "Kamerad" and beg for mercy. But after you
go through as far as that, you cease to be human and don't know what
mercy is. We reached our objective at 5.30 P.M. and at nine o'clock
by direction of one lieutenant, the only officer left in the company,
and a pal to all the boys, we had "Heinie" on the outside, the town
fortified, and nine hundred men put into the position. Again, and up
until the time I was hit, it was little or no sleep, for "Heinie"
insisted upon coming back into the town.

On the afternoon of June 10th, I was going after some water, and
some "Heinie" with a machine gun gave me my fare to the hospital, in
the form of a bullet in the knee. Some of the boys carried me into a
dugout, where I had to wait until dark, and then was carried to the
rear, put in a Ford ambulance and started to Paris. Twenty-seven miles
in a Ford, on a stretcher, is no joy ride, but it was good enough.
Then I reached the hospital in Paris. I had not had my clothes off for
fifty-seven days. When I got a bath and saw a bed, with white linen and
blankets, and something real to eat, I thought I was in paradise. After
the operation, all I could do was to sing, "Please go away and let me
sleep." After three months in the hospitals of France, I was put on a
transport and started for New York. I am now in the hospital, awaiting
discharge, and think it all a dream, and am in fear that some one will
pinch me, and I will wake up.



WHEN the great World War was raging, and the United States were
preparing for any trouble that might occur between her and the Teutonic
Government, I was playing in vaudeville. April 6th we received word
that our Government declared war on Germany. Immediately I decided to
quit the show business and go into the service, but what branch I did
not know as I was unfamiliar with the different outfits of Uncle Sam's
noble army and navy. As I was walking down the street I happened to
notice different recruiting officers, appealing to the men to enlist
in the several outfits we have, for the sake of our folks at home, and
for democracy. I happened to think of the navy as a good chance, but as
I wished to be in the thick of the battles and excitement I decided it
was either the army or the United States Marines. While I was trying
to fix my mind on what I should do, a marine sergeant came and started
talking to me and asked me what I was going to do. I told him I was
ready for the worst, and that I was anxious to go across the water and
do my bit. He said that the United States Marines was the place for
me, a boy with the spirit Americans wanted. Well, it did not take me
long to make up my mind, and shortly I was being examined by the doctor
for physical fitness. I was confident I would pass the rigid test that
is given to the marines as I had never had an illness of any kind in
my life. After the examination I was told I was 100 per cent perfect,
and sworn in as a private in the soldiers of the sea, as we call the
marines. First to fight on land and sea. Three days later I was called
to depart for Paris Island, S. C., where I was to get my training. I
arrived the 15th of April and was immediately sent to a quarantine
station where all preparations were given, such as clothes, finger
prints taken, and then I was finally sworn in once more, on the 21st
day of April. After all these proceedings were over, I was sent to the
maneuvering ground where the greatest task lay. We drilled from morning
until late in the evening, but I did not mind it as I knew that it was
for a good purpose. Digging trenches, hand grenade practice, bayonet
drills and rifle practice were our continual routine, for fully three
months. I was then transferred to Marine Barracks, Philadelphia, for
duty, where I was assigned to the 5th Regiment to be ready for overseas


On the 21st day of August, we received word to get ready to sail.
We were then given overseas equipment and boarded the transport
_Henderson_. We went to New York, where we loaded supplies and stores
for the trip, and started on our way to No Man's Land at midnight
the 22d. As the submarines were active at that time we were somewhat
delayed in getting there. But we finally arrived without a scratch. We
landed on the 7th day of September in St. Nazarre, France. There we
were taken to the Rue Du Chateau, where we were assigned to barracks.

Here we received our severe training. It was drill morning, school in
afternoon, drill in evening, for two and a half months. After this we
were ready for anything that might be needed of us.

On the 17th of November our commander received orders to take our men
to the Flanders Front, where we were to hold the southeastern corner
of the Marne with the Australian Anzacs. We immediately departed and
arrived there on a very rainy day.

Now comes the first real encounter the Americans took part in. The
Germans sent us a rapid shell fire from their position opposite to
us. We immediately sent back an intense machine gun fire. The battle
raged on for seventeen hours. I received a wound in the leg and was
immediately sent to base hospital where I was at once treated. We were
treated fine because the French now realized that we were with them in
heart and soul. I remained in hospital twenty-three days, and then was
sent back to the Front, this time to join the 43rd Regt., 2nd Division,
who were holding a front in Belgium on the Cambrai side. We advanced
and took several little towns around Soissons and stopped at St.
Quentin which was being shelled by the Austrians. We took position and
immediately started offensive. We succeeded in capturing two thousand
prisoners who were sent to one of the French prison camps. After this
encounter we were sent to rest camps, where our clothes were replaced
by new ones, and allowed to visit the neighboring towns for seventy-two
hours. I, with a comrade who you will read about later, went to Paris
and had a very good time.

The French people could think of nothing too good for us. After having
a fine time, we reported back and occupied the second line, with the
Canadians, and once more at Sartormai I was sent with a message to
Major General Leonard Wood. It was a dispatch of fifty-three miles and
I was to do this in an hour and ten minutes. I had a Harley Twin Six,
and I started out. It was about 9.30, Paris time, when I was passing
through a lonely village, a German sniper picked me off in the head. I
regained consciousness and fired my Colt automatic and got my man. I
succeeded in reaching my destination two minutes before time; but in an
unconscious condition. I guess the good Lord was good to me and brought
me to life again so that I could explain my mission. I was taken to
Base Hospital No. 3, where my wound was treated with care and the
lead extracted. For two weeks and a half I was practically senseless.
My memory was impaired, caused by the shock of the bullet, and the
intense speed I was going. In this hospital I met a German who had been
captured and had been sent to the hospital to be treated for a scalp
wound. He was a very well-educated boy, about nineteen years old and
could speak English very well.

He told me about how, against his will, he was dragged in and made to
fight for Prussianism when he always believed in democracy. It almost
brought tears to my eyes to listen to his story about the people who
were wishing that the Kaiser and the Teutonic power would be killed,
instead of taking every young fellow against his will and making him
fight. I soon recovered, bid this boy good-bye, and moved on to the
second division, who were still occupying Flanders Front.

One day while wading through mud, a big shell exploded in front of us
and we lost a great number of men, and I fell into the shell crater
with nine other men. The crater must have been forty feet deep, with
about three feet of mud at the surface. Here we did not eat for five
days. We had to drink the green slime and mud so that we might not
perish from thirst. Every time we wanted to sleep we would fall in this
mud and wake up all caked with it. We were finally rescued by a French
patrol party, and given plenty of food and nourishment to put us on our
feet again. We were sent to a convalescent camp, and told to do nothing
but rest. After resting for a month I was again placed in position with
our snipers, with Private Al Barker as my companion. I at once took
position in the limbs of a tree, so that I could notice any patrols
that might pass. On our southern corner we saw a raiding party of
Germans, fixing their machine guns to clean up a town called St. Forme.
We immediately opened fire on these men, and succeeded in picking off
a large majority of them. Suddenly my comrade received a wound in the
knee and fell to the ground. I descended and, picking him up, carried
him safely to our lines, receiving at the same time three bullet wounds.

We were sent to Base Hospital No. 16, where we were operated on. It
seemed as though it was a year before we were well. Finally we were
sent to the front at Belleau Woods. This place was approximately the
turning point of the war. It is situated thirty-eight miles from Paris,
and the Crown Prince's army were trying to advance through it. Here for
forty-eight hours we were continually on the alert, always watching the
Germans. We did not eat for forty hours.

On the 18th of July at 12.03 A.M. we received the call to arms. We
were ordered to advance to the Forest of Père where a great number of
Germans were operating. We traveled seven and a half miles on foot and
placed ourselves on the southeastern part of Chateau-Thierry. We opened
fire immediately, and this is where the bloodiest encounter of our
service took place. We succeeded in starving our opponents and cut off
all their ammunition. It was a big disaster to us as they outnumbered
us four to one. After the British had been thrown back, the marines
took the field and succeeded in annihilating the Crown Prince's army.

Of our battalion, of one thousand men, only 147 survived, and
practically all of these were wounded. The Germans, seeing that they
were beaten, immediately sent over their fumes of deadly mustard gas
and liquid fire. I happened to be one of the unlucky ones and received
a big dose of it. It fairly burned the clothes from my back, blinding
me instantly, and deafened me. I was taken to Base Hospital No. 23
where I remained forty-two days. After I had recovered a little I was
sent to a convalescent camp to await my departure for the good old
U. S. A. On September 24th I sailed from Brest and arrived safely in
Hoboken, October 3, 1918.



AT THE outbreak of the war I enlisted in the 10th Liverpool Scottish
Regiment, B.E.F. It was at 2.30 P.M. on September 14, 1914, I went into
the recruiting office, and offered my services. The captain looked at
me and said, "I am afraid you are too young." I was then seventeen
years of age. With tears in my eyes I walked out only to meet my six
pals who were in kilts. One of them, "Vic" Gordon, said:

"Come back at five o'clock and try again;" so I made up my mind I would
get in the army at five o'clock that day, and I was accepted, I think,
because they were so busy in the office that they did not notice me.
Well, I went home the day after with my knees all bare; perhaps for the
first time since my childhood. My folks just roared and laughed at me,
saying, "You will never make a soldier," and a lot more things that
made my Scotch blood boil.

I stayed at home for three days before I was called, and then, only
then did I know what being a soldier meant. The first thing was to
learn how to turn and salute, then came a route march, around the
country for ten miles. It was no joke with great big army boots that
weighed about fifteen pounds,--it seemed that much to me. After being
in the army for about four weeks, we were brought to the fields to
drill. What I could not understand was, that they put cows and other
animals into this big field the night before and that field was just
terrible for a man to walk on, let alone lay down in. We were all
wondering what we were going to do, and, I can tell you, it wasn't long
before we found out. The captain came up to us and said:

"All right, boys, we are ready for some drill in this field."

You should have seen the look on some of the boys' faces. I may mention
that some of them were bankers and lawyers and even millionaires' sons.
I heard one man say in a typical English way: "Oh! isn't the army
beastly, old man."

[Illustration: SERGT. MARK L. NICHOLSON]

Of course, not being used to army life, it would make any man swear,
but as the days rolled on we all got used to it. They moved us from a
place called "Slop Field" in Liverpool to a place called No Man's Field
in Blackpool. Every day it rained we would go on this field for
extended order drill. At any rate we became used to army life in, what
I thought, a very short time. It was in November, 1914, about seven
o'clock when we arrived at Southampton, and were put up, for the night,
in stables, with damp blankets to cover ourselves. After that night I
began to suspect something. I just sat down to think that they were
breaking us in for France. We were in this place till December 3rd and
at twelve that night we sailed for an unknown destination. We arrived
at a place called Le Havre, France. There I met with an accident.
A horse kicked me in the right leg, and put me out of business for
a month. That was my start to see real life. I was fixed up by the
Red Cross and sent to a battalion called the Lancashire Fusileers.
We left France and arrived in London, January 10th. They gave us ten
days leave, and packed us on a big liner called the _Alaunia_. We
left on this liner and I did not know where I was until we arrived at
Gibraltar. We were there for five hours--then set sail for Malta. We
received orders not to leave the ship as we would not be there more
than twelve hours, and that twelve hours seemed like twelve years. We
could see all the people and shops but we could not get to them. We
sailed away from Malta to an unknown destination. About one hundred
miles out to sea we received orders to turn back, on account of the
submarines being very active around that district, but an hour after
we received that message, we had orders to proceed on our journey, and
all the way we could see dead horses and boxes floating on the water.
We were told later that a ship had been torpedoed a short distance in
front of us. We were out three days when we sighted land, and, believe
me, it was a treat, as the drill on the ship was very bad. The boys had
to scrub out their bunks and the decks, and others had to keep watch
all night, for the little devils in the water. Anyway, it was a great
relief when we disembarked at Alexandria, Egypt. It was some place. I
met people from all over the world. We were taken over to the barracks
and a very funny thing happened. I was in charge of twenty-four men,
and let me tell you they were all rough necks. I asked one how he liked
the place and he said:

"Oh, I would like to be in the Bee Hotel, playing a game of pool." He
had just time to get those words out of his mouth when a man with a big
cigar in his mouth put his arm around his neck and shouted:

"Tom! my dear brother."

You should have seen how they hugged and kissed each other for about
fifteen minutes. All this time the rest of the boys were trying to make
out the Arabs. They were visitors, looking at us with open mouths.
We had our drill on a desert and with a broiling sun on us all the
time. We left Alexandria the latter end of March, 1915, and arrived
at Lemnos, a Greek Island, later used as a hospital base. After we
left Lemnos in a convoy of about fifteen ships we arrived at our
destination, the Dardanelles. All that we could see in front of us was
a great big hill. Later we found out they called it Kemara Hill. The
spirit of everyone was good. We were issued 200 rounds of ammunition
and carried our packs on our backs. All that I could hear from the boys

"We will take that hill by the morning."

Little did we know what was in store for us. Orders came to disembark,
so we all helped to lower the life boats, and climbed down the rope
ladders into them. I was all settled down with the rest of the boys to
make a clean landing without the Turks knowing. Up came a tug boat and
took about ten small boats in tow.

Just at that moment we were under fire. The big battleships opened up,
and it was some bombardment. The 15-inch guns on the _Queen Elizabeth_
let go with the rest. We were about twenty yards off the beach when,
before my eyes, I saw my comrades fall in the water, boats capsizing,
rifles in the air, and arms and legs flying around. On seeing this our
tug turned toward Cape Hellos, on the right of West Beach, and every
man made for the water. Some managed to get on land. You see, the
Turks, mastered by German officers, put barbed wire entanglements into
the water. They knew we could only land in small boats as the water was
not deep enough for a liner to get close. As the life boats turned,
they got tangled in the wire and overturned. Some of the boys tried to
grasp hold of the wire, but had to let go, as it cut their hands, and
of course they were drowned. We lost an awful number of men before the
real scrap began, and I will say it was some landing. I did not believe
I could come through this bit of a scrap. When I landed I looked to
see if I was all there. The Turks had trenches right up to the water's
edge, and, God bless those Australians, they drove the Turks out of the
first line and gave us a chance to land. I asked a chap next to me what
he thought of it and how he liked it. Well, he gave me a look enough
to kill me, and said, "Well, the first five years is the worst. After
that I suppose we will get used to it."

I was five days on land when I began to feel the strain of not having
enough food or water. Water was scarce and my mouth was all blistered,
it was so hot. We were getting a little supply of water and biscuits
from the ships. They came in gasoline cans that had not been washed out
properly, but we were so thirsty that we did not bother about the taste.

When I received my wound on the head, I did not know what hit me, but I
found myself on board a boat called _Andania_, a sister ship to the one
I left England in. I had a big bandage stuck on my head and was shipped
to Lemnos. I lost my memory for a bit and they called me a serious
case, so they packed me to a hospital in Alexandria. I fell unconscious
again for ten hours and, as I opened my eyes, I could just see a pair
of lovely blue ones looking down at me, and a little motherly hand
grasped mine. I cannot explain the feeling in my heart in words, when
I saw it was a mother. I called her mother because she was a Red Cross
nurse. The first thing she asked me was, "Can I write a letter home
for you?" You can imagine what I said. I had not heard from home since
I left, and I told her to write and say I was all right and would be
home soon. I was in that hospital three weeks and every day I would ask
that lovely mother to write for me, as I was too weak to write myself.
It broke my heart when I had to leave that hospital as all the nurses
were so kind to me. I sailed on a hospital ship for England and was put
in a hospital in Liverpool, my own home town. In this hospital there
was a funny Irish boy who had come from France and was all covered with
bandages. I made a pal of him, and the jokes he used to tell me made me
forget the pain. One Wednesday a lady came to see us in the hospital
and looked at me, saying:

"Were you hurt at the Front," and my Irish pal answered for me, saying:
"No, ma'am, sure he tripped over a match stick and sure a fly kicked

Oh, he was full of the devil. On leaving that hospital I got a month's
leave to recuperate, and spent it at home. I was recalled for service
at the end of the month to my delight, as I wanted to see some more
fighting. I was attached to the 2nd Battalion of the 10th Liverpool
Scottish, and we were detailed to go to France.



RUSHED out of the pleasant atmosphere of an English hospital into
France, thence to Arras, to help extend the British front, was my next
little bit of adventure. Arras at that time was a sort of resting
place, as the fighting there was not half so severe as at Gallipoli,
and besides it was held on a fifty-fifty basis, the Germans holding
one-half the village and the British the other.

Vimy Ridge, nearby, and Arras were well sown with mines, and this being
known to the enemy, we were not molested by surprise attacks as we
otherwise would have been. Close upon Arras stood Devil's Wood, a point
of vantage to whichever side could hold it. It was a much sought after
place and had recently been wrested from the British. It was up to the
newcomers, mostly from the 1st King's Liverpool Regiment, to regain it.
Needless to say we did this thoroughly and kept on advancing to Fleurs.

At this stage of the game a great surprise was sprung on us. We were
keyed up to the highest point, ready for battle, and it was to be our
first attack on Fleurs, when of a sudden we were drenched by a deluge
of tear shells. A tear shell is one of the meanest of all shells as it
gives out a poison that causes the tear ducts to turn almost inside out
and the tears, which continually flow, change to a sickly looking green
fluid. On top of that, we were also treated to a breakfast of liquid
gas and, believe me, I got my fill on that memorable morning.

To make sure that I was "out" for good, a stray piece of shrapnel found
its way through my helmet and opened a three-inch scalp wound which
I had received, as a souvenir, from a Turk at the Dardanelles. The
photograph shows how my helmet suffered.

The gas attack in the morning temporarily blinded my right eye.
However, all these minor affairs did not occur until after I had
witnessed the greatest surprise of the war.


It was at the "Zero Hour," and we were nervously awaiting the word to
go over, when five huge, lumbering monsters crept forward from our
lines. Could this be a bad dream, or were we seeing things. But look!
They are spitting fire! They don't stop! Down into a trench and over
they go. Barbed wire is like a spider's web to them! God! how they
travel, these animated blocks of steel. They look like caterpillars or
frogs. They look like every living thing that crawls, and the enemy's
shells fall from them like water from a duck's back. Onward they go and
we are told to follow them. The rest is history. They were the first
five "tanks" used in the war and, at once, were recognized as the most
terrible of all engines of destruction. Their presence revived our
fellows as though an electric current had passed through them. These
first "tanks" were a symbol of our strength and determination to win
and when we saw them sweep forward majestically, literally eating up
the Hun devils, my heart was glad, and the pain of my wounds vanished.
The boys now had a fighting chance against the wicked machinations
of the foe. We had gone the enemy one better, at his own game of
inventions, and Victory was only a question of building more "tanks"
behind which the infantry could find shelter in the attack.


  BY SGT. E. D. G. AYLEN, NO. 475337, P.P.C.L.I. ("PRINCESS PATS")

I HAD just returned from a long summer's work on a surveying party, on
the Canadian Pacific Railway, and everybody in my home town, Montreal
(that is, the men), were all dressed in uniform, and the women seemed
to be looking at me, and at first I felt uncomfortable and wondered why
they stared at me. Then I realized that I had just returned from the
brush of the great Canadian northwest. I knew, of course, that there
was a war on, and the boys were going over, but for the moment, on my
arrival in town, forgot.

The boy friends whom I chummed with were overseas, and my blood began
to boil. I was then nineteen years of age, and was quite eligible
for service. After a few days at home, I announced, to my mother and
father, that I was going overseas. Both objected and said that I should
take out a commission. That did not suit me, and I thought of the
quickest way to get over.

On my way to "McGill" one morning I stopped to talk to two boys in
uniform. I asked them how they liked the army and what unit they
belonged to. One said:

"Army life is great. We are 'University' boys to reinforce the famous
'Princess Pats,' and I believe it is the quickest way over." That
was just what I wanted, and I asked the boys to go with me to the
recruiting office, which they did.

Corporal Coate was there to greet us, and it was not long before
I was signed up. After all sorts of questions I was given a small
slip of paper with my number on it (No. 475337) and a hat badge with
"Universities Overseas Company," and on my shoulders were letters that
read P.P.C.L.I. ("Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry"). I had
heard all about the famous "Pats" and was of course glad that I was to
be one of them.

It was September 28, 1915, that I was sworn in as a soldier and I
felt fine. We trained in Canada, at McGill University, for two months
and had it not been for the war I would have been well on my way as a
student of that university. We had guard work to do, physical training
and route marching; then word was passed around that we were to go
overseas and we were all delighted, as none of us wanted to be "Home

On November the 15th, we left Montreal by train, amid the cheering
crowds of our friends, sweethearts and mothers. Two days after we
arrived at Halifax, where we embarked at 5 P.M. on the _S.S. Lapland_.
The people in Halifax were there to mail letters or postal cards for
us, which we threw from the steamer.

At 7 P.M. we set out on our long voyage, and, as the boat steamed out,
the band on the deck played "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder I'll be
There," but the funny part was, that every member of the band was about
sixty years old, and we knew he "wouldn't be there."

We had eight good days going over and all enjoyed it, except a few who
treated the fish in the ocean.

The latter part of November we arrived in England at Plymouth, and,
in the rain, embarked on a train to our training camp at St. Martin's
Plain near Shorncliffe. As you know, we trained there, but that will
not interest you as much as our time in France, so I will skip that to
the day we sailed for France.

At 4 A.M. we all fell in and the roll call was taken. We marched to
the train, after having our pay book made up to date. We never forgot
the pay book or the dinner call. A thing that all the boys noticed was
that we were to cross the channel from Southampton on the _S.S. Duke
of Connaught_, a fitting place for "Princess Pats." Other boys said
that was luck. It was for some of us. We arrived at Havre, France, and
in the rain marched seven miles to a camp called the Central Training
Camp, where we spent a few days receiving instructions in modern

After the few days in camp we marched seven miles back again to Havre,
and proceeded by train by Poperinghe in those beautiful Pullman cars,
marked 40 men--8 horses.

We arrived at Poperinghe at 5 P.M., after spending all night, and part
of the next day, in the cars. As we came nearer to our station we could
hear the shells bursting and the booming of the guns. One could see
nothing but heads stuck out of the car windows just as far as craning
necks could stretch.

Arriving at Poperinghe we met a lieutenant who asked the sergeant:

"Are you for the 'Pats'?" the sergeant replying, "Yes, sir." In a very
English way the lieutenant said:

"Oh, very well, follow me. I know where the 'Pats' are, as I was sent
for you."

Well, we followed him. He took us four miles the wrong way and back
again--then we had an extra two miles to the "Pats" quarters. He knew
where the "Pats" were all right, all right.

Now we are with the regiment and I was put in No. 3 company under Major
Charlie Stewart, who was one good fellow. The regiment was out for
rest, but we worked every night going up the line to do work in the
trenches, and help the engineers.

Now to tell of one or two little experiences in the front line, say
about the time of the "Third Battle of Ypres." The regiment held the
line at Hooge and we were all University men, as the old regiment was
practically all wiped out, except a handful. Our major was well liked,
and a word from him was well obeyed.

A few days before the big show I was sent out on a scouting party of
twelve, with Lieutenant Fife in charge. We succeeded in getting over
to the German wire, and I don't know whether the Germans got wise to
our coming, through the sneezing of one of the party, or whether the
clipping of the wire was heard. But we were greeted with, first a rifle
shot from a sniper, then a bomb; then a dozen, but only two of the boys
were killed. We moved further up the line and a little closer to
"Fritzie's" line. There we remained quiet for a few seconds. I, being
near Lieutenant Fife, was asked by him to follow, which I did. He went
up to a part of the Hun's line that was built of old sand bags, where
we could look right up the German line, as the star-shell burst and lit
up the place.


As everything was quiet, the boys were anxious to start something, so a
few bombs were hurled in, but in return we had the same amount, and had
to return to our own lines minus two of the boys.

It was on a working party that some fun occurred, as it always does in
the trenches. We were moving from the road, to proceed up the "China
wall," in the Ypres salient, which led to the trenches, running through
the shattered village of Hooge, when the sergeant-major said to me:

"Aylen, special duty, step out."

I thought, "I wonder what is coming now."

After he had the number of men he wanted, and all the other boys were
up the line, he called me and pointing to twelve large thermos soup
tanks, said:

"See those, Aylen?"

I said, "Yes, sir."

"Well," he said, "take them up the line."

I looked at him and then at the tanks and said:

"Shall I take them all up at once, or one at a time?"

He gave me one look and said, "Don't get funny, this is a soft job for

I said, "But I can't carry those up."

He said, "You must."

Now the soup tanks were about four feet high and about a foot in

I said again, "Sir, I can't carry that up."

He, a little angry, said, "You must."

I said, "I can't carry it--it is bigger than I am."

Then he said, "Well, a man is to help you."

So he sent a man, whose name was Cleary, an Irishman, about six feet
two inches tall, and as I was only five feet five inches, it was going
to be rather awkward for us both, as you have to put a long pole
through the loops on each side of the tank, and put the pole on your
shoulders. The tank hangs in the center. Cleary being taller than I,
and the trench mats very slippery we had "one ---- of a time." I was
getting the worst of it. We slipped and stumbled and spoke about a
hundred different kinds of "swear words." Now the "China wall" ends
about half way up, and we then stepped down into the trench. Just about
twenty feet away from the end of the "China wall" there was a large
shell-hole and our trench mats, which are made of wood, went across one
side of the shell-hole. When the shell-hole is full of muddy water the
trench mats float. This night Cleary and I happened to pass it when it
was full. It was very dark and I did not notice that the mat was loose,
as I was leading, so upon putting my foot on the mat, down it went.
The hole was about eight feet deep, and I felt it going from under me
and pulled on the pole. Soup tank, pole, and Cleary and all followed
me into that shell-hole. When we came up covered with that lovely,
slimy mud, you couldn't tell which was the soup tank. Then I remembered
what the sergeant-major had said, "This is a soft job for you,"--and,
believe me, it was.

There is one thing I would like to say and that is the boys of the
Princess Pats had wonderful courage, and always a good word for each
other. I can picture plainly our trip over the top at Hooge, when I
went over with the second wave. I could see the boys on our left going
through a swamp up to their waists in filth; ploughing through, their
rifles up over their heads, so they would not get blocked with dirt,
and when a man met a bullet with "his number," he would fall backward
or forward and disappear under this water and mud; just like quicksand.

It was after a terrific bombardment of our lines. I was detailed to
fill sand bags in a shell-hole beside a communication trench, just
back of the front lines. I was with five other chums, when a shell
dropped on the far corner of the shell-hole, which I was facing, and
the shrapnel penetrated my left shoulder, mouth, right eye and a
small piece in my left leg. My chum, Nelson, was badly wounded in the
back, and I believe the other four boys were buried. I never heard if
they got them out, as I was unconscious, but when I was struck I can
remember, first seeing a green light, felt a burning in my eye, and a
blow on my shoulder as if struck with a sledge-hammer. I felt myself
slide down in the mud and I knew nothing until I awoke in the major's
dugout. I was told what had happened to the other boys.

I was then taken to the dressing station and in two days arrived at No.
3 Canadian General Hospital at Boulogne.

I was blind in both eyes for a month, had two operations in France,
and was then sent to England to the 4th London General Hospital,
Denmark Hill. After spending a few months there I was sent to the
C.C.A.C. (Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre), better known as "Charlie
Chaplin's." This was at Folkestone. After having two "boards" they
found me unfit for further service in England or France, so I was
billed for Canada.

Arriving in Canada on the _S.S. Empress of Britain_, at Quebec, I was
sent to the convalescent home (Belmont Park) at Montreal, and after
treatment was honorably discharged as physically unfit.

I trained in the McGill O. T. C. and later came to New York with the
"British Canadian Recruiting Mission," where I lectured, and did
recruiting work, through New York City. Since leaving the mission I
have traveled to the West Indies and through the eastern part of the
United States. Many of my experiences I have omitted on account of
space, but I am proud to have belonged to a famous regiment, "The
Princess Pats."



WHEN Great Britain declared war on Germany, I considered it my duty as
a member of the Canadian Militia to volunteer my services for the Front.

The 106th Winnipeg Light Infantry to which I belonged, was the first
infantry regiment to leave Western Canada to join the mobilization camp
at Valcartier, Quebec.

Under the new scheme of organization, every regiment lost its identity
and we were merged into the 10th Battalion, Second Infantry Brigade.

Early in October we left Canada for England, arriving at Plymouth and
were then taken by train to Salisbury Plains, which is noted for mud
and rain.

After undergoing training in the winter, we embarked at Avonmouth,
Bristol, and sailed for France in a cattle boat, landing at St. Naize
in the Bay of Biscay, four days later.

[Illustration: SERGT. HARRY HALL]

Then we had two days traveling in a box car up to the Trout, and
after a short rest we went to Ploegstreet Woods and went under a system
of training with the Dublin Fusileers.

The method of training we went through was excellent in every way, each
one of us being posted with one of the Dublins and to do what they did.

When we reached the trenches, I was posted with "Spud Murphy" who
was then on sentry go. Spud was a hero of "Mons," having had safely
survived up to the present and so we had quite a lot to talk about.

Ploegstreet being a quiet "front," there was nothing very exciting, so
we were pleased when we were shifted to the village of Fleurbaix to
relieve an English division and to take trenches over on our own.

We were placed on the line near the village of La Boutillerie, where
the trenches cut through the walls of a convent.

The Germans were about 150 yards away and seemed to have
well-constructed trenches.

During the first night in, one of the Germans shouted over and asked
what part of Canada we were from. How they learned that the Canadians
were in front of them I have no idea, but as they had plenty of spies
in our rear, they must have received the information from them.

The Germans were in happy spirits that night, as they were singing
and playing instruments almost until dawn; one of them had a fine
baritone voice and sang several songs in English, including "Rocked
in the Cradle of the Deep." I think they were Saxons, as it was never
customary for the Prussians or Bavarians to act in that manner.

Although the trenches were wet and muddy, things were not too bad, as
we were allowed to build fires so we could warm our machonichie rations
and also make tea.

There was hardly any artillery fire, but the German snipers were very
clever in that region and it meant death to show a head. I had one
periscope shot out of my hands which will show what their snipers can

After three days in, we were taken out for a rest and billeted in a
school house in Fleurbaix.

The next time we went to the front line, my platoon was ordered to man
a redoubt behind the front trench. The idea of a redoubt is in case
the enemy breaks through the front line the men manning it can pour
enfilade fire into the enemy while they are passing in their advance to
the second line of trenches.

This particular redoubt was a circular sandbagged construction large
enough to allow sixty men to fire through the loopholes, and had two
lines of entanglements round it with one narrow path through them to
enable us to get in or out. This pathway could easily be blocked by
a mass of wire called a "Chevaux de Frize," which was kept in the
redoubt, and which could be placed in position when we had all entered.

Food which would last a platoon for ten days and a barrel of water
was always kept in stock and was only allowed to be used in case
the garrison was besieged. Things being quiet at this time, we had
permission to use a cottage, which was only a few yards away, to sleep
in at nights.

On the second day we remained in the cottage for part of the time, but
as we had lit a fire to cook the dinner on, the Germans must have seen
smoke coming out of the chimney, and soon got our range with one of
their 77MM. field guns. The second shell hit the roof of the cottage,
bursting, the shrapnel bullets were scattered in the next room to where
I was.

The platoon lieutenant was in the room when the shell burst, and
was talking to a sergeant and a corporal; the corporal was hit in
thirty-one places down his left side, and was in a terrible mess. The
lieutenant was wounded in the arm and the sergeant in the leg. The rest
of us picking them up, rushed to the redoubt, another shell hitting
the cottage just after we left. This taught us a lesson, and for the
next few days we stayed under cover.

We were moved to the Ypres front in April to relieve a French division,
marching twenty-two miles from Estaires to Abeele in one day, with
full marching order, including 150 rounds of ammunition. The battalion
rested at Abeele for a few days and then we marched through Poperinghe
and the town of Ypres up to the front line.

At last we were in the dreaded Ypres salient, the worst sector of the
front, and on which the Germans had sacrificed thousands of men in an
effort to gain Ypres and the roads to the Channel ports. As the French
came down one side of the road, we went up the other into the front
line, at the part we were on, the trenches cut across the Polccapelle
Paschendale Road, where the British Seventh Division cut the Prussian
Guards to pieces the previous October.

The next morning we could see hundreds of dead Germans lying beyond our
entanglements who had been dead five months, and as there was a light
mist which would easily hide us, the German trenches being 800 yards
away, a few of us crawled through the wire and went to have a look at

By their epaulettes, we could see that they were the 235th Prussian
Regiment, and they must have had a terrible list of casualties by
the number who were dead. Any German shell which dropped short fell
among them and many had heads and legs missing; the stench was so bad
that two of our men vomited, and it was a sight that no doctor would
recommend for anyone suffering from shattered nerves.

After six days up there in the badly constructed trenches and under
continual bombardment, without a hot drink all the time, working like
slaves every night, filling sandbags and strengthening the parapets,
our appetites spoiled by the sights and stench of the dead "Fritzies,"
we were at last relieved by our 5th Battalion, and marched into Ypres
to the billets, which were in a large mill alongside the Yser Canal.

Ypres at this time was full of the civilian population and Estaminets.
Restaurants and the market-place were open, so we had a splendid
opportunity to change our diet from the everlasting bully and biscuits.

Two days after we entered Ypres the Germans opened up their great
offensive on the 22d of April, where they used their poisonous gases
for the first time. They also commenced to shell the town with every
sized gun they had, from 18 pounders to their 14-inch Austrian Skoda
howitzers, the largest caliber gun used on the western front.

Scores of civilians were killed as they rushed out of the town, and it
was pitiful to see the little children lying dead in the streets.

The Germans broke through the Algerians on our left flank under cover
of their poisonous gases, which killed thousands of Algerians and our
own men in the front line trenches.

Our battalion and the 16th Canadian Scottish were the only reserves in
the whole salient, and as the Germans had broken through, things were
looking very black for us.

We were instantly summoned to "fall in" and soon we were on our way to
fill the gap. We were two thousand men to stop the German divisions in
their countless thousands.

An ordinary general would have posted us in a reserve line of trenches
until the Germans advanced the next morning, but not so General
Alderson, our divisional commander, an English general, who proved
himself one of the geniuses of the war. He tried strategy, which was
one of the biggest bluffs of the war, and which utterly surprised the

Instead of waiting for the Germans to swamp us the next morning with
their greater superiority of twenty to one man, he ordered us to make
a night attack on the Pilkem Woods, where the Germans were massing for
their attack.

The attack was made in lines of double companies, 500 men in each of
the four lines, A and B Company of our battalion being in the front
line and supported by C and D Company, and then the 16th Battalion
behind them.

Unsupported by artillery, we advanced shortly after midnight, getting
to within thirty yards of the Germans before being discovered.

The Germans at once opened up "rapid fire" with every machine gun and
rifle they had, the night air being rent with the cracks of hundreds of
rifles and machine guns.

How any man could pass through that hail of lead has always been a
mystery to me, but the remnants of us, after a desperate struggle in
the dim light, took possession of the wood at the point of the bayonet.

The German garrison was completely demoralized, and our impetuous
advance did not cease until we reached the far side of the wood, and
there we entrenched.

An hour later, a most formidable concentration of artillery sweeping
the wood, as a tropical storm sweeps the forest, made it impossible
for us to hold the position.

Instead of retiring, we tried our old tactics of advancing, and
attacked the Germans once more, who were digging themselves in about
200 yards in front.

We soon gained an objective and remained there until the next day. Our
ranks by this time were sadly depleted. Our colonel was killed and only
two officers still remained in the fight.

We were still losing men, owing to the German artillery fire, and our
ranks being now so thin, it was inadvisable for us to remain out in
that exposed position.

Fifteen hundred men had already fallen, and what could the remaining
500 of us do against the German hordes?

Sick as we were with the gas fumes and the terrific strain we had
undergone, we retreated back through the wood to an old line of
trenches and there waited for reinforcements.

Our object had been achieved, the Germans were demoralized, and puzzled
as to how many men we had.

Their proposed attack was cancelled for a few hours to enable them to
re-form and organize, and by the next hour or two our reinforcements
would have arrived.

Our first brigade appeared on the scene and the line was strengthened,
and then the Buffs, the famous English regiment, came up at the double
after having marched miles from another part of the line.

The bluff that we pulled off was therefore entirely successful, and the
Germans thought that we had about 20,000 men attacking them.

It never struck their imaginative, cold-blooded and calculating minds
that 2,000 men would have the audacity to attack whole German divisions
without artillery support.

They certainly have had many lessons showing the difference between
spirit and material.

The charge we made stands out as one of the finest achievements of the
war, and only equaled, in the estimation of British experts, by the
wonderful charge of the Worcestershire Regiment, who with only 500 men
charged a division of Prussian Guards at Gheluvelt in October, 1917;
also the famous Black Watch and the Scots Greys in their spectacular
stirrup at St. Quentin.

It will always be a source of pleasure to me to know that I was in the
front line of the first attack made by soldiers from the continent of
America and was in the Battle of Ypres, which made the name of Canada
ring through the world.

Remaining on Ypres front for several days, the remnants of the
battalion were taken to the rear to await for reinforcements. These,
in due course, arrived, and we were then sent to Festubert, and on May
17th our remade infantry brigades advanced toward the firing line once

On the 21st of May we went "Over the Top" at Festubert, with the object
of capturing a strong German redoubt called "Bechill."

My platoon was practically annihilated by machine guns and none of us
succeeded in passing the entanglements; over fifty of the men of the
platoon, which numbered sixty, being killed or wounded in less than two

The rest of us, seeing that things were hopeless, retired to an
old communication trench and made our way to bomb our way past the
barricade which led to the redoubt.

As we threw bombs over the barricade, the Germans retaliated, and I
discovered that it is impossible to indulge in the practice of throwing
grenades for any length of time without someone getting hurt. At this
time a German bomb fell in the bottom of our trench and burst there,
wounding three of us, myself getting a piece of shell in the foot.

I was in the hospital only three weeks, and then returned to the
battalion, who were on the La Bassee front.

On the third day of my second time in the trenches at Givenchy, the
Germans opened up a bombardment with high explosives, and while walking
up a communication trench an 8-inch German shrapnel burst in the air,
and one piece of shell hit my ammunition pouches, while another passed
through my arm and then hit my side.

While in the hospital, gangrene possomy set in and I was sent to
Glasgow, Scotland, where I remained for many weeks.

My arm being partly paralyzed, I was returned to Canada and discharged
in May, 1916.

Two weeks after I joined the Canadian Active Militia (pay corps), and
was promoted to sergeant, but never recovered the full use of my arm,
and consequently was unable to return to France.



AFTER being in the army eleven years and with one year to go to finish
my time as a regular soldier of the British Army, for which period I
had signed on, I was beginning to think that I would be unfortunate
enough to finish my soldiering without seeing active service, but after
all I was not to be disappointed and I saw more active service than
ever I bargained for.

At the time Great Britain declared war on Germany I was stationed with
the British garrison at Malta, an island fortress in the Mediterranean
Sea, where in peace time a garrison is kept consisting of five
regiments of infantry and several batteries of artillery. On the 4th of
August we received orders to proceed from barracks to take up positions
in the land entrenchments and redoubts, as an attack was expected from
part of the German fleet, the _Goeben_ and _Breslau_ at the time being
somewhere in the vicinity.


The attack which we expected did not materialize, as the German ships
ran for cover to the Golden Horn and Constantinople, and were afforded
shelter by the Turks. In this respect they were as fortunate as their
sister ships who had the protection of the Kiel Canal. We were now
waiting for the territorial battalions which were to relieve us so
that we could take our place on the western front and fight with the
regulars who were stemming the German tide in Flanders. On the 17th
of September our relief arrived, and the ships which brought them to
Malta took us to England, and we were camped for a time at Winchester
while our division was being mobilized. This division, the 8th, was
made up of regulars from foreign service and included regiments from
Gibraltar, Egypt, India, and our own from Malta. The average service
of the men of the Scottish Rifles was seven years and we were in the
best of training, having just finished maneuvers. It was this training,
excellent shooting and individual initiative which earned for us the
praise of the Germans, who said that every British regular was a
trained non-commissioned officer. We landed in France on the 5th of
November, 1914, and entrained for the railhead nearest the Neuve Eglise
and Massines front. This front at the time was being taken over from
the French and we relieved one of their regiments in the front line
of trenches. At this time of the campaign, trench warfare was just
beginning, as the fighting previously at Mons, Marne and the Aisne
was a retreat or an advance and was mostly field warfare. The Germans
having failed in their terrific drive for the Channel Ports during the
first battle of Ypres, where the flower of the Prussian Guard had been
destroyed by our 7th Division, decided to dig themselves in and to
wait for the spring before opening another offensive on a large scale.
Consequently, when we relieved the French the trenches were little
better than ditches, and we had not even sandbagged parapets erected or
barbed wire entanglements thrown out in front. It was the surprise of
my life when our platoon officer informed us that the particular part
of the ditch which we were in was a trench, and was to be our home for
the next few days. A local attack from the Germans was expected at any
time, as they were anxious to get command of the Messines Ridge, ground
which they coveted for observation purposes. The French had warned us
to be particularly on the lookout this night, and advised us not to
post extra sentries, and it was very fortunate that we heeded their
warning, because about two hours after the sentries shouted from the
listening posts that the Germans were coming. The company commander
gave us instructions not to fire until he blew the whistle, and this he
did as soon as he could see the gray mass of figures advancing across
No Man's Land in the weird light of a misty moon. The Germans received
a very warm welcome from our particular part of the "Contemptible
Little Army," and must have also had a rude awakening when we opened
up with rapid fire with our Lee-Enfield rifles. They evidently thought
the French were in front of them, until they heard our fire, but as
they heard the rapid fire of the Lee-Enfields on previous occasions,
it didn't take them long to know that the hated British were on the
spot. "The Britishers' Mad Minute," was the name the Germans gave our
rapid fire when they first experienced it at Mons, because they were
astonished that infantry could average thirty rounds a minute per man.
This speed could not be equaled by any other army at the time, the
French being equipped with the Lebel rifle, which did not have a clip
loading action, and the Germans, who relied more on their machine gun
fire to break up infantry attacks, were amateurs in comparison to our
army, where rifles were concerned.

The Germans were mowed down before they reached us, and although they
made two further attacks during the night, we had not the opportunity
to use the bayonet, the Germans being all killed or wounded before
reaching our trench or ditch. The Germans gave up the attempt for the
Messines Ridge and during the terrible winter campaign of 1914 and 1915
we did trench duty, three days in the front line and then three days in
the reserve.

This awful monotonous life under the worst climatic conditions and
living in a sea of mud was only brightened by one incident during the
rest of the winter. The Germans hung up Chinese lanterns on Christmas
Eve and sang carols, and both sides refrained from firing. During
Christmas day some of the bolder spirits of the German regiment
opposite stood up on the parapet, and as none of our men would fire on
them, an unofficial armistice was therefore on. Our men did likewise,
and not a shot was fired, both sides believing in the old saying,
"Peace and good will to all men on Christmas Day." This was the only
time throughout the war that such an incident happened, as we received
strict instructions not to fraternize with the enemy on account of
their despicable and treacherous acts in bringing machine guns up under
cover of stretcher bearers on several occasions when armistices were
allowed to bury the dead shortly before Christmas.

When spring arrived, we were on tiptoe with excitement for the coming
offensive, as we were fed up with the trenches and mud and wanted to
get the Germans in the open.

The first offensive of the year 1915 was made by the British at Neuve
Chapelle on March 10th, and several divisions, including our own, were
massed in the vicinity a few days beforehand. Batteries of artillery
to the number of five hundred guns were masked and hidden until they
opened up for the preliminary bombardment. The Germans had no inkling
of the coming attack, and the surprise it caused was a nasty knock
to their boasted secret service and civilian spies, who were placed
throughout Flanders years before the war, and who posed as Belgian and
French farmers. They devised many schemes for informing the enemy what
was happening, and on previous occasions they had been able to supply
the Germans with accurate information by their windmill and other
tricks. This time they were fooled, and when the bombardment commenced
at 6.30 A.M. the Germans were at breakfast, according to the statements
which the prisoners made when they were captured.

We had taken our positions in the front line trenches the night before
and had erected trench climbing ladders for jumping over the parapets.

At 7 A.M. we went "Over the Top" in the first offensive our army
made since trench warfare first began after the battle of the Aisne
the previous October. At this time I was acting as company stretcher
bearer, and therefore had to follow the company as they advanced across
No Man's Land.

Although we had a large number of guns, we were very deficient in heavy
artillery and howitzers, the majority being 18 pounder field guns and
which proved a failure as a means to blast away the barbed wire and
parapets of the German trenches and redoubts.

On part of the line where we attacked, the barbed wire was not
destroyed and consequently we were held up and suffered terrible losses
from machine gun fire. At last, some of our men broke through the wire
by breaching it with wire clippers and then jumping in the trenches
bayoneted German after German, from traverse to traverse until they
were all accounted for in that part of the line.

Our losses were appalling during the few minutes it took to cut the
wire, our casualties totaling over 750 men out of the thousand engaged.
A young subaltern was the only officer who got through the engagement,
the colonel, major, adjutant and company commanders all being killed
while leading the attack.

Our officers had all been in the army for a number of years and were
excellent soldiers. We could ill afford to lose such men, as there
were none who could fill their places, and we noticed a remarkable
difference when the reinforcements arrived, the new officers being
hastily trained and the ink stains not yet off their fingers.

The remnants of the battalion reached the German third line of trenches
and there waited for reinforcements. For two days I carried the
stretcher without a rest until at last I collapsed under the strain and
had to rest for a few hours. How many men I carried I do not know, and
the last few hours seemed like a dream, broken with the cries of the

My clothes were saturated with the blood of the men I bandaged and
carried, and when I was finally relieved, I had to get a new suit from
the quartermaster stores.

On the first night of the offensive, the Germans made a counter
attack in a vain endeavor to recapture the redoubt, and the line of
trenches called Port Arthur. During the attack, I was in the front line
attending to wounded men who needed attention, and so I had a good
view of the Germans as they were advancing.

They advanced, as was their custom, in close order, or mass formation.
Our reinforcements, who had come up just after dark, had brought
several machine guns, so we were quite prepared to give the Germans a
fight to a finish. Our officers, knowing that the Germans could not
break through our wire under the terrific hail of lead we would send
over, gave strict orders not to fire until the Germans were up to the
entanglements. Thus, at that short range, the slaughter would be much
greater, and fewer Germans would reach back to their own lines during
their consequent retreat.

There was not enough room on the parquet or firing platform for all our
men, and the unlucky ones who were left standing at the bottom of the
trench dragged some of the men on the parquets, so that they could get
a few rounds off, and so settle "old scores" with "Fritz." Under the
rapid fire of our machine guns and rifles the Germans were mowed down
almost to a man, very few of even their swiftest runners making a home

I was in the trenches at Neuve Chapelle for a few more days until the
remnants of our battalion were taken to the rear to be re-formed
when the drafts arrived. After six days' rest we were again on trench
duty, and this continued until May 9th, when our division was moved to
Fromelles to participate in the offensive on that sector.

During the first part of this offensive our battalion acted as supports
to the London Rifles, whose objective was the German third line of
trenches. When this objective was reached we received the order to
advance in open formation. German machine guns opened up fire on us as
we advanced, and men were soon dropping like flies.

My chum, who was carrying the other end of the stretcher, was riddled
with machine gun bullets. It so happened that he was caught by the
group shots from one gun. It was lucky for me that the German machine
gunner was grouping his shots, and not using the traverse system, or I
would have been hit also.

I was then left to carry the stretcher alone, and while advancing
further saw our new colonel fall wounded, so I rushed to his
assistance. The bone of his leg was smashed by a bullet, and as I went
up to him he ordered me away, and told me to take cover or I would be
killed, as the bullets by this time were flying around in hundreds. I
walked a few paces and returned for another attempt to bandage him,
but he again ordered me to take cover, so I said to him, "Well, if you
don't want help, there are plenty around who do." This officer was
Colonel Vandeleur, who was captured during the retreat of Mons, while
in command of the Cheshire Regiment.

He escaped from the German prison camp, owing to the fact that he could
speak the German language like a native, and when he reached London by
way of Holland, he was granted an audience with the King, as he was the
first Britisher to escape from Germany. After having a rest, he was
again sent to France, and took command of our battalion.

Having lost my chum, I had to work single-handed, and this meant
carrying wounded on my back. We remained at Fromelles for three days
and were under bombardment all the time, the Germans being heavily
supplied with "Heavies" and a plentiful supply of "Jack Johnsons" and
"Coal Boxes."

Our attack at Fromelles was not as successful as we had anticipated,
owing to insufficient artillery support, and we were at a disadvantage
during the year 1915 on account of the shortage in heavy artillery.
The Germans, who had prepared for so many years beforehand, were
plentifully supplied with all kinds of artillery from 77 M. to 17-inch
Skoda howitzers and for every shell we fired they fired ten.

Shortly after the Fromelles affair, I was wounded while in the front
line, and remained in the hospital for three months. When I returned to
the battalion, they were doing trench duty at Fleurbaix, and with only
two minor engagements I suffered the agonies of trench warfare once
more, this time for several months, including the winter of 1915 and

On the first of July, 1916, an offensive on the Somme was started and
our division was now in the thick of it. This was a change from the
previous engagements, as our munition and armament factories in Britain
had been working at top pressure for months and we had ample supplies
of guns and ammunition and could give "Fritz" shell for shell.

I had left the stretcher bearers and during the Somme offensive I was
fighting in the ranks and went "Over the Top," this time with rifle and
bayonet. After severe fighting, we took Friecourt, our first objective,
and after entering the village the prisoners were collected, and I was
detailed to escort prisoners to the cages, and to remain as one of the
sentries until relieved. One of the prisoners who could speak English
asked me if the men of our regiment were sailors, because at this time
we wore the Scotch Balmoral Blach hats, and he evidently mistook them
for sailors' hats, as they are not unlike the headgear of the British
Navy, and it must have been the first time he had seen them, as most of
the Scottish troops were the Glengarrys.

I quickly informed him that we were the famous Scottish Rifles, the
old 90th of Foot who had made a reputation in previous wars, and who
intended to keep up the reputation made by knocking Hell out of the
Germans on every possible occasion. He was different than the rest
of the prisoners, the majority of them being morose and sullen, so I
kept up a conversation with him, and it was interesting at the time to
listen to a German prisoner who could speak English, and who wished to
tell me of the things that had happened to him. He had been a steward
on one of the Hamburg-American Line boats plying between Germany and
New York, and he had learned to speak English by talking to passengers.
He said that he was glad to be captured, and for this information I
handed him a few cigarettes.

Shortly after, I was again sent back to the front line, and during the
next two weeks we advanced twenty miles, capturing Combles and other

The battle of the Somme was the biggest offensive during 1916.
Considerable ground was retaken, and thousands of Germans captured. We
were sent to the Bethune front, which was at the time a quiet sector
in comparison to the Somme, and there we did trench duty for six weeks
before being returned once again to the Somme.

On the 23rd of October we again attacked and gained more ground. By
this time the Somme battlefield was a land of shell-holes and mud.
The hardships we had to undergo were terrible. The bombardments never
ceased, and sometimes it increased to drum fire. For the next few
months we remained on this front, this being my third winter in the
trenches, I was beginning to be "fed up" with the whole thing.

I had had one seven days' leave to England at the end of 1915, and in
November, 1916, I was granted one month's furlough on account of having
completed my term as a time serving man.

The Conscription Act coming into force kept me on for the duration of
the war, but in consideration of my long service, having completed my
thirteenth year, as stipulated on my attestation, this special leave
was granted. What a relief it was to know that for the next four weeks
I would not hear the shells or stumble along in the mud up to my knees,
and, sometimes, up to the waist.

How my mouth watered when I realized that I would get a change of diet
from the everlasting bully beef and biscuits, commonly known as "hard
tack." How pleasant to know that the "cooties" would soon be off me and
a new change of clothing on my back. One can only appreciate good food
and clean clothes after months of horror experienced by eating bully
and biscuits and being tormented by "cooties," or, as we called them,
"Wee Scunners."

During the month's furlough I spent in London, I had the time of my
life, but as all good days have to end at some time or other, I was
soon back in the trenches, and to make things worse, we were on the

Christmas day I again spent in the trenches, but this time there was no
fraternizing, both sides being very bitter and for any of us to show a
head above the parapet meant death from a German sniper.

We could never forget the Zeppelin raids, the sinking of the
_Lusitania_, and the despicable treachery of the enemy on every
occasion, wherever they got a chance. The Germans proved themselves
worse than the lowest savages, and Lord Kitchener said that they were
worse than the Dervishes of the Soudan, the fanatics of the desert.
Never will a British soldier forget the incident where British soldiers
were burned alive, by the orders of Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria, and
the crucifying of the Canadians at Ypres.

In the spring of 1917 the Germans retreated to a new line of defense,
and for three weeks we advanced under cover of the night, throwing out
patrols, to try and get in touch with the Germans. This was a welcome
change, as there was no firing, and as we were on the move it was
less monotonous than being in the trenches. The Germans had destroyed
everything in their retreat, farm houses being blown up, orchards cut
down, cross roads destroyed, and every trick, the Germans who are past
masters in this kind of thing, knew so well how to do. The countryside
was laid waste, and I saw hundreds of dead men who had been left behind
by the Germans, unburied, and left to rot; most of them had been
mangled by shell-fire and it was sights such as these that make men
think of the terrible folly of war, and why such things should be.

We have one consolation, and that is, the men of the Allies who were
killed did not die in vain, as the objects for which we entered the
war have been achieved and the wrongs will be righted.

At last we got in touch with the Germans and dug ourselves in, and then
we had another spell of trench duty, until taken away from the Somme
and moved up to Belgium to participate in the Paschendale offensive in
June, 1917. Of all the fronts I was ever on, Paschendale was the worst.
The front included the Ypres salient where fighting had been going on
almost incessantly from October, 1914. Neither side made much progress,
and during these three years the ground had changed hands many times
and was mostly shell-holes. In fact, for miles it was difficult to
find a few square yards untouched by shells, and I think that more men
were killed in the Ypres salient than any other place of its size in
the world. It was impossible to build trenches on this front, and the
system of defense was to fortify shell-holes with sand bags, two or
three men to a shell-hole. I was in one advance which we made under
cover of the biggest barrage thrown over at that time, and when our
objective was reached, we manned the shell-holes until relieved.

In September, 1917, I was sent to a bombing school, and went through
a course which I passed, and was then qualified to act as a bombing
instructor when I arrived back to the battalion. The course lasted one
month, and in that time I learned all there was to know about bombs,
especially the deadly Mills bomb, with its three and a half to five
seconds time fuse. I found bombing more interesting than any other
kind of warfare I had yet taken up, and the fact that it was possible
to kill or wound a number of Germans with one well-aimed bomb greatly
appealed to me. When I returned to the line my rifle was placed as
second favorite, the bombs always holding first place in my estimation.

When I arrived back to the battalion, they were at Ploegstreet, or
"Plug-street," as we called it, and this front being rather quick,
we had a picnic, in comparison to some of the previous places. The
trenches at Ploegstreet were well constructed, and fairly dry, and were
always considered the best on the British front.

The Germans were 1,300 yards away and a small river ran between
their lines and ours. Owing to the great distance between the lines,
patrols were always out at night, so as to prevent a surprise attack.
Our patrols consisted of a non-commissioned officer and two men, but
sometimes a fighting patrol of ten men with a Lewis gun were sent out.

As the Germans always had patrols out as well, this was a ticklish
business, as it was quite common for the patrols to meet and then
there would be a little dirty work. On these occasions I always had
a good supply of bombs, and one night when near a bridge of planks,
which crossed the river, I heard the creaking and knew that a German
patrol was crossing. The night being pitch dark, made it impossible
for me to see them, so I whispered to the two privates to creep back
to the bushes, which were a few yards away, and there we would wait
for them. This we did in a few seconds. I could hear the German patrol
walking through the grass toward us, and when I judged they were about
twenty-five yards away I quickly removed the safety pin from the bomb
and threw it in their direction.

By the time the first one burst, I had the pin removed from another
one, and as the place was lit up by the flash of the bomb, I had a good
view of the German fighting patrol, and so consequently the second bomb
which I threw fell in the middle of them, as they were beating it for
the bridge, and evidently some of them were hit, as they squealed like
most Germans do when wounded. Knowing that the survivors would open
fire in our direction as soon as they were over the bridge, we ran for
cover to a bunch of trees, and there lay down for a few minutes until
the firing had died down.

Telling my two chums to remain under cover until I returned, I crawled
back to see if the Germans had returned for any of their wounded.
Carefully maneuvering, I could hear the low moans of a wounded German,
so I went to see what damage I had done. One German was dead and the
other who was moaning was severely wounded in the legs, several pieces
of the bomb hitting him in different places.

Seeing that he needed immediate assistance, and wishing to get him back
to our lines for information purposes, I crawled back to my chums and
told them to come back with me to the wounded German. When we reached
him I told one of them to go down to the bridge and watch in case the
Germans would return. The first thing I did was to kick the German's
rifle out of the way, in case he wanted to use it when our backs were
turned, and then proceeded to bandage his wounds. Then walking down
to the bridge, I told my chum that everything was ready to carry the
prisoner back, and after stumbling and carrying him for over a thousand
yards, we reached our lines, and then handed him over to the stretcher
bearers, who took him to the dressing station.

After a few weeks at Ploegstreet, we were again shifted to
Passchendale, and as the winter was now on, things were much worse
than on our previous visit. The first time we went to the front line
we experienced on this occasion something new. Previously, in the
trenches, we always had ration parties go back to the rear at night for
supplies, and always received rations daily and a lot of rum in the

The shell-fire being so bad made it too costly at Passchendale to send
men back every night, so before we went up the line, we were served
with three days' rations and a gasoline can full of water. In addition
to this, every man had to carry 250 rounds of ammunition, several
bombs, gas mask, trench coat and waterproof sheet, rifle, bayonet and
grubber, sand bags, trench helmet and a shovel. I shall never forget
the six miles march up to the front line with all the equipment. The
shovel which I had tied to the middle of my back kept banging against
my legs, and I was always scared of losing my can of water. Several
men, while crossing the duck-boards fell off, and went up to their
necks in mud, and if curses would have killed the Kaiser, he would have
died that night.

At last we reached the front line and relieved the Devons, who had been
up there three days--three days in a shell-hole, half full of water,
bully beef, biscuits and cold water, tainted with gasoline for our
rations, shell-fire continuously and occasionally a cloud of gas.

I do not think it possible for a person who has never experienced it
to have the slightest imagination what suffering and torture we had to
undergo on the Passchendale front. Many a wounded man, while staggering
back over the duck-board, slipped off and was drowned, not having the
strength to pull himself out of the mud.

Fatigue parties were working every night to keep the duck-board
paths in repair, as shells were continuously hitting them, and every
hit meant a few duck-boards smashed to splinters. The dump where
new supplies of duck-boards were kept was five miles from the front
line, and if new ones were required it meant a five-mile hike with a
duck-board on our shoulders, and a five-mile hike back. We lost thirty
men out of a fatigue party one night by shell-fire, and the casualties
were so heavy that there was a continuous stream of motor ambulances
along the roads in the rear.

This was my fourth winter in the trenches, and the constant strain was
beginning to tell on me, and I fell sick with pneumonia and developed
trench feet. This time I was sent to England, and when I came out of
the hospital I obtained convalescent leave to see my people, who were
living in Winnipeg, Canada.

My health not improving, I was discharged from the army in May, 1918,
after having served fifteen years as a regular soldier and was three
years and two months in France.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

All original spellings, including names of people and places, have been
retained. Hyphenation has been made consistent except that the use of
both water-proof and waterproof has been retained.

The illustration on page 147 was oriented vertically in the original
but is oriented horizontally here.

Minor punctuation errors corrected on pages 5, 110, and 119. The
following typographical errors were corrected:

Page 3, "Dardenelles" changed to "Dardanelles." (The "Dardanelles"

Page 8, "Shell-shock" changed to "Shell-shocked." (Shell-shocked and
gassed at Chateau-Thierry.)


Page 80, "stay" changed to "say." (I might say that was in the month...)

Page 88, "litle" changed to "little." (After having a little battle...)

Page 103, "commision" changed to "commission." (...shoulder put out of

Page 116, "starve" changed to "starved." (...none of them looked
starved to death.)

Page 146, "litle" changed to "little." (...tell of one or two little

Page 173, "strecher" changed to "stretcher." (...carrying the other end
of the stretcher...)

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