By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Stories from the Trenches - Humorous and Lively Doings of Our 'Boys Over There'
Author: Case, Carleton B.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Stories from the Trenches - Humorous and Lively Doings of Our 'Boys Over There'" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

produced from images generously made available by the
Library of Congress)


   _Humorous and Lively Doings of Our Boys “Over There”_

    Gathered From Authentic Sources



    Copyright, 1918, by


    The Man Who “Came Back”                                    5
    Franco-Yanko Romances                                     14
    Trench Superstitions                                      25
    In the Trail of the Hun                                   30
    When “Ace” Lufbery Bagged No. 13                          41
    Life at the Front                                         47
    The “Fiddler’s Truce” at Arras                            55
    Harry Lauder Does His Bit                                 57
    King George Under Fire                                    63
    Story of Our First Shot                                   68
    Stories from the Front                                    71
    Uncle Sam, Detective                                      75
    Didn’t Raise His Boy to Be a “Slacker”                    86
    The 100-Pound Terror of the Air                           90
    The Watch-Dogs of the Trenches                            96
    General Bell Redeems His Promise                         101
    Letters from the Front                                   105
    Meet Tommy, D. C. Medal Man                              114
    German Falcon Killed in Air Duel                         119
    He Taught the Tank to Prowl and Slay                     122
    Taking Moving Pictures Under Shell-fire                  128
    Weighty Measures Involving Uncle Sam’s Navy              137
    Enlisted Men Tell Why They Joined the Army               142
    Tommy Atkins, Rain-soaked and War-worn, Still Grins      146
    Something New for the Marines                            150



ONE of the strangest of the many personal romances which the war has
brought is the tale of a man who, dismissed from the British Army
by court martial, redeemed himself through service with that most
heterogeneous of organizations, the French Foreign Legion. His name was
John F. Elkington, and he had held an honored post for more than thirty
years. Then, just as his regiment, in the closing months of 1914, was
going into the fighting on the Western front, he was cashiered for an
unrevealed error and deprived of the opportunity to serve his country.

Heavy with disgrace, he disappeared, and for a long time no one knew
what had become of him. Some even went so far as to surmise that he had
committed suicide, until finally he turned up as an enlisted soldier in
the Foreign Legion. In their ranks he went into the conflict to redeem
himself. Today, says the New York _Herald_, he is back in England. He
will never fight again, for he has practically lost the use of his
knees from wounds. But he is perhaps the happiest man in England, and
the account tells why, explaining:

Pinned on his breast are two of the coveted honors of France—the
Military Medal and the Military Cross—but most valued possession of
all is a bit of paper which obliterates the errors of the past—a
proclamation from the official London _Gazette_ announcing that the
King has “graciously approved the reinstatement of John Ford Elkington
in the rank of lieutenant-colonel, with his previous seniority, in
consequence of his gallant conduct while serving in the ranks of the
Foreign Legion of the French Army.”

Not only has Colonel Elkington been restored to the Army, but he has
been reappointed in his old regiment, the Royal Warwickshires, in which
his father served before him.

In the same London _Gazette_, at the end of October, 1914, had appeared
the crushing announcement that Elkington had been cashiered by sentence
of general court martial. What his error was did not appear at the
time, and has not been alluded to in his returned hour of honor. It
was a court martial at the front at a time when the first rush of war
was engulfing Europe and little time could be wasted upon an incident
of that sort. The charge, it is now stated, did not reflect in any way
upon the officer’s personal courage.

But with fallen fortunes he passed quietly out of the Army and enlisted
in the Legion—that corps where thousands of brave but broken men have
found a shelter, and now and then an opportunity to make themselves
whole again.

Colonel Elkington did not pass unscathed through fire. His fighting
days are ended. His knees are shattered and he walks heavily upon two

“They are just fragments from France,” he said of those wounded knees,
and smiled in happy reminiscence of all they meant.

“It is wonderful to feel,” said Colonel Elkington, “that once again I
have the confidence of my King and my country. I am afraid my career in
the field is ended, but I must not complain.”

Colonel Elkington made no attempt to cloak his name or his former Army
service when he entered the ranks of the Legion.

“Why shouldn’t I be a private?” he asked. “It is an honor for any man
to serve in the ranks of that famous corps. Like many of the other
boys, I had a debt to pay. Now it is paid.”

The press of London is unanimous in welcoming the old soldier back
into his former rank. One of them, _The Evening Standard_, contains
the account of how he went about enlisting for France when he saw he
would best leave London. It is written by a personal friend of Colonel
Elkington, with all the vividness and sympathy of an actual observer of
the incidents detailed. We are told:

“Late in October, 1914, I met him, his Army career apparently ruined.
He had told the truth, which told against him; but in the moment when
many men would have sunk, broken and despairing, he bore himself as he
was and as he is today, a very gallant gentleman. He had been cashiered
and dismissed from the service for conduct which, in the judgment of
the court martial, rendered him unfit and incapable of serving his
sovereign in the future in any military capacity. The London _Gazette_
came out on October 14, 1914, recording the fact, and it became known
to his many friends. For over thirty years he had served, and for
distinguished service wore the Queen’s medal with four clasps after
the Boer War. He went to France with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment at
the outbreak of this conflict. His chance had come after twenty-eight

During the first terrible two months he had done splendid work. A
moment sufficient to try the discretion of any officer arrived. He
made his mistake. He told his story to the general court martial. He
vanished—home; and the London _Gazette_ had the following War-Office

“Royal Warwickshire Regiment.—Lieutenant-Colonel John F. Elkington is
cashiered by sentence of a general court martial. Dated September 14,

He recognized at once, as he sat with me, what this meant. We chatted
about various projects, and at last he said, “There is still the
Foreign Legion. What do you say?”

Being acquainted with it, I told him what I knew; how it was the
“refuge” for men of broken reputations; how it contained Italians,
Germans, Englishmen, Russians, and others who had broken or shattered
careers; the way to set about joining it by going to the recruiting
office at——; how the only requirement was physical fitness; that no
questions would be asked; that I doubted if he would like all his
comrades; that the discipline was very severe; that he might be sent
to Algiers; that he would find all kinds of men in this flotsam—men of
education and culture, perhaps scoundrels and blackguards as well; but
he would soon discover perfect discipline.

Now for a man of his age to smile as he did, to set out on the bottom
rung of the ladder as a ranker in a strange army, among strangers,
leaving all behind him that he held dear, was a great act of moral
courage. We heard of him at intervals, but such messages as dribbled
through to his friends were laconic. We heard also he had been at this
place and that, and that he was well and apparently doing well. That
he had been repeatedly in serious action of recent months we also
knew, and then came the news that he had won the coveted _Médaillé
Militaire_—and more, that it was for gallant service. A curious
distinction it is in some ways. Any meritorious service may win it;
but not all ranks can get it. A _generalissimo_ like General Joffre
or Sir Douglas Haig may wear it for high strategy and tactics, and a
non-commissioned officer or private may win and wear it for gallantry
or other distinction. But no officer below a _generalissimo_ can gain
it. This distinction Elkington won. We all felt he had made good in the
Legion, where death is near at all times, and we waited.

Today’s _Gazette_ announcement has given all who knew him the greatest
pleasure. He has told none of them for what particular act he received
the coveted medal—just like Jack Elkington’s modesty.

But, as soon as he arrived home in England, the interviewers went
after him hot and heavy. He found it all very boresome, for, now
that the affair was over, he could see no use in talking about it to
everybody. A reporter for _The Daily Chronicle_, however, managed to
get what is probably the most satisfactory interview with him and one
which shows to best advantage the peculiar psychology of this man who
has experienced so many different sides of life. The interviewer, in
telling of their conversation, portrays the Colonel as saying:

“Complaint? Good Lord, no! The whole thing was my own fault. I got
what I deserved, and I had no kick against anyone. It was just ‘Carry

Brave words from a brave man—a man who has proved his bravery and
worth in what surely were as heartrending circumstances as ever any
man had to face. My first sight of the Man Who Has Made Good was as he
descended the stairs, painfully and with the aid of two sticks, into
the hall of his lovely old home by the river at Pangbourne. It is a
house which the great Warren Hastings once called home also.

Very genial, very content, I found the man whose name today is on
everyone’s lips; but very reticent also, with the reticence natural to
the brave man who has achieved his aim and, having achieved it, does
not wish it talked of.

“And now,” I suggested, “you have again got what you deserve?”

Colonel Elkington drew a long breath. “I hope so,” he said, at length,
very quietly. “I have got my name back again, I hope cleared. That is
what a man would care for most, isn’t it?”

“There is always a place in the Foreign Legion for someone who is down
in the world,” he told me. “Directly after the court martial, when the
result appeared in the papers, I said I must do something; that I could
not sit at home doing nothing, and that as I could not serve England I
would serve France. Yes, I did offer my services again to England, but
it is military law that no man who has been cashiered can be employed
again for the King while the sentence stands. So there was nothing for
it but the Foreign Legion—that home for the fallen man.”

Of that strange and famous corps Colonel Elkington cannot speak without
a glint of pride in his keen blue eyes. Splendid men, the best in the
world, he calls them, “and every one was as kind as possible to me.”
Many there were who had become legionaries because they, too, had
failed elsewhere, “lost dogs like myself,” the Colonel called them;
but the majority of the men with whom he served were there because
there was fighting to be done, because fighting was second nature to
them, and because there was a cause to be fought for. The officers he
describes as the “nicest fellows in the world and splendid leaders.”

When Colonel Elkington first joined there were many Englishmen included
in its ranks, but most of these subsequently transferred to British
regiments. He enlisted in his own name, but none knew his story, and
often he was questioned as to his reason for not transferring—“and I
had to pitch them the tale.”

He kept away from British soldiers as much as possible, “but one day
someone shouted my name. I remember I was just about to wash in a
stream when a staff motor drove by and an officer waved his hand and
called out. But I pretended not to hear and turned away....

“I don’t think that the men in the Legion fear anything,” he said. “I
never saw such men, and I think in the attack at Champaigne they were
perfectly wonderful. I never saw such a cool lot in my life as when
they went forward to face the German fire then. It was a great fight;
they were all out for blood, and, though they were almost cut up there,
they got the German trenches.”

The time he was recognized, as detailed above, was the only one. At no
other time did any of his comrades suspect his identity, or else, if
they did, they were consideration itself in keeping it to themselves.
Of this recognition and some of his subsequent experiences, the London
_Times_ remarks, speaking of its own interview with him:

It was the only voice from the past that came to him, and he took it as
such. A few minutes afterward he was stepping it out heel and toe along
the dusty road, a private in the Legion.

Shot in the leg, Colonel Elkington spent ten months in hospital and
eight months on his back. This was in the Hôpital Civil at Grenoble.
He could not say enough for the wonderful treatment that was given him
there. They fought to save his life, and when they had won that fight,
they started to save his leg from amputation. The head of the hospital
was a Major Termier, a splendid surgeon, and he operated eight times
and finally succeeded in saving the damaged limb. When he was first in
hospital neither the patients nor any of the hospital staff knew what
he was or what he had done. Elkington himself got an inkling of his
good fortune at Christmas when he heard of his recommendation for the
_Croix de Guerre_.

“Perhaps that helped me to get better,” he said. “The medals are over
there on the mantelpiece.” I went over to where there were two glass
cases hanging on the wall. “No, not those; those are my father’s and my
grandfather’s.” He showed me the medals, and on the ribbon of the cross
there was the little bronze palm-branch which doubles the worth of the

When he was wounded Dr. Wheeler gave him a stiff dose of laudanum, but
he lay for thirteen hours until he saw a French patrol passing. He was
then 100 yards short of the German second line of trenches, for this
was in the Champaigne Battle, on September 28, when the French made a
magnificent advance.

It was difficult to get Colonel Elkington to talk about himself. As his
wife says, he has a horror of advertisement, and a photographer who
ambushed him outside his own lodge-gates yesterday made him feel more
nervous than when he was charging for the machine gun that wounded him.
To say he was happy would be to write a platitude. He is the happiest
man in England. He is now recuperating and receiving treatment, and he
hopes that he will soon be able to walk more than the 100 yards that
taxes his strength to the utmost at present.


In times of peace Smith might have been an author who had drifted into
some useful occupation, such as that of a blacksmith, but just now he
is cook to the Blankshire officers’ mess. Smith sent Murphy into the
village to bring home some chickens ordered for the mess.

“Murphy,” said Smith, the next day, “when you fetch me chickens again,
see that they are fastened up properly. That lot you fetched yesterday
all got loose, and though I scoured the village I only managed to
secure ten of them.”

“’Sh!” said Murphy. “I only brought six.”


THE story is told of a British “Tommy” who could not make up his mind
whether to acquire a farm or a village store, by marriage, “somewhere
in France.” He could have either, but not both. Dispatches say that the
banns have already been read for some of our “Sammies,” and when the
war is over France will have some sturdy Yankee citizens. Difference of
language seems to form no bar; in fact, the kindly efforts of each to
learn the language of the other acts as an aid. It must be said that
the British, so far, have rather the best of it. They have beaten the
Yankees to the altar of Hymen, but they had the field to themselves for
some time. By the end of the war the Americans may have caught up, for
love and war have always walked hand in hand with Uncle Sam’s boys.
Nevertheless the British have a big start, for Judson C. Welliver,
writing to the New York _Sun_ from Paris, says that in Calais hundreds
of young English mechanics have married French girls. The writer tells
of being accosted by a young man from “the States” at the corner of the
Avenue de l’Opéra and “one of those funny little crooked streets that
run into it.” Breezily the American introduced himself and said:

“Say, do you happen to know a little caffy right around here called
the—the—blame it, I can’t even remember what that sign looked like it
was trying to spell.”

I admitted that the description was a trifle too vague to fit into my
geographic scheme of Paris.

“Because,” he went on, “there’s a girl there that talks United States,
and she’s been waiting on me lately. I get all the best of everything
there and don’t eat anywhere else. But this morning I took a walk and
coming from a new direction I can’t locate the place. I promised her
I’d be in for breakfast this morning.”

“Something nifty?” I ventured, being willing to encourage that line of
conversation. Whereat he plainly bridled:

“She’s a nice girl,” he said; “family were real people before the war.
Learned to talk United States in England; went to school there awhile.
Why, she wouldn’t let me walk home with her last night, but said maybe
she would tonight.”

There isn’t anybody quite so adaptable as the young Frenchwoman.
Only in the last few months has Paris seen any considerable number
of English-speaking soldiers, because earlier in the war the British
military authorities kept their men pretty religiously away from the
alleged “temptations” of the gay capital. Later they discovered that
Paris was rather a better place than London for the men to go.

So the French girls, in shops and cafés, have been learning English
recently at an astounding rate. They began the study because of the
English invasion; they have continued it with increased zeal because
since the Americans have been coming it has been profitable.

To be able to say “Atta boy!” in prompt and sympathetic response to
“Ham and eggs” is worth 50 centimes at the lowest. The capacity to
manage a little casual conversation and give a direction on the street
is certain to draw a franc.

Besides, there aren’t going to be so many men left, after the war, in

Mademoiselle, figuring that there are a couple of million Britishers in
the country and a million or maybe two of Americans coming, has her own
views about the prospect that the next generation Frenchwomen may be
old maids.

In Calais there is a big industrial establishment to which the British
military authorities have brought great numbers of skilled mechanics
to make repairs to machinery, reconstruct the outworn war-gear, tinker
obstreperous motor-vehicles, and, in short, keep the whole machinery
and construction side of the war going. Most of the mechanics who were
sent there were young men.

Calais testifies to the ability of the Frenchwomen to make the most
of their attractions. English officers tell me that hundreds of young
Englishmen settled in Calais “for the duration” have married French
girls and settled into homes. They intend, in a large proportion of
cases, to remain there, too.

The same thing is going on in Boulogne, which is to all intents and
purposes nowadays as much an English as a French port. Everywhere
English is spoken and by nobody is it learned so quickly as by the
young women.

Frenchwomen have always had the reputation of making themselves
agreeable to visiting men, but one is quite astonished to learn the
number of Englishmen who married Frenchwomen even before the war. The
balance is a little imperfect, for the records show that there are not
nearly as many Frenchmen marrying English girls. But, says the writer
in the _Sun_, a new generation of girls of marriageable age has arrived
with the war, and:

Not only in the military, industrial, and naval base towns are the
British marrying these Frenchwomen, but even in the country nearer the
front. There are incipient romances afoot behind every mile of the

Two related changes in French life are coming with the war which make
these international marriages easier. Both relate to the _dot_ [dowry]
system. On the one side there are many French girls who have lost their
_dots_ and have small prospect of reacquiring the marriage portion. To
live in these strenuous times is about all they can hope for. For these
the free-handed Americans, Canadians, and Australians look like good
prospects for a well-to-do marriage.

Even the British Tommy, though he enjoys no such income as the
Americans and colonials, is nevertheless quite likely to have a bit
of private income from the folks “back in Blighty” to supplement
the meager pay he draws. The portionless French maid sees in these
prosperous young men who have come to fight for her country not only
the saviors of the nation, but a possibility of emancipation from the
_dot_ system that has broken down in these times.

On the other side, there are more than a few young women in France who
must be rated “good catches” to-day, though their _dots_ would have
been unimportant before the war. A girl who has inherited the little
property of her family, because father and brothers all lie beneath the
white crosses along the Marne, not infrequently finds herself possessed
of a little fortune she could never have expected under other
conditions. Many of these, likewise, bereft of sweethearts as well
as relatives, have been married to English and colonial soldiers or
workmen; and pretty soon we will be learning that their partiality for
America—for there is such a partiality, and it is a decided one—will be
responsible for many alliances in that direction.

How it will all work out in the end is only to be guessed at as yet.
The British officers who have been observing these Anglo-French
romances for a long time assert that the British Tommy who weds a
Frenchwoman is quite likely to settle in France; particularly if his
bride brings him a village house or a few hectares of land in the

On the other hand, the colonials insist on taking their French brides
back to New Zealand or Canada, or wherever it may be—India, Shanghai,
somewhere in Africa—no matter, the colonial is a colonial forever; he
has no idea of going back to the cramped conditions of England. He
likes the motherland, all right, is willing to fight for it, but wants
room to swing a bull by the tail, and that isn’t to be had in England,
he assures you.

Probably the Americans will be like the colonials; those who find
French wives will take them home after the war. That a good many of
them will marry French wives can hardly be doubted.

Yes, the French girls like the American boys. But there is another
scene. It is that of the country billet, which varies from a château
to a cellar, the ideal one—from the point of view of a billeting
officer—being a bed for every officer, and nice clean straw for the
men. Get this picture of “Our Village, Somewhere in France,” back of
the line, as drawn by Sterling Hielig in the Los Angeles _Times:_

A French valley full of empty villages, close to the fighting line. No
city of tents. No mass of shack constructions. The village streets are
empty. Geese and ducks waddle to the pond in Main Street.

It is 4 o’clock a. m.


Up and down the valley, in the empty villages, there is a
moving-picture transformation. The streets are alive with American
soldiers—tumbling out of village dwelling-houses!

Every house is full of boarders. Every village family has given,
joyfully, one, two, three of its best rooms for the cot beds of the
Americans! Barns and wagon-houses are transformed to dormitories. They
are learning French. They are adopted by the family. Sammy’s in the
kitchen with the mother and the daughter.


They are piling down the main street to their own American
breakfast—cooked in the open, eaten in the open, this fine weather.

In front of houses are canvas reservoirs of filtered drinking-water.
The duck pond in Main street is being lined with cement. The streets
are swept every morning. There are flowers. The village was always
picturesque. Now it is beautiful.

Chaplains’ clubs are set up in empty houses. The only large tent
is that of the Y. M. C. A.; and it is _camouflaged_ against enemy
observers by being painted in streaked gray-green-brown, to melt into
the colors of the hill against which it is backed up, practically
invisible. Its “canteen on wheels” is loaded with towels, soap,
razors, chocolate, crackers, games, newspapers, novels, and tobacco.
At cross-roads, little flat Y. M. C. A. tents (painted grass and
earth color) serve as stations for swift autos carrying packages and
comforts. In them are found coffee, tea, and chocolate, ink, pens,
letter-paper, and envelopes; and a big sign reminds Sammy that “You
Promised Your Mother a Letter, Write It Today!”

All decent and in order. Otherwise the men could never have gone
through the strenuous coaching for the front so quickly and well.

In “Our Village,” not a duck or goose or chicken has failed to respond
to the roll call in the past forty days—which is more than can be said
of a French company billet, or many a British.

Fruit hung red and yellow in the orchards till the gathering. I don’t
say the families had as many bushels as a “good year”; but there is no

In a word, Sammy has good manners. He looks on these French people with
a sort of awed compassion. “They had a lot to stand!” he whispers. And
the villagers, who are no fools (“as wily as a villager,” runs the
French proverb), quite appreciate these fine shades. And the house dog
wags his tail at the sight of khaki, as the boys come loafing in the
cool of the back yard after midday dinner.

In the evening the family play cards in the kitchen, and here no
effort is necessary to induce the girls to learn English, for, though
they pretend that they are teaching French, they are really—very
slyly—“picking up” English while they are being introduced to the
mysteries of draw-poker. Says the writer in _The Times:_

So, it goes like this when they play poker in the kitchen—the old
French father, the pretty daughter, the flapper girl cousin, and
three roughnecks. (One boy has the sheets of “Conversational French
in Twenty Days,” and really thinks that he is conversing—“_Madame_,
_mademoiselle_, _maman_, _monsieur_, _papa_, or _mon oncle_, pass the
buck and get busy!”)

“You will haf’ carts, how man-ny? (business.) Tree carts, fife carts,
ou-one cart, no cart, an’ zee dee-laire seex carts!”—“Here, Bill, wake
up!”—“Beel sleep! _Avez-vous sommeil_, Beel?”—“_Oui_, mademoiselle, I
slept rotten last night, I mean I was _tray jenny pars’ke_ that darned
engine was pumping up the duck pond—”

“Speak French!”—“Play cards!”—“_Vingt-cinq!_”—“_Et dix!_” “_Et encore
five cen-times._ I’m broke. Just slip me a quarter, Wilfred, to buy
_jet-toms_!” And a sweet and plaintive voice: “I haf’ tree paire, _mon
oncle_, an’ he say skee-doo, I am stung-ed. I haf’ seex carts!”—“Yes,
you’re out of it, I’m sorry, mademoiselle. Come up!” “Kom opp? Comment,
kom opp?”

“Stung-ed” has become French. Thus does Sammy enrich the language of
Voltaire. His influence works equally on pronunciation. There is a
tiny French village named Hinges—on which hinges the following. From
the days of Jeanne d’Arc, the natives have pronounced it “Anjs,” in
one syllable, with the sound of “a” as in “ham”; but Sammy, naturally,
pronounces it “hinges,” as it is spelled, one hinge, two hinges on the
door or window. So, the natives, deeming that such godlings can’t be
wrong on any detail, go about, now, showing off their knowledge to
the ignorant, and saying, with a point of affection: “I have been to

I should not wonder if some of these boys would marry. They might do
worse. The old man owns 218 acres and nobody knows what Converted
French Fives. Sammy, too, has money. A single regiment of American
marines has subscribed for $60,000 worth of French war-bonds since
their arrival in the zone—this, in spite of their depositing most of
their money with the United States Government.

Sammy sits in the group around the front door in the twilight. Up and
down the main street are a hundred such mixed groups. Already he has
found a place, a family. He is somebody.

And what American lad ever sat in such a group at such a time without a
desire to sing? And little difference does it make whether the song be
sentimental or rag; sing he must, and sing he does. The old-timers like
“I Was Seeing Nellie Home” and “Down by the Old Mill Stream” proved to
be the favorites of the listening French girls. For they will listen by
the hour to the soldiers’ choruses. They do not sing much themselves,
for too many of their young men are dead. But, finally, when the real
war-songs arrived, they would join timidly in the chorus, “Hep, hep,
hep!” and “Slopping Through Belgium” electrified the natives, and _The
Times_ says:

To hear a pretty French girl singing “Epp, epp, epp!” is about the

Singing is fostered by the high command. Who can estimate the influence
of “Tipperary?” To me, American civilian in Paris, its mere melody
will always stir those noble sentiments we felt as the first wounded
English came to the American Ambulance Hospital of Neuilly. For many
a year to come “Tipperary” will make British eyes wet, when, in the
witching hour of twilight, it evokes the khaki figures in the glare of
the sky-line and the dead who are unforgotten!

Who can estimate, for France, the influence of that terrible song of
Verdun—“_Passeront pas!_” Or who can forget the goose-step march to
death of the Prussian Guard at Ypres, intoning “_Deutschland Uber

“It is desired that the American Army be a singing army!” So ran the
first words of a communication to the American public of Paris, asking
for three thousand copies of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”—noble
marching strophes of Julia Ward Howe, which 18641865 fired the hearts
of the Northern armies in 1864-1865.

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!...

They are heard now on the American front in France. One regiment has
adopted it “as our marching song, in memory of the American martyrs of
Liberty.” And in Our Village, you may hear a noble French translation
of it, torn off by inspired French grandmothers!

    I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
    They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
    I have read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps;
                  His day is marching on.

Bear with me to hear three lines of this notable translation. Again
they are by a woman, Charlotte Holmes Crawford, of whom I had never
previously heard mention. They are word for word, vibrating!

   _Je L’ai entrevu Qui planait sur le cercle large des camps,
    On a érigé Son autel par les tristes et mornes champs,
    J’ai relu Son juste jugement à la flamme des feux flambants,
            Son jour, Son jour s’approche!_

It’s rather serious, you say? Rather solemn?

Sammy doesn’t think so.

       *       *       *       *       *


He was a young subaltern. One evening the pretty nurse had just
finished making him comfortable for the night, and before going off
duty asked: “Is there anything I can do for you before I leave?”

Dear little Two Stars replied: “Well, yes! I should like very much to
be kissed good-night.”

Nurse rustled to the door. “Just wait till I call the orderly,” she
said. “He does all the rough work here.”

       *       *       *       *       *


Visitor—“It’s a terrible war, this, young man—a terrible war.”

Mike (badly wounded)—“’Tis that, sor—a tirrible warr. But ’tis better
than no warr at all.”


IT is told in the chronicles of “The White Company” how the veteran
English archer, Samkin Aylward, was discovered by his comrades one
foggy morning sharpening his sword and preparing his arrows and armor
for battle. He had dreamed of a red cow, he announced.

“You may laugh,” said he, “but I only know that on the night before
Crécy, before Poitiers, and before the great sea battle at Winchester,
I dreamed of a red cow. To-night the dream came to me again, and I am
putting a very keen edge on my sword.”

Soldiers do not seem to have changed in the last five hundred years,
for Tommy Atkins and his brother the _poilu_ have warnings and
superstitions fully as strange as Samkin’s. Some of these superstitions
are the little beliefs of peace given a new force by constant peril,
such as the notion common to the soldier and the American drummer that
it is unlucky to light three cigars with one match; other presentiments
appear to have grown up since the war began. In a recent magazine
two poems were published dealing with the most dramatic of these—the
Comrade in White who appears after every severe battle to succor the
wounded. Dozens have seen him, and would not take it kindly if you
suggested they thought they saw him. They are sure of it. The idea of
the “call”—the warning of impending death—is firmly believed along the
outskirts of No Man’s Land. Let us quote some illustrations from the
Cincinnati _Times_:

“I could give you the names of half a dozen men of my own company who
have had the call,” said Daniel W. King, the young Harvard man, who was
transferred from the Foreign Legion to a line regiment; just in time to
go through the entire battle of Verdun. “I have never known it to fail.
It always means death.”

Two men were quartered in an old stable in shell-range of the front.
As they went to their quarters one of them asked the other to select
another place in which to sleep that night. It was bitterly cold and
the stable had been riddled by previous fire, and the army blanket
under such conditions seems as light as it seems heavy when its owner
is on a route march.

“Why not roll up together?” said the other man. “That way we can both
keep warm.”

“No,” said the first man. “I shall be killed to-night.”

The man who had received the warning went into the upper part of the
stable, the other pointing out in utter unbelief of the validity of a
call that the lower part was the warmer, and that if his friend were
killed it would make no difference whether his death chamber were
warm or cold. A shell came through the roof at midnight. It was a
“dud”—which is to say that it did not explode. The man who had been
warned was killed by it. If it had exploded the other would probably
have been killed likewise. As it was he was not harmed.

A few days ago the chief of an aeroplane section at the front felt a
premonition of death. He was known to all the army for his utterly
reckless daring. He liked to boast of the number of men who had been
killed out of his section. He was always the first to get away on a
bombing expedition and the last to return. He had received at least one
decoration—accompanied by a reprimand—for flying over the German lines
in order to bring down a _Fokker_.

“I have written my letters,” he said to his lieutenant. “When you hear
of my death, send them on.”

The lieutenant laughed at him. That sector of the line was quiet, he
pointed out. No German machine had been in the air for days. He might
have been justified in his premonition, the lieutenant said, on any
day of three months past. But now he was in not so much danger as he
might be in Paris from the taxicabs. That day a general visited the
headquarters and the chief went up in a new machine to demonstrate it.
Something broke when he was three thousand feet high and the machine
fell sidewise like a stone.

It is possible, say the soldiers, to keep bad fortune from following an
omen by the use of the proper talisman. The rabbit’s foot is unknown,
but it is said that a gold coin has much the same effect—why, no one
seems to know. A rabbit’s foot, of course, must be from the left hind
leg, otherwise it is good for nothing, and according to a _poilu_ the
efficacy of the gold piece depends upon whether or no it puts the man
into touch with his “star.” It is said in the New York _Sun_:

Gold coins are a mascot in the front lines, a superstition not
difficult to explain. It was at first believed that wounded men on whom
some gold was found would be better looked after by those who found
them, and by degrees the belief grew up, especially among artillery,
that a gold coin was a talisman against being mutilated if they were
taken prisoners, whether wounded or not.

The Government’s appeals to have gold sent to the Bank of France and
not to let it fall into enemy hands in case of capture has since
reduced the amount of gold at the front, but many keep some coins as a
charm. Many men sew coins touching one another in such a way as to make
a shield over the heart.

“Every man has his own particular star,” a Lyons farm hand said to
Apollinaire, “but he must know it. A gold coin is the only means to put
you in communication with your star, so that its protecting virtue can
be exercised. I have a piece of gold and so am easy in my mind I shall
never be touched.” As a matter of fact he was seriously wounded later.

Perhaps he lost his gold-piece!

_The Sun_ relates another story which indicates the belief that if
the man does not himself believe that he had a true “call” he will be
saved. It is possible to fool the Unseen Powers, to pull wool over
their eyes. To dream of an auto-bus has become a token of death,
attested by the experience of at least four front-line regiments. And
yet a sergeant succeeded in saving the life of a man who had dreamed of
an auto-bus by the use of a clever ruse—or lie, if you prefer. As the
anecdote is told in _The Sun_:

A corporal said he had dreamed of an auto-bus. “How can that be,”
the sergeant asked, “when you have never been to Paris or seen an
auto-bus?” The corporal described the vision. “That an auto-bus!”
declared the sergeant, although the description was perfect. “Why,
that’s one of those new machines that the English are using. Don’t let
that worry you!” He didn’t, and lived!

A regiment from the south has the same belief about an automobile lorry.

But, unfortunately for the scientifically minded, a disbelief in omens
does not preserve the skeptic from their consequences. On the contrary,
he who flies in the face of Providence by being the third to get a
light from one match is certain of speedy death. _The Sun_ continues:

Apollinaire tells how he was invited to mess with a friend, Second
Lieutenant François V——, how this superstition was discussed and
laughed at by François V——, and how François V—— happened to be the
third to light his cigaret with the same match.

The morning after, François V—— was killed five or six miles from the
front lines by a German shell. It appears that the superstition is that
the death is always of this nature, as Apollinaire quotes a captain of
a mixed _tirailleur_ and _zouave_ regiment as saying:

“It is not so much the death that follows, as death no longer is a
dread to anyone, but it has been noticed that it is always a useless
form of death. A shell splinter in the trenches or, at best, in the
rear, which has nothing heroic about it, if there is anything in this
war which is not heroic.”


WAR has become so much a part of the life of the French peasants
that they have little fear under fire. Frenchmen over military age
and Frenchwomen pursue their ordinary avocations with little concern
for exploding shells. To be sure, it is something of a nuisance, but
children play while their mothers work at the tub washing soldier
clothing. And as the Allied armies advance, wresting a mile or two of
territory from the enemy at each stroke, the peasant follows with his
plow less than a mile behind the lines. War has become a part of their
lives. Newman Flower, of _Cassell’s Magazine_, has been “Out There,”
and he thus records some of his impressions in the trail of the war:

The war under the earth is a most extraordinary thing. In the main, the
army you see in the war zone is not a combatant army. It is the army of
supply. The real fighters you seldom set eyes on unless you go and look
for them. And, generally speaking, the ghastliness of war is carried on
beneath the earth’s level.

Given time, the _Boche_ will take a lot of beating as an earth delver.
At one spot on the Somme I went into a veritable underground town,
where, till the British deluge overtook them, three thousand of the
toughest Huns the Kaiser had put into his line lived and thrived. They
had sets of compartments there, these men, with drawing-rooms complete,
even to the piano, kitchen, bathroom, and electric light, and I was
told that there was one place where you could have your photograph
taken, or buy a pair of socks! Every visitor down the steps—except the
British—was required to turn a handle three times, which pumped air
into the lower regions. If you descended without pumping down your
portion of fresh air you were guilty of bad manners.

Anything more secure has not been invented since Adam. But this
impregnable city fell last year, as all things must fall before the
steady pressing back of British infantry.

The writer tells of discovering in an old French town that was then
under fire a shell-torn building on which were displayed two signs
reading “First Aid Post” and “Barber Shop.” He says:

When I dived inside I saw one man having his arm dressed, for he had
been hit by a piece of shell in the square, and in a chair a few yards
away a Tommy having a shave. Coming in as a stranger, I was informed
that if I didn’t want a haircut or a shave, or hadn’t a healthy wound
to dress, this was not the Empire music hall, so I had better “hop it.”

It was in “hopping it” that I got astride an unseen fiber of British
communication. I went into the adjoining ruins of a big building. A
single solitary statue stood aloof in a devastation of tumbled brick
and stone. Then, as I was stepping from one mound of rubble to another,
as one steps from rock to rock on the seashore, I heard voices beneath
me. The wreckage was so complete, so unspeakably complete, that human
voices directly under my feet seemed at first startling and indefinite.
Moreover, to add to my confusion, I heard the baa-ing of sheep,
likewise under the earth. But I could see no hole, no outlet.

With the average curiosity of the Britisher I searched around till I
discovered a small hole, a foot in diameter, maybe, and a Tommy’s face
framed in it laughing up at me.

“Hello!” he said.

I pulled up, bewildered, and looked at him.

“What in Heaven’s name are you doing in there?” I asked.

“We’re telephones.... Got any matches?”

“I heard sheep,” I informed him.

“And what if you did? Got them matches?”

I tossed him a box. He dived into darkness, and I heard him rejoicing
with his pals because he’d found some one who’d got a light. It meant
almost as much to them as being relieved.

So here was a British unit hidden where the worst Hun shell could never
find it, and, what was more, here was the food ready to kill when,
during some awkward days, the _Boche_ shells cut off supplies.

Then look on this picture of a war-desolated country where nature has
been stupidly scarred by Teuton ruthlessness, and rubble-heaps are
marked by boards bearing the name of the village that had stood there:

The desert was never more lonely than those vast tracts of land the
armies have surged over, and this loneliness and silence are more acute
because of the suggestions of life that have once been there. It is
impressive, awe-inspiring, this silence, like that which follows storm.

Clear away to the horizon no hedge or tree appears, all landmarks
have gone, hills have been planed level by the sheer blast of shells.
Here is a rubble-heap no higher than one’s shoulders where a church
has stood, and the graves have opened beneath pits of fire to make
new graves for the living. Patches of red powder, washed by many
rains, with a few broken bricks among them, mark the places where
houses, big and small, once rested. To these rubble-heaps, which
were once villages, the inhabitants will come back one day, and they
will scarcely know the north from the south. Indeed, if it were
not for the fact that each rubble-heap bears a board whereon the
name of the village is written, in order to preserve the site, they
would never find their way there at all, for the earth they knew has
become a strange country. Woods are mere patches of brown stumps
knee-high—stumps which, with nature’s life restricted, are trying to
break into leaf again at odd spots on the trunks where leaves never
grew before. Mametz Wood and Trone Wood appear from a short distance as
mere scrabblings in the earth.

The ground which but a few months ago was blasted paste and
pulverization has now under the suns of summer thrown up weed
growth that is creeping over the earth as if to hide its hurt. Wild
convolvulus trails cautiously across the remnants of riven trenches,
and levers itself up the corners of sand bags. In this tangle the shell
holes are so close that they merge into each other.

The loneliness of those Somme fields! No deserts of the world can show
such unspeakable solitude.

One comes from the Somme to the freed villages as one might emerge
from the desert to the first outposts of human life at a township on
the desert’s rim. Still there are no trees on the sky-line; they have
all been cut down carefully and laid at a certain angle beside the
stumps just as a platoon of soldiers might ground their arms. For the
German frightfulness is a methodical affair, not aroused by the heat of
battle, but coolly calculated and senseless. Of military importance it
has none.

In these towns evacuated by the Germans life is slowly beginning to
stir again and to pick up the threads of 1914. People who have lived
there all through the deluge seem but partially aware as yet that they
are free. And some others are returning hesitatingly.

Mr. Flower notes with interest the temperamental change that has been
wrought by the war in the man from twenty to thirty-five years old. To
the older ones it all is only a “beastly uncomfortable nuisance,” and
when it is over they will go back to their usual avocations. Here is
the general view of the middle-aged men in the battle line:

“What are you going to do after the war?” I asked one.

I believe he thought I was joking, for he looked at me very curiously.

“Do?” he echoed. “I’m going to do what any sane man of my age would do.
I’m going straight back to it—back to work. This is just marking time
in one’s life, like having to go to a wedding on one’s busiest mail
day. I’m not going to exploit the war as a means of getting a living,
or emigrate, or do any fool thing like that. I’m going straight back
to my office, I am. I know exactly where I turned down the page of my
sales book when I came out—it was page seventy-nine—and I’m going to
start again on page eighty.”

With the younger men it is different. It has struck a new spark in them
and fired a spirit of adventure. There are those who even enjoy the
war, and to whom one day, when peace comes, life will seem very tame.
The writer cites this case:

He is quite a young man, and what this adventurous fellow was before he
took his commission and went to the war I do not pretend to know. But
he displayed most conspicuous bravery and usefulness from the hour he
fetched up at the British front.

One day he was very badly wounded in the back, and as soon as he neared
convalescence he became restive and wished to return to his men, and
he did return before he should have done. The doctor knew he would
finish a deal quicker when he got back to the lines than he would in a

There are some rare creatures who are built that way. Shortly afterward
he was wounded again, and while walking to the dressing station was
wounded a third time, on this occasion very badly.

He stuck it at the hospital as long as he could—then one day he
disappeared. No one saw him go. He had got out, borrowed a horse, and
ridden back to his lines.

The absence of the fighting men from the view of an observer of a
modern battle strongly impressed the writer, who says:

Most men who come upon a modern battle for the first time would confess
to finding it not what they expected. For the old accepted idea of
battle is hard to eliminate. One has become accustomed to looking for
great arrays of fighters ready for the bout, with squadrons of cavalry
waiting somewhere beyond a screen of trees, and guns—artfully hidden
guns—bellying smoke from all points of the compass. The battle pictures
in our galleries, the lead soldiers we played with as children and
engaged in visible conflict, have kept up the illusion.

You know before you come to it that it is not so in this war, but this
battle of hidden men pulls you up with a jolt as not being quite what
you expected to see. You feel almost as if you had been robbed of

The first battle I saw on the western front I watched for two and a
half hours, and during that time (with the exception of five men who
debouched from a distant wood like five ants scuttling out of a nest of
moss, to be promptly shot down) I did not see a man at all. The battle
might have been going on in an enormous house and I standing on the
roof trying to see it.

But if there is little or nothing to be seen of the human agents that
direct the devastating machines of war during a battle, the scene of
the field after the fight has been waged discloses all the horror
that has not been visible to the eye of an observer. Mr. Flower thus
describes one section of the theater of war in France:

Our car rushes down a long descending road, and is driven at breakneck
speed by one of those drivers with which the front is strewn, who are
so accustomed to danger that to dance on the edge of it all the time is
the breath of life. To slow down to a rational thirty miles an hour is
to them positive pain; to leap shell holes at fifty or plow across a
newly made road of broken brick at the same velocity is their ecstasy.
And one of the greatest miracles of the war is the cars that stand it
without giving up the unequal contest by flying into half a hundred

But this road is tolerable even for a war road, and it runs parallel
with a long down which has been scrabbled out here and there into
patches of white by the hands of men. It is Notre Dame de Lorette, no
higher than an average Sussex down, mark you, and lower than most.
Yet I was told that on this patch of down over a hundred thousand men
have died since the war began. Running at right angles at its foot is
a lower hill, no higher than the foothill to a Derbyshire height, but
known to the world now as Vimy Ridge. And this road leads you into a
small section of France, a section of four square miles or so, every
yard of which is literally soaked with the blood of men.

On the right is Souchez, and the wood of Souchez all bare stumps and
brokenness; here the sugar refinery, which changed hands eight times,
and is now no more than a couple of shot-riddled boilers, tilted at odd
angles with some steel girders twirled like sprung wire rearing over
them; and around this conglomeration a pile of brick powder. You wonder
what there was here worth dying for, since a rat would fight shy of the
place for want of a square inch of shelter. And where is Souchez River?
you ask, for Souchez River is now as famous as the Amazon. Here it is,
a sluggish sort of brook, crawling in and out of broken tree-trunks
that have been blasted down athwart it, running past banks a foot
high or so, a river you could almost step across, and which would be
well-nigh too small to name in Devonshire.

We leave our cars under a bank and come on down through the dead jetsam
of the village of Ablain St. Nazaire. The old church is still here
on the left, the only remnant of a respectable rate-paying hamlet.
The remaining portion of its square tower is clear and white, for the
stonework has been literally skinned by flying fragments of steel, till
it is about as clean as when it was built.

We reach the foot of Vimy Ridge and climb up. Here, some one told me,
corn once grew, but now it is sodden chalk, pasted and mixed as if by
some giant mixing machine with the shattered weapons of war.

Broken trenches—the German front line—in places remain and extend a few
yards, only to disappear into the rubble where the tide swept over them.

As we climb, the earth beneath my foot suddenly gives way, letting
me down with a jerk to the hip, and opening up a hole through which
I peer and see a dead _Boche_ coiled up, his face—or so I suspect it
was—resting upon his arm to protect it from some oncoming horror.

We climb on up. We drop into pits and grope out of them again, pasted
with the whiteness of chalk. From somewhere behind us a howitzer is
throwing shells over our heads, shells that come on and pass with the
rush of a train pitching itself recklessly out of control. We listen to
the clamor as it goes on—a couple of miles or so—separating itself from
the ill assortment of snarling and smashing and breaking and grunting
that rises from the battlefield.

As they climbed the ridge the guns seemed to be muffled until they got
beyond the shelter of Notre Dame de Lorette. Then, says the writer:

We suddenly appeared to tumble into a welter of sound. And the higher
we climbed Vimy, the louder the tumult became. “Aunty,” throwing over
heavy stuff, had but a few moments before been the only near thing in
the battle. Now the contrast was such as if we had been suddenly pushed
into the middle of the battle. The air was full of strange, harsh
noises and crackings and cries. And the earth before us was alive with
subdued flame flashes and growing bushes of smoke.

Five miles away, Lens, its church spires adrift in eddies of smoke,
appeared very unconscious of it all. Just showing on the horizon was
Douai, and I wondered what forests of death lay waiting between those
Lens churches and the Douai outlines where the ground was sunken and
mysterious under the haze.

Here, then, was the panorama of battle. Never a man in sight, but
the entire earth goaded by some vast invisible force. Clots of smoke
of varying colors arrived from nowhere, died away, or were smudged
out by other clots. A big black pall hung over Givenchy like the
sounding-board over a cathedral pulpit. A little farther on the village
of Angres seemed palisaded with points of flame. Away to the right the
long, straight road from Lens to Arras showed clear and strong without
a speck of life upon it.

No life anywhere, no human thing moving. And yet one believed that
under a thin crust of earth the whole forces of Europe were struggling
and throwing up sound.

Among all the combatants there is a desire for peace, says Mr. Flower,
who found a striking example of the sentiment of the _Boche_ in what
had been the crypt of the Bapaume cathedral. He writes:

I saw scores of skulls of those who were dead many decades before the
war rolled over Europe, and on the skull of one I saw scribbled in
indelible pencil:

“_Dass der Friede kommen mag_”

(“Hurry up, Peace.”)—_Otto Trübner._

Now, Otto Trübner may be a very average representative of his type. And
maybe Otto Trübner’s head now bears a passing likeness to the skull he
scribbled on in vandal fashion before he evacuated Bapaume. But whether
or no, he is, metaphorically speaking, a straw which shows the play of
the wind.


Sergeant (drilling awkward squad)—“Company! Attention company, lift up
your left leg and hold it straight out in front of you!”

One of the squad held up his right leg by mistake. This brought his
right-hand companion’s left leg and his own right leg close together.
The officer, seeing this, exclaimed angrily:

“And who is that blooming galoot over there holding up both legs?”


Tommy I—“That’s a top-hole pipe, Jerry. Where d’ye get it?”

Tommy II—“One of them German Huns tried to take me prisoner an’ I
in’erited it from ’im.”


LIEUT. GERVAIS RAOUL LUFBERY, an “Ace” of the Lafayette Escadrille,
has brought down his thirteenth enemy airplane. The German machine was
first seen by Lufbery—who was scouting—several hundred yards above him.
By making a wide detour and climbing at a sharp angle he maneuvered
into a position above the enemy plane at an altitude of five thousand
yards and directly over the trenches. The German pilot was killed by
Lufbery’s first shot and the machine started to fall. The gunner in
the German plane quickly returned the fire, even as he was falling to
his death. One of his bullets punctured the radiator and lodged in the
carburetor of Lufbery’s plane, and he was forced to descend.

To a writer in the Philadelphia _Public Ledger_ Lufbery describes the
type of young man America will need for her air fleet. He says:

“It will take the cream of the American youth between the ages of
eighteen and twenty-six to man America’s thousands of airplanes, and
the double cream of youth to qualify as chasers in the Republic’s new
aerial army.

“Intensive and scientific training must be given this cream of youth
upon which America’s welfare in the air must rest. Experience has
shown that for best results the fighting aviator should not be over
twenty-six years old or under eighteen. The youth under eighteen has
shown himself to be bold, but he lacks judgment. Men over twenty-six
are too cautious.

“The best air fighters, especially a man handling a ‘chaser,’ must
be of perfect physique. He must have the coolest nerve and be of a
temperament that longs for a fight. He must have a sense of absolute
duty and fearlessness, the keenest sense of action and perfect sight to
gain the absolute ‘feel’ of his machine.

“He must be entirely familiar with aerial acrobatics. The latter
frequently means life or death.

“Fighting twenty-two thousand feet in the air produces a heavy strain
on the heart. It is vital, therefore, that this organ show not the
slightest evidence of weakness. Such weakness would decrease the
aviator’s fighting efficiency.

“The American boys who come over here for this work will be subject to
rapid and frequent variations in altitude. It is a common occurrence to
dive vertically from six thousand to ten thousand feet with the motor
pulling hard.

“Sharpness of vision is imperative. Otherwise the enemy may escape or
the aviator himself will be surprised or mistake a friendly machine for
a hostile craft. The differences are often merely insignificant colors
and details.

“America’s aviators must be men who will be absolute masters of
themselves under fire, thinking out their attacks as their fight

“Experience has shown that the ‘chaser’ men should weigh under one
hundred eighty pounds. Americans from the ranks of sport—youths who
have played baseball, polo, football, or have shot and participated in
other sports—will probably make the best chasers.”

Lufbery is a daring aviator and has already been decorated with four
military medals awarded for aerial bravery. His life has been full of
adventure even before he thought of becoming an airman. _The Ledger_

Fifteen years ago the aviator, then seventeen years old, left his home
in Wallingford, Conn., and set out to see the world. First he went to
France, the land of his progenitors. He visited Paris, Marseilles,
Bourges, and other cities. Then he went to Africa.

In Turkey he worked for some time in a restaurant. His plan was to
visit a city, get a job that would keep him until he had seen what he
desired, and then depart to a new field of adventure. In this manner he
traveled through Europe, Africa, and South America. In 1906 he returned
to his home in Connecticut. The following year he went to New Orleans,
enlisted in the United States army, and was sent to the Philippine
Islands. Two years later, upon being mustered out, Lufbery visited
Japan and China, exploring those countries thoroughly. Then he went
to India and worked as a ticket collector on a Bombay railroad. While
engaged at this occupation he kicked out of the railway station one of
the most prominent citizens of Bombay. The latter had insisted that
Lufbery say “sir” to him. The aviator always did have a hot temper.

Lufbery’s next occupation, and the business to which he has remained
attached ever since, was had at Saigon, Cochin China, where he met Marc
Pourpe, a young French aviator, who was giving flying exhibitions in
Asia. He needed an assistant. Lufbery never had seen an airplane, but
he applied for the job and got it.

The two men gave exhibitions over the French provinces in Indo-China.
After one of these flights the King of Cambodia was so pleased that he
presented each aviator with a decoration that entitled him to a guard
of honor on the streets of any town within the realm.

Lufbery and Pourpe, now inseparable comrades, went to Paris to get a
new airplane. War was declared, and Pourpe volunteered as an aviator.
Lufbery, who was anxious to be with his friend, tried also to enlist,
but was told that he must enter the Foreign Legion, as he was not a
French citizen.

Pourpe was shot to death during one of his wonderful air feats; and,
wishing to avenge the death of his friend, Lufbery asked to be trained
as an airplane pilot. His request was granted and in the summer of 1916
he went to the front as a member of the American Escadrille. It was on
August 4 of that year that he brought down his third enemy plane, and
soon afterward was decorated with the Military Medal and the French War
Cross, with the following citation:

“LUFBERY, RAOUL, sergeant with the escadrille No. 124; a model of
skill, _sang froid_, and courage. Has distinguished himself by numerous
long-distance bombardments and by the daily combats which he delivers
to enemy airplanes. On July 31 he attacked at short range a group of
four German airplanes. He shot one of them down near our lines. On
August 4, 1916, he succeeded in bringing down a second one.”

Two or more combats a day in the air came to be a common occurrence
with Lufbery, and many times he returned to the base with his machine
full of holes and his clothing cut by German bullets.

When Lufbery heard of the death of Kiffin Rockwell he ordered his
gasoline tank refilled and soared into the sky, in the hope of avenging
the death of his comrade. But no enemy machine was to be found. Of
Lufbery’s further exploits _The Ledger_ says:

During the bombardment of the Mauser factories on October 12, 1916,
the intrepid aviator brought down a three-manned _aviatik_. This was
counted as his fifth official victory and gained him additional honors.
It was during this raid that Norman Prince was mortally wounded.

After the escadrille had moved to the Somme battlefield, Lufbery, on
November 9 and 10, brought down two more German planes. These, however,
fell too far within their own lines to be placed to his official
credit. On December 27, 1916, he nearly lost his life in bringing down
his sixth flier of the enemy. Four bullets riddled the machine close to
his body. For this victory he received the Cross of the Legion of Honor.

In March of this year he was officially credited with bringing down
his seventh German aircraft. The others have been sent hurtling to the
earth at different times since then.

Lufbery is a quiet, level-headed man. His particular friend in the
Lafayette Escadrille of American fliers is Sergeant Paul Pavelka, who
also hails from Connecticut, and who has himself seen quite a bit of
the world. Lufbery has his own special methods of attacking enemy
airplanes; he is cool, cautious, and brave, and an exceptionally fine
shot. When he was a soldier in the United States army he won and held
the marksmanship medal of his regiment. He has been cited in army
orders twice since August, 1916.


An anemic elderly woman, who looked as if she might have as much
maternal affection as an incubator, sized up a broad-shouldered cockney
who was idly looking into a window on the Strand in London, and in a
rasping voice said to him:

“My good man, why aren’t you in the trenches? Aren’t you willing to do
anything for your country?”

Turning around slowly, he looked at her a second and replied

“Move on, you slacker! Where’s your war-baby?”


“Tommy Atkins” pleaded exemption from church parade on the ground
that he was an agnostic. The sergeant-major assumed an expression of
innocent interest.

“Don’t you believe in the Ten Commandments?” he mildly asked the bold

“Not one, sir,” was the reply.

“What! Not the rule about keeping the Sabbath?”

“No, sir.”

“Ah, well, you’re the very man I’ve been looking for to scrub out the


HERE are letters from the boys at the front telling the folks at home
of their experiences, humorous, pathetic, and tragic. They present
pictures of war life with an intimate touch that brings out all the
striking detail. James E. Parshall, of Detroit, is serving with the
American ambulance unit in the French army. The Detroit _Saturday
Night_, which prints his letter, believes that the “drive” referred
to by him was either on the Aisne front or in the Verdun sector. The
letter says in part:

DEAR PEOPLE: Sherman was right! I have been debating with myself about
what to say in this letter. I think I’ll tell you all about it and add
that if by the time this reaches you you have heard nothing to the
contrary, I am all O. K. You see, we are in a big offensive which will
be over in about ten days. As a rule it’s not nearly as bad as this.

The day before yesterday we arrived at our base, about seven miles from
the lines. It is a little town which has been pretty well shot up, and
is shelled now about once a week. In the afternoon one driver from each
car was taken up and shown the roads and posts. The coin flopped for me.

The roads to the front run mostly through deep woods. These woods are
full of very heavy batteries which are continually shelling the enemy,
and, in turn, we are continuously being sought out by the _Boche_
gunners. As a result, it’s some hot place to drive through. Also, as a
result of the continuous shelling, the roads are very bad.

[Here there is a break in the letter, which begins again after four

I was so nervous when I started this letter that I had to quit, and
this is the first time since then that I have felt like writing. A
great deal has happened, but in order not to mix everything up I’ll
start in where I left off.

Our first post from the base is in a little village which is entirely
demolished. It is in a little valley, and the two big marine guns that
are stationed there draw a very disquieting _Boche_ fire about five
times a day regularly. The next post is at a graveyard in the woods.
There are no batteries in the immediate vicinity, and so it is quiet,
but not very cheerful. (That’s where I am now, “on reserve.”)

The third post out is where we got our initiation. It was a hot one!
Right next to the _abri_ is a battery of three very large mortars.
Besides these there are several batteries of smaller guns. When we came
up they were all going at full tilt. In addition, the _Boches_ had just
got the range and the shells were exploding all around us. As we jumped
out of the car and ran for the _abri_ two horses tied to a tree about
fifty feet from us were hit and killed. We waited in the _abri_ till
the bombardment calmed a bit. When we came out two more horses were
dead and a third kicking his last.

From here we walked about a half mile to the most advanced post on
that road. I’ll never forget that walk! The noise was terrific and the
shells passing overhead made a continuous scream. Quite frequently we
would hear the distinctive screech of an incoming shell. Then everyone
would fall flat on his stomach in the road.

Believe me, we were a scared bunch of boys! I was absolutely terrified,
and I don’t think I was the only one. Well, we eventually got back to
the car and to the base.

At twelve o’clock that night the _Boches_ started shelling the town.
You can’t imagine the feeling it gives one in the pit of one’s stomach
to hear the gun go off in the distance, then the horrible screech of
the onrushing shell, and finally the deafening explosion that shakes
the plaster down on your cot. Our chiefs were at the outposts, and none
of us knew enough to get out and go to the _abri_, so we just lay there
shivering and sweating a cold sweat through the whole bombardment.
Gosh, but I was a scared boy!

Of a gas attack he writes: “We had to wear those suffocating gas masks
for five hours,” and then:

About three o’clock in the morning the car ahead of us at the post
started out in their masks and in the pitch of blackness with a load.
In about a half hour one of the boys on the car staggered back into
the _abri_, half gassed, and said that they were in the ditch down in
a little valley full of gas. So we had to go down and get their load.
Believe me, it was some ticklish and nerve-racking job to transfer
three groaning _couches_ from a car in the ditch at a perilous angle
to ours, in a cloud of gas, and with the shells bursting uncomfortably
near quite frequently.

We finally got them in and got started. We got about a half mile
farther on to the top of the hill going down into what is known as
“Death Valley.” In the valley was a sight that was most discouraging.
Seven or eight horses were lying in the road, gassed, some of them
still kicking. A big _camion_ was half in the ditch and half on the
road. An ammunition caisson that had tried to get past the blockade by
going down through the ditch was stuck there.

Remember that all this was just at the break of dawn, in a cloud
of gas, with the French batteries making a continuous roar and an
occasional _Boche_ shell making every one flop on his stomach.

How we ever got through there I really couldn’t tell you. My partner
told the Frenchmen who were vainly trying to straighten out the mess
that we had a couple of dying men in the car, so they yanked a few
horses to one side, drove the _camion_ a little farther into the ditch,
and, by driving over a horse’s head and another one’s legs, I got

On the whole, I’ve been quite lucky. Some of the other boys have had
some really awful experiences.

About the day after tomorrow we go _en repos_, and it’s sure going to
seem good to eat and sleep, without getting up and sprinting for an
_abri_ or throwing one’s self, and incidentally a plate of good food,
on the ground.

We saw a very interesting thing the other day. We were sitting out in
front of our cantonment at the base. About a quarter of a mile from us
was one of the big observation balloons or “sausages.” Suddenly, from
behind a cloud, just above the balloon a _Boche_ aeroplane darted out.
The _Boche_ and the balloonist both fired their machine guns at each
other simultaneously. The aeroplane wobbled a little and started to
volplane to earth. The balloon burst into flames. The observer dropped
about fifty feet, and then his parachute opened and he sailed slowly
down. When the _Boche_ landed they found him dead with a bullet in his
chest. It was quite an exciting sight.

A battle between two planes is quite common, and one can look up at
almost any time and see the aircraft bombs bursting around some _Boche_
thousands of feet in the air.

At last the “drive” is over, and the letter describes the prisoners, at
whose youth he expresses surprise. But they are happy, though nearly
starved—happy to be prisoners. The writer says:

I have seen hundreds of _Boche_ prisoners, four thousand having been
taken in the attack. We see them march past the _poste-de-secours_
about half an hour after they have been captured. I have talked with
several of them and received lots of interesting information. They are
all very happy, but nearly starved. Two slightly wounded ones were
brought into the post the other day. A dirty little crust of bread was
lying on the ground. They both made a dive for it. They are all awfully
young, mostly between seventeen and twenty-one.

One of them told me, among other things, that by next spring Germany
would be absolutely finished. A soldier’s fare, he said, was one pound
of poor bread and one liter of wine a day, except during a heavy
attack, when they are given some thin soup. The civilians, he said,
were still worse off, especially in the cities.

An Iowa boy, a Y. M. C. A. secretary, who is in the _camion_ service
in the French army, tells how he arrived in Paris, how he happened
to become a soldier of France, and some other interesting details,
including the amount of his salary—$1.20 per month! He found the
ambulance service—which he had intended to join—crowded, and was told
that there would be some delay in getting cars. Even if he did get a
car he was told that the chances were against his seeing any action, as
he might be attached to an inactive division. He was therefore urged to
join the _camion_ service—the ammunition truck organization—in which
he was assured he would be kept busy day and night as long as he could
stand it. There was no camouflage about that. In order to get into this
service, one must join the French army, and after thinking the matter
over for a few days the Iowa lad “joined” the French colors with a
group of American college boys. Here is his letter in part as printed
in _Wallace’s Farmer_, of Des Moines:

So here I am enrolled as a member of the French army, carrying a French
gun, gas mask, and helmet, and eating French army rations. We are
paid for our services the sum of $1.20 a month. We underwent a week
of intensive training, being drilled in the French manual and army
movements, and spending our leisure hours in building roads.

Our sector was active when we arrived at the camp, which is situated a
few miles back of the lines; so we were put to work almost immediately.
We make two kinds of trips, day trips and night trips; and perhaps if I
tell you about my first experience in each it will give you an idea of
the character.

We were called at 3:30 A.M., so as to be ready to leave at four
o’clock. Our convoy went to the nearby loading station and loaded
up with 468 rounds of ammunition for the French “75” guns, which
correspond to our three-inch guns. We carted these up to the dumping
station near the batteries, and then came back. Nothing exciting
happened, and we arrived in camp about 7 P.M. That night I was on guard
duty during the last watch, and the following morning we worked our
cars. The rough roads and the heavy loads are very hard on the cars as
well as on the drivers, so that we must go over the cars every day to
keep them in the pink of condition.

That afternoon we got our orders to leave at 4 P.M. We loaded with
barbed wire, iron posts, and lumber. The man in charge at the yards
warned us that the wind was exactly right for Fritz to send over a bit
of gas. So we hung our gas masks about our necks. It takes only thirty
seconds for the gas to get in its work on you, and you must be prepared
to put on the mask quickly. We started for the front at dark; no lights
were allowed. We traveled along screened roads, by columns of artillery
wagons, and with infantry moving in every direction, and with staff
cars and ambulances dodging in and out for several miles. Finally we
turned off on a narrow road which bore the marks of having received a
shelling, and went through towns which had been leveled absolutely to
the ground by shell fire, and passed an endless chain of dugouts, until
we came to our destination.

Most of our cars were unloaded and drawn up on a long, straight road
just outside of the station, when our batteries opened up on the
Germans. They certainly made some noise. They had not fired many
rounds before Fritz began to retaliate, and then it was our turn to
worry. His first shells went wild over our heads, but he got the range
of the roads on which our trucks were packed, and very soon a shell
struck about half a mile down the road. The next shell came closer. He
was getting our range and coming straight up the road with his shrapnel.

By this time the remaining cars were unloaded and had swung into line
ready to leave. Just as a big shrapnel burst about fifty yards away,
our lieutenant gave orders to start, and to start quickly. Believe
me, brother, we did! The shells were screaming over our heads, and I
was just about scared to death. I should not have worried about the
screaming shells, because they are harmless as a barking dog. It is
when they stop screaming that you want to get worried.

Then he describes briefly the horrors of the war and expresses some
doubt as to man’s status being much above that of the beast. He says:

When you see the fields laid waste, depopulated, battered, and
desolated, and people in the last stages of poverty, you doubt whether
man is nearer to God than is the most cruel of beasts. It is truly
a war for liberty, for liberty in politics, ideals, and standards
of living. I believe that any one here who is at all sensitive or
responsive to his environment feels as I do.


TWENTY miles away the Prussians and the Canadians were struggling in
the dust and mud for the battered suburbs of Lens, but the trenches
which were enjoying the “Fiddler’s Truce” were not marked to be taken
by the staff officers of either army, and the only sign of war was
the growling of the big guns far away. Here, too, Canadian opposed
Prussian, but they did not fight until the death of Henry Schulman,
killed by a most regrettable accident. He was only a private and not
sufficiently famous as a violinist to have his death recorded in the
musical journals of the world, but along the trenches his taking off is
still being discussed as one of the real tragedies of the war.

Late in the fall, after the Somme offensive was over, three Canadian
regiments arrived on the Arras front and dug themselves into the
brown mud to wait until spring made another advance practicable. Two
hundred feet away were three Prussian regiments. There was little real
fighting. When the routine of trench life became too monotonous a
company would blaze away at the other trenches for a few minutes. At
night it was so quiet that conversation in one trench carried over to
the other, and there was a good deal of good-natured kidding back and
forth. The Canadians were especially pleased by the nightly concerts of
the Germans, and applauded heartily the spirited fiddling of one hidden
musician. The rest of the story can best be told by Corporal Harry
Seaton, in the New York _Evening Mail_:

“One night we held up a piece of white cloth as a sign of truce,”
he said. “With permission of our colonel I called out and asked the
_Boche_ if we couldn’t have a bit of a concert. It was agreed, and
Schulman—that was the fiddler’s name—crawled out from his trench. One
or two of our Johnnies crawled out, too, just as a sign of good faith.

“Believe me, every one enjoyed the rest of that evening, and when
things grew quiet next day somebody yelled for the fiddler to strike
up a tune. He was a cobbler in Quebec before the war, and two of our
Johnnies knew him and his wife and kids. It didn’t take much coaxing
after that, and he came out on the strip of ‘No Man’s Land’ and played
every night.

“On the 23d of February we were ordered on to another part of the field
and another regiment took our old trenches. Of course, in the hurry of
departure nobody thought of Schulman.

“That night he brought his stool out as usual, but before he could
draw bow across the strings the strangers filled him full of lead. Of
course, they didn’t know.

“The chaplain told us the story next day and we took up a collection to
send back to the family in Berlin. I wonder if they ever got it!”


THE Y. M. C. A. and Harry Lauder are two social forces that one does
not spontaneously connect up. But the former was the agency that
brought the singer into the fighting camps of France, not only to
hearten the soldiers there, but to pay a touching tribute to the
sacrifice of his only son. Dr. George Adam, of Edinburgh, who went with
him, gives an account of the trip in _Association Men_ (New York), the
official organ of the Y. M. C. A. He also speaks of service under the
banner of the Red Triangle that Mr. Lauder has rendered which brings
the singing comedian before us in a manner hitherto unsuspected:

“On a recent Sunday, although working at full pressure during the week
in the play ‘Three Cheers’ at the Shaftesbury Theater, he gave up his
rest day gladly to go away down to two of the great Canadian camps with

“Some one in London asked the little man why he was going down to the
camps. Why not join them in a quiet week-end on the river? Lauder’s
reply was as quaint as usual: ‘The boys can’t get up to town to see
me, so I am off to the camps to see them.’ A right royal time he gave
them, too. Picture ten thousand men in a dell on the rolling downs
with a little platform in the center and there Lauder singing the old
favorites you have heard so often and the soldiers love so much—‘Rocked
in the Cradle of the Deep,’ ‘Bantry Bay,’ ‘The Laddies Who Fought and
Won,’ ‘Children’s Home,’ and many more.

“This was not all; his soul must have been stirred by the sight of
so many dear, brave men, for when the meeting seemed over, Lauder
began to speak to the soldiers. And a real speech he made, full of
imagery, poetry, and fire. May I just tell you how he closed? ‘One
evening in the gloaming in a northern town I was sitting by my parlor
window when I saw an old man with a pole on his shoulder come along.
He was a lamp-lighter, and made the lamp opposite my window dance into
brightness. Interested in his work, I watched him pass along until the
gloaming gathered round and I could see him no more. However, I knew
just where he was, for other lamps flashed into flame. Having completed
his task, he disappeared into a side street. Those lamps burned on
through the night, making it bright and safe for those who should come
behind him. An avenue of lights through the traffic and dangers of the

“With passionate earnestness Lauder cried: ‘Boys, think of that man
who lit the lamp, for you are his successors, only in a much nobler
and grander way. You are not lighting for a few hours the darkness of
passing night. You are lighting an avenue of lights that will make it
safe for the generations of all time. Therefore, you must be earnest
to do the right. Fight well and hard against every enemy without and
within, and those of your blood who come after you will look up proudly
in that light of freedom and say, “The sire that went before me lit a
lamp in those heroic days when Britain warred for right.” The first
burst of illumination that the world had was in the lamp lit by Jesus,
or rather he was the Light himself. He said truly, “I am the Light
of the world.” You are in his succession. Be careful how you bear
yourselves. Quit ye like men! Be strong!’”

The story of the effort made to induce the singing comedian to go
“out there” touches on his well-known human frailty, in this case
triumphantly overcome:

“During a visit to France, and in conversation with one in high command
in the army, talk turned to the high place Lauder had in the affections
of his countrymen, for we were both Scots. A strong desire was
expressed that he should be got out among the soldiers in the battle
line just to give them the cheer he knows so well how to impart. I
promised to endeavor to arrange it, with trepidation, you may be sure,
for you know what is so often said of Lauder and his money. However,
with courage in both hands I asked him to give up the week that meant
many thousands of dollars to go out to the boys.

“The request seemed to stagger him, and for a minute I felt I was to
fail, but it was the good fortune to receive such a request that took
his breath away. ‘Give me a week’s notice and I go with you, and glad
to go.’ I replied, ‘I give you notice now.’ Whereupon he called to his
manager, ‘Tom, I quit in a week’; and he did, and off to the war zone
he went. My pen is unequal to the task of describing that wonderful
tour and the amazing results of it. The men went wild with enthusiasm
and joy wherever he went. One great meeting was apparently seen by
some German airmen, who communicated the information to one of their
batteries of artillery. In the middle of a song—whiz, bang!—went a big
shell very close at hand—so close, in fact, that pieces struck but a
foot or two from where we both stood. There was a scatter and a scamper
for cover, and for three-quarters of an hour the Huns hammered the
position with two hundred big ones. When the bombardment ended, Lauder
of the big-hearted Scotch courage must needs finish his concert.”

Another incident shows the heart of Harry Lauder as those who have only
heard his rollicking songs will rejoice in.

“One day during our visit I was taking Harry to see the grave of
his only child, Capt. John Lauder, of the Argyle and Sutherland
Highlanders, as fine a lad as ever wore a kilt, and as good and brave a
son as ever a father loved. As we were motoring swiftly along we turned
into the town of Albert and the first sharp glance at the cathedral
showed the falling Madonna and Child. It was a startling and arresting
sight, and we got out to have a good look. The building is crowned by a
statue of Mary holding out the child Jesus to the world; a German shell
had struck its base and it fell over, not to the ground, however, but
at an acute angle out over the street.

“While we lingered, a bunch of soldiers came marching through, dusty
and tired. Lauder asked the officer to halt his men for a rest and he
would sing to them. I could see that they were loath to believe it was
the real Lauder until he began to sing.

“Then the doubts vanished and they abandoned themselves to the full
enjoyment of this very unexpected pleasure. When the singsong began the
audience would number about two hundred; at the finish of it easily
more than two thousand soldiers cheered him on his way.

“It was a strange send-off on the way that led to a grave—the grave of
a father’s fondest hopes—but so it was. A little way up the Bapaume
road the car stopped and we clambered the embankment and away over the
shell-torn field of Courcelette. Here and there we passed a little
cross which marked the grave of some unknown hero; all that was written
was ‘A British Soldier.’ He spoke in a low voice of the hope-hungry
hearts behind all those at home. Now we climbed a little ridge and here
a cemetery and in the first row facing the battlefield the cross on
Lauder’s boy’s resting-place.

“The father leaned over the grave to read what was written there. He
knelt down; indeed, he lay upon the grave and clutched it, the while
his body shook with the grief he felt.

“When the storm had spent itself he rose and prayed: ‘O God, that I
could have but one request. It would be that I might embrace my laddie
just this once and thank him for what he has done for his country and

“That was all, not a word of bitterness or complaint.

“On the way down the hill I suggested gently that the stress of such an
hour made further song that day impossible.

“But Lauder’s heart is big and British. Turning to me with a flash in
his eye he said: ‘George, I must be brave; my boy is watching and all
the other boys are waiting. I will sing to them this afternoon though
my heart break!’ Off we went again to another division of Scottish

“There, within the hour, he sang again the sweet old songs of love and
home and country, bringing all very near and helping the men to realize
the deeper what victory for the enemy would mean. Grim and determined
men they were that went back to their dugouts and trenches, heartened
for the task of war for human freedom by Harry Lauder. Harry’s little
kilted figure came and went from the war zone, but his influence
remains, the influence of a heroic heart.”


A wounded soldier explained his grievance to his nurse:

“You see, old Smith was next to me in the trenches. Now, the bullet
that took me in the shoulder and laid me out went into ’im and made
a bit of a flesh-wound in his arm. Of course I’m glad he wasn’t ’urt
bad. But he’s stuck to my bullet and given it his girl. Now, I don’t
think that’s fair. I’d a right to it. I’d never give a girl ’o mine a
second-’and bullet.”


A German spy caught redhanded was on his way to be shot.

“I think you English are brutes,” he growled, “to march me through this
rain and slush.”

“Well,” said the “Tommy” who was escorting him, “what about me? I have
to go back in it.”


KING GEORGE and Queen Mary have been seeing war at close range.
Together they made an eleven days’ visit to the British troops in
France, and while there the King experienced the sensation of being
under fire. While the Queen devoted herself to the hospitals and the
sick and wounded, the King was shown all the latest devices for killing
and maiming the enemy. It was soon after seeing what would happen to
the Teutons that he decided to drop his Teutonic name and become Mr.
Windsor. Says a dispatch from the British headquarters in the New York

On the first morning after his arrival in France, King George visited
the Messines Ridge sector of the front, climbing the ridge while the
Germans were shelling the woods just to his left. He inspected the
ground over which the Irish troops, men from the north and the south,
fought so gallantly side by side during the taking of the Messines
Ridge, and where Major William Redmond fell. While the King was doing
this the Germans began shelling places on the ridge which he had left
but half an hour before. The King visited also Vimy Ridge, from which
he could see the German lines about Lens, with British shells breaking
on them.

For the benefit of the King a special show was staged that he might
witness “that black art of frightfulness which has steadily increased
the horrors of war since the day when the enemy let loose clouds of
poisoned gas upon the soldiers and civilians in Ypres,” says Philip
Gibbs in the Philadelphia _Public Ledger_:

As soon as the King arrived on the field there was a sound of rushing
air, and there shot forth a blast of red flame out of black smoke to
a great distance and with a most terrifying effect. It came from an
improved variety of flame projector. Then the King saw the projection
of burning oil, burst out in great waves of liquid fire. A battalion
of men would be charred like burned sticks if this touched them for
a second. There was another hissing noise, and there rolled very
sluggishly over the field a thick, oily vapor, almost invisible as it
mixed with the air, and carrying instant death to any man who should
take a gulp of it. To such a thing have all of us come in this war for

The most spectacular show here was the most harmless to human life,
being a new form of smoke barrage to conceal the movement of troops on
the battlefield.

From this laboratory of the black art the King went to one of those
fields where the machinery of war is beautiful, rising above the
ugly things of this poor earth with light and grace, for this was an
air-drome. As he came up, three fighting planes of the fastest British
type went up in chase of an imaginary enemy. They arose at an amazing
speed and shot across the sky-line like shadows racing from the sun.
When they came back those three boys up there seemed to go a little
mad and played tricks in the air with a kind of joyous carelessness
of death. They tumbled over and over, came hurtling down in visible
corkscrews, looped the loop very close to the earth, flattened out
after headlong dives, and rose again like swallows. The King was
interested in the ages of these pilots and laughed when they confessed
their youth, for one was nineteen and another twenty.

The antics of the “tanks” furnished the King with a great deal of
amusement. Leaving the air-drome, he was driven to a sunken field, very
smooth and long, between two high wooded banks. Says Mr. Gibbs:

Here there was a great surprise and a great sensation, for just as the
King stepped out of his car a young tree in full foliage on the left
of the field up a high bank toppled forward slowly and then fell with
a crash into the undergrowth. Something was moving in the undergrowth,
something monstrous. It came heaving and tearing its way through the
bushes, snapping off low branches and smashing young saplings like an
elephant on stampede. Then it came into sight on top of the bank, a big
gray beast, with a blunt snout, nosing its way forward and all tangled
in green leaves and twigs. It was old brother tank doing his stunt
before the King.

From the far end of a long, smooth field came two other twin beasts
of this ilk, crawling forward in a hurry as though hungry for human
blood. In front of their track, at the other end of the field, were
two breastworks built of sand-bags covering some timbered dugouts and
protected from sudden attack by two belts of barbed wire. The two tanks
came along like hippopotamuses on a spree, one of them waiting for
the other when he lagged a little behind. They hesitated for a moment
before the breastworks as if disliking the effort of climbing them,
then heaved themselves up, thrust out their snouts, got their hind
quarters on the move, and waddled to the top. Under their vast weight
the sand-bags flattened out, the timber beneath slipped and cracked,
and the whole structure began to collapse, and the twins plunged down
on the other side and advanced to attack the barbed wire.

Another tank now came into action from the far end of the field,
bearing the legend on its breast of “_Faugh-a-ballagh_,” which, I am
told, is Irish for “get out of the way.” It was the Derby winner of the
tanks’ fleet. From its steel flanks guns waggled to and fro, and no
dragon of old renown looked half so menacing as this. St. George would
have had no chance against it. But King George, whose servant it was,
was not afraid, and with the Prince of Wales he went through the steel
trap-door into the body of the beast. For some time we lost sight of
the King and Prince, but after a while they came out laughing, having
traveled around the field for ten minutes in the queerest car on earth.

The great thrill of the day came later. Through the woods of a high
bank on the left came a tank, looking rather worse for wear, as though
battered in battle.

It came forward through the undergrowth and made for the edge of
the bank, where there was a machine gun emplacement in a bomb-proof
shelter, whose steep bank was almost perpendicular. It seemed
impossible that any old tank should entertain a notion of taking that
jump, but this tank came steadily on until its snout was well over
the bank and steadily on again with that extraordinary method of
progression in which the whole body of the beast moves from the nose
end upward until it seems to have a giraffe’s neck and very little
else. That very little else was sitting on the top of the emplacement
while the forward part of the tank was poised in space regarding the
setting sun. However, without any hesitation, the whole mass moved on,
lurched out, and nose-dived.

Good Lord! it was then that the thrill came. The tank plunged down like
a chunk of cliff as it fell, went sideways and lost its balance, and,
as near as anything could be, almost turned turtle. It righted itself
with a great jerk at the nick of time just before it took the earth
below and shaved by a hair’s breadth an ammunition dump at the bottom
of the drop.

It was the finest tank trick I ever saw, and it was greeted with
laughter and cheers. The King, however, and other spectators were
rather worried about the lads inside. They must have taken a mighty
toss. No sound came from the inside of the tank, and for a moment some
of us had a vision of a number of plucky fellows laid out unconscious
within those steel walls. The door opened and we could see their feet
standing straight, which was a relief.

“Let them all come out,” said the King, laughing heartily. And out they
all tumbled, a row of young fellows as merry and bright as air pilots
after a good landing.


Lady (entering bank, very businesslike)—“I wish to get a Liberty Loan
bond for my husband.”

Clerk—“What size, please?”

Lady—“Why, I don’t believe I know, exactly, but he wears a fifteen


“I PICKED that shell right up as it came out of the gun—I saw it go
through the air in its flight, and I saw it strike a foot in front of
that periscope!”

That is the way Lieut. Bruce R. Ware, Jr., U. S. N., who commanded
the gun crew of the steamship _Mongolia_, told of the first American
shot fired in the war at a German submarine. He related the story at
a testimonial dinner given to him and to Capt. Emery Rice, of the
_Mongolia_, upon the arrival of the steamship at New York. The dinner
was attended by many persons prominent in business, steamship, and
naval circles, some having traveled hundreds of miles to be present.
As reported by the New York _Times_, Lieutenant Ware told the story as

At 5:21 the chief officer walked out on the port bridge. The captain
and myself were on our heels looking out through the port. I saw the
chief officer turn around, and you could have seen the whole ocean
written in his face, and his mouth that wide (indicating), and he could
not get it out. He finally said: “My God, look at that submarine!”

The captain gripped my arm and said: “What is that?” I said: “It is a
submarine, and he has got up.”

I followed the captain out on the bridge and I looked at my gun crews.
They were all agape. The lookout was all agape. I threw in my starboard
control and I said: “Captain, zigzag.” I did not tell him which way to
go. We had that all doped out. The captain starboarded his helm and the
ship turned to port and we charged him (the _U_-boat) and made him go
under. I went up on top of the chart house with my phones on, and I had
a long, powerful glass, ten power. Right underneath it I always lashed
my transmitter, so that where I was my transmitter went, and I didn’t
have to worry or hunt for it. It was always plugged in, and I said:

“No. 3 gun, after gun, train on the starboard quarter, and when you see
a submarine and periscope or conning tower, report.”

The gun crew reported control. “We see it—no, no—it has gone. There
it is again.” I picked it up at that moment with my high-powered
glass, and I gave them the range—1,000 yards. Scale 50. She was about
800 yards away from us. I gave the order, “No. 3 gun, fire, commence

I had my glasses on them, gentlemen, and I saw that periscope come up.
“No. 3 gun, commence firing, fire, fire, fire.” And they did, and I
picked that shell right up as it came out of the gun—a black, six-inch
explosive shell. I saw it go through the air in its flight, and I saw
it strike the water eight inches—a foot—in front of that periscope and
it went into the conning tower. I saw that periscope go end over end,
whipping through that water, and I saw plates go off his conning tower,
and I saw smoke all over the scene where we had hit the enemy.

When Captain Rice was called upon for a speech he said:

“Gentlemen, I’d much rather take the _Mongolia_ through the war zone
than make a speech. All I will say is that I am ready to go again, and
I hope I have another chance at a _U_-boat.”


A short time back, while a certain general was inspecting a regiment
just about to depart for new quarters, he asked a young subaltern what
would be his next order if he was in command of a regiment passing
over a plain in a hostile country, and he found his front blocked by
artillery, a brigade of cavalry on his right flank, and a morass on his
left, while his retreat was cut off by a large body of infantry.

“Halt! Order arms, ground arms, kneel down, say your prayers!” replied
the subaltern.


Here is a story which if it is not true ought to be. The soldier in the
train was dilating on his changed life.

“They took me from my home,” he said, “and put me in barracks; they
took away my clothes and put me in khaki; they took away my name and
made me ‘No. 575’; they took me to church, where I’d never been before,
and they made me listen to a sermon for forty minutes. Then the parson
said, ‘No. 575, Art thou weary, art thou languid?’ And I got seven
days’ C.B. for giving him a civil answer.”


INTIMATE stories of life in the trenches “somewhere in France” are
told in two letters that describe in man-to-man fashion incidents that
present an unusual picture of the battle front, full of color as well
as of darkening shadows. The letters were written by Mr. Stevenson P.
Lewis, serving with the American Ambulance Corps, to his cousin, Mr. W.
O. Curtiss, of Toledo, Ohio. They are dated May 21 and 26, and extracts
are printed in the Toledo _Blade_. Mr. Lewis has no complaint to make
of the food. He finds the horse meat “a little tough,” but seemingly
palatable. He writes:

We get good food, but miss the extra dishes. We get the famous army
bread, rather sour taste, but am used to it now—no butter, of course;
oatmeal without milk or sugar, horse meat, potatoes, and various
flavors of jam. The horse meat is usually a little tough, but otherwise
pretty good. Have biscuits and chocolate at the canteen. A couple of
pieces of hardtack, with water and chocolate, do for a dinner very well
when away from camp.

We have considerable time just now, with nothing to fill in, and I
can’t quite go it, so I hike out for walks and have picked up quite
a few good pictures and souvenirs. Picked up an eagle with spread
wings—German silver, a decoration worn on a German officer’s helmet,
inscribed “_Mitt Gott für König und Vaterland_.” It is rather a rare
find, as the old spiked helmet is not worn any more.

Sunday we had a visit from Germany in the shape of an airplane which
dropped five bombs in the next village. Two French machines gave chase
and brought him down, but he caused considerable excitement until he
reached the ground. They always come over at a high altitude and do not
seem in any hurry to leave, regardless of the shrapnel shots placed
around the planes. This one, the second we have seen come down, made
two complete turns and then dived straight down.

We have had some trouble with some of the men in charge, due to the
wandering of one of our men into the first line trenches. The man
guilty has acted ever since he arrived as though missing in essential
brain cells, but this time he crowned his former efforts—walked up a
valley with _Boche_ trenches on one side, French on the other, he down
the middle in No Man’s Land. Lucky he came back at all. The French
called him over to their trenches, otherwise I suppose he would be
walking into Berlin by this time.

We are working with an English ambulance section, taking turns making
runs to field stations, where the wounded are sent direct from
trenches. We carry them from these first-aid posts back to another
post, and the English section, with its large cars, carry them ten or
fifteen miles farther back. Then the order is reversed. The English are
a mighty interesting lot, and most of them have been in service since
1914, hence have seen action all along this front. The hardest driving
is at night running up to the posts just back of the lines, for all
the moving is done then. The road is crowded with ammunition trucks,
supplies, guns, and troops, and with no lights it is uncertain what is
coming or going. Several men have ditched their cars and run by the
station, but no serious accidents have occurred. Star shells sent up at
intervals give a blinding light and the whole country-side is as light
as day for a short time, then suddenly dark. It is this quick change
that makes it hard to adjust our vision.

This English section has been through the hottest fighting on this
front, having been posted at Verdun last year and running to the
most advanced posts, but never lost a man and had only a few slight
accidents. A person would think they were playing a safe game, but not
so, after hearing of some bombardments they ran through. One man in the
British ambulance corps has the Victoria Cross, the hardest war medal
of any to get. He drove his car up the lines in plain sight of the
Germans. One of the stretcher bearers having been killed, he rushed out
on to No Man’s Land with another man and rescued several men, put them
into his car, and drove off, all the time being the object of German

The English are world-beaters in the flying game, as I suppose you have
heard. The minute a _Boche_ plane appears over their lines, a couple
of fast monoplanes are after it and usually bring it down. Heard of
one air battle between five English machines and ten Germans; five of
the German machines were brought down and the remaining five headed
for Berlin with two English planes after them. The English did not
lose a machine. Again there were three German “sausages” (observation
balloons), and three English aviators, each in a machine, were detailed
to bring them down, each aviator to take a balloon. Two of the
Englishmen each got their balloon, but the Germans, seeing what had
happened, lowered the third balloon. However, the Englishman ordered
to get it, being ruffled a bit because he did not get a chance to get
his “bag” as the other two did, dived down over the balloon resting in
German territory, setting it afire and killing a number of Germans.
He was wounded badly, but succeeded in bringing his machine back. He
was awarded the Victoria Cross. Many other war medals are given, but a
man who gets the Victoria Cross really has done a feat of individual


Pretty Lady Visitor (at private hospital)—“Can I see Lieutenant Barker,

Matron—“We do not allow ordinary visiting. May I ask if you’re a

Visitor (boldly)—“Oh, yes! I’m his sister.”

Matron—“Dear me! I’m very glad to meet you. I’m his mother.”


Two American lads were discussing the war.

“It’ll be an awful long job, Sam,” said one.

“It will,” replied the other.

“You see, these Germans is takin’ thousands and thousands of Russian
prisoners, and the Russians is takin’ thousands and thousands of German
prisoners. If it keeps on, all the Russians will be in Germany and all
the Germans in Russia. And then they’ll start all over again, fightin’
to get back their ’omes.”


THE detective work accomplished by the United States Government
since its entry into the war has been worthy of a Sherlock Holmes,
and yet few persons, reading only the results of this remarkably
developed system, have realized that a Government heretofore finding
it unnecessary to match wits with foreign spy bureaus has suddenly
taken a high rank in this unpleasant but absolutely essential branch of
war-making—as it has in all others. The public read of the intercepted
dispatches from the Argentine to Germany by way of Sweden, and of the
Bernstorff messages, but without a realization of the problem that a
cipher dispatch presents to one who has not the key. And probably the
average reader is unaware that, in both the army and navy, experts
have been trained to decipher code messages, with the result that both
the making and the reading of such dispatches have been reduced to an
almost mathematical science. The Philadelphia _Press_, in outlining the
instruction given in this important work at the Army Service schools,

What is taught the military will furnish an idea of the task of the
code experts in the State Department, and of the basis of the science
that has unmasked the German plans with respect to vessels to be
_spurlos versenkt_ and of legislators to be influenced through the
power of German gold.

“It may as well be stated,” says Capt. Parker Hitt—that is, he was
a captain of infantry when he said it—“that no practicable military
cipher is mathematically indecipherable if intercepted; the most
that can be expected is to delay for a longer or shorter time the
deciphering of the message by the interceptor.”

The young officer is warned that one doesn’t have to rely in these
times upon capturing messengers as they speed by horse from post to
post. All radio messages may be picked up by every operator within the
zone, and the interesting information is given that if one can run a
fine wire within one hundred feet of a buzzer line or within thirty
feet of a telegraph line, whatever tidings may be going over these
mediums may be copied by induction.

In order that the student may not lose heart, it is pointed out in the
beginning that many European powers use ciphers that vary from extreme
simplicity to “a complexity which is more apparent than real.” And as
to amateurs, who make up ciphers for some special purpose, it’s dollars
to doughnuts that their messages will be read just as easily as though
they had printed them in box-car letters.

At every headquarters of an army the intelligence department of the
General Staff stands ready to play checkers with any formidable looking
document that comes along in cipher, and there is mighty little matter
in code that stands a ghost of a chance of getting by.

The scientific dissection of ciphers starts with the examination of
the general system of language communication, which, with everybody
excepting friend Chinaman, is an alphabet composed of letters that
appear in conventional order.

It was early found by the keen-eyed gentlemen who analyzed ciphers that
if one took ten thousand words of any language and counted the letters
in them the number of times that any one letter would recur would be
found practically identical with their recurrence in any other ten
thousand words. From this discovery the experts made frequency tables,
which show just how many times one may expect to find a letter e or any
other letter in a given number of words or letters. These tables were
made for ten thousand letters and for two hundred letters, so that one
might get an idea how often to expect to find given letters in both
long and short messages or documents.

Thus we find the following result:


       10000 200
    A   778   16
    B   141    3
    C   296    6
    D   402    8
    E  1277   26
    F   197    4
    G   174    3
    H   595   12
    I   667   13
    J    51    1
    K    74    2
    L   372    7
    M   288    6
    N   686   14
    O   807   16
    P   223    4
    Q     8   ..
    R   651   13
    S   622   12
    T   855   17
    U   308    6
    V   112    2
    W   176    3
    X    27   ..
    Y   196    4
    Z    17   ..

It is found that in any text the vowels A E I O U represent 38.37 per
cent; that the consonants L N R S T represent 31.86 per cent, and that
the consonants J K Q X Z stand for only 1.77 per cent. One doesn’t want
to shy away from these figures as being dry and dull, because they form
part of a story as interesting as any detective narrative that was ever
penned by a Conan Doyle.

For the usual purposes of figuring a cipher the first group is given
the value of 40 per cent, the second group 30 per cent, and the last 2
per cent. And then one is introduced to the order of frequency in which
letters appear in ordinary text. It is:

E T O A N I R S H D L U C M P F Y W G B V K J X Z Q.

Tables are then made for kinds of matter that is not ordinary, taken
from various kinds of telegraphic and other documents, which will alter
only slightly the percentage values of the letters as shown in a table
from ordinary English.

Having gone along thus far, the expert figures how many times he
can expect to find two letters occurring together. These are called
digraphs, and one learns that AH will show up once in a thousand
letters, while HA will be found twenty-six times. These double-letter
combinations form a separate table all of their own, and the common
ones are set aside, as TH, ER, ON, OR, etc., so they can be readily
guessed or mathematically figured against any text.

Tables of frequency are figured out for the various languages,
particularly German, and the ciphers are divided into two chief
classes, substitution and transposition. The writer in _The Press_ says:

Now you will remember those percentages of vowels and consonants. Here
is where they come in. When a message is picked up the army expert
counts the times that the vowels recur, and if they do not check with
the 40 per cent for the common vowels, with the consonant figures
tallying within 5 per cent of the key, he knows that he is up against a
substitution cipher. The transposition kind will check to a gnat’s heel.

When the expert knows exactly what he is up against he is ready
to apply the figures and patiently unravel the story. It may take
him hours, and maybe days, but sooner or later he will get it to a

If he has picked up a transposition fellow he proceeds to examine it
geometrically, placing the letters so that they form all sorts of
squares and rectangles that come under the heads of simple horizontals,
simple verticals, alternate horizontals, alternate verticals, simple
diagonals, alternate diagonals, spirals reading clockwise, and spirals
reading counter-clockwise. Once one gets the arrangement of the
letters, the reading is simple.

For instance, ILVGIOIAEITSRNMANHMNG comes along the wire. It doesn’t
figure for a substitution cipher and you try the transposition plan.
There are twenty-one letters in it, and the number at once suggests
seven columns of three letters each. Try it on your piano:

    I  L  V  G  I  O  I
    A  E  I  T  S  R  N
    M  A  N  H  M  N  G

And reading down each column in succession you get “I am leaving this

After passing over several simple ciphers as not “classy” enough to
engage the reader’s attention, the writer takes up one of a much more
complicated nature, which, however, did not get by Uncle Sam’s code
wizards. Follow the deciphering of this example by Captain Hitt:

He began with an advertisement which appeared in a London newspaper,
which read as follows:

“M. B. Will deposit £27 14_s._ 5_d._ to-morrow.”

The next day this advertisement in cipher appeared:


Now just off-hand, the average man would shy away from this combination
as a bit of news that he really did not care to read. But to the cipher
fiend it was a thing of joy, and it illustrates one of the many cases
that they are called upon to read, and the methods by which they work.

As a starting-point the cipher-man assumed that the text was in English
because he got it out of an English newspaper, but he did not stop
there. He checked it from a negative view-point by finding the letter
_w_ in it, which does not occur in the Latin languages, and by finding
that the last fifteen words of the message had from two to four
letters each, which would have been impossible in German.

Then he proceeds to analyze. The message has 108 groups that are
presumably words, and there are 473 letters in it. This makes an
average of 4.4 letters to the group, whereas one versed in the art
normally expects about five. There are ninety vowels of the AEIOU group
and seventy-eight letters JKQXZ. Harking back to that first statement
of percentages, it is certain that this is a substitution cipher
because the percentage does not check with the transposition averages.

The canny man with the sharp pencil then looks for recurring groups and
similar groups in his message and he finds that they are:


Passing along by the elimination route he refers to his frequency
tables to see how often the same letters occur, and he finds that they
are all out of proportion, and he can proceed to hunt the key for
several alphabets.

He factors the recurring groups like a small boy doing a sum in
arithmetic when he wants to find out how many numbers multiplied by
each other will produce a larger one. The number of letters between
recurring groups and words is counted and dissected in this wise:

    AII         AII  45, which equals 3x3x5
    BK          BK 345, which equals 23x3x5
    CT          CT 403, no factors
    CTW       CTW   60, which equals 2x2x2x5
    DL         DL   75, which equals 3x5x5
    ES         ES   14, which equals 2x7
    FJ         FJ  187, no factors
    NP         NP   14, which equals 2x7
    OL         OL  120, which equals 2x2x2x3x5
    OS         OS  220, which equals 11x2x2x5
    OSB       OSB  465, which equals 31x3x5
    PO         PO  105, which equals 7x3x5
    SQ         SQ  250, which equals 2x5x5x5
    TLF       TLF   80, which equals 2x2x2x2x5
    TP         TP  405, which equals 3x3x3x3x5
    UV         UV  115, which equals 23x5
    XMKU      XMKU  120, which equals 2x2x2x3x5
    UV         UV   73, no factors
    YJ         YJ   85, which equals 17x5

Now the man who is doing the studying takes a squint at this result and
he sees that the dominant factor all through the case is the figure
5, so he is reasonably sure that five alphabets were used, and that
the key-word had, therefore, five letters, so he writes the message in
lines of five letters each and makes a frequency table for each one of
the five columns he has formed, and he gets the following result:

    Col. 1.  Col. 2.  Col. 3.  Col. 4.  Col. 5.
    A 2      A 9      A 1      A 1      A 2
    B—       B 3      B 3      B—       B 7
    C 7      C 1      C 3      C 4      C—
    D 2      D 2      D 1      D—       D 3
    E 4      E—       E 2      E 7      E—
    F 3      F—       F 9      F 3      F 5
    G 9      G—       G 3      G 2      G 2
    H 3      H 5      H 3      H 3      H 2
    I 2      I 2      I 7      I 17     I 2
    J 5      J 1      J 6      J—       J 9
    K 6      K 5      K—       K 1      K 1
    L—       L 19     L 2      L 5      L 1
    M—       M—       M 7      M 4      M 3
    N 7      N 3      N 4      N—       N 5
    O 5      O—       O 9      O 1      O—
    P 7      P 7      P 8      P 4      P—
    Q 5      Q—       Q—       Q 2      Q 6
    R—       R 1      R 1      R 6      R 1
    S—       S 8      S 6      S 12     S 7
    T 7      T 3      T 5      T 1      T 14
    U 7      U 3      U 6      U—       U 1
    V 5      V—       V 2      V 5      V—
    W 3      W 4      W—       W 5      W 7
    X 2      X—       X 4      X 8      X 6
    Y 4      Y 5      Y—       Y 3      Y 7
    Z—       Z 5      Z 3      Z—       Z 3

Now, having erected these five enigmatical columns, Captain Hitt
juggles them until he uncovers the hidden message, thus:

“In the table for column 1 the letter G occurs 9 times,” he says with
an air of a man having found something that is perfectly plain. “Let us
consider it tentatively as E.

“Then, if the cipher alphabet runs regularly and in the direction
of the regular alphabet, C (7 times) is equal to A, and the cipher
alphabet bears a close resemblance to the regular frequency table.
Note that TUV (equal to RST) occurring respectively 7, 7, and 5 times
and the non-occurrence of B, L, M, R, S, Z (equal to Z, J, K, P, Q, and
X, respectively).

“In the next table L occurs 19 times, and taking it for E with the
alphabet running the same way, A is equal to H. The first word of our
message, CT, thus becomes AM when deciphered with these two alphabets,
and the first two letters of the key are CH.

“Similarly in the third table we may take either F or O for E, but a
casual examination shows that the former is correct and A is equal to B.

“In the fourth table I is clearly E and A is equal to E.

“The fifth table shows that T is equal to 14 and J is equal to 9. If we
take J as equal to E then T is equal to O, and in view of the many Es
already accounted for in the other columns this may be all right. It
checks as correct if we apply the last three alphabets to the second
word of our message, OSB, which deciphers NOW. Using these alphabets to
decipher the whole message we find it to read:

“‘M. B. Am now safe on board a barge moored below Tower Bridge, where
no one will think of looking for me. Have good friends but little money
owing to action of police. Trust, little girl, you still believe in
my innocence although things seem against me. There are reasons why
I should not be questioned. Shall try to embark before the mast in
some outward-bound vessel. Crews will not be scrutinized as sharply as
passengers. There are those who will let you know my movements. Fear
the police may tamper with your correspondence, but later on, when hue
and cry have died down, will let you know all.’”

It all seems simple to the man who follows the idea closely, but
Captain Hitt proceeds to make further revelations of the art. He adds:

“The key to this message is CHBEF, which is not intelligible as a word,
but if put into figures, indicating that the 2d, 7th, 1st, 4th, and 5th
letter beyond the corresponding letter of the message has been used
as a key it becomes 27145, and we connect it with the personal which
appeared in the same paper the day before reading:

“‘M. B. Will deposit £27 14_s._ 5_d._ tomorrow.’”

This is only one of the many methods for getting under the hide of a
coded message that our bright men of the Army and their cousins of the
State and Navy departments have worked out through years of study and


He—“And that night we drove the Germans back two miles.”

She—“Drove them, indeed. I’d have made them walk every step of it.”


The Host—“I thought of sending some of these cigars out to the Front.”

The Victim—“Good idea! But how can you make certain that the Germans
will get them?”


THEY don’t raise their boys to be gun-shy down in the mountains of
Kentucky, so when John Calhoun Allen, of Clay County, heard that his
son had been arrested in New York as a “slacker” he was “plumb mad.”

The young man was rounded up with a bunch of other “conscientious
objectors” and taken before Judge Mayer in the Federal Court. John C.
junior told the judge that during his boyhood in the Kentucky mountains
he had witnessed so much bloodshed that he was now opposed to fighting
and had a horror of killing a man or, in fact, of being killed himself.
The judge was puzzled. He had never heard before of a Kentuckian with
any such complaint, so he packed the young man off to Bellevue for the
“once-over” while he communicated the facts to his father down in Clay
County, and, says the New York _Times_:

The answer arrived in the form of the 6 feet 2 inches of John Allen
himself. The mountaineer came into court just before the noon hour. He
wore the boots and the corduroy trousers of the Kentucky hills. His
shirt was blue, collarless, and home-made. His coat was old-fashioned,
and in his hand he carried his big black sombrero.

“May it please your honor,” said United States District Attorney Knox,
“we have with us the father of John Calhoun Allen.”

The mountaineer looked the Judge squarely in the eye and bowed. Tall
and erect, he towered above every other man in the court room and he
was not in the least embarrassed.

“Judge,” he said, “I got your letter and I thank you for it, and I
started to answer it in writin’, but decided that maybe it was better
that I come here myself and see what’s the matter with that boy of
mine. It ain’t like our folks to act as that youngster has acted, and I
assure you that I am plumb mad about it. I have five boys, and this one
who is in trouble here is the oldest. Two of my lads are already in the
Army and the two youngest will be there soon as they are old enough.

“And so I have come all the way from Kentucky to get this one who I
hear is a backslider. All I ask is for you to let me take my boy back
to Kentucky with me, and I will see to it that he comes to time when
his country calls. There ain’t going to be no quitters in the Allen
family. My boys that are already in the Army ain’t twenty-one yet. This
one is my oldest and he’s the first to miss the trail, but he’ll find
the trail again or I’ll know the reason why.”

“I have the utmost confidence in you,” said Judge Mayer after the old
man finished, “and I shall release your son in your custody, confident
that you will see to it that he obeys the law and registers.”

“He’ll register all right, Judge,” replied the old man, “and I tell you
that if he don’t, something will happen in the public square back home,
and all the folks will have a chance to see with their own eyes that
the Allens don’t stand for no quitters at a time when the country needs
all the men it can get.”

In the meantime Marshal McCarthy had sent to the Tombs for young Allen,
and the young man was waiting in the Marshal’s office when his father
arrived. They are self-contained people down in the Kentucky mountains.
Their feelings are deep, but well controlled, so that when father
and son met there was no show of emotion on the part of either. But
the sight of his son softened the father’s anger. He placed his hand
gently on the younger man’s shoulder, and this is the way _The Times_
describes the scene that followed:

“Son,” said the father, “don’t you know what it means to do what you
tried to do? Don’t you know that you don’t come from no such stock as
these slackers and quitters, or whatever else you call such cattle?
Don’t you know that, boy? Well, if you don’t, it’s time you started
learnin’. Now you ain’t crazy, for our folks don’t go crazy, and you
are goin’ to register, and you are goin’ to fight, and fight your
darnedest, too, if your country calls you. Now just put that in your
head and let it stay there. I don’t want to hurt you, and I ain’t if
you do right; but I just want to say that if you don’t do right, when I
get you back home I will take you into the public square and shoot you
myself in the presence of all the folks.”

The boy, with tears in his eyes, said he would register just as quickly
as he could.

“And I’ll fight, too, if they want me,” the boy added.

“Of course you will, for if you didn’t you wouldn’t be my son,” the old
man replied.

And that was the end of the Allen incident.

“That old fellow is one of the kind that makes the country great. He
is a real American,” said Judge Mayer afterward.

Just before he left the Federal Building, John Allen asked one of the
deputy marshals what case was being tried before Judge Mayer. (It was
the case of Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman.)

“I noticed a man and a woman and I wondered who they were. What did
they do?” he asked.

“They are anarchists and they are on trial for urging men not to
register for the war,” the Marshal replied.

“Those are the kind’er folks who are responsible for boys like this one
of mine gettin’ in trouble,” John Allen observed. “We don’t have folks
like that down our way.”


Mrs. S. Kensington—“We have such good news from the front! Dear Charles
is safely wounded, at last!”


Doctor—“Why were you rejected?”

Applicant (smiling)—“For imbecility.”

“What do you do for a living?”

“Nothing; I have an income of six thousand dollars.”

“Are you married?”


“What does you wife do?”

“Nothing; she is richer than I.”

“You are no imbecile. Passed for general service.”


WHEN he registered at a New York hotel the clerk looked him over
with a supercilious eye. He was a trifle undersized, to be sure, and
youngish—twenty-two and weighing only one hundred pounds. And the name,
W. A. Bishop, hastily scrawled on the register, meant nothing to the
clerk—probably some college stripling in town to give Broadway the
once-over. But a little later the same clerk looked at that name on
the hotel roster with a sensation as nearly approaching awe as a New
York hotel clerk is capable of feeling; for he had learned that the
diminutive guest was the world-famous Maj. William Avery Bishop, of the
British Royal Flying Corps, who in three months won every decoration
Great Britain has created to pin upon the breasts of her gallant

Mars is a grim god and an exacting master, but he sometimes “smoothes
his wrinkled front” at the blandishments of the little god of Love. And
it was so in the case of Major Bishop when the gallant knight of the
air checked the war-god in the hotel coat room and slipped away with
Dan Cupid to Toronto, where his sweetheart was waiting to welcome him.
They are to be married before he returns to the front.

The St. Louis _Post-Dispatch_ reckons Bishop as the greatest air
fighter since Guynemer. It says of his exploits:

So far as is known, Major Bishop is the only living man who has
a right to wear not only the Military Medal but the Order of
Distinguished Service, and not only that, but the Victoria Cross. Yet
he is only twenty-two years old, and he blushed and stammered like a
schoolboy when he tried to explain something about air fighting at a
Canadian club dinner in New York. However, here is his record as piled
up in five months at the front:

    One hundred and ten single combats with German fliers.

    Forty-seven Hun airplanes sent crashing to the earth.

    Twenty-three other planes sent down, but under
    conditions which made it impossible to know certainly
    that they and their pilots had been destroyed.

    Thrilling escapes without number, including one fall of
    4,000 feet with his machine in flames.

    The most daredevil feat of the war—an attack
    single-handed on a _Boche_ airdrome, in which he
    destroyed three enemy machines.

These feats not only won medals for the hero, but rapid promotion. With
his appointment as Major, he was also named chief instructor of aerial
gunnery—which is his chief hobby—and commander of an airplane squadron.

Bishop went to Europe from his home in Owen Sound, a little Ontario
town, where his father is County Registrar, in the spring of 1915 as
a cavalry private. Cavalrymen have an easy time these days waiting
for the trench warfare to end and the coming of the open fighting,
when they can get at the Hun. Bishop didn’t want to wait, so he was
transferred to the flying corps. He made no particular impression on
these officers, but finally got a place as observer in the spring of
1916. His machine was shot down presently, and when he came out of
hospital he was given three months’ leave, most of which he spent at

When he went back last fall he tried again, and this time succeeded in
qualifying as a pilot. He spent the early winter training in England,
and finally reached the front in February. Then things began to happen.

His first enemy plane was brought down within a few days, under
circumstances which have not been told, but which were enough to win
the Military Medal. By Easter his record was such that he was made
flight commander and captain. He celebrated by attacking three German
planes single-handed. Four others came to their rescue. He got two;
then out of ammunition, he went home. This brought him the D. S. O.

Bishop won the Victoria Cross in a sensational air battle. Here is the
official account as given in _The Post-Dispatch_:

“Captain Bishop flew first to an enemy airdrome. Finding no enemy
machine about, he flew to another about three miles distant and about
twelve miles within enemy lines. Seven machines, some with their
engines running, were on the ground. He attacked these from a height of
fifty feet, killing one of the mechanics.

“One of the machines got off the ground, but Captain Bishop, at a
height of sixty feet, fired fifteen rounds into it at close range. A
second machine got off the ground, into which he fired thirty rounds
at 150 yards. It fell into a tree. Two more machines rose from the
airdrome, one of which he engaged at a height of 1,000 feet, sending
it crashing to the ground. He then emptied a whole drum of cartridges
into the fourth hostile machine and flew back to the station.

“Four hostile scouts were 1,000 feet above him for a mile during his
return journey, but they would not attack. His machine gun was badly
shot about by machine gun fire from the ground.”

Apparently the official reporter was not interested in the Captain’s
condition. The damaged machine gun accounts for his strategic retreat,
which satisfies officialdom. On Bishop’s behalf, it should be
remembered that an aviator lives very close to his machine gun during a
fracas—if he lives.

Anyhow, Bishop got the V. C. for this before-breakfast excursion. When
he was given a furlough, a few weeks ago, it was suggested that he stop
at Buckingham Palace on his way home. There a rather small man with a
light beard and a crown pinned the three medals on the breast of the

Major Bishop himself is inclined to complain a little at the tools
with which he has to work. His faith in incendiary bullets has been
shattered, for instance.

“You want to bring the Hun down in flames if you can,” he explained.
“That is the nicest way. But you can’t be sure of doing that. I shot
six incendiary bullets into one fellow’s petrol tank one day, and the
thing wouldn’t blow up.”

Good shooting is what does the trick, he says, and plenty of it.

“Don’t trust to one bullet to kill a Hun. Get him in the head if you
can, or at least in the upper part of the body. But get him several
times—one bullet is never sure to kill one. Get hunks of them into him;
into his head. That does it. The greatest thing to teach the new man is
how to shoot.”

Sounds rather bloodthirsty, but this 100-pound fighter knows his
enemy and of what he is capable. While Bishop finds bombing quite
interesting, he prefers dueling, which he says is still seeking higher
altitudes; in fact, when one is flying above 22,000 feet he is never
sure that he will not be attacked from above. The unexpected appeals to
Bishop, who cites the following as an enjoyable occasion:

“I was about 10,000 feet up, going through a cloud bank, without a
thing in my mind but to get back six or seven miles behind the Hun
lines and see what was going on, when I heard the rattle of machine
guns. I looked back and there were three Huns coming straight for me.
We all started firing at about 300 yards. I gave all I had to one
fellow and he came to within about ten yards of me before swerving. He
went by in flames. I turned on the second and he fell, landing only
about 100 yards from the first one, which shows how fast we were going.

“I was excited, and the third machine escaped,” he added apologetically.

An attack, two duels, and two victories while the planes were traveling
less than a quarter of a mile, at over 100 miles an hour! Time, perhaps
ten seconds.

It was Bishop, according to reports, who invented the plan of diving
down and shooting the Germans from behind during an attack. He did not
discuss the origin of the idea, but denied that it did much damage.
Oh, yes, an occasional machine gun nest, but, then, there are only a
few men in these. The real effect was moral. It distracts the Hun to
be shot in the back. Also it greatly encourages the infantry who are

“They cheer like mad,” he grinned. “They think we are killing thousands
of Huns.”

Traditions gather thick around such a man. Tommy has no demigods in his
religion, but he does the best he can with his heroes. So Tommy says
that Bishop brought down nine machines in a two-hour fight one day. But
Tommy’s best story of him is given to illustrate the nerve which enjoys
being called on to fight for life on a split second’s notice.

A Hun flier had used an incendiary bullet on Bishop’s petrol tank
that did work, Tommy reports. The battle had been at a low altitude,
about two miles up. Bishop’s plane flamed up, and he fell. He was on
the point of jumping and had loosed the straps that held him into
the fuselage. Airmen dislike being burned to death. But he decided
to make a try for life at the risk of this, and after he had fallen
4,000 feet or so took the levers again and pulled up the nose of the
plane, straightening her out. Of course, his engine was out, so he
began to tail dive, and went a few more thousand feet that way. Then
he succeeded in straightening her out once more, but side-slipped, and
finally banked just as he struck. One wing of his flaming machine hit
first and broke the fall. The loosened straps let him jump clear. He
was just behind the British lines, and Tommy rushed up and gathered him
in and extinguished the fire in his blazing clothing.

He was not hurt.


THERE are stories a-plenty of the dash and fire of youth in the
trenches. But by no means are all the men young who are battling on the
front in France. There are the territorials, the line defenders, the
men of the provinces, with wives and children at home.

“They are wonderful, these older fellows,” said an officer
enthusiastically, after a visit to the trenches. “They ought to be
decorated—every one of them!”

It is of these watch-dogs of the trenches that René Bazin has written
in _Lisez-Moi_, and the article, translated by Mary L. Stevenson, is
printed in the Chicago _Tribune_. Mr. Bazin says:

I am proud of the young fighters, but those I am proudest of are the
older ones. These have passed the age when the hot blood coursing
through their veins drives them to adventure; they are leaving behind
wife, children, present responsibilities, and future plans—those things
hardest to cast off. Leaving all this, as they have done, without a
moment’s hesitation, is proof enough of their courage. And from the
beginning of the war to the present time I have never talked to a
solitary commanding officer that he has not eulogized his territorials.

They are essentially trench defenders, lookout men. The young ones do
the coursing. These attack, the others guard. But how they do guard,
how they hold the ground, once won! Nearing the front, if you meet
them on the march as they are about to be relieved, you can recognize
them even from afar by two signs: they march without any military
coquetry, even dragging their feet a little, and they have everything
with them that they can possibly carry—sacks, blankets, cans, bagpipes,
cartridge-boxes, with the neck of a bottle sticking out of their
trousers pocket. Even when you get near enough to see their faces
many of these men do not look at you; they are intent upon their own
thoughts. They know the hard week ahead of them. But the wind and rain
are already old friends; the mud of the trenches does not frighten
them; patience has long been their lot; they accept death’s lottery,
knowing well that they are protecting those they have left behind, and
they go at it as to a great task whose harvest may not be reaped or
even known until months later.

In truth, these men from the provinces—vine-growers, teamsters, little
peasant farmers, the most numerous of all among today’s combatants—will
have played a magnificent rôle in the Great War. History will have
to proclaim this, in justice to the French villages, and may the
Government see fit to honor and aid these silent heroes who will have
done so much to save the country.

They disappear quickly, lost in the defiles or swallowed up by the
mist, which night has thickened. Once in the trenches, they find the
work begun the previous week and which has been carried on by their
comrades’ hands, and when it comes their turn to guard the battlements
they hide themselves in the same holes in the clay wall. No unnecessary
movements, no flurry, no bravados, no setting off of flashes or grenade
and bomb-throwing, by which the younger troops immediately show their
presence in the trenches, and which only provokes a reply from the

They are holding fast, but they keep still about it. Suddenly the
_Boches_ are coming. There are some splendid sharpshooters in this
regiment, and in the attack of the Seventh and in the surprise attempt
of the Fourteenth at daybreak it was seen what these men could do. An
officer said to me: “They suffer the least loss; they excel in shelters
of earthwork, they merge right into the turf.”

Many of the sectors of the front are held by this guard of older men.
When the German reserves were hurled in pursuit of the Belgian Army in
1914, threatening the shores of Pas de Calais, a territorial division
checked the onslaught of the best troops of the German Empire. Of their
work in the trenches, Mr. Bazin writes:

But do not let anyone think theirs is a life of inaction; work is
not lacking; even night is a time of reports, of revictualing, of
reconnoitering, or repairing barbed-wire entanglements.

When the sector is quiet, however, the territorial enjoys some free
hours. He writes a great deal; makes up for all the time past when
he wrote almost no letters at all and for all the time to come when
he promises himself to leave the pen hidden on the groove of the
ink-well, idle on the mantel. One of them said to me: “They have put up
a letter-box in my village. What will it be good for after the war—a
swallow’s nest?”

Many of these letters contain only a recital of uneventful days and
the prescribed formalities of friendship or love, banal to the general
public but dear enough to those who are waiting and who will sit
around the lamp of an evening and comment on every word. I know young
women throughout the country who receive a letter from their husbands
every day. The war has served as a school for adults. Sometimes
expediency entirely disappears and it is the race which speaks, and the
hidden faith, and the soul which perhaps has never thus been laid bare.

Here is a letter which has been brought to my notice. For a year it had
been carried in the pocket of a territorial who wrote it as his last
will and testament, and when he was killed it was sent to his widow.
Read it and see if you would not like to have had him who wrote it as a
friend and neighbor:

“My dear, today, as I am writing these lines, my heart feels very
big, and if you ever read them it will be because I died doing my
duty. I ask you, before I go, to bring up our children in honor and in
memory of me, for I have loved them very dearly, and I shall have died
thinking of them and of you. Tell them I died on the field of honor,
and that I ask them to offer the same sacrifice the day France shall
need their arms and hearts. Preserve my certificate of good conduct,
and later make them know that their father would like to have lived for
them and for you, whom I have always held so dear. Now, I do not want
you to pass the rest of your life worshiping one dead. On the contrary,
if during your life you meet some good, industrious young fellow
capable of giving you loyal aid in rearing our children, join your life
with his and never speak to him of me, for if he loves you it would
only cast the shadow of a dead man upon him—it is over, my dear. I love
you now and forever, even through eternity. Good-bye! I shall await
you over there. Your adoring        JEAN.”

As showing the dogged, determined character of these men, Mr. Bazin
relates the following incident:

Lately, when both wind and rain were raging, an officer told me of
going up to two lookout men, immovable at their posts in the first line
trench, and joking with them, he said:

“Let’s see, what do you need?”

“Less mud.”

“I am in the same boat. What else?”

“This and that—”

“You shall have it, I promise you. Tired?”

“A little.”


They made a terrible face, looked at him, and together replied: “If you
have come to say such things as that, sir, you better not have come at
all. Discouraged? No, indeed! We’re not the kind who get discouraged!”


The German officer who confiscated a map of Cripple Creek belonging
to an American traveler, and remarked that “the German Army might get
there some time,” should be classed with the London banker who said to
a solicitous mother seeking to send cash to San Antonio, Texas, for her
wandering son: “We haven’t any correspondent in San Antonio, but I’ll
give you a draft on New York, and he can ride in and cash it any fine


THE youngsters at Camp Upton looked with admiring and envious eyes
at the ribbons pinned on the left breast of the man who entered
headquarters. Then they looked up at the face of the wearer of these
emblems of service in the Indian Wars, Cuba, and the Philippines, and
they saw a sturdy campaigner of field and desert, his face bronzed by
many scorching suns. On the left sleeve of his coat were the three bars
of a sergeant with the emblem of the supply department in the inverted

This ghost of the old Army seemed to feel a little out of place for a
moment, and then he turned to Sergeant Dunbaugh and said:

“I’d like to see the General, if you please.”

“Have you an appointment?” asked Dunbaugh a bit hesitatingly.

“Well, no, but the General told me to come back, so I am here.”

As the General was then out in the camp Sergeant Dunbaugh suggested
that the old soldier tell him just what he wanted to see him about,
and, says the New York _Sun_:

So the story of Sergeant Busick was told—the story of a once trim
young trooper and a once dashing lieutenant of the Seventh Cavalry,
immortalized by Custer and honored by a whole army.

Twenty years ago Edward Busick was assigned as a private to G Troop
of the Seventh, stationed at Fort Apache, Arizona. At that time G was
officially lacking a captain, so a certain young lieutenant was acting
commander, and for his orderly he chose one Trooper Busick.

One evening, a year later, the lieutenant received sudden orders to
report immediately to a staff post. All that night his orderly worked
with him packing his personal belongings and helping him get ready for
an early-morning start. It was a long job, and a hard one, but the
orderly didn’t mind the work in the least; all he cared about was the
loss of his troop commander.

“Don’t suppose I’ll ever see you again, Busick, but if I do, and
there’s anything I can do for you, I’ll be glad to do it,” the
lieutenant told him when the job was finished and the last box had been
nailed down.

It wasn’t very much for a lieutenant to say to his orderly, but it
meant a great deal to this trim young trooper. Somehow, in the old
Army, orderlies get to thinking a great deal of their officers and
Busick happened to be just that particular kind. He had an especially
good memory, too.

The whirligig of fate that seems to have so much to do with Army
affairs sent the lieutenant to the Philippines, where, as colonel of
the suicide regiment, he won everlasting honor for his regiment and a
Congressional medal for valor for himself. Then on up he jumped until
his shoulder-straps bore the single star of a brigadier. Then another
star was added, and he became chief of staff and ranking officer in the
whole Army.

And all the while the whirligig that looks after enlisted men saw to it
that Trooper Busick added other colored bars to his service ribbons.
And slowly he added pounds to his slim girth and a wife and children
to his fireside. But as a heavy girth and a family aren’t exactly
synonymous with dashing cavalrymen, Sergeant Busick saw to it that
he was transferred from the roving cavalry to the stationary Coast
Artillery. And through all the years he remembered the lieutenant and
his promise that if he ever wanted anything he would try to get it for

One month ago Sergeant Busick got a furlough from his Coast Artillery
company at Fort McKinley, Portland, Me., and bought a ticket to Camp
Upton, New York. There were only a few men here then, so he didn’t have
any great difficulty in seeing his old first lieutenant.

For half a minute or so General Bell, commanding officer of the
Seventy-seventh Division of the National Army and one-time first
lieutenant of the Seventh Cavalry, didn’t recognize his old orderly—but
it was for only half a minute.

“You’ll sleep in our quarters with us tonight,” General Bell ordered.
“Tomorrow we’ll see about that old promise.”

So that night Sergeant Busick had the room between Major-General Bell’s
and Brigadier-General Read’s. But sleeping next to generals was pretty
strong for an ordinary sergeant and he didn’t accept General Bell’s
invitation to have mess with him.

And a little later Busick told his old commander that the big
request that he had come across the continent to make was that he be
transferred to the Seventy-seventh division and allowed to serve under
the General. But army tape is still long and red, so all that the
General could do was to send the sergeant back to his post and promise
that he would do all that he could. This, it proved, was sufficient.

For Sergeant Edward Busick, smiling and happy with his reassignment
papers safely tucked away in the pocket of his blouse under his half a
foot of service ribbons, came back to report for duty. It took twenty
years to do—but he’s done it.

And the National Army of Freedom hasn’t any idea as yet how much
richer in real soldier talent and color it is today. But a certain old
campaigner, who used to be a first lieutenant of cavalry, knows.


An American stopping at a London hotel rang several times for
attendance, but no one answered. He started for the office in an
angry mood, which was not improved when he found that the “lift” was
not running. Descending two flights of stairs, he met one of the

“What’s the matter with this dashed hotel?” he growled. “No one to
answer your call and no elevator running.”

“Well, you see, sir,” said the maid, “the Zeps were reported and we
were all ordered to the cellar for safety.”

“——!” ejaculated the American. “I was on the fifth floor and I wasn’t

“No, sir,” was the bland reply, “but you see, sir, you don’t come under
the Employers’ Liability Act, sir.”


“LAST evening we went out into a field, and read Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’
out loud.”

Do you get the picture? Can you see the fading glory of the sunset sky,
and hear the soft breeze, sweetly laden with the scent of new-mown hay,
as it murmurs through the gently rustling leaves—a real autumn scene of
rural peace and quiet?

Yes? Well, you are quite mistaken. That is an extract from a letter
written by an ambulance driver on the French front. And so you see that
war is not all horror.

Emerson Low, the son of Alfred M. Low, of Detroit, went to France
with a group of college boys. He joined the American Field Ambulance
Service, and is now in the thick of the fighting in the Champagne
district. The Detroit _Free Press_ prints some extracts from his
letters to his family. In one he tells of his trip to the posts:

Day before yesterday several of us started out for the posts. I carried
the _médecin divisionnaire_ and went a little before the others. In
spite of the fact that the fields are being recultivated and the
searness of former battles is somewhat concealed, the road to the front
is rather a grim affair, and you are startled when you pass through a
town deserted and demolished. There is quite a large town between this
one and the front. It is uninhabited except for a few soldiers and a
yellow dog that slinks about in the doorways.

I left the _médecin divisionnaire_ at his _abri_, a little further
along the road, a road hidden completely by strips of burlap tied to
poles. The first post is in a little wood. There were two of us there,
and we tossed a coin to see who would take the first call. I won and
waited for an ambulance to come in from one of our three posts. These
posts are along the front of the hill where the battle is taking place.
They are all reached by going through and then beyond X (you remember
the little destroyed town with the church which I spoke of during our
first month). The first post was a smaller town than X, and is now
razed completely to the ground. The second is about one-fourth of a
mile to the right and the third—which can only be reached during the
night and left before dawn—is a German _abri_, formerly a dugout of
German officers. The German _saucises_ are directly above the road,
and any machine would be shelled in the daytime. The posts are close
together and are reached by exposed roads.

My call came about noon. I was given an orderly, and left for the first
post. From the road we could see the shells breaking on the hill and in
the fields about, where the French batteries were hidden. We reached
the post, backed the machine into a wide trench, which hid it from
view, and then went into the dugout. It was a new iron dugout, about 30
feet long and 10 or 12 feet broad, with bunks on either side. On top
were heaped bags of sand and dirt.

We read until about two o’clock, when several shells fell in the
battery field a few meters behind us. Then a few shells fell in a
field to the right, and in another moment we were in the midst of a
bombardment. It lasted all afternoon. Two men trying to enter the
dugout were hit, one in the throat and the other in the shoulder, but
not badly. About six o’clock it grew so bad and so many shells fell
on the roof of the dugout that we had to leave, cross through some
trenches—a strange-looking procession, crouching and running along—and
get into a deep cave about twenty feet under the ground, where we
stayed until eight o’clock in the evening. Then the firing became
intermittent, the shells hit further to the right and left, and we ran
back into the dugout.

It was still light and an airplane soared above us, the noise of which
is to me, for an unaccountable reason, one of the most reassuring
sounds I have ever heard.

Quite jocularly he writes of supper, first having looked at his car
which he found uninjured, although covered with dirt from exploding
shells. Continuing, he says:

There were about eight of us, the orderly and myself, the
lieutenant-doctor in charge, and three or four old _brancardiers_, who,
when they ate their soup made more noise than the shells. After every
few spoonfuls, to avoid waste, they poked their mustaches in their
mouths and sucked them loudly.

During the evening the firing became steady on both sides, the French
battery pouring their shells, which whistled over our dugout. We went
to bed, secure in this iron cylinder, whose great ribs stood like the
fleshless carcass of a beast, which to destroy would be a worthless
task. A stump of a candle lay wrapped in our blankets in the bunks. It
was rather comfortable, except that my bed was crossed at the top by a
piece of iron just where my head lay.

All through the night there was a continuous commotion in the dugout,
the _brancardiers_ running around and talking in loud voices about
things we were too sleepy to understand. We had no _blessés_ during the
night (an exceptional thing—this morning they had fifty from one post)
and were relieved about half-past ten the next morning. I returned
to the large town, where our cantonment had been changed to another
quarter of the village.

This is an exceptionally fine cantonment and was recently occupied
by the British Ambulance, whose place we have taken. I think it was
originally an officers’ barracks. Two low cement buildings, faced with
red brick and roofed with red tile, stand on one side, and opposite
these are the stables, used by the “Genies.” In front of the houses are
some trees and grass. Each house (one story in height) is divided into
four parts, accessible by four doors.

Jim, Rogers, and I have one room to ourselves off the third hallway and
in front. There are three other rooms accessible by the same hallway.
It is almost like a separate house, as each division has its flight
of steps before the door and there is a main sidewalk running under
all the front windows. We have our three stretchers on the floor, two
cupboards, a broken mirror, and two camp-stools. We keep our trunks,
etc., right in the room and it saves transferring them every trip
to the posts. There is a large French window with blue shutters. We
certainly are comfortably located. There are no showers after all (we
had expected two), except one that is broken, and we wash from our
_bidons_ (canteens) with a sponge, which is almost as good.

Jim and Rogers came back yesterday shortly before I did. They had both
been to the same post, the second one, and been caught in a gas-attack
which lasted for an hour. They sat in the _abri_ with their masks
on (the masks are a greenish color, with two big round windows for
the eyes) and, of course, with the helmets, the _abri_ was crowded,
and from their description they must have looked like so many big
beetles crouching together. There is absolutely no danger with the
masks, however, and we carry one always with us (even in town) and one
fastened in the car.

Last evening we went out into a field and read Jane Austen’s “Emma” out
loud. Jim and Rog left this morning for the posts and I go tomorrow.

Of the routine work of the ambulance driver he writes:

On account of the night driving we have lately put two men on each car,
a driver and an orderly who just goes back and forth between the posts.
Five cars are out every day and eight drivers. Three cars begin at the
posts and two wait in the woods. As a car comes in from a post, another
is sent out from the woods and this driver takes with him the orderly
who has just come in, as only one man is necessary to make the trip
from the woods to the hospital. From the hospital the latter returns to
the woods, and thus a relay is formed. The day before yesterday I was
at post 1; yesterday (beginning at noon), I was _en repos_ for the day;
today I am _en remplacement_, that is practically the same as repose,
but if any extra cars are wanted in case of an attack, etc., we have
to be within call. I am fourth in the list and don’t expect to go out.
Tomorrow I go in my own car, next day repose, next day as orderly to
post 3, next day repose, etc. The work is as interesting as ever.

In another letter which _The Free Press_ prints Mr. Low tells of a
battle between airplanes directly over his head. The engagement ended
with the winging of both machines. The letter reads:

The German machine fell between the lines, the French plane near one of
our posts. There was a terrific fight, which we could hardly see, as
it was very high in the air. The French plane caught on fire and began
to fall. After some meters it was entirely enveloped in smoke and the
three aviators had to jump, which was a quicker death. When they were
found, parts of their bodies had been burned away.

Just before this the first German shell fell in our cantonment. It was
about half-past seven in the morning and we were all asleep when we
heard the rush and explosion of an _obus_. It struck about two meters
from the barracks and made a large hole in the road. Three shells
usually fall in one place, but no other followed.

For a day of repose it certainly was disturbing.

Yesterday I had a hot shower at the hospital near here. It certainly
seemed good, after bathing for two months out of a small reserve water

This morning we are at the second post. Before the war there were
really enough houses to call it a small town, but it has been so
completely destroyed that only stumps of the buildings remain.
Batteries have been planted all about it, and at present they are
receiving a heavy shelling from the Germans.

Mr. Low seems to possess an excellent nervous organization and a
dependable imagination which he finds quite useful. He says:

We are kept in the dugout, which, provided with chairs and a table, is
very comfortable. It is rather pleasant to be securely seated here with
books and listening to the “rush” of the shells overhead. It is like
being before a grate fire and listening to a winter’s storm outside.
As long as no _blessés_ are brought in we can sit here and warm our
feet until the storm is over. Our beds are all made on the stretchers
(placed high enough to keep out the rats), and we intend to spend a
pleasant afternoon reading. I have Rog’s Shakespeare, and I am reading

We have just had lunch—hot meat, lentils, camembert, and the inevitable
Pinard. The bombardment has nearly died away, so we can sit out a while
and enjoy a very delightful August day. This post is reached by an old
Roman road, which is rather badly torn up. They have just put up a
screen of burlap to conceal it from the _saucisses_; that is, to hide
the traffic on it, for the German gunners know where every road lies.

(Later) A young fellow of about nineteen was just carried in. He was
at the battery post a few meters behind us and became half-crazed by
the shells during the bombardment. It is quite a common occurrence,
especially with the men in the trenches. The French call it
_commotion_, and the mind becomes so stunned that often they lose
their speech or become totally stupid. The lieutenant said that this
was a bad case and that if another shell fell near the man he would go
mad. He asked us to take the fellow back to the hospital as soon as
possible, and I had to ride in the back of the ambulance with him all
the way to keep him quiet. Fortunately no shells came near the car.

After supper we sat near the edge of the road and watched two or three
battalions pass by on their way to the trenches. The road filled with
carts and supply wagons as soon as the _saucisses_ descended. These
vehicles travel between towns in the rear to a communication trench a
little beyond our post, a point which is a terminus for all traffic.
From there the ammunition and supplies are carried to the trenches by

There is a little railroad running from that point, beyond our post;
horses pulling small flat cars loaded with wood, barbed wire, etc., for
the trenches. A young _poilu_, standing up and waving his arms, came
spinning down the hill in an empty car. He nearly caused a collision
and I never saw a man so yelled and screamed at as this one was by his
sergeant. The officer scolded him for a quarter of an hour and shouted
himself hoarse: “_Quelle bêtise!_”

About nine we went down into the _abri_, lighted a candle on the table,
and read until about ten, when a man burst through the door, shouting:

“_Gaz! Gaz! M. Médecin!_” and dashed out again. The _médecin_ went
outside, and, returning, told us to have our masks ready, that gas was
coming over the hill and blowing in our direction. We waited about
ten minutes and heard the alarm bell ring—a signal to warn that a gas
attack is near. We sat waiting with our masks at our elbows, but the
wind carried the gas in another direction and we did not have to use

These attacks are frequent, but not dangerous; as at every hour of the
day a man stands in the first line trench (with a bell at his side) to
give warning of gas. The masks that we always carry at our belts are
positive guards against any sort of gas.

We read until twelve and then went to bed, lucky in having only one
trip through the day.


An officer was surprised one day when searching the letters of his
detachment to read in one of them a passage that was something like

“We have just got out of shell-fire for the first time for two months.
It has been a hard time. The Germans were determined to take our
field bakery, but, by gee! we would not let them. We killed them in

This was a letter from one of the bakers to his wife. None of the
detachment had been a mile from the base, and they had never seen a
German, except as a prisoner. My friend knew the writer well, and could
not help (although it was none of his business) asking him why he told
such terrible lies to his poor wife. The soldier said:

“It’s quite true what you say, but it’s like this, sir. When my wife
and the wives of the other men in the place where I live are talking
it all over in the morning I couldn’t think to let her have nothing to
say and the others all bragging about what their men had done with the
Germans. That’s the way of it, sir.”


IF war is not a great leveler—and we have been told numberless times
that it is—it is certainly the Great American Mixer, and Camp Upton,
L. I., is probably the best example extant thereof, so to speak. The
Bowery boy and the millionaire rub elbows—you have probably heard that
before, but it is nevertheless true—and the owners of Long Island show
places sleep in cots next to their former gardeners. But probably the
most interesting character at Camp Upton is the barber who was at one
time a sergeant in the British Flying Corps, and wears the King’s
Distinguished Conduct Medal—that is, he probably would wear it if he
hadn’t left it at “’ome in a box.” The New York _Sun_ says:

Down on the muster pay roll the D. C. medal man is Harry Booton, but
over in the 304th Field Artillery’s headquarters company barracks they
call him Ben Welch, the Jewish comedian. But for all that his real
name is _Ortheris_, who even Kipling himself thought had lain dead
these twenty years and more in the hill country of India. And for the
brand of service for his reincarnation he has chosen the artillery—the
bloomin’, bloody artillery that he used to hate so much when he and
_Mulvaney_ were wearing the infantry uniform of the little old Widow of

London cockney he was then, a quarter of a century ago, and London
cockney he is today. And if there be some who say his name is not
really _Ortheris_, let it be stated that names are of small moment
after all. It’s the heart that counts—and the heart of this under-sized
little Jewish cockney is the heart of Kipling’s hero—and the soul is
his and the tale is his. And instead of telling his yarn to _Mulvaney_
he now tells it to an Italian barber they call Eddie rather than his
own gentle name of Gasualdi.

From Headquarters Hill, where the Old Man With the Two Stars looks out
and down on his great melting-pot that’s cooking up this stirring army
of freedom, you walk a half mile or so west until you stumble on Rookie
Roose J 18, where the headquarters company and the band of the 304th
Field Artillery play and sing and sleep and work. In one corner of the
low, black-walled washroom nestling next the big pine barracks, Eddie
the Barber lathers, shaves, and clips hair for I. O. U.’s when he isn’t
busy soldiering. And into Eddie’s ears come stories of girls back home
and yarns of mighty drinking bouts of other days, and even tales of
strange lands and wars and cabbages and kings. Eddie is the confidant
of headquarters company.

If you stand around on one foot and then another long enough, and add
a bit now and then to the gaiety of the nations represented in Eddie’s
home concocted tonsorial parlor you’ll hear some of these wild yarns
pass uninterrupted from the right to the left ear of Eddie. And if
you’re lucky you may even hear the tale of the D. C. medal—and the
five wounds, and the torpedoed bark, and the time the King’s hand was
kissed, and all from the lips of _Ortheris_, alias Harry C. Booton,
alias Ben Welch.

And so, if you will kindly make way for the hero, whose medal is “at
’ome in me box,”—but who did not forget to bring his cockney accent
along, to which he has added a dash of the Bowery—you may listen to the
tale that was told to the _Sun_ man:

“I was boined down in Whitechapel, Lunnon, and me ole man died
seventeen years ago in the Boer War,” the tongue of Harry began his
tale: “’E was a soger under ‘Mackey’ McKenzie, and ’e was kilt over
in Sout Africey. Well, when Hingland goes into this war I says to
meself I’ll join out to an’ do me bit, an’ so I done wit’ the Lunnon
Fusileers, and after two or three months trainin’ we was sint to
Anthwerp, but we didn’t stop there very long.

“Then we fights in the battle of Mons and Lille—I don’t know how you
spells that Lille, but I think it’s ‘L-i-l’—or somethin’ loik that.
Well, in the battle of Mons I gets blowed up. Funny about that. You
see, a Jack Johnson comes along and buries me, all except me bloomin’
feet, and then I gets plugged through both legs with a rifle bullet
and I’m in the hospital for a month. When I gets out I’m transferred
to the Royal Flying Corps and I goes to the Hendon or sumthin’ loike
that aereodrome up Mill Hill way, fur trainin’. You see, I was a stige
electrician in the Yiddish teaters on the Edgware road, and knowin’
things like that I was mide a helper and learnt all about flying

The b-r-r-r-r-r of an airplane—the first one to fly over the
camp—caused Henry’s ear to cock for a second and then a smile to pop
out of his face.

“’Ere’s one of the bloomin’ things now,” he went on. “Well, I was made
a sergeant an’ arfter a bad bomin’ of Lunnon by the Fritzes six of us
machines was sent to pay compliments to the Germans.

“It was dark and cold and nasty when we started out to attack
Frederickshaven and give ’em some of their own medicine.

“Three hundred miles we flies an’ I’d dropped eighteen of my nineteen
bums—you see I was riding with Sergeant-Major Flemming—when they opens
up on us with their antiguns and five of us flops down, blazin’ and
tumblin’. Then somethin’ hits me back and somethin’ else stings me arm
and then I felt her wabble and flop. I glances behind and my sergeant
is half fallin’ out and just as he tumbled I mikes a grab for ’im. ’E
was right behint me and so as to right the machine I grips him with me
teeth in his leather breetches and then I throws ’im back and swings
into his seat and tramps on the pedal for rising. Up we goes to 9,000
feet, but it was too bloomin’ cold up there, so I come down some and
points back for Hingland.

“The sergeant ’e were there with me, and I was glad efen if ’e had been
kilt dead. You wouldn’t want ’im back there with them _Booches_—’im my
pal and my sergeant. I wasn’t going to let the _Booches_ have ’im.

“More’n 300 miles I had to fly—6 degrees it were—when I caught
Queensborough, and then I come down. Funny about that—just as soon as I
’it the ground I fainted loike a bloomin’ lidy.

“An’ I was up in a Hinglish ’ospital in Lunnon when I come to a couple
of d’ys after. An’ I wykes a bloomin’ ’ero, and the King ’e sends for
me an’ some other ’eroes, and we all goes to Buckingham Palace, and
’is Majesty the King and Queen Mary and a ole bloomin’ mess of them
bloomin’ dooks and lydies comes and the King pins the medal on me. Me a
’ero with a D. C. medal. And now I’m warin’ this bloomin’ kiki-ki and
hopin’ to get another crack at Kaiser Bill and Fritz the sauerkraut.”

The ’ero was finally invalided out of service and ordered to the
munitions factories in northern England. Having no inclination for
this work, he stowed away on the Swedish bark _Arendale_, which was
torpedoed when fifteen days out from London. He was picked up by the
Dutch steamship _Leander_ and finally landed in New Orleans. The _Sun_

Then Harry came to New York a little over a year ago and made his abode
at 157 Rivington street. By day he worked in a A-Z Motion Picture
Supply Company, 72 Hester street, and by night he told brave tales of
war and sang snatches of opera that he had learned behind the scenes in

Then came America’s entrance into the Great War and the selective
service examination. At Board 109 Harry demanded that although he was a
British subject he be allowed to go. And after considerable scratching
of heads the members of Board 109 decided to ship Harry to Camp Upton
with the first increment on September 10, and what was more, to make
him the squad leader on the trip.

“Salute me, ya bloomin’ woodchopper,” Harry, ex-Tommy Atkins, shouted
in derision at some lowly private who ventured to try a light remark.
“Hain’t I yer superior? Hain’t I actin’ corporal? Hain’t I goin’ to be
a sergeant-major? Awsk me—hain’t I?”

And the answer was decidedly and emphatically yes. And power to ye,
Harry Booton—medal or no medal.


THE old days when armies ceased fighting to watch their two champions
in single combat have come back again. It was on the Western front,
and the engagement that resulted in the death of Immelman the Falcon,
Germany’s most distinguished Ace, was in very truth a duel—no chance
meeting of men determined to slay one another, but a formally arranged
encounter, following a regular challenge, and fought by prearrangement
and without interference. The battle was witnessed with breathless
interest by the men of both armies crouched in the trenches,
separated by only a few feet of No Man’s Land, while the fire of the
anti-aircraft guns on both sides was stilled.

The victor in the spectacular fight was Captain Ball, the youthful
English pilot who has only two notches less on the frame of his
fighting machine than had the Falcon, who was credited with fifty-one
“downs.” The story of the duel, which was declared to have been one of
the most sensational events of the war, is told in a letter written by
Col. William Macklin, of the Canadian troops, to a friend in Newark,
N. J. Colonel Macklin, who was one of the eye-witnesses of the fight,
writes in his letter, which is printed in the New York _Tribune_:

One morning Captain Ball, who was behind our sector, heard that
Immelman the Falcon was opposite.

“This is the chance I’ve been waiting for; I’m going to get him,”
declared Ball.

Friends tried to dissuade him, saying the story of Immelman’s presence
probably was untrue. Ball would not listen.

Getting into his machine, he flew over the German lines and dropped a
note which read:

    “Captain Immelman: I challenge you to a man-to-man
    fight, to take place this afternoon at two o’clock.
    I will meet you over the German lines. Have your
    anti-aircraft guns withhold their fire while we decide
    which is the better man. The British guns will be


About an hour afterward, a German aviator swung out across our lines.
Immelman’s answer came. Translated it read:

    “Captain Ball: Your challenge is accepted. The German
    guns will not interfere. I will meet you promptly at


Just a few minutes before two o’clock the guns on both sides ceased
firing. It was as though the commanding officers had ordered a truce.
Long rows of heads popped up and all eyes watched Ball from behind
the British lines shoot off and into the air. A minute or two later
Immelman’s machine was seen across No Man’s Land.

The letter describes the tail of the German machine as painted red “to
represent the British and French blood it had spilled,” while Ball’s
had a streak of black paint to represent the mourning for his victims.
The machines ascended in a wide circle, and then:

From our trenches there were wild cheers for Ball. The Germans yelled
just as vigorously for Immelman.

The cheers from the trenches continued. The Germans’ increased in
volume; ours changed into cries of alarm.

Ball, thousands of feet above us and only a speck in the sky, was
doing the craziest things imaginable. He was below Immelman and was,
apparently, making no effort to get above him, thus gaining the
advantage of position. Rather he was swinging around, this way and
that, attempting, it seemed, to postpone the inevitable.

We saw the German’s machine dip over preparatory to starting the nose

“He’s gone now,” sobbed a young soldier at my side, for he knew
Immelman’s gun would start its raking fire once it was being driven
straight down.

Then, in the fraction of a second, the tables were turned. Before
Immelman’s plane could get into firing position, Ball drove his machine
into a loop, getting above his adversary and cutting loose with his gun
and smashing Immelman by a hail of bullets as he swept by.

Immelman’s airplane burst into flames and dropped. Ball, from above,
followed for a few hundred feet and then straightened out and raced
for home. He settled down, rose again, hurried back, and released a
huge wreath of flowers almost directly over the spot where Immelman’s
charred body was being lifted from a tangled mass of metal.

Four days later Ball, too, was killed. He attacked single-handed four
Germans. He had shot one down and was pursuing the other three when two
machines dropped from behind the clouds and closed in on him. He was
pocketed and was killed—but not until he had shot down two more of the


ALONG with many other things with finer names, for which credit is
due him, Col. E. D. Swinton, of the British Royal Engineers, will go
down in history as the father of the tank, that modern war monster and
engine of destruction which made its professional début on the Somme
battlefield and which did such effective work in French and British

Colonel Swinton is a pleasant, mild-mannered gentleman, the last person
in the world one would expect to bear any relationship to the tank. In
fact, the virtue of modesty in him is so well developed that he refuses
to accept all the glory, and insists upon sharing the parental honors
with an American, Benjamin Holt, inventor of the tractor.

“I don’t mean that the Holt tractor is the tank by any means,” he says,
“but without the Holt tractor there very probably would not have been
any tank.”

Arthur D. Howden Smith, writing in the New York _Evening Post_,

It is practically impossible to get Colonel Swinton to admit outright
that he is the parent of the tank; yet father it he did, and he was
also the first captain of the tanks in the British Army; he organized
the tank unit in France, and he launched the loathly brood of his
offspring in their initial victory on the Somme battlefield. If any man
knows the tank, he does, for he created it and tamed it and taught it
how to prowl and slay.

Colonel Swinton began to think about tanks several years before
Austria sent her ultimatum to Servia, but he is scrupulously careful
to say that many men were thinking more or less vaguely along the same
lines at the same time. Indeed, the proposal of the tank as an engine
for neutralizing the effect of machine gun fire was actually made
by two sets of men, one to the War Office and one to the Admiralty,
and neither group was aware that the other was working along the
same lines. Still, we may believe unprejudiced testimony which gives
to Colonel Swinton the principal credit for convincing the higher
authorities in London that mobile land-forts were practicable.

“In July, 1914, I heard that Mr. Benjamin Holt, of Peoria, Ill., had
invented a tractor which possessed the ability to make its way across
rugged and uneven ground,” he stated. “But several years before that a
plan for a military engine practically identical with the tank had been
sketched upon paper, when a tractor of another make was tried out in
England. That first plan came to nothing. We weren’t ready for it then.

“The reports of the Holt tractor served to stimulate my interest in
the idea all over again, and when I went to France with Lord French in
August, 1914, and saw what modern warfare was like, I became convinced
that an armored car, capable of being independent of roads and of
traversing any terrane to attack fortified positions, was a necessity
for the offensive.”

The Colonel, with a quizzical smile, here called attention to the fact
that the principal German weapon of slaughter was the invention of an
American—Hiram Maxim—and he thought it quite fitting that the weapon
to combat it should be credited, at least in part, to the American
inventor of the tractor. Continuing, he said:

“By October, 1914, I had a fair conception of the kind of engine which
might be relied upon to neutralize the growing German power in machine
guns, combined with the most elaborate fortifications ever built on a
grand scale. You see, their fire ascendency in the meantime had enabled
them to dig in with their usual thoroughness. In October I returned
to England to try to interest the authorities at the War Office in my
idea. I had my troubles, but I did not have as many troubles as I might
have had, because other men of their own accord were working along the
same lines.

“You must get this very straight, mind. Whatever credit there may
be for inventing the tanks belongs not to any one man, but to many
men—exactly how many nobody knows. It is even rather unfair to mention
any names, my own as well as those of others. For, besides those men
who actually worked to perfect the tanks, there were others who had
conceived very similar ideas.

“Still another proof of the plurality of tank inventors is the fact
that while one group of us were endeavoring to interest the War Office
in the idea, another group of men, entirely ignorant of what we were
doing, were trying to get the Admiralty to take up a similar line of
experimentation. And it is no more than fair to point out that the
first money provided for experimentation with landships, as we called
them, came from Winston Spencer Churchill, then First Lord of the
Admiralty. But he was only one of a number of men who played parts in
the development of the finished engine. For example, there were two men
in particular who worked out the mechanical problems. I wish I could
give you their names, but I cannot.”

To the suggestion of the writer in _The Post_ that it seemed strange
that so many minds should have been working out the same idea at the
same time, Colonel Swinton replied emphatically:

“Not when you consider the situation. The tank, after all, is merely an
elaboration, the last word, of military devices as old as the history
of military engineering. Its ancestors were the armored automobile,
the belfry or siege tower on wheels of the middle ages, and the Roman
_testudo_. The need for the tank became apparent to many who studied
the military problems demonstrated on the Western front. That is often
so in the history of inventions, you know. A given problem occupies
many minds simultaneously, and generally several reach a solution about
the same time, even though perhaps one receives the credit for the
invention above all the others.”

“You spoke about the mechanical problems of the tanks. What were they?”

“Ah, there you are getting on delicate ground. I am glad to tell you
all I can about the tanks, but I can’t describe them—not beyond a
certain point, that is. I will say just this—the peculiar original
feature of them, upon which their efficiency most depends, is the
construction of their trackage. It is the feature which enables
them not only to negotiate rough and broken ground, but to surmount
obstacles and knock down trees and houses. But the full description of
the tanks cannot be written until after the war.”

Colonel Swinton described the uproarious mirth of the British infantry
on that morning when they had their first sight of the unwieldy tanks
clambering over trenches, hills, small forests, and houses, spitting
flames as they rolled, lolloping forward like huge armored monsters of
the prehistoric past.

“It gave our men quite a moral lift,” he said. “They forgot their
troubles. But they soon came to see that the tanks were more than
funny, for wherever they attacked the infantry had comparative immunity
from machine gun fire, and it is the German machine gun fire which
always has been the principal obstacle for our troops.”

The name of the tank Colonel Swinton explained was originally a bit of
_camouflage_. People who saw them in the process of erection variously
described them as snowplows for the Russian front and water tanks for
the armies in Egypt. The latter name stuck. And it may not be generally
known that this mechanical beast of war is divided into two sexes.

“Some tanks are armed with small guns firing shells,” said Colonel
Swinton. “These are used especially against machine gun nests. They are
popularly known in the tank unit as males. Other tanks carry machine
guns and are intended primarily for use against enemy infantry. They
are the females. There is no difference in the construction.”

Colonel Swinton was detailed from his post in the British War Cabinet
to act as assistant to Lord Reading in his mission to the United States
to tighten the bonds of efficiency between the two countries in their
war programs.

During the fall of 1914, Colonel Swinton was the English official
eye-witness of the fighting in Flanders and France. Before that he was
perhaps best known to the general public as a writer of romances in
which was skillfully woven the technique of war. One of his stories,
“The Defense of Duffer’s Drift,” is used as a text-book at West Point.


“Sam, you ought to get in the aviation service,” a Chicago man told a
negro last week. “You are a good mechanic and would come in handy in an
aeroplane. How would you like to fly among the clouds a mile high and
drop a few bombs down on the Germans?”

“I ain’t in no special hurry to fly, Cap,” the negro answered. “When
wese up ’bout a mile high, s’pose de engine stopped and de white man
told me to git out an’ crank?”


Extract from lecture by N. C. O.:

“Your rifle is your best friend, take every care of it; treat it as you
would your wife; rub it thoroughly with an oily rag every day.”


He—“So your dear count was wounded?”

She—“Yes, but his picture doesn’t show it.”

He—“That’s a front view.”


TAKING moving pictures while exploding shells from pursuing warships
and torpedo-boats are sending up geysers that splash your fleeing
launch and stall the motor is a little out of the run of even an
American war correspondent’s daily stunt. Capt. F. E. Kleinschmidt,
who has been billeted with the Austrian marine forces at Trieste, has
recently had such an experience while accompanying an expedition to the
Italian coast to remove a field of mines, an occupation quite dangerous
enough without the shell-fire. He tells this story in the St. Louis

Captain M——, commander of the marine forces of Trieste, had told me
I should hold myself ready at a moment’s notice for an interesting
adventure. Presuming it would be another airplane flight over the
enemy’s territory, I kept my servants and chauffeur up late, and then
finally lay down, fully dressed, with cameras and instruments carefully
overhauled and packed. At seven o’clock next morning the boatswain of
the launch _Lena_ called at the hotel and told me to follow him. “The
captain,” he said, “could not accompany me.” But he had instructions
to take me out to sea and then obey my orders. An auto took us to
the pier, where a fast little launch was ready. This time she had a
machine gun, with ready belt attached, mounted in her stern, and flew
the Austrian man-of-war flag. Not until we were well out to sea did
the boatswain tell me we were to sneak over to the Italian shore and
demolish a hostile mine field. The prevailing fog and exceptionally
calm weather made it an ideal day to accomplish our purpose. The
fog prevented the Italians from seeing us, and the calm sea made it
possible to lift and handle the mines with a minimum of danger to
ourselves. Two tugboats and a barge had already preceded us early in
the morning. After an hour’s run the three vessels suddenly appeared
before us, and we drew alongside the tugboat No. 10, already busy
hoisting a mine. I jumped aboard and reported to Captain K——, in charge
of the expedition.

To my chagrin he refused to let me stay. The first reason was, it was
too dangerous work, and he would not take the responsibility of my
being blown up; and, secondly, we might be surprized by the Italians
at any moment and be sent to the bottom of the sea. All my arguing and
insisting upon the orders from his superior proved useless. He insisted
upon my return or written orders clearing him of all responsibility.
So I had to go back in the launch to Trieste and report to Captain M——
about the scruples of the commander of the mine expedition. I also
offered to leave my servants (two Austrian soldiers) ashore and sign a
written waiver of all responsibility should anything happen to me.

The ever-generous and obliging Captain M—— said he would accompany
me himself, so out we raced for the second time, and I had the
satisfaction to stay and photograph. The most dangerous work, namely,
the lifting of the first mine, had been accomplished during my
return to Trieste. The nature of the beast had been ascertained. The
construction was a new one, of the defensive type. With good care and
a smooth sea, the mines could be hoisted, made harmless and be saved.
There would be, he hoped, no explosions, and, working quietly, we would
not draw an Italian fleet down upon us.

There are mines of offensive and defensive purposes—such as you lay
in front of your own harbors to protect you, and such as you lay in
front of the doors of your enemy. The first ones you might want to move
again; therefore, they are so constructed that you can handle them
again, provided you know the secret of construction. The other kind you
don’t expect to touch again, and they are, therefore, so constructed
that anyone who tampers with them will blow himself up. Secondly,
should the Italians surprize us, there would be little chance for us to
escape. We could steam only about ten knots an hour, while any cruiser
or torpedo could steam over twenty. The only armament we had was one
75-millimeter Hotchkiss gun in the bow. There would be no surrender,
either. He would blow the barge and his own steamer up first.

“Here,” he said, pointing to a tin can the size of a tomato can, with
ready short fuse attached, “is the bomb to be thrown in the barge, and
here,” looking down into the forward hold, “is the other one, ready to
blow us into eternity. Now, if you want to stay, you’re welcome; if
not, take the launch back to Trieste.”

Capt. M——, after a brief inspection, went back with the launch to
Trieste, while I stayed and photographed with the moving picture camera.

There is a long international law governing the laying and exploding of
mines, and there has been considerable controversy about the unlawful
laying of anchored and drifting mines. There are land-, river-,
and sea-mines. Mines laid for the protection of harbors are usually
exploded by electric batteries from an observing officer on shore.
Others are exploded by contact. The mechanical devices to accomplish
this are manifold. The policy adhered to is usually to construct a mine
so as to incur the least danger, when handling them, to yourself, and
with the opposite results to your enemy. This holds true as long as
the secret of construction can be kept from the enemy. The Italians on
a night invasion had dropped mines on the Austrian coast that would
explode when tilted only at an angle of twenty-five degrees. A little
vial of acid would spill over and explode the charge. One day, when
a heavy sea was running, some of the mines exploded, betraying the
location of the mine field, and the Austrians “killed” the rest of them
with minesweepers.

Mine fields are discovered by shallow-draft steamers looking for them
in clear water or dragging for them. The aeroplane is also an excellent
scout. From a height of 1,000 feet he can look a good depth into the
sea and see a mine or submarine. On my flight over Grado, on the
Italian coast, I could see a mine field and all shallows of a channel
wonderfully well from a height of 6,000 feet. When the hydroplane sees
a mine an automatic float is dropped that marks the locality, and the
mines boat comes along and either lifts it or blows it up.

Here these Italian mines were of a late and very expensive
construction. They consisted of three parts—the mine, the anchor, and
a 100-pound weight; all three connected with a wire cable. The weight
is an ordinary oval lump of iron, attached by a cable to the anchor.
The anchor is a steel cylinder; the upper part is perforated; the lower
half is a tank with a hole in the bottom and sides to allow the water
to enter and sink it. The mine is a globe two and one-half feet in
diameter, which fits into the barrel-like anchor up to its equator.

The weight, cable, and anchor holding the mine are rolled from the
mine-laying ship, overboard. The weight sinks to the bottom, holding
the mine in the spot. Next, the water entering the tank slowly fills
it, and it sinks at the designated place. The mine, being buoyant,
has detached itself from the sinking anchor and is pulled down with
the anchor and floats now at a depth of eight to twelve feet from the
surface. The water now dissolves a peculiar kind of cement that has
held a number of pistons. The pistons, being released, spring out and
snap in place all around the equator of the mine. Comes a vessel in
contact with the mine, these protruding points, made of brittle metal,
break off and a spring releases a cartridge with explosive. This
cartridge, with a detonating cap on the bottom, drops upon a point and
explodes the initial charge, which again explodes the charge in the

In lifting the mine a rowboat with three men rows up over the mine,
and by means of a tube shutting off the refraction of the light rays
a person can look into the water. With a boat-hook and attached rope,
a shackle on the top of the mine is caught, the pole unscrewed, the
rope is taken into a winch aboard the steamer or barge, and the mine
is then carefully hoisted. When the mine comes to the surface the mine
engineer rows up, presses down a lever, and secures it with a steel
pin. This performance locks the spring and prevents the cartridge from
dropping on the piston. Next, the mine is hoisted on the barge, the top
is unscrewed, and the cartridge holding the initial explosive charge
is taken out, rendering the mine harmless with ordinary handling. The
cylinder-like anchor is then hoisted by the attached cable, and last
the weight is brought up.

We were busy hoisting and searching for mines till 3 p. m. Another
tugboat, the _San Marco_, was also steaming around in our vicinity,
keeping a sharp lookout for hostile men-of-war, and also, when seeing
a mine, dropping a float. The fog had lifted a little, and once in a
while we could see the outlines of houses on the shore. We had six
mines on the barge and three on our steamer, when the launch which had
taken me out hove in sight to take me back for dinner. Captain K——
said: “Well, we have been lucky so far; we have only one more mine to
take up, and I had a good mind to blow it up and hike for home.”

“Good,” I said, “then I’ll unpack my cameras again and take a picture
of the explosion.” At this moment the _San Marco_ gave a signal of
three short blasts. I looked toward the Italian coast and saw two
men-of-war loom up in the fog; then two more. Two had four funnels each
and were cruisers; the other two were torpedo-boat destroyers.

“Enemy in sight.” “Clear the ship.” “Jump aboard.” “Cut the barge
adrift,” came in sharp commands from Captain K——.

Six men at the windlass were lowering a mine carefully onto the deck of
the barge. They let it drop so suddenly that the men guiding it jumped
aside in terror. All hands jumped from the barge aboard our steamer.
The ropes holding the barge alongside were cut, the bells clanged in
the engine-room, and we shot ahead. Fog had momentarily blotted the
vessels out again and gave a false sense of security. “Make the towing
hawser fast; we’ll tow her,” shouted K——. Three men tried to belay
the hawser, but we had too much headway on already, and the rope tore
through their fingers.

“Throw the bomb into her.”

The bomb flew across, but fell short; then I saw a flash of lightning
in the fog, and the next moment a huge fountain of water rose on our
starboard side, and the shell flew screaming past us. Boom! boom!
boom! Now all four ships gave us their broadsides and the stricken sea
spouted geysers all around us and the _San Marco_. Screaming shells and
roaring guns filled the fog.

“Twelve hundred meters,” quoth K——. “They should soon get the range.”
I looked at our little Hotchkiss on the fore deck—there was no use
to reply even. The _San Marco_ had described a half-circle and came
running up astern of us as if, like a good comrade, she was going to
share our fate with us. As she came abreast of our Barge K—— shouted,
“Drop a bomb into her.”

“I have only one ready for my own ship,” the captain yelled back.

“They will get our whole day’s work,” growled K——.

“Hurray!” we all shouted the next minute, as a shell struck the barge
full center, exploding the six mines and shattering it in bits,
enveloping all in a dense cloud of black smoke.

At this moment the other launch came alongside and raced along with
us. I threw my cameras into it, and jumped aboard; then we sheared off
again, so as not to give the enemy too big a target.

Next minute three shells shrieked so close to our ears that we threw
ourselves flat in the bottom of the launch and one shaved the deck of
No. 10. There seemed to be no escape. The Italians cut us off from
Trieste, and we headed for Miramar. They did not come nearer; but the
Lord knows they were near enough, and by rights they should have sent
us to the bottom the first three shots. Even had they steamed directly
up to us, they could have got us by the scruff of the neck in five
minutes, for we could make only ten knots to their twenty-five.

One fast torpedo-boat, risking what was a few hours ago their own mine
field, and, of course, knowing nothing to the contrary, got the No. 10
and our launch in line and gave us all attention in the manner of a
pot-hunter trying to rake us. I had just taken my moving picture camera
out of its case and set it on the tripod when a shell struck three feet
from the launch, raising a big geyser. The column of water descending
douched us and stopped our motor. I had to dry off the spark plugs
while the engineer got busy cranking.

Happily, the motor sprang right on again, and I got back to the camera
and commenced cranking. I tried to keep the No. 10 and the _San Marco_
in the view-finder in case they should get hit, and endeavored to get
the spouting of the shells. I got about one hundred feet of it, but it
is a tame illustration of all the excitement of a race between life
and death. The Italians with their speed, having passed us, now swung
around again and edged us off from Miramar, so we held to the west of
it for our shore batteries.

All this time we kept wondering why the next shell didn’t strike one
of us. Then we saw one of our submarines just diving to the periscope.
By this time we came nearly within range of our shore batteries, and
one of them began to bark at the Italians, but at such range and in the
fog they must have just tried to scare them, for we couldn’t even see
the shells hitting the water. However, we escaped “by the skin of our

As the fog had lifted a little around noon, and we could see the
houses on shore, evidently the lookouts had reported our presence and
the Italians had left Grado to tackle us. The obscurity of the fog,
the strange-looking barge, the _San Marco_, the proximity of the mine
fields, all this had rendered the Italians so cautious that they were
satisfied to run parallel with us and give us their broadside. The last
we saw of them was when they swung more and more around toward their
own coast and were again enveloped in the fog. They were the same four
vessels that had bombarded us the day before, when I flew with Lieut.
D—— in a hydroplane over Grado.


Adam gave one rib and got a wife. Robert Kirton, of Pittsburgh, back
from the front, lost seven ribs and then married his Red-Cross nurse.
This shows the increased cost of living.


THIS is the story of a conspiracy against Uncle Sam—a patriotic plot
to be sure, for it is concerned with the son of a Spanish War veteran
who was rejected for service in Uncle Sam’s Navy because he was seven
pounds shy of weight for height, the said son’s up-and-down dimension
being full six feet. It is a story of superfeeding conducted while the
young man was skillfully kept a prisoner—albeit a willing one, but just
to guard against his “jumping his feed”—by placing his nether garments
carefully under lock and key. The New York _Sun_ tells the tale and its
happy outcome. It happened in this way:

Young Walter Francis everlastingly did want to get into the Navy and
stop this _U_-boat nonsense once and for all. Wherefore last Saturday
bright and early Potential Admiral Francis took his bearings from
the compass he wears on his watch chain, yelled, “Ship ahoy!” to the
skipper of a passing Brooklyn trolley car, boarded a starboard seat
well aft in the car, and then set sail over the waves of Brooklyn
asphalt toward the recruiting plant of the Second Naval Battalion of
Brooklyn at the foot of Fifty-second street, Bay Ridge.

“Step on,” directed the examining surgeon to young Mr. Francis,
indicating the scales in his office. “Step off. Now step out—you’re
seven pounds shy for a six-footer.”

Half an hour later Walter Francis, dejected and forlorn, appeared
before his father.

“’Smatter, son?” inquired the Spanish War vet.

“’Smatter, pop! There’s seven pounds the matter! Uncle Sam can do
without me.”

Mrs. Francis came into the room and heard the depressing news of her
short-weight son, and straightway conspiracy stalked silently upon the
scene. Says the writer in the _Sun_:

A moment later a significant look passed between father and mother
above and back of the bowed head of their son. Mr. and Mrs. Francis
withdrew to the kitchen for a council of war. Then Spanish-American War
Veteran Joe Francis walked into the front room again and stood before
his underweight offspring.

“Take off our pants, Walter,” said Francis, senior, “And give me
your—don’t sit there staring at me; get busy—give me your shoes. Ma,
catch the boy’s pants when I throw ’em out to you. Lock his pants and
shoes up with all his other pants and then start in cooking. Cook up
everything you got in the house. And when you get a chance run down to
Gilligan’s and tell him to send up five pounds of dried apples.”

“I’m on, pop!” suddenly shouted Embryo Admiral Walter Francis,
springing to his feet alive once more. “You’re going to feed me up for
a couple of weeks so I’ll make the weight. Gosh, you’re there with the
bean, pop—I never woulda thought of the scheme.”

“For a couple of weeks!” cried Parent Francis scornfully. “For a couple
of days, you mean, son. Come on into the dining-room and start right
in to——. No, stay right where you are. Don’t move from now on unless
you have to or you might lose another ounce. You just sit right there
all day. Ma will do the cooking and I’ll be the waiter. And if you’re
not up to weight inside of three days then I’m a German spy. And
don’t weaken. Just keep in mind that even if you do it won’t get you
anything. For I’m going to keep the key to all your pants right in my
pocket till you cripple the weighing scales. So all you’re going to do
from now on is stick around and eat.”

Already Mrs. Francis had passed into the room a nightshirt and a
three-quart pitcher brimming with sparkling Croton. Without a pause
Parent Francis had filled a tumbler and passed it on to his offspring,
who eagerly drained the glass. Tumbler after tumbler of water was
tumbled into the digestive system of the underweight linotyper, while
steadily from the kitchen came the happy sizzling of four pork chops
and fast-frying potatoes with trimmings.

Twenty-one glasses of water disappeared into young Walter Francis
before Saturday’s sun had set, together with all the pork chops, the
fried potatoes, thick slices of buttered bread, and some other snacks.

The Sunday treatment included fourteen glasses of water and a general
packing-in of fattening fodder, until dinner-time arrived, when son
Walter was fed up on two pounds of steak smothered in boiled potatoes
with trimmings of stewed corn and mashed turnips, all resting on a
solid foundation of well-buttered bread and roofed with a generous slab
of apple pie. And then:

One and one-quarter pounds of mutton-chops merely formed the
architectural approaches to the breakfast Walter Francis found staring
him in the face when he arose heavily on Monday morning. Ham and eggs
in groups—salty ham which hadn’t been parboiled, thus retaining
its thirst-arousing properties—was the centerpiece around which the
luncheon Mrs. Francis had prepared that day for her son was draped. A
dinner that ran all the way from soup to nuts (the time was growing
short if Parent Francis was to make good on his promises) followed on
Monday night, the big noise of the Monday dinner being a sirloin steak.

And just before Son Francis decided to call it a day and waddle to bed
Spanish-American War Veteran Francis had a final happy thought. Father
fed son a plentiful supply of dried apples and then unleashed a growler
and went down to the corner and got a quart of collarless beer. Walter
Francis flooded the dried apples with the entire quart of beer, cried
“Woof! I’m a hippopotamus!” and collapsed into bed.

Tuesday morning last Father and Mother Francis personally helped their
son toward the street-door after he had breakfasted on five pork-chops,
two cups of coffee and four rolls. Once more he was about to set
sail for the Second Naval Battalion recruiting office at the foot of
Fifty-second Street, where three days earlier he had been turned down
as hopelessly shy on tonnage. Parent Francis helped his bouncing boy
aboard the trolley-car, shouting a last word of caution to walk, not
run, to the nearest entrance to the recruiting station.

And just before young Mr. Francis applied again for the job of ridding
the seas of _U_-boats (it should be mentioned incidentally that about
half an hour earlier his father had unlocked a pair of pants and
other gent’s furnishings for the trip) the potential admiral saw the
burnished sign on a corner saloon. He got off the car carefully, drank
seven glasses of water in the saloon and then eased his way into the
presence of the surgeon who had given him the gate on Saturday.

“I told you before you were many pounds underweight, young man,” said
the surgeon. “It’s utterly useless for you to come around here when——”

“But that was away last week, Doc,” wheezed young Mr. Francis. “Give me
another try at your scales.”

“My Gordon!” cried the surgeon, glancing at the scales and uttering his
favorite cuss-word. “Saturday you were seven pounds under weight and
to-day you’re a pound overweight! How’d yuh ever do it?”

“I’ve heard of lads getting their teeth pulled to get out of serving
Uncle Sam, but you’re the first guy I ever heard of who made a fool of
his stummick to get into the Navy,” grinned Bos’n Carroll as Walter
Francis bared his brawny arm for the vaccine. “Welcome to our ocean,


“——and then the Germans charged, and the captain shouted, ‘Shoot at
will,’ and I shouted, ‘Which one is he?’ And then they took away my
gun, and now I can’t play any more.”


Visitor—“And what did you do when the shell struck you?”

Bored Tommy—“Sent mother a post-card to have my bed aired.”


OUR first forces in France were volunteers, part of the old regular
Army, though many of the enlistments were recent. The motives leading
men to join such an army are varied and in many cases humorous or
pathetic. A Y. M. C. A. secretary in France, who had won the confidence
of the men with whom he was associated, wondered why each man had come.
So he arranged that they should hand in cards telling why they had
enlisted. Mr. Arthur Gleason presents some of the answers in the New
York _Tribune_ as “the first real word from the soldier himself of why
he has offered himself.” These replies came from two battalions of an
infantry regiment, which, for military reasons can not be identified.
Mr. Gleason puts them in several groups. One is the sturdily patriotic.
Thus, one soldier says:

“My reason in 1907 was that I liked the service and wanted to try for
something new and bright for my country.”

Others say: “Because my country needs me”; “to catch Villa”; “I wanted
to get the Kaiser’s goat”; “for the benefit of the American Army”;
“so patriotic and didn’t know what it was”; “Mexican trouble, 1917”;
“I felt like my country needed me, and I wanted to do something for
it, and that was the only way I was able to do anything for my dear
country, the good old U. S. A.”; “I never did anything worth while on
the outside, so I dedicated myself to my country that I might be of
some use to some one”; “a couple of Germans”; “to serve God and my

Another class of answers deal with what is in the blood of youth—the
desire to taste adventure, to see the world, and see France. Here are a
few in this group:

“To do my duty and see the world”; “to see the world, ha! ha!”;
“because I thought I would like that kind of a life, and didn’t know
what kind of a life I would have to lead in this hole”; “got tired of
staying at home”; “I was seeking adventure and change of environments”;
“to kill time and fight”; “to see France”; “I was discouraged with the
civilian life and wanted to get some excitement”; “to have a chance to
ride on the train; I never had ridden”; “they said I was not game and
I was, and because I wished to”; “because I wouldn’t stay in one place
any length of time, I thought if I joined the Army for three or seven
years I would be ready to settle down. I think that is as good a thing
as any boy could do”; “to see the world”; “I had tried everything else,
so I thought I would try the Army.”

Another group of answers deal with the individual human problem of
hunger and loneliness. These that follow illustrate this:

“To fight, and for what money was in it”; “three good square meals and
a bath”; “because I was disgusted with myself and thought it would make
a man out of me”; “I was too lazy to do anything else”; “I was stewed”;
“to get some clothes, a place to sleep and something to eat”; “because
I was hungry”; “because I was nuts with the dobey heat” (dobey is a
Mexican slang word brought up by the boys from the border); “because I
had to keep from starving;” “in view of the fact that I was so delicate
and a physical wreck I joined the Army, hoping to get lots of fresh air
and exercise, which I have sure gotton, and am ready to go home at any
time”; “I was in jail and they came and got me. Hard luck!”; “because I
did not have no home”; “I got hungry”; “pork and beans were high at the
time”; “three square meals a day and a flop.”

The voice of State rights speaks in the replies of two men from the

“To represent the State of Kentucky.”

“In answer to a call from my State, Mississippi, and to see something
of the world, and I have seen some of the world, too.”

Then, too, there are a number that refuse to be classified; each has
its own note of suffering or audacity of humor:

“To catch the Kaiser”; “because the girls like a soldier”; “because
my girl turned her back on me, that’s all”; “I thought I was striking
something soft, but ...”; “the dear ones at home”; “I was crazy”; “two
reasons: because girls like soldiers and I saw a sign ‘500,000 men
wanted to police up France’”; “for my health and anything else that is
in it” (a consumptive soldier); “to show that my blood was made of the
American’s blood”; “to learn self-control”; “it was a mistake; I didn’t
know any better”; “for my adopted country”; “I got drunk on Saturday,
the Fourth of July, 1913, and I left home on the freight-train and
joined the Army, and woke up the next morning getting two sheets in
the wind, and I haven’t got drunk since that; made a man out of me”;
“to keep from working, but I got balled”; “I have not seen anything
yet but rain”; “because I didn’t know what I was doing”; “to kill a
couple of Germans for the wrong done Poland”; “to keep from wearing my
knuckles out on the neighbors’ back doors”; “adventure and experience;
also, to do my little bit for my country, the good old U. S. A., and
the Stars and Stripes, the flag of freedom”; “to fight for my country
and the flag, for the U. S. is a free land, and we will get the Kaiser,
damn him. Oh, the U. S. A.!” (Picture of a flag.)

One man makes out a complete category of his reasons: (_a_) “To see
excitement”; (_b_) “to help win this war and end the Kaiser’s idea of
world ruler”; (_c_) “help free the German people from Kaiserism.”

And, finally, there is one that needs no comment, and with this we will

“Because mother was dead and I had no home.”


Teacher—“What lessons do we learn from the attack on the Dardanelles?”

Prize Scholar—“That a strait beats three kings, dad says.”


FREDERIC WILLIAM WILE, one of the Vigilantes, differs with Sherman in
declaring that war is mud. He had just returned from what he describes
as one of the periodical joy-rides which the British Foreign Office
and the General Staff organize from time to time to give civilians
an opportunity to visit the front. Mr. Wile’s visits occurred when
the war-god was evidently taking a much-needed rest, for he says
that on two occasions when he intruded upon Armageddon he saw more
rain than blood spilled. But he found Tommy Atkins—mud-caked and
rain-soaked—still wearing the grin that won’t come off. Mr. Wile thus
writes of his last visit:

I am in to-night from a day in the trenches. It rained all the time.
The trenches were gluey and sticky, and the “duck-boards” along which
we traveled were afloat a good share of the day. But the only people
who used really strong language about having to eat, sleep, and
navigate in such soggy territory was our party of civilian tenderfoots.
The cave-dwellers in khaki whom we encountered in endless numbers were
as happy as school-children on a picnic. Clay-spattered from head to
foot, their clothes often wringing wet, they looked up from whatever
happened to be their tasks and grinned as we passed.

Our chief and always dominating impression was of their grins and
smiles. I am firmly convinced that soldiers who can laugh in such
weather can not be overcome by anything, not even the Prussian military
machine. Perhaps Tommy smiled more broadly than usual to-day at our
expense, for during our hike from a certain quarry to a certain
front line “Fritz” sent over whiz-bangs which caused us arm-chair
warriors from home to duck and dodge in the most un-Napoleonic
fashion, even though our gyrations were in obedience to nature’s first

When you’re in a trench and a shell screeches through the heavens—you
always hear it and never see it—the temptation to side-step is the last
word in irresistibility. You have been provided with a steel helmet
before starting out on the expedition in view of the possibility that
a stray piece of German shrapnel may come your way. These helmets have
saved many a gallant Tommy from sudden death.

After you’ve heard a whiz-bang and find that you are still intact, you
ask: “Was that a _Boche_ or one of ours?” You experience an indefinable
sense of relief when you are told that it was “one of ours,” but you
keep on ducking in the same old way whenever the air is rent.

Yes, it is the invincible grin of Tommy Atkins in abominable
atmospheric surroundings and in the omnipresent shadow of death that
has photographed itself most indelibly on my memory to-day. But next to
that I am struck by his amazing good health as mirrored by his ruddy
cheeks and bright eyes. Certainly the strapping young fellows whom I
have seen are a vastly finer, sturdier lot, physically viewed, than
any set of men now running around the streets of London in citizens’
clothes. It is manifestly “the life,” this endless sojourn of theirs on
the edge of No Man’s Land, with the enemy a rifle-shot away.

You ask their officers what explains this hygienic phenomenon—this
ability to keep at the top note of “fitness” amid privations almost
unimaginable. You will be told that it is the remorselessly “regular
life” the men lead for one thing, and the liberal supply of fresh air,
for another. Then it is the simple food they eat and the never-ending
exercise they get for their legs and arms and muscles. They sleep when
and where they can, in their clothes for weeks on end, never saying
“How-do-you-do?” to a bath-tub sometimes for many days, though they
shave each morning with religious punctuality, even in the midst of a
mighty “push.” Cleanliness of physiognomy is as much a passion with
Mr. Atkins as his daily ablutions are to a pious Turk. You will go far
before you will find a cleaner-faced aggregation of young men than the
British Army in the field.

Should you have any doubt as to what the physical appearance of the men
tells you, and ask an officer how Tommy is standing the strain of the
war, he declares enthusiastically, “The men are simply splendid!” And
you hear from the men that the officers are “top-hole.” But all that
you will learn from the officers on that subject is:

Regulation No. 1, when a man gets a commission in the British Army, is:
“Men first, officers next.” An officer’s business, in other words, is
to see that his men are well looked after. If there is any time left
when he has done that, he may look after himself. But Tommy comes
first. That is why the relations between superior and subordinate
in the mighty Citizens’ Army of Britain are perfect in the highest
degree. Duke’s son and cook’s son are real pals. Class distinctions are
non-existent in the England that is the trenched fields of France and

“Just so we keep on livin’—that’s all we ask,” was the sententious
observations of a mud-clotted Yorkshireman who backed against the slimy
wall of a trench to let us pass. We had asked him the stereotyped
question—“Well, Tommy, how goes it?” His answer was unmistakably
typical of the spirit which dominates the whole army. The men are not
happy to be there. They long for the war to end. They do not put in
their time in the slush and rain cheering and singing. They hanker
for “Blighty.” They want to go home. But not until the grim business
that brought them to France is satisfactorily finished. They want no
Stockholm-made peace. They are fighting for a knock-out.

I left behind me in London a lot of dismal, gloomy, and down-hearted
friends, candidates all for the Pessimists’ Club. I wish they could
have hiked through the trenches with me. It is the finest cure in
the world for the blues. It may thunder and pour day and night in
Trenchland, and the country may be a morass for miles in every
direction, but the sun of optimism and confidence is always shining in
the British Army’s heart.


“IF CORPORAL —— ever wrote a better story for his newspaper than the
one he has sent to us, I should certainly like to read it.” This high
praise comes from Maj. W. H. Parker, head of the Marine Recruiting
Service in New York, and is bestowed upon a letter in _The Recruiters’
Bulletin_, which was written by a marine, formerly a reporter in
Philadelphia and now “Somewhere in France.” He rejoices at the start
that “at last it is happening,” which “happening” is that the marines,
“every scrapping one of them down to the last grizzled veteran, are
undergoing new experiences—learning new tricks.” Of course this is
beyond possibility, everybody will say, and the ex-reporter admits that—

One would think so after hearing of their experiences in far-away
China, Japan, and the Philippines, near-by Cuba, Haiti, and Mexico, and
other places which God forgot and which you and I never heard of; after
hearing stories of daredevil bravery, fierce abandon and disregard for
life and limb in the faithful discharge of their duties as soldiers of
the sea and guardians of the peace in Uncle Sam’s dirty corners.

And yet here in France, among people of their own color and race,
of paved streets and taxicabs, among the old men and women of the
villages, among the _poilus_ coming and going in a steady stream to and
from the front, the marine is learning new things every day.

Packing up “back home” on a few hours’ notice is no new experience to
the marine. Marching aboard a transport, with the date and hour of
sailing unknown, is taken as a matter of course by the veteran. There
is no cheering gallery, no weeping relatives, wife, or sweethearts, as
he leaves to carry out the business in hand. It is just the same as if
you were going to your office in the morning. You may return in time
for dinner or you may be delayed. The only difference is that sometimes
the marines do not return.

Although life aboard the transport which carried the first regiment of
marines to new fields of action in France was a matter of routine to
the average sea-going soldier, there was added the zest of expectation
of an encounter with one of the floating perils, the “sub.” It was but
a matter of two or three days, however, when everyone became accustomed
to the numerous lookouts stationed about the ship, the frequent
“abandon ship” drills, the strange orders which came down the line,
and the new-fangled rules and regulations which permitted no lights or
smoking after sundown.

Kaiser “Bill’s” pet sharks were contemptuously referred to as the
“tin lizzies” of the sea. “We must play safe and avoid them,” was the
policy of those entrusted with the safety of more than 2,000 expectant
fighters, however. And we met them, too. Not one or two of them,
but—(here the censor interfered.)

Since his arrival in France the marine has spent day after day in
learning new things, not the least of which is that contrary to his
usual experience of finding about him a hostile people, rifle in
hand, and unknown danger ahead, he is among a people who welcome him
as a friend and ally in the struggle against a common enemy. With
the arrival of the American troops, the appealing outstretched hands
of France were changed to hands of welcome, creating an atmosphere
that might easily have turned the heads of men more balanced than the
marines after being confined for more than two weeks aboard a ship, but—

Here, again, one comes in contact with the matter-of-fact
administration of the marines. Arriving under such circumstances, the
landing and encampment of the marines were effected with a military
precision and businesslike efficiency which allowed no one for a moment
to forget the serious nature of the mission upon which he had embarked.

Stores and supplies were loaded on trucks and, in less than three
hours after the order was given to disembark, the marines, with their
packs strapped over the shoulders, were marching to their camp just
on the outskirts of the seaport town of ——. Within another hour the
whole regiment was under canvas, field-desks and typewriter-chests were
unlocked, and regimental and other department offices were running
along at full swing.

And that was the beginning of the period of training during which
the marine is learning everything that is to be known about waging
twentieth-century warfare. He is taking a post-graduate course in
the intricacies of modern trench-building, grenade-throwing, and
barbed-wire entanglements. And the very best men of the French Army are
his instructors.

The marine is also learning the “lingo” of this country, the nicer
phrases of the language as well as the slang of the trenches. But in
the majority of cases experience was his teacher. Upon the arrival of
the transport liberty hours were arranged for the marines, and, armed
with a “Short Vocabulary of French Words and Phrases,” with which all
had been supplied, they invaded the cafés, restaurants, and shops of
the little old seaport town.

And it was the restaurants where one’s ignorance of French was most
keenly felt. All sorts of queer and yet strangely familiar noises
emanated from the curtained windows of the _buvettes_ along the
streets. Upon investigation it would be discovered that a marine,
having lost his “vocabulary,” was flapping his arms and cackling for
eggs, earnestly baahing for a lamb stew, or grunting to the best of his
ability in a vain endeavor to make _madame_ understand that he wanted
roast pork. Imagine his chagrin to find that “pig” and “pork,” as shown
on page 16, are “_porc_” in French and are pronounced just the same
as in good old American. But the scenes that presented themselves on
Sundays or _fête_ days—take the 4th or 14th of July, for example—were
such as never had been seen in any French town before. Picture a tiny
café, low and whitewashed, ancient, weather-beaten, but immaculately
clean, with its heavy ceiling-beams and huge fireplace with brass and
copper furnishings. With this background imagine just as many tables as
the little place can hold about which are crowded French and American
soldiers, sailors, and marines.

The table in the corner there, for instance: two _poilus_, two American
“jackies,” two marines, and an old Breton peasant farmer with his wife,
fat, uncomprehending, and wild-eyed, and his daughter, red-lipped and
of fair complexion—these three in from the country for a holiday, the
women arrayed in the black cloth and velvet costumes, bright-colored
silk aprons, and elaborate linen head-dress which identify them as
native of a certain locality.

One of the “jackies” sings with gusto service songs of strong and
colorful language, singing to himself save for the half-amused and
wondering stares of the peasants. The younger of the Frenchmen shows by
taking off his coat and unbuttoning his shirt where the shell-fragment
penetrated which caused the paralysis in his left arm and sent him home
on a month’s furlough, and the Americans eye with interest the actual
fragment itself, now doing duty as a watch-charm.

But the hubbub and racket cease, and every one rushes to the windows
and door as the Marine Band comes swinging along the water-front,
playing with catching rhythm “Our Director.” The French burst out in
cries of “_Vive l’Amérique!_” The fever spreads, and our soldiers and
sailors yell “_Vive la France!_” or as near to it as they can get, as
the procession marches by, and the fat old peasant woman says with full
approval, “That’s beautiful!”

Another letter from the permanent training-camp of the marines,
published in _The Recruiters’ Bulletin_, tells of an inspection of
the regiment by General Pershing and General Pétain, the French
Commander-in-Chief. We read “that the piercing eyes of ‘Black Jack’
rarely miss an unshaven face, badly polished shoes, or the sloppy
appearance of anyone” among the soldiers under inspection, and the
writer relates:

Together with the Commander-in-Chief of all the French forces and
accompanied by several French generals, representing the most important
military units in France, General Pershing made one of his now famous
whirlwind inspection tours and descended upon the marines amid a cloud
of dust which marked the line of travel of the high-powered French
touring-cars which carried the generals. Not so very long before that
the field-telephone in the regimental office rang and a voice came over
the wire:

“The big blue machine is on the way down, and will probably be there in
ten minutes.” That was sufficient. Two or three telephone-calls were
hurriedly made, and the Colonel, accompanied by his staff, proceeded on
“up the line,” met the General’s party, and the marines were ready.

The result of the inspection is summed up in the memorandum issued
to the command and which says in part: “Yesterday, at the inspection
of the regiment by General ——, Commander-in-Chief of all the French
forces, General Pershing, Commander-in-Chief of the American forces
in France, and General ——, commanding the —— Division Chasseurs, who
are instructing our men, General —— congratulated the Colonel of our
regiment on the splendid appearance of officers and men as well as
the cleanliness of the town. General Pershing personally told the
regimental commander that he wished to congratulate him on having such
an excellent regiment.”

This announcement was read to the marines as they were lined up for
their noonday meal. And where is the marine whose chest would not
swell just a bit at this tribute paid by General Pershing to those
upon whose shoulders rests the responsibility of maintaining and
perpetuating the glorious history and fine traditions of the United
States Marine Corps?


“Where’s your uncle, Tommy?”

“In France.”

“What is he doing?”

“I think he has charge of the war.”


    “What are you knitting, my pretty maid?”
      She purled, then dropped a stitch.
    “A sock or a sweater, sir,” she said,
      “And darned if I know which!”


The two young girls watched the “nutty young Cuthbert” pass along the

“Did he appeal for exemption?” said May.

“Yes,” said Ray, “you might have known he would.”

“On what grounds?”

“I don’t know,” replied Ray, “unless it was upon the ground that if he
went to the war his wife’s father would have no son-in-law to support.”


Lieut. John Philip Sousa, who is organizing military bands for the
navy, was talking to a correspondent about the submarine danger.

“A friend of mine, a cornet virtuoso,” he said, “was submarined in the
Mediterranean. The English paper that reported the affair worded it

“‘The famous cornetist, Mr. Hornblower, though submarined by the
Germans in the Mediterranean, was able to appear at Marseilles the
following evening in four pieces.’”


A certain west end tailor, being owed a considerable amount by a
colonel who was received everywhere in society, made a bargain with the
gentleman. He stipulated that instead of paying his debt, the colonel
should introduce himself and family into high society. To this the
colonel agreed and not long after the tailor received an invitation to

When the tailor arrived in the full glory of a perfect evening dress,
the colonel did not recognize him.

“Pardon me, my dear fellow,” he said quietly, as he shook hands, “I
quite forget your name!”

“Quite likely!” sneered the tailor, also sotto voce. “But I made your

“Ah, yes!” said the colonel, smiling. And then, turning to his wife,
said: “Allow me to introduce you, dear—Major Bridges!”


    160 Pages.      Paper Covers.      Price 30 cents.


(Spring of 1917.) The very newest, largest and choicest collection
of merry quips about our friend the Ford car, all good-natured and
laughable, with nothing to offend even Mr. Henry Ford himself. The
author went to Detroit and obtained some of the new jokes in this
book right at the Ford factory. You can’t help laughing, whether you
own a Ford car or not, at the funny things in “Ford Smiles.” When you
get this book of humor we ask you to read the short Preface to it;
it explains, in the author’s opinion, why every good Ford joke is a
compliment to that great invention—the Ford Motor Car. Probably you
hadn’t thought of it that way.

    5525 South Boulevard      Chicago, U. S. A.


Gathered from European Sources

    160 Pages      Paper Covers      Price 30 Cents


(Just off the press.) The funny things which the combatants say and
do in the present great conflict in Europe and Asia, the recruits’
blunders, the stay-at-homes’ excuses, the bulls of the Irish fighters,
the jokes on the officers and on the lads in the trenches,—these and
many other amusing anecdotes of the war are to be found in this book in
great detail. _It is the only collection of its kind_, and is gathered
direct from the press of the European nations engaged in the war,
especially for this work. Contains nothing to offend any nationality,
but everything to amuse and entertain the reader.

    5525 South Boulevard, CHICAGO


Popular Entertainment Books


    A Batch of Smiles                           (humor)
    A Little Nonsense                              “
    Flashes of Irish Wit                           “
    Some Irish Smiles                              “
    Stories from the Trenches                      “
    Anecdotes of the Great War                     “
    The Sunny Side of Life                         “
    Vaudeville Wit                                 “
    Ford Smiles                                    “
    Wit and Humor of Abraham Lincoln               “
    New Book of Conundrums and Riddles
    How to Write Love-Letters
    Art of Making Love
    Etiquette for Every Occasion
    Gypsy Witch Fortune-Teller
    Telling Fortunes by Cards
    Gypsy Witch Dream Book
    Oriental Dream Book
    Herrmann’s Wizards’ Manual
    Card Tricks
    The Amateur Trapper
    How to Box
    Comic Declamations and Readings
    Wartime and Patriotic Selections
    Junior Recitations
    Holiday Recitations
    District School Recitations
    Children’s Select Recitations and Dialogues
    Comic Dialogues for Boys and Girls
    Jolly Dialogues
    Junior Dialogues
    High School Dialogues
    Entertaining Dialogues
    Fun for Friday Afternoons (dialogues)
    Friday Afternoon Dramas

The very latest works of their kind. Uniform in style. Procurable where
you bought this book, or will be sent postpaid by the publishers on
receipt of price, 30 cents each.

    5525 South Boulevard, CHICAGO

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s Notes:

Spelling in quotations was retained such as “gotton.” This also
includes much varied hyphenation.

Page 44, “bring” changed to “bringing” (bringing down a second)

Page 100, “sasid” changed to “said” (said to a solicitous)

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Stories from the Trenches - Humorous and Lively Doings of Our 'Boys Over There'" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.