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Title: A Surgeon in Arms
Author: Manion, R. J.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Surgeon in Arms" ***

[Frontispiece: CAPTAIN R. J. MANION, M.C.]






  Printed in the United States of America




The greater part of _A Surgeon in Arms_ was
written before the United States entered the war in
April, 1917.  Therefore, the Americans are not
mentioned in many paragraphs in which the soldiers
of the other allies are spoken of.  The Canadian
soldiers on the Western front have won undying fame
for their marvelous feats in many actions, from the
first battle of Ypres in April, 1915, to Vimy Ridge
in April, 1917.  As soldiers they take a place second
to none.  And, I believe, the American soldiers will,
in the lines, show the same courage, dash, and
initiative, and win the same fighting reputation and honors
as the Canadians; for do not Americans and Canadians
inherit the same blood, literature, history, and
traditions; do they not both live in the same wide
spaces, speak the same mother tongue, aspire to the
same ideals, and enjoy the same free institutions?



  I.  Life in the Trenches
  II.  Over the Top
  III.  Overland
  IV.  Kelly
  V.  The Language of the Line
  VI.  Just Looking About
  VII.  Gassed!
  VIII.  Relief
  IX.  Dugouts
  X.  The Sick Parade
  XI.  Caring for the Wounded
  XII.  Cheerfulness
  XIII.  Courage--Fear--Cowardice
  XIV.  Air Fighting
  XV.  Staff Officers
  XVI.  The Battle of Vimy Ridge
  XVII.  A Trip to Arras
  XVIII.  Ragoût à la Mode de Guerre (Trench Stew)
  XIX.  Leave
  XX.  Paris During the War
  XXI.  Paris in Wartime
  XXII.  In a Château Hospital
  XXIII.  On a Transport
  XXIV.  Decorations
  XXV.  On a Hill




Life "out there" is so strange, so unique,
so full of hardship and danger, and yet
so intensely interesting that it seems like
another world.  It is a different life from any
other that is to be found in our world today.
In it the most extraordinary occurrences take
place and are accepted as a matter of course.

I am sitting in a dugout near Fresnoy.
Heavy shelling by the enemy is taking place
outside, making life in the pitch-dark trenches
rather precarious.  A number of soldiers of
different battalions on this front are going to
and fro in the trenches outside.  The shelling
gets a bit worse, so some of them crawl down
into the entrance of my dugout to take a few
minutes' rest in its semi-protection.  They
cannot see each other in the blackness, but with
that spirit of camaraderie so common out there
two of the men sitting next each other begin to
chat.  After exchanging the numbers of their
battalions, which happen to be both Canadian
and in the same brigade, one says,--

"But you're not a Johnny Canuck; you talk
like a Englishman."

"That may be; I was born in England.  But
I am a Canadian.  I've been out there for
seventeen years," the other returned a little

"Hindeed!  I was in Canada only three
years.  W'ere'd you come from in old England?"

"Faversham, Kent."

"Faversham!  Well, I'm blowed!  That's
my 'ome!  What the 'ell's yer name?"

"Reggie Roberts."

"W'y, blime me, I'm your brother
Bill!"  Affectionate greeting followed, then
explanations: The elder brother had gone out to
Alberta seventeen years before while the younger
was still at school.  Correspondence had
stopped, as it so often does with men.
Fourteen years later the other boy went out to
Ontario.  When the war broke out, they both
enlisted, but in different regiments, and they
meet after seventeen years' separation in the
dark entrance to my dugout.

On the front of our division, an order came
through telling us that information was reaching
the enemy that should not reach him.  For
this reason all units were ordered to keep a
sharp lookout for spies since we feared that
some English-speaking Germans were visiting
our lines.

In our battalion at that time was a very
good and careful officer, Lieutenant Weston.
Rather strangely, one of the men of his
platoon was a Corporal Easton.  Shortly after
the above order had come forth, Lieutenant
Weston was sent out on a reconnoitering
expedition by night into No Man's Land.  He
took as his companion, Corporal Easton.  Over
the parapet they crept between flares, and
proceeded to crawl cautiously about among the
barbed wire entanglements, shellholes, and
ghosts of bygone sins and German enemies.
At each flare sent up by us or the enemy,
splitting the thick darkness like a flash of lightning,
they pushed their faces into the mud and lay
perfectly still, in order to avoid becoming the
target of a German sniper, or even possibly of
some over-nervous Tommy.  If there is any
place in this war where Napoleon's dictum that
"a soldier travels on his stomach" is lived up to
in a literal and superlative degree, it is in No
Man's Land by night.

Their reconnaissance had lasted some two
hours when they started to return to what they
thought was their own battalion front.  But,
as sometimes happens, they had lost their
bearings.  While they were correct as to the
direction toward the Canadian lines in general,
they were really crawling to the firing line of
one of the brigades to our right.  Suddenly
Weston, who was leading, found his chest
pressing against the sharp point of a bayonet.
He heard a voice hissing:

"Who goes there?"

"Two Canadians," he whispered in reply.

"All right; crawl in here, and no funny
tricks or we'll fill ye full o' lead."  At the
point of the bayonet he and his corporal
crawled over the parapet.  They found
themselves in the enlarged end of a sap that was
being used as a listening post.  In the
darkness they could dimly see that they were
surrounded by soldiers with fixed bayonets.

"What's yer name?" hissed the voice, for
out there no one is anxious to attract a hand
grenade from the enemy on the other side of
the line.

"Lieutenant Weston."

"An' yours?" to the corporal.

"Corporal Easton."

"Weston--Easton; that's too damn thin.
Now you fellows march ahead of us to
Headquarters, an' if ye so much as turn yer head
we'll put so many holes through ye, ye'll look
like a sieve.  Quick march!"  And they
plowed through the deep mud of the trenches
till they were well back, then they came out
and proceeded overland to H.Q.--headquarters.
Here, after a few sharp questions, a little
telephoning, and some hearty laughter, they
were given a runner to show them the shortest
route back to their own battalion.

Trench warfare as it has been carried on
during this great war is different from the
warfare of the past.  Here we had--and have
at the time of writing--on the western front
alone, a fighting line five hundred miles long,
with millions of the soldiers of the Allies
occupying trenches, dugouts, huts, tents, and
billets, on one side of the line, and the millions of
the enemy in the same position on the other.
For months at a time there is no move in either

Trenches are merely long, irregular ditches,
usually, though not always, deep enough to
hide a man from the enemy.  Occasionally
they are so shallow that the soldier must travel
on his stomach, during which time any part of
his anatomy which has too prominent a curve
may be exposed to the fire of the enemy.  Of
course this all depends on the architectural
configuration of the traveler.  Except trenches
far in the rear, they are always zigzag, being
no more than ten to twenty feet in a straight
line, to prevent any shell's doing too much
damage.  The front trench is called the firing
line; the next one, fifty yards or so behind, but
running parallel, is a support trench; and other
support trenches exist back to about 1000

Communicating trenches run from front to
rear, crossing the support trenches.  Here and
there a communicating trench runs right back
out of the danger zone, and these long trenches
are at times divided into "in" trenches, and
"out" trenches.  Shorter communicating
trenches run from support to firing lines.
These different trenches give the ground, from
above, the appearance of an irregular checker

The front wall of the trench is called the
parapet, and the rear wall, the parados.  Above
the trenches, on the intervening ground, is
overland.  In the bottom of the trenches, when
the water has not washed them away, are
trench mats, or small, rough board walks.
Sometimes the mud or sand walls of the trench
are supported by revetments of wire or wood.

No Man's Land is the area between the firing
lines of the opponents.  It is a barren area
of shellholes, barbed wire, and desolation, and
may be from forty yards to 300 or more yards
wide.  Commonly, on standing fronts its width
is about one hundred yards.  Saps are trenches
extending out into No Man's Land, and used
for observation purposes or for listening posts.
They may end in craters, or large cavities in
the ground, made by the explosion of mines.

Dugouts are cavities off from the trenches,
connecting with them by narrow passages.
The dugout proper is a cavity, small or large,
used for living in and for protection from shell
fire.  They may be superficial, having only
two or three feet of sandbags--more properly,
bags of sand--for a roof; or they may have a
roof ten to forty feet in thickness.  But the
term is often used carelessly for any kind of
shelter at the front.

At dusk and dawn the men usually "stand
to," that is they stand, rifle in hand, in the
trenches ready to repel any attack of the
enemy.  During the dark hours the men take
part in working parties, or fatigues, to bring
in water, clean the mud from the trenches,
carry rations or ammunition, and dig holes or
dumps in which munitions, flares, or equipment
are stored.  Fatigues are rather disliked
by the men, for they are laborious and just as
dangerous as other work in the lines.

In speaking to each other, and often in
official communications, abbreviations are much
employed among officers and men.  For example:
O.C., or C.O., is used to signify the officer
commanding any unit, whether it be the
Lieutenant Colonel in charge of a battalion, or the
Major, Captain, or Lieutenant in command
of a company; the M.O., or the Doc., is
commonly the shortened form for the Medical
Officer; and H.Q. signifies headquarters, and
may apply to company, battalion, brigade,
divisional, corps, or army headquarters, any of
which would, generally speaking, be specified,
unless the conversation or communication
made it plain which was meant.

After big advances there are varying periods
during which trench life is more or less
abandoned for open warfare.  After an advance the
consolidation of the land taken consists of
again digging trenches and dugouts, preparing
machine-gun emplacements, bringing up the
artillery, and establishing communications.
During this transitory period the losses are
often heavy, because of the poor protection
afforded the men and the fact that the enemy is
well acquainted with the ground which he has
abandoned, willingly or unwillingly.



When a man has gone over the top of a
front line trench in an attack on the
enemy, he has reached the stage in his career
as a soldier at which the title, "veteran," may
honorably be applied to him.

For, to climb out of your burrow where you
have been living like an earthworm into God's
clear daylight in plain view of enemy snipers,
machine-gunners, and artillerymen, and,
under the same conditions, to start across No
Man's Land toward the Hun in his well-protected
and fortified trenches, is indeed to earn
that distinction.

Many there are who have courted death in
this form, again and again, and "got away
with it."  But it is a good deal like trying your
luck at Rouge et Noir in the Casino at Monte
Carlo.  The odds are against you, and if you
keep at it long enough you are almost
mathematically certain to lose out in the end.

The boys know this as well as you and I.  In
spite of that knowledge, over the top they go
again and again, by day and by night, with a
smile on their lips, blood in their eyes, and joy
in their hearts at the thought of revenging
themselves upon the despicable Hun for his
breaking of all the laws of civilization, for his
utter disregard of the principle that "between
nation and nation, as between man and man,
lives the one great law of right."

Attacks in which the men go over the top
are of various kinds and on different scales.
The commonest are simply raids in which a
small sector of enemy lines is the object.  By
them we endeavor to obtain prisoners for
purposes of identification of the troops opposing
us, while at the same time we depress the
morale of the enemy.

Then there are the immense attacks, called
pushes, in which we mean to push back the
enemy, take possession of his lines, consolidate
and hold them, killing, taking prisoners,
and putting hors de combat as
many as we can in the process.  These pushes
are always on a greater scale and require
thorough organization and preparation to be
successful.  If they should fail, our last
condition is worse than our first.  We have not only
wasted all our immense preparations but we
have lowered the spirits of our own men, and
raised and encouraged the fighting spirit of the

The man who is sitting comfortably in his
library five or six thousand miles from the
scene of battle notes on the map on his wall
that it is only five inches from the firing line
of the Allies to the Rhine.  He may decide
that it should be an easy matter to bring up
a few million troops, break through the
enemy lines, push a million men through the gap,
cut the communications of the opposing forces,
hurl the enemy back into the Rhine, and make
him sue for peace.

On paper, and with the aid of a vivid
imagination, this may look easy.  In reality the
preparations for a great advance are enormous.
For weeks before the push, even for months,
the staffs of battalion, brigade, division, corps,
and army are planning it.

Dummy trenches are laid out from aerial
photographs, taken by aviators, and dummy
advances are practiced with all the details as in
real advances.  Our information must be so
complete that we know even where certain
dugouts are in the enemy lines, and who
occupies them.  This knowledge comes from
prisoners and deserters.  Raids are put on to know
what troops are opposing us by the identification
of prisoners.  Medical arrangements have
to be completed so as to handle the hundreds
or thousands of casualties that must occur.

Immense guns must be brought up, and
millions of shells must be piled along the roads
and stored in dumps ready for use during
battle.  Water arrangements have to be made to
supply pure water to the troops when they
cross into enemy territory, for the enemy may
have destroyed or poisoned the water supplies
as they retired.  Extra food rations and
equipment must be supplied the men.  Places of
confinement for the hoped-for prisoners must
be built.  And, finally, thousands of extra
troops must be brought up and trained for
the attack.

The above are only a few of the preparations
that must be made, for the details are
multitudinous.  The most difficult thing is that
these preparations must be carried out so far
as possible without the enemy's knowledge.
For he also has his aeroplane scouts taking
photographs and looking about for information,
his observation balloons and his spies, his
raids and his prisoners.  It is even possible
that we might have a deserter who betrayed
us to him, though one feels that this must be
exceedingly rare.

If the armchair critic has read the above
he will perhaps realize a little more vividly
than he has done before how difficult advances
are and why it is more easy to talk of getting
the enemy on the run than to actually do it.
Once he has started to retreat and you to
advance, your difficulties multiply and go on
increasing in direct proportion to the distance
that you get from your base of supplies.  Your
munitions, food and water must be transported
from the rear over strange roads pulverized
by shell fire, while your enemy is backing into
greater supplies hourly.

One of the most difficult propositions is to
keep the different parts of your immense
organization in communication with battalion,
brigade, and divisional headquarters.  Many
different methods are used.

Perhaps the most reliable is by runner, or
courier, on foot.  The runner has an arduous,
dangerous, and often thankless, task, which he
performs as a rule patiently, bravely and
tirelessly.  The telephone, telegraph, and power
buzzer--the latter being sometimes used without
wires, at a distance as great as 4000 yards--are
commonly employed, though they have
many disadvantages.  The first of these is the
difficulty in installing them in the face of heavy
shelling and counter attacks by the enemy.
Secondly, they are likely to be put out of
commission, their wires being destroyed by shells.
Finally, their messages are often picked up
through the earth by your opponents with
some apparatus invented for the purpose.

There are the semaphore and flashlight methods
of signaling, and signaling by flares, all
naturally very limited in variety of use, the
latter particularly so.  But flares are of great
service when a hurried artillery retaliation is
desired, S.O.S. flares then being sent up.
The wireless apparatus on aeroplanes and the
throwing of flares by aviators are also used
to good account.  But there are times when all
these different methods are found wanting.
Through force of circumstance a battalion or
company may be completely isolated, and then
it is that the last and least employed method,
that of carrier pigeons, is resorted to.  In each
battalion are a couple or more specially trained
carrier pigeons, and to speak of the "O.C. Pigeons"
is a standing joke.  The pigeons are
rarely employed.  It may be almost forgotten
that they are with a unit, as was practically
the case of one battalion at the Somme of which
the following story is told:

The commanding officer had waited in vain
for hours for some message as to the success
or failure of a show one company was putting
on.  He was impatiently striding up and down
when a poor little carrier pigeon fluttered into
his presence.  He hurriedly caught it, and
untied from its leg the following message:
"I am bally well fed up carrying this damned
bird about.  You take it for a while."

After all this preparatory stage is completed,
when transport, artillery preparation,
communication, maps, training, dummy advances,
extra rations, water, medical supplies
and equipment, are in order, the next move
is to get all troops taking part in the
advance into the most advantageous positions,
unknown to the Germans.  The men are well
fed, given extra water bottles, "iron rations"
are in their kits--that is, bully beef and
biscuit--they are equipped only in fighting dress.
By night they are marched into the trenches
from which they are to go over the top, and
after a few hours of rest, broken by shell fire,
the zero hour, or hour of attack, arrives.

Just before the great advance in which the
Canadians took Vimy Ridge, that hill
consecrated by the graves of thousands of French,
British, and Canadian soldiers, our brigade
had made all these arrangements.  We were to
march into the line on Easter Saturday and
go over the top the following morning at
daybreak.  But at the last moment we were
delayed by a brigade order, due to information
obtained from a German deserter, information
that said that the Huns knew that we were to
attack on Easter Sunday.

While sitting in my tent I was visited by
officers on various missions, some to get
dressings to carry in their pocket, dressings that
they neglected getting till the very last
moment; others to tell me that such and such a
man was afflicted with that grievous malady,
"cold feet," and if he should visit me on
pretension of illness, to bear this fact in mind;
and again others with no object but a pleasant word.

Among those who always had a humorous
word and a smile, and whose honest
eyes always looked at one fearlessly through
his gold-rimmed spectacles, was Lieutenant
Henderson--"Old Pop," as the younger officers
always called him.  After his usual courteous
and kindly greeting we joked about the
possibility, or rather the probability, of some
of us not coming back from the great
advance.  No doubt he voiced the opinion of most
of us when he said with a hearty laugh--

"You know, Doc, the main objection I have
to death is that it is so d---- permanent."

The following day "Old Pop" was no more.
His jolly laugh and his voice with its
pleasant burr were to be heard no longer in our
ranks.  He had met death while bravely
leading his men across No Man's Land like the
gallant Scotch gentleman that he was.

Something which struck me then, and which
still impresses me as extraordinary in looking
back at it, was the buoyant, cheerful, optimistic
spirit in which our army of citizen-soldiers
looked forward to the day when we were to
take part in one of the greatest battles in
history.  We knew it was to be a fearful and
magnificent trial of strength out of which many
of us would never return to the people and
the lands we loved.  And yet all awaited it
with a gay, hopeful, undaunted optimism,
asking naught but the opportunity, anticipating
nothing but victory.  It is unbelievable that
the blind obedience of a militaristic kaiserism
can ever subdue a soldiery who so freely offer
their all on the altar of liberty.



The normal position of man on the earth
is on its surface.

Generally speaking, when he is under
the surface he is in his wine cellar, or he is
dead.  But at the front all this is altered.
Both the enemy and ourselves have reverted
to the cave age, for if we wish safety
in the lines--comparative safety, that is--we
pass our time in caves or cellars, dugouts or

Not that living underground would be taken
as a matter of choice in the piping times of
peace.  For the mud and dirt of the trenches
and dugouts cannot, by any stretch of the
imagination, be said to be comfortable or pleasant.

The fact that your only chance against
a hidden enemy is also to hide makes your
desires subservient to necessity.  In fact, both
the enemy and ourselves are continually
burrowing deeper and deeper in each other's
direction.  At the end of the burrow or tunnel we
place charges of dynamite to blow each other
out into the open.  The fear that your enemy
may succeed in doing it to you first, and that
some fine day you may awaken to find
yourself sailing about in the heavens with no
support but the explosion which sent you there,
makes many a man on a dark night hear
imaginary tappings, causing him to report that he
fears the enemy are mining underneath us.
More than once out of the pitch darkness has
come into my dugout some lonely sentry to
tell me that he has heard mysterious
hammering underfoot, and only when we had
located the real cause as something other than
he thought, did his--and perhaps
our--nervousness disappear.

On one occasion a non-commissioned officer
came hurrying into the H.Q. dugout of a
certain Canadian battalion.  With hair standing
on end he reported that an augur had actually
come through the bottom of the trench in
which he had been standing.  The colonel
insisted on investigating this himself, and found
that a mole had bored his way through the

These fears may have an unconscious effect
in making everyone wish to get out of the
semi-darkness of the trenches into the bright
sunlight which dispels clammy feelings and fears
as if they were mists of the morning.  But the
real reason for traveling overland is that at all
ages and in every clime the forbidden or
dangerous has its attractions.  Thus it is that
out there both officers and men, contrary to
orders and upon the flimsiest of pretexts, climb
out of the trenches and in more or less plain
view of enemy snipers or observation posts
walk again like ordinary human beings on the
face of the earth.

This practice is very common where the
trenches are muddy, or knee or hip-deep in
water.  It is the recognized custom after dark
when working parties are carrying up ammunition
or rations.  Not rarely some of the men
of these parties are hit by bullets put across
from fixed machine-guns.  It is a weird sight
on a dark night to go overland and, in the
dim light of the flares or star shells, to discern
long rows of men trudging along with packs
of supplies.  They loom up suddenly before
you; or, perchance, a column of the ever-useful
packmules pass, patiently carrying their
burdens overland.  And often by day one comes
across the body of a mule that was given rest
from its weary toil by a German bullet, at
which times one cannot but wonder if in a
happier land the patient, plodding,
much-abused packmule is given his just meed of
appreciation and kindness.

When someone pays the price of his recklessness
in going overland, the price is most
often exacted by a bullet.  What insidious
little things bullets are!  They sneak in and hit
you without forewarning you in any way, and
they may hit so hard that you do not know
you are hit even then.  Most men out there
have more respect for them than for shells,
for often you have time to "duck" against the
side of a trench and so partly dodge a heavy

But you can't dodge a bullet.  It gives
you a most uncanny feeling to be taking a
short cut overland, and suddenly to hear a
"ping-thud" just beside you, thus learning that
some German is trying to pot you as you
potted an innocent red deer on your last hunting
trip.  Or you may be walking quietly through
apparently safe trenches, maybe dreaming of
your loved ones at home, when a bullet thuds
into the trench wall a few feet from your head,
insolently spattering mud into your face.  Then
you know you are alive only by the grace of
God and the poor aim of the German.

But, despite these risks, all take the chance
of going overland to lessen a quarter-mile trip
by one hundred yards, or to miss a particularly
muddy bit of trench.  Any day you choose
when you are five or six hundred yards from
the front line you may see scattered parties
of men crossing in the open.

The regimental aid post of the ---- Canadian
Battalion in October, 1916, when they were
doing their tour in the lines, could be reached
in two ways--one by trench, a roundabout
route of over a mile; the other one-half mile by
trench and one-quarter overland.  The former
route was never employed, except on regular
relief days, officers and men passing daily the
one-quarter mile overland, only about six
hundred yards from the enemy front line.  The
field ambulance stretcher bearers made the
trip twice daily, and one day when I was
crossing over with their sergeant I asked him why
the German snipers did not hit us.

"Oh, 'Heiny' is too busy keeping himself
out of sight to notice us," was the careless
reply.  But at times those crossing this space
heard a bullet whistling nearby, or ping-thudding
into the ground close to their feet!

After a raid by our troops one early
winter's morning when I had been attending the
wounded for some time I came up to take a
breath of air.  A trench led from this cellar
of mine some two thousand yards to a village
of reasonable safety, but the road cut off two
or three hundred yards of that distance.  This
road was in plain sight of the Germans, yet
some of our wounded Tommies, walking cases,
were leading a crowd of five or six wounded
Huns by the road, the party altogether
numbering ten or twelve.  As we watched them,
suddenly, within a few yards of them, burst
two shells.  All the men broke into a double
and jumped into a trench beside the road while
a few more shells fell about.  It is an ironical
truth that the only members of the party hit
were three of the Germans.

On a certain relief day when food was
scarce a medical officer started for a
Y.M.C.A. canteen in Neuville St. Vaast for some
chocolate, taking a short cut overland, as he
could save one hundred yards by this route.
Meeting a soldier he stopped to inquire as to
direction, and this saved the life of the officer,
for a shell struck the ground a few feet ahead
on the spot where he would have been had he
not stopped.  As he and the Tommy hugged
a tree nearby two more shells struck the same
spot, sprinkling them with earth.  They turned
and ran in the direction from which the doctor
had come, amidst the roars of laughter of
some soldiers in a trench at the sight of the
rather corpulent form of the medical officer
on the double; so little is thought out there
of narrow escapes!  And when the officer made
the same trip in the dusk of evening he found
that the canteen had run out of chocolate!

In what had once been a little village, but
was now a mass of ruins, the trenches ran
through the streets.  Our mess was situated in
the cellar of a house to which we could get
either in a roundabout way by trench, or by
crossing a road overland.  No one ever dreamed
of going any other route than the overland,
despite the fact that the road was in plain view
of the Germans who had fixed on it a machine-gun
with which they now and then swept it
from end to end.  I admit frankly that I never
crossed that road without a sigh of relief when
I reached the other side.

It was on a Christmas day.  I started out to
make an inspection of my lines with my
sanitary sergeant and a runner who knew the best
routes.  Arriving at a support trench, and
wishing to go to the firing line, the guide
started over the parapet.  On being asked the
purpose he said that it was a much shorter way,
but, to my relief, the sergeant told him to
go by trench, for often one would rather go
through a dangerous zone than appear afraid
of it in the presence of his men.

However, we made the examination of the
lines.  After we had finished the firing line and
were returning, we found ourselves crossing
overland by the route over which he had
attempted to take us to the front.  He had led
us up a gradually ascending communication
trench, and so unknown to us had reached this
overland trail.  Nothing happened, nothing
was said about it, but I certainly felt
relieved when I was once again in a trench
without having a German bullet sneaking between
my ribs.  How little Tommy cares about
risking his life if it lessens his task!

In passing, it may be mentioned that on this
Christmas day none of that fraternizing took
place which had taken place the previous
Christmas.  In fact, early on the Christmas
morning the battalion on our left, after a
severe bombardment, put on a raid, and Christmas
night the enemy retaliated with heavy stuff
of all kinds.  Probably this is as it should be,
for while it may look well in print to read of
our troops and the Germans exchanging
cigarettes and eatables in No Man's Land, it is
detrimental to discipline, and injurious to the best
fighting spirit.  It would be much more repugnant
to the Anglo-Saxon at any rate to kill men
with whom he had just passed a pleasant
social half hour.  This may appear heartless,
but war is a heartless game, and fraternizing
may very well be left until after the peace
articles are signed.



Kelly is my batman or personal servant.

His name tells his nationality.  His
philosophy, especially as regards the war, is
usually interesting and always instructive.
Yesterday he accompanied me to headquarters
out in front of the railway line at Vimy.  We
had to cross a few hundred yards in the open,
where the Huns had an annoying habit of
dropping shells at irregular moments.

Suddenly we heard the horrible shriek of an
approaching whizz-bang.  It passed over our
heads and banged into the earth twenty feet
or so beyond us.  Knowing that others would
probably follow it, and that they might have
twenty feet less of a range, we jumped into a
four-foot-deep shell hole which happily was
beside us.  We hugged affectionately the
German side of the hole to take advantage of
whatever protection it afforded.  One after another,
in rapid succession, three more of these shells
shrieked toward us.  Fortunately our
unuttered prayer that they would not come to
see us in our hole was answered, for they
followed the first and struck twenty or twenty-five
feet past us, just close enough to sprinkle
us well with mud.  While we waited a few
more minutes to see if any more were coming,
I turned over and faced Kelly.

"Don't you think, Kelly," I asked seriously,
"that lying in a shellhole like this is rather an
undignified position for two proud Anglo-Saxons?"

"No doubt it is, sor, but it's a good dale
safer than stayin' where we wor.  An' if there's
one sound, Cap'n, that I've larned to rispict
more than another in this war, it's the shriek
of an oncomin' shell, whin it sames to be comin'
in yer direction.  Now, duds (shells that fail
to explode) is different.  D'ye remember, sor,
the day we come in to relave the 28th Battalion
here, as the colonel, the adjutant, and yersilf
were comin' over the crest of the ridge, an'
I bringin' up the rear with that luggage of
yours?"  He looked at me reproachfully, for,
though looking after my luggage was part of
his duties, he never pretended to like it.  "A
dud landed just besoide us.  The sound of a
dud thuddin' into the earth nearboy one is
swater to me than ever was the gurglin' of a
brook on a June day down the banks of the
Lakes of Killarney."

Kelly's advice is often worth taking, for he
has been out there well into his second year,
and, while he has not yet been wounded, no
one ever accused him of lack of courage.  He
occasionally does things with a slight, almost
imperceptible, grimace of pained surprise.  But
he always does them--when ordered.  In my
early days I was prone at times to take a peep
over the front line parapet at the always
interesting No Man's Land.

"Oi wouldn't do too much of that if Oi was
you, docthor," he said respectfully, though at
the time I thought there was also a trace of
pity in his brogue, "fer out here it's not
considered healthy.  Me poor ould father, Lord
have mercy on him, always tould me to curb
me curiosity.  An' a padre who had been here
a long toime tould me whin first Oi come that
his one bit of advoice to me was, don't be
curious."  I always encouraged him to carry on
with his philosophizing, except when the dull
look in his eye and his exaggerated stand-at-attention
told me that he had somehow obtained
my rum ration as well as his own.  "Oi
notice, sor, that thim that are here longest
peep the laist; that's why they are here longest."

"Do you dodge when you hear a shell coming, Kelly?"

"It's always woise to duck, sor, fer with very
big shells, which come slower, ye may be quick
enough to get aginst the soide of the trinch
and have the pieces miss ye; an', whin it's a
whizz-bang er bullet, if ye're able to duck ye
know ye're not hit!"

Just at dusk of a warm spring evening as
we crossed an open field, we had the
misfortune to find ourselves bracketed by German
gas shells.  That is, some of the shells were
falling just short of us, and others were
passing a little over us.  We recognized that they
were gas shells by the whirring noise they
make going through the air and by the soft
thudding sound of their explosion.  But, had
we had any doubt, that sweetish, though well
hated, pineapple odor of the gas was reaching
our nostrils.  The previous evening we had had
for some hours a heavy gas shelling about our
aid post, during much of which we were either
strangling from the gas fumes, which made
some of the men dreadfully ill, or we were
smothering to death with our gas masks on,
doing dressings for wounded men.  So, taking
all this into consideration, we had no desire
for a repetition of the dose.

The shells were thudding into the earth
about seventy or eighty yards on either side
of us, and our dangers were two: a straight
hit by one of the shells, the result of which
would be mutilation or death; or the bursting
of one at our feet, as the inhalation by us of
such concentrated fumes might mean a little
wooden cross above us.

Behind the lines the gas masks or respirators
are worn flung over the shoulder.  In the
lines the rule is to wear them in the "alert"
position, that is, on the front of the chest with
the flap open, ready for instant use.  We had
them in this position and were carrying the
apparatus in our hands, so as to be able to
insert the tube into the mouth rapidly if need be.
Had we adjusted them at once we should have
found it difficult to avoid falling into the
numerous shellholes, for seeing through the
goggles on a dusky evening is most unsatisfactory.
My companion's practiced eye noted that the
shells, while bracketing us, were falling much
more thickly on our right than on our left.
After he had drawn my attention to this we
turned quickly to the left, and we had the good
fortune soon to be well away from the
explosions--it need hardly be remarked, to our
intense relief.

"That was a happy observation of yours,
Kelly," I remarked when we were out of danger,
and were literally breathing easily again.

"Dunno but what it was, sor.  Course a man
shouldn't need a wall to fall on him to know
that somethin's comin' his way."  I could
almost see his sly squint in my direction.  He
dearly loved to display his hard-earned knowledge,
and, as he was too valuable a man to
get angry with except for good reason, his
remarks were generally accepted good naturedly.

Kelly is a strict disciplinarian, at least so
far as others are concerned.  While he takes
liberties in passing his own opinions to me, he
resents any other private doing likewise.  In
his presence one day at a sick parade a soldier
who had been marked by me, M & D--medicine
and duty, that is, given medicine but fit for
duty--muttered something to the effect that
one never gets a fair deal from a military
doctor anyway.  Before I could reprimand him
Kelly hustled him out of the room, saying

"Begobs, ye may have been exposed to
discipline, but it niver took."  In his insistence on
everyone else's carrying out all the laws of
military discipline, while breaking most of
them himself, he is the equal of almost any

On a delightful spring day after the Battle
of Arras, our battalion was holding the front
line out beyond Thelus.  My aid post was on a
sunken road near Willerval, one of the many
sunken roads which are talked about by anyone
who has ever been at the front.  The wounded
had to be brought to us by stretcher bearers
at night, as the whole front here was a huge
salient with the Huns pumping lead forget-me-nots
from three sides by day on the least
exposure of our men.

So our work was all night work, and I lay
lazily on a stretcher in an abandoned German
gunpit, taking a sun bath.  There originally
had been a roof over this gunpit.  It was made
up of one-inch boards laid carelessly across
steel supports, and in the remains of this roof
two little swallows were gaily chirping, love-making,
and nest-building for their family-to-be,
ignoring entirely man's inhumanity to man.
Kelly was sitting on his haunches, his gray
head held on one side, thoughtfully watching
these happy little birds.

"Well, Kelly," I demanded, "of what are
you dreaming?"

"I was jest thinkin', docthor," he answered,
without turning his head, "what a puny sinse
of humor man has in comparison with thim
swallows yonder."

"Have swallows a sense of humor, Kelly?"

"Have they a sinse of humor?  Whoy, they're
laughin' at ye this very minute"; I turned my
head a trifle sharply in his direction; "an' at
me, an' the rist of humanity.  Listen to thim
laugh.  An' whoy shouldn't they laugh, whin
they think what a gay world they live in, with
room fer all of thim an' all of us; an' yet
whoile they live, an' love, an' have their young,
an' doie in peace, we min, wid the brains of
gods, so we say, spind our toime invintin' new
manes of killin' aich other?  An' fer whoy?
For a few acres of bog land, fer the privilege
of christianizin' an' chatin' the haithin by givin'
him some glass beads in exchange fer his iv'ry,
an' his indy rubber, an' his spoices.  Take a
look yander at that skoylark.  Wouldn't he
do yer heart good?"

And he pointed to where one of those
joy-giving birds was soaring "higher still and
higher," and lavishly pouring out upon an
ungrateful world his flood of harmony divine.

"What about liberty as opposed to this
cursed German militarism?"

"Oh, yis, Oi'll admit there's a bit o' truth
in that, but at bottom it's mostly commerce
that causes war.  Yis, Oi shouldn't loike to have
the Prushin military heel on moy neck.  God
knows the Englishman in his toime has left
a heel mark or two on the Oirishman's neck,
but at that Oi'd rather have him, especially of
late years, than that cursed Hun, fer he wears
nails in his boots.  An' Oi've hated the
Englishman all me loife----"

"What the devil did you come out here for
anyway, Kelly?"

"Ye're the first person that's ever hinted t'me
that there's anythin' proivate about this f oight.
Ain't the Russhin, an' the Prushin, an' the
Frinch, an' the Eyetalian, an' aven the Turk
in this foight?  Is there any just raisin whoy
an Oirishman shouldn't butt in, too?" he asked
in an injured tone.  "But ye've intherrupted
me strain of thought."

"Beg pardon."

"Don't mintion it.  Oi was goin' to say that,
though Oi've hated the Englishman all me loife,
Oi'd be afeard to live in his counthry, fer Oi'd
get to love him.  He's got such a dape sinse
of humor.  Whoy he praises ye Canadians till
he actially makes ye belaive ye're winnin' the
war, wid yer two or three hundred thousand
min, whoile he's got a couple of million in the

"Who took Vimy Ridge, Kelly?"

"We did, sor, we Canadians, wid fifty to
sixty percint of British born loike mesilf.  An'
a damn foine bit o' fightin' it was, too.  Sure,
truly, sor, Oi wouldn't belittle it fer anythin'.
But Vimy Ridge is on'y a couple o' miles long,
an' British troops are defindin' somethin' loike
a hundred and fifty moiles, an' most o' that
is held boy English troops, wid a scatthering
of the hated Oirish and Scotch.  Look at the
casialty lists over a period an' ye'll foind who
it is that's doyin' fer liberty.  It's mostly the
English and the Frinch as fer as Oi kin see.
The Canadians have done nobly, sor, no one
could denoy it, but they mustn't think they're
winnin' the war all boy thimselves.

"The las' toime Oi was in Lon'on, the
funniest comedy Oi seen was a couple of young
Canadian officers on a bus tellin' an edicated
Englishman how the Empire should be run.
An' the Englishman listened without aven
crackin' a smoile, whoile they criticoized
Lon'on fer not havin' a straight street, an' fer
havin' old-fashioned busses; an' Lide George
fer his lack of firmness wid Oireland; an' so
on, an' so on.  An' the Englishman listened
as if they were the woise min o' the aist, bowin'
his assint to all their talk; an' at last he said,
wid a long face:

"'There's no doubt you young gintlemen
are roight.  If we had a few more min loike
the Hon, Mr. Hughes of Australia an' Sir
Sam Hughes of Canada, we'd be in better
shape now.  Oi'm very happy to have met yez'.

"An' he shook their hands an' left, whoile
they swallied what he said, bait, hook, loine,
an' all.  So Oi slips up to thim, an' salutin', Oi

"'Beggin' yer pardon, sors,' says Oi, 'but Oi
happin to know who that man was.  It was
Lord Rothchoild, the great international
banker.'  It may have bin the Imperor of Choina,
fer all Oi know.  But they swallied that, too,
an' ignorin' me, one says, 'An' he shook hands
wid us!' an' on their faces was a bland smoile
of choild-loike satisfaction.

"Oh, ye Canadians are great snobs, so ye
are.  Whoy Oi've heard yersilf laud to the
skoies the noble part taken in the war be the
blue-bloods of England.  Sure ye're just as
big a snob as any of the others.  Er--Oi--Oi
beg per pardon, sor, Oi'm sorry fer sayin' it."

"How about _thinking_ it?"

"The on'y thing Oi kin call me own since Oi
jined the army are me thoughts.  But Oi
wouldn't think it aginst yer wishes fer the
world, sor," and he smiled slyly.  "Oi agree
that the blue-bloods have fought well, but no
better than the rist of us.  An' they have
somethin' to foight fer, whoile Oi'd like to ask ye
what has a poor divil loike me to foight fer?
Who'd support moy childer if Oi was kilt?"

"Your children!  I didn't know you were

"Who said Oi was married?"


"All classes out here foight well.  Oi agree
wid that writer who said that all min are aloike
except fer their close.  Now, except fer our
close, Oi don't suppose anyone would be able
to tell which was the cap'n, an' which his servant";
with another sly grin.

"Probably not, except for the whiskey you

"Oi may drink a slightly greater amount
than ye, sor, but Oi notice we drink the same

"Yes, I've noticed that, too, Kelly.  That's
why there's never any to offer any of my
friends when they call."

"Oi assure ye, docthor, there's none of it

"Probably not, from your standpoint.  Now,
Kelly, I'd like some tea.  And see if you can
put a little less candle, currants, and sand in
it than you did this morning."

"If ye'd lave the last half inch in the
bottom of yer cup, sor, ye'd never know there
was any thin' but tea in it"; and he left to
prepare as good a cup of tea as one could desire,
except for these extras which a paternal
quartermaster always inserts into the various
articles of diet.  Of course, the fact that the tea
and sugar come in sandbags, and the candles
are put into the sugar to prevent breaking
them, adds to this complication.

Kelly is a good cook, and no mean philosopher.
He continually emphasizes the importance
of what he calls, "a sinse of humor."  One
night when he had taken too much of what
he called at various times, "the crather,"
"humor producer," "potheen," or "honey dew," I
heard him say to a companion:

"As me frind, Lord Norfolk, says, there
remain these three, faith, hope, and charity,
and the greatest of these is a sinse of humor."

A day came when Kelly, going for water
with two old gasoline cans slung over his
shoulder, was struck by a shell.  He was some seven
hundred yards from my aid post at the time.
Fortunately some stretcher bearers nearby
went to his aid.  Though the shortest way out
was rearward, and well he knew it, he
insisted on being carried back "to explain his
absince to the docthor."  I saw them bringing
him in, and ran to him for, in spite of any
faults, his never-failing loyalty and his
good-humored and faithful service had endeared him
to me.  He had been covered by a coat of a
stretcher bearer, so I could not see at once
what his injuries were.

"Where have you been hit, Kelly?" I demanded
anxiously, for his face was pale.

"Do ye mane, sor, anatomically, or
jayographically?" and a wan smile lit up the pallid
face, as his quick-witted humor got the better
of his suffering.  But I had taken the coat
away, and I saw that the wound was fatal.
Keeping my head low so that he could not see
the expression on my face, or the tears in
my eyes, I gently dressed the wound.  He bore
the handling without flinching.  As I finished
he said bravely:

"Well, docthor, they've done fer me this
toime.  Oh, ye naydent throy to hoide it from
me; Oi know; an' Oi'd not care to have on'y
half of me hoppin' about, anyway."

"Oh, we'll pull you through, Kelly, old man.
You promised to be my chauffeur after the
war; but I know you never did like working
for me and now you're trying to dodge," and
I tried to smile, but he saw the tears running
down my cheeks.

"None o' yer jokes, now, docthor.  Oi know
it's all over wid me.  And, raly, it don't
matther, fer there's no one that cares," and, as I
looked at him reproachfully, "except you, sor.
An' God knows whoy ye do, fer I've been but
an impident servant to ye.  But, docthor,"
looking at me imploringly, "ye forgive me now,
don't ye, fer it was on'y taisin' Oi was?"

"Dear old Kelly," I said, as I pressed his
cold hand, "what have I to forgive?  You're
the best friend I have in all France."  A lump
in my throat prevented me from saying more.
His hand returned the pressure, but there was
no strength in it.  Then to cheer me up, he

"Ye know, cap'n, Oi always did respict the
cross, in the abshtract, of course, since Oi knelt
at the knees of me poor ould mother, rest her
soul; but Oi niver had any great desire to look
up at one of thim little wooden crosses through
six fate of earth," and the paling face lit up
with its whimsical smile.  "What's worryin' me
though, is who'll look after yersilf.  Ye're such
a crank about how yer bacon's cooked, an' the
sand in the tay, an'----" but just at that
moment the padre came in from a neighboring
battalion headquarters.

He had made me promise that if ever
anything should happen to the wayward Kelly
who should have been, but wasn't, a regular
attendant at his church parades, I should send
at once for him.  I had done so as soon as I
saw that poor Kelly was hard hit.  I laid
Kelly's hand gently down and slipped away.
I was called hurriedly back a few minutes later
by the padre.

"He wants you, doctor," he said briefly.

Kelly's eyes met mine.  His were getting
dim.  As I took his hand, his fingers feebly
gripped mine.  I bent my head to catch the
whispered words that issued from his lips:

"Good-by, docthor; Oi'm lavin' fer the
great beyant.  There's no use grumblin' an'
Oi don't, fer Oi've had a full loife--me frinds
often said too full, but sure they didn't know,"
with the faint smile.  "But since that day whin
ye showed me the picture ye carry over yer
heart of yer three foine little byes--God bliss
thim--Oi've wanted, whin the war was over, to
go back wid ye and see thim.  Will ye do me a
favor, docthor, boy?"

His voice was growing feeble.  The tears
were flowing unheeded down my cheeks.  I
could not speak, so I squeezed his hand in
assent.  "Will ye talk to thim sometimes of
Kelly?  An' tell thim that wid all me faults Oi
loved their daddy an' troied to sarve him well;
an' that if Oi was sure me death would cause ye
to be taken safely back to thim, Oi'd doie
happy an' contint.  God bless ye an' thim
an'----"  His voice died away, his dim eyes
closed, and his soul passed into "that undiscovered
bourne from which no traveler returns."

That night the padre and I buried him in
a shellhole, erecting over his grave a little
wooden cross on which we wrote:


  NUMBER A59000,



Talleyrand once wittily said that
language was given us to hide our
thoughts, and this saying might be enlarged by
adding that slang was given us to hide our
language.  The Frenchman, in making this
witticism, was referring not only to the beautiful
language of Corneille and Molière, but to
speech in general.  However, if he visited the
lines of the Canadian or British troops today,
even though his knowledge of English were
perfect, he would hear many words and expressions
not found in the dictionaries of any country
or heard in polite society.

Necessity is the mother of invention.  It
seems that in all national or international
games, such as the sport of our American
allies--baseball--or the sport of kings and
emperors--war--necessity demands that a special
language shall evolve.  And so, around each
and in the midst of each, an expressive, though
sometimes inelegant, slang has grown up,
understood and employed only by the initiated.
In the case of the present war this slang is
made up of a mixture of English, French,
pantomime, and American or Canadian.

Some people give North America credit for
a language of its own.  On a visit to Paris some
years ago I was passing the entrance of a
theater on the Boulevard des Capucines when
a grisette approached me with a "bon soir,
cheri"; and proceeded to ask if I were lonely.
Not desiring to be bothered, I replied shortly
that I did not speak French.

"Oh, zat ees tres bien, monsieur," she
replied coyly, "I spik zee A-mer-ee-can."

And many of our own brothers of the
motherland do not admit that we Canadians speak
the same language as they, but an accented
modification of it, though they admire the
pointedness of many of our expressions.  I
well remember the amusement caused in an
English officers' mess by one of them telling
the others that he had heard a Canadian say
that he liked "the Englishman's accent."  And
with that charmingly bantering way that
Englishmen have, he said with a smile to a couple
of us Canadians present:

"Rawtha a jolly bit of side!  Cawnt you see
it, you priceless old things?"  And at his
request we all filled our glasses again; while one
of the Canadians, for the sake of argument,
expressed the opinion that the term accent might
as truly be applied to the Englishman's
"rawtha," as to our rather; or to the English
"bawth," as to our harder-sounding and not
so euphonious, but probably equally correct
pronunciation of the word, bath.  Of course,
he was met by good-natured smiles of tolerance
and pity, and the reply that since we
think their pronunciation shows more euphony,
why do we not pronounce as they do?

"Because if we did someone at home would
probably hand us an over-ripe egg," was the

The slang of the lines resembles a new system
of Esperanto, since it takes in, in a cosmopolitan
manner, all the languages of the neighborhood,
as well as some whose existence may
be doubted.  For example, "no bon" means
no good, and is a mixture of English, French,
and a disgusted look.

"Na poo" (which is probably a mutilated
form of the French "il n'y en a plus,"--there
is no more) has a most versatile meaning, and
is used in many different senses.  Sometimes
it signifies that some article of the rations is
finished, as "the rum is na poo"--a not
uncommon state of affairs.  At other times it is
used as we employ the slang phrase, "nothing

For instance, one man asks another
to have a drink, and he, having put himself,
or having been put, on the Indian list, replies,
"na poo for mine."  Then there is the sense in
which it is used meaning "killed."  Bill Jones
is killed, and somebody says, "Well, they na
poo'd Bill Jones last night.  Poor Bill, he
wasn't such a bad old ---- ---- ---- after all."  (In
the air service, when a man is killed, they
often employ the expression that "so-and-so is
gone east.")  The above will illustrate, but by
no means exhaust, the versatility of "na poo,"
for in variety of meaning it is almost in a class
by itself.

"Compree" is another sample of broken--one
could not say Anglicized--French, and it
is employed with the signification, "do you
understand?" or, in slang-Canadian, "do you
get me, Steve?"  And here it may be remarked
that a Tommy possessing the above three
expressions, na poo, no bon, and compree, with
some additions from the sign language,
although he knows no other word of French, is
able to do anything with the French peasant
from using his cook-stove to heat a tin of
pork and beans to making love to his daughter.
Of course the latter effort is no doubt
helped by the fact that love is much the same
in all languages.

Then all the different shells and types of
trench-mortar ammunition have their
nicknames, such as pineapples, rum jars, flying
pigs, Jack Johnsons, fish tails, and whizz-bangs,
all according to their shape, their sound,
or the fuss they make when landing.

"To put on a show," is to make an attack
on the enemy.  "To get pipped" means to get
wounded.  If the wound is severe enough to
cause the recipient to be sent to England, it
is called a "Blighty," in which case, if the
wound is not dangerous to life or limb, the
others stand about looking enviously at the
wounded man, and telling him he is a lucky
devil.  But if the wound is fatal, they say "he
got his R.I.P."

The above will serve to illustrate the more
common slang phrases used by the soldier and
officer alike, for what Tommy does today his
officers do tomorrow.  There are, of course,
many other slang expressions, some being more
vulgar than expressive.  Occasionally a group
of men will impress you with the idea that
they are so accustomed to slang and swearing
that to call each other "a blank liar" is a
password, as Kelly expressed it to me one
time.  And in passing it may be said that
though words which would be fighting words in
western Canada are common enough, fighting
among the men is exceedingly uncommon.
Good nature and good fellowship are universal,
and it is rare indeed that even the hottest
argument leads to blows.  Probably the boys
have instinctively decided that blows are for
your enemies, not for your friends, and that
fighting enough is to be had on the other side
of No Man's Land.

But slang, swearing, or general "toughness"
is no proof that a man is not an excellent
soldier.  Out there we have found that cool
courage and self-sacrifice are as common
among the denizens of the slum or the
employees of the workshop or factory as among
those who spend their time following the
hounds or adorning drawing-rooms.  Education
and culture may develop the virtues, but
they do not create them.  By the same token
poor or unhealthy surroundings may stultify
the same virtues, but do not kill them.

I well recall a rough, uneducated,
Irish-Canadian boy from Griffintown, who was in
charge of a group of machine-gunners, and
who was afraid of nothing on the earth, under
the earth or over the earth.  Fagan--that
name will do as well as another--went up with
his company to go over the top in an attack,
but at the last moment they were ordered not
to advance.  A company of Oxford and Bucks
just to Fagan's right were going over, and he,
being disappointed at the cancellation of his
order, pretended that he had not received it,
joined the British with his section and went
into the fight with them.  He was such a
bonnie fighter, and was so useful to the British
that they were loud in their praises of the work
of him and his men; for with his machine-gun
he did much useful slaughter which he
described on his return as "some beautiful pickin's."

On account of his good work and the high
praise that it received from the British he was
given a special leave of a couple of weeks
to the white lights--or what remains of
them--in London.  As he left his little group of
the men of his unit, all of whom loved him
and all of whom his generous, brave heart held
as brothers, instead of the usual "Good-by,
boys, and good luck," he turned to them with
a broad grin on his face and said:

"To hell wid yez all!  May yez have to go
over the top every damn noight whoile Oi'm
away;" and with a wave of the hand, and
amidst the laughter of his "byes," he started
for the railhead.

But slangy sayings and swearing are not
limited in use to the boys.  A Major Garwell
was somewhat noted for this habit, and
sometimes spat out remarks quite thoughtlessly in
company in which it were better he had not
done so.  On one occasion he had to interview
a staid, dignified Major General Osborne of
an English Corps to our left, and, differing in
opinion with the latter, to the horror of the
other officers present, he exclaimed vehemently
without even knowing that he said it:

"But, damn your eyes, Osborne, that trench
should run the other way."

To everyone's surprise the Major General
only stared at him, seeing no doubt that it was
a slip of the tongue, and not intentional
disrespect.  He also probably took into account
the fact that the Major was a Canadian, from
whom Englishmen hardly ever know what to
expect in the line of discipline.

But a week later the English General
showed that beneath a serious and dignified
exterior he had a well-developed sense of humor.
He was again discussing some engineering
problem with our gallant Major before much
the same group of officers, and turning
suddenly he blurted out:

"But, damn your eyes, Garwell, I want this
done my way."  The General himself and even
Garwell joined in the roar of laughter which
followed.  And now you have the reason that
from that day to this the Canadian Major is
always spoken of as "damn-your-eyes-Garwell."



At the front you never need to go beyond
the day on which you write to find things
of interest to tell those who have not known
the life, who are so unfortunate as to have to
remain hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of
miles from the center of interest in the
greatest game the world has ever known--the game
of war--being played at this moment by all
the highly cultured, civilized, and refined
peoples of the world!

It is a bright spring day in May, 1917,
for so-called Sunny France is trying to redeem
herself after an abominable winter.  I am
sitting on a tin biscuit box at the entrance of my
R.A.P.--regimental aid post--just on the
outskirts of a ruined village.  Had I taken
this position one month ago my stay in the
land of the living would have lasted
something under ten minutes, for then the German
front line was about three hundred yards away.
But since that time the Battle of Vimy Ridge
has come and gone, and the Germans are
pushed back well beyond the ridge.  So it is
comparatively safe to sit here, for the only
danger is from a stray shell, as it happens at the
moment the Huns are too busy defending
themselves from a heavy assault from the
Canadians on our right to send any shells this way.

This morning a number of villages opposite
our right front are to be taken, and as
I sit looking about our guns are firing so
continuously that they make what the boys call
drumfire, that is, a continuous roll such as
kettledrums make.  Our artillery is so immense
in numbers of guns that drumfire is common by
day.  By night the sky on the horizon is lit up
in all directions by the repeated flashes of the
guns, giving the appearance of an immense
fireworks exhibition.

All about me are the signs of war.  I am
looking toward a mass of ruins which occupy
the site of what was once a well-built and
prosperous little city.  All that now remains of it
is a stone wall here and there, and everywhere
piles of stone and brick and mortar.  Not one
roof remains.  There on the left, that high pile
of demolished walls, is all that exists of a once
elaborate church.  Amidst the ruins the cellars
are occupied as habitations for the troops.  If
you wander among them you will see some
strange names given to their quarters by the
wags of the companies--such names as The
Devil's Inn, Home Sweet Home, The Savoy,
The Sister Susie Hotel, and other such devices.

But there is one object amongst the ruins
that strikes my eye.  It is two hundred yards
from where I am seated.  It appears plainly
to be the shattered trunk of a tree, two feet
in diameter and twenty feet in height.  It is
the largest in the vicinity of those that remain
to wave their withered and emaciated arms in
mocking derision at our so-called civilization.

Let us walk across to it together.  Until we
are almost touching it we recognize nothing
but a shattered tree-trunk.  On closer inspection
we find that what appeared to be the bark
is only a good paper imitation of bark, and
its irregular upper end has been made by hand,
not, as we had supposed, by the impact of a
shell.  Behind the tree, at its root, is a
passageway down which we go to find ourselves
actually entering the trunk through a small
door.  Looking up we see a perfectly made
steel cylinder, up which steps lead to the top.
Here a seat is placed and an observer may
look through a small slit in the steel casing and
through a split in the imitation bark, getting
a good view of things far in advance.

This is the explanation of this strange
affair: A large tree which stood upon this spot
had been shattered by a shell, the shattering
having taken place when the Germans held
Vimy Ridge.  This shattered tree was only
four hundred yards from the enemy front line.
Months before the Battle of Vimy Ridge some
quick-minded engineer noticed this tree, and
the idea occurred that it could be utilized to
good advantage.  The steel frame was made
and covered in exact imitation of the tree
trunk, all other arrangements made, and one
night the tree was removed and this counterfeit
of it was put up.  When day broke an
observer was sitting comfortably in this strange
observation post looking out upon the enemy
trenches, watching the movements of the
Germans, at the same time being safe from any
danger except the straight hit of a shell.

Now let us return to our biscuit box and
see what else there is of interest.  All about
are sitting boys with red crosses on their
sleeves.  They are stretcher bearers for a field
ambulance.  Here and there is a gun position
from which a bang and a flash come spasmodically,
as the guns throw their lead and steel
souvenirs at the Germans.  To our right as we
face the enemy lines is a much used road, up
which we can see motor lorries by the score
pouring forward their loads of ammunition.
Then there are packmules, motor cyclists,
ambulances and--a strange sight--cavalry are
going forward.

Is the war changing from the old trench
warfare of the past three years into open warfare
of the past century?  Ah!  There is still
another sight, and a pleasant one.  It is a group
of German prisoners going to the rear,
guarded by a couple of Tommies.  Word comes back
that the attack which began some hours ago,
and at which the guns are still mumbling and
rumbling in anger, has been a success; the
objectives have been reached and many prisoners
taken, though the Huns are making a stiff
stand of it.

Overhead aeroplanes are humming to and
fro, looking far in advance of our troops,
seeing the effects of our gunfire, signaling
instructions to our artillery, watching the
movements of the enemy, and generally acting as
the eyes of the army.

In front of us, and to the left, is a
crater--an immense hollow in the ground, caused by
the explosion by the enemy or ourselves at
some earlier stage of the war, of a huge load of
dynamite, ammonal or some other high
explosive.  This crater is situated in what was No
Man's Land before April 9 and the great push,
at which time it was used as a killing place for
our enemies.  Now it is a burial place for our
friends.  The French Government has notified
us that if, in burying our dead, we will put the
bodies in groups of fifty in each burial plot,
they will buy the hallowed ground, keep it in
repair, and present it to the British people.
And the corps burying party has utilized
Lichfield Crater for this purpose, has gathered
together fifty or sixty of our gallant dead, and
deposited their sacred remains in this spot,
erecting over the grave a large wooden cross
with the names of the dead upon it.  In
limestone they have laid out the following

  APRIL 9,1917.
  R. I. P.

What hallowed shrines these cemeteries of
fifty will become after the war, when those
whose loved ones paid their full measure of
devotion in the cause of freedom are able to
come to visit the deservedly honored graves of
their husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, and
sweethearts.  I visited this little cemetery this
morning.  As I left it some Tommies passed
with a large, red paper balloon sent across by
the Germans with the message, "Canadians,
we are ready to quit if you are."

But the Canadians, the British, the Americans,
or the French, are not yet ready to quit!
Nor will they be till the day comes when
Prussian militarism is curbed so thoroughly that
your boys and mine will not have to give up
their lives in conquering it ten years from now!



About a month after the Canadians had
taken Vimy Ridge we relieved the ----
Canadian Battalion in the town of Vimy, where
our battalion was in support to another
battalion holding the front lines some distance in
advance.  Our Regimental Aid Post on our
previous stay in this town had been in the
cellar of a brewery near the railway station.
Since we had left the shelling in the neighborhood
had become so severe that this cellar had
been abandoned.  It had caught fire and all
the woodwork had burned up.  Out of curiosity
I visited this old cellar on our arrival at
Vimy and found it still hot as hades from the
heating up of the brick and cement.  It was
absolutely uninhabitable.  So we were forced
to search for other quarters.

The officers of No. ---- Canadian Field
Ambulance, with that camaraderie so prevalent
out there, invited us to share with them
a couple of old cellars to which they had gone
on deserting the brewery.  We accepted gladly.
One of their two cellars they used as sleeping
and eating quarters, the other as a dressing
station where they were kept exceedingly
busy attending the wounded.  The Germans
had the range of Vimy to a nicety, and with
true German love of destruction they poured
five hundred to a thousand shells into the ruins
daily.  Whenever the Germans are driven from
a village, their practice is to ruin it by high
explosive shells sent from their new line of
defense.  And these two cellars were about the
center of the Vimy target.

The previous day two officers of the field
ambulance were standing a few feet apart in
a little room off from the cellar used as
sleeping quarters.  A table stood between them, on
which were two lighted candles.  Suddenly
through the floor above came a four-inch shell,
just missing the table, and sinking into the
floor.  Fortunately for the two officers it did
not explode--it was a dud.  The rush of air
caused by the shell extinguished one of the
candles.  The other remained lighted.  It may
be understood easily that the officers felt a
bit unnerved.  After staring at the hole in
the floor for some moments, Captain M----
picked up the lighted candle in one hand and
the extinguished one in the other and endeavored
to light one from the other.  His hands
shook so that he could not make the candles
meet.  After a number of vain attempts to
bring them together he gave it up.  His
nervous system was so shaken that he was sent
to the rest station on two weeks' leave.

We arrived shortly after the shell had gone
through the cellar.  Captain M---- himself told
us of it, and his humorous description of his
attempts to get the candles within six inches of
each other was ludicrous in the extreme.

After an appetizing supper eaten in the cellar
with the officers of the field ambulance, we
medical officers took turns attending to the
many wounded who were arriving.  All went
well till eleven o'clock that night, when we
heard the whirr of gas shells coming in our
direction.  As they burst close to us, we soon
smelt their penetrating, pineapple odor.  The
Huns continued to pour them in large numbers
in our direction, and, as the town of Vimy is
in a hollow at the foot of Vimy Ridge, the
atmosphere soon became laden with the poison
gas which, being heavier than air, sinks to the
bottom of any hollows.  The air in our cellars
became saturated with the filthy, death-dealing
gases in spite of the wet blanket which we hung
over the entrance to prevent their entering.
Had we been able to stay in the cellar and
keep the blanket tightly placed over the
entrance, our misery would have been much less,
but wounded were coming in from all directions
and we had to keep going in and out, in
turns, to the cellar in which we did our
dressings.  The gas kept thickening every minute.

To add to the discomfort these gas shells
contained two gases.  One entered the lungs,
causing congestion of their tissues followed by
inflammation, suffocation, and death if a
sufficient amount were inhaled; the other,
lachrymatory gas--called tear shell gas by the
soldiers--which not only inflames temporarily the
conjunctiva of the eyes, but is cursedly irritating
while it lasts.

Naturally we quickly adjusted our gas
masks.  But, as it was fifty feet from one
cellar to the other, and we dared not flash lights
to pass over the stone and mortar of the fallen
walls, we found it necessary to remove our
masks for moving, as well as for the purpose
of tying up the wounds in an acceptable
manner.  Thus, by midnight, our eyes were as red
as uncooked beefsteak and they felt as if they
had been sandpapered.  Our lungs on each
respiration felt as though they were gripped
in a closing vise.  The gas masks act by
filtering the inhaled air through a chemical, which
neutralizes the poisonous materials in the gases.
When we removed them we had severe attacks
of coughing which were relieved only by
breathing through the mouthpiece of the masks.

Hours dragged slowly by.  Still the whirr
of approaching shells and the soft thud of their
bursting continued.  Misery?  Never
elsewhere had we experienced anything akin to
it--the inflamed eyes; the suffocation in our
lungs; the knowledge that inhalation of
sufficient of the gas would put us into Kingdom
Come.  We knew that we could easily get out
of this poisonous atmosphere by climbing to
the top of Vimy Ridge, only a few hundred
yards behind us.  But we did not, for that would
be deserting our posts.

All these things combined to make it the
most miserable, soul-torturing night we had
ever experienced.  And, to add to it all, our
artillery was in a hollow nearby where the gas
was so thick that it prevented our gunners
from retaliating, making it all take, and no
give.  We all learned that night what it felt
like to long to desert.  We learned that there
are times when a man who is brave enough to
be a coward deserves sympathy.  But, thank
God! there are few such men in our armies.
The brave man and the coward, both, at times,
experience the same sensation of fear, the
coward allowing the emotion to conquer him, while
the brave man grits his teeth and carries on.

For nearly five hours we endured this
misery, wondering when we would have
inhaled enough of the poison to put our names
among the casualties.  One of the strange
things that struck me during that long night
was that I heard no word of censure or
condemnation of the Germans who were the cause
of our suffering.  We cursed war in general;
we cursed Vimy and all that pertained to it;
we cursed the inactivity of our artillery; and
we cursed the gases; but the misery was taken
as one of the fortunes of war, and no one
wasted his breath in vain attempts to beat the
Germans with his mouth--as Lord Roberts
expressed it at the beginning of the conflict.
Often when I am five thousand miles away
from the firing line, sitting, perhaps, in a
smoking-car, and listening to the abuse of our
enemy, I think of this circumstance.

After nearly three hours of the wretched
gassing, I had been lying for some little time
in the upper of two bunks, wearing my mask,
feeling very much smothered, and wondering
if it were pleasanter to die quickly from the gas
or slowly from the mask.  For the masks give
a most uncomfortable feeling of impending
suffocation.  Finally, I decided that I
preferred the gas to the mask.  I pulled it off,
swore softly to myself, and muttered that I
chose a quick death in preference to a slow one.

"Same here, doc," said a jolly voice from
below me.  "I took off my bally mask some
time ago, and have been lying here wondering
how long you were going to endure it."

Looking down I saw the smiling face of
Captain S----, a chaplain, who had been there
the previous day, burying some of our brave
boys who had paid the greatest price that man
can pay.  He was a most courageous chap,
always good-humored under any circumstances,
and the gas had not lessened his courage.  We
joked for a few moments, then we tried,
without success, to argue courage into a little
cockney for whom this was a cruel initiation into
the firing line, and whose "wind was up," as
the boys express it when a man's nerve is about
all gone.  I don't know what happened to the
little cockney in the end, but my last memory
of him was that he was still arguing that this
was no place for a white man, with which
sentiment we all agreed.  Shortly we were glad
to reapply our masks, as the air became almost
thick enough to cut with a knife, and that vise
on our chests kept tightening.

Though the night seemed a thousand years
long, it finally came to an end just as our
nerves were at breaking point.  The gas masks
had been on our faces for the better part of five
hours.  What sighs of relief we gave as those
abominable shells ceased to come over, and in
their place we heard the crump of high
explosive shells!  Dame Nature completed the
blessing by pouring down a drizzling rain which
dissolved the gases and cleared the air, the
rain then lying in opalescent pools in the

How glorious God's fresh air seemed to us
after that atrocious experience!  With what
pleasure we laid aside our masks, though they
had without doubt saved our lives!  How
exquisite to feel that the grains of sand between
our eyelids and eyeballs seemed to be
absorbing!  And what a satisfaction to know that,
despite the agony of it all, we had done our
bit like men; for the greatest gifts that God
can give are those necessary for the playing
of a man's part!

Day was breaking when two runners came
from the officer commanding B Company, to
tell me that he wanted me to come over to the
railway embankment, where his dugout was, to
see a number of his men who were suffering
severely from the gas.  To come for me these
boys had to cross a field for three hundred
yards where the enemy were dropping Jack
Johnsons--immense high explosive shells.  The
boys had nearly been caught by one of them,
and they thought it unwise to recross the
ground just then, as the shells were still
falling.  I leaned against the ruins of this old
stone building, and watched the shells
exploding for some minutes.

Gas attacks have a most depressing and
demoralizing effect on everyone.  I have never
made a trip with as little pleasure as that I felt
at the thought of this one before me.  A medical
officer can, but very rarely does, refuse to
go to cases.  He may insist on having them
brought to him, as there is only one medical
officer to a battalion, and his death may make
it awkward for his unit till he is replaced by
another surgeon from the nearest field ambulance.

However, though there was no let-up to the
shelling, there was no alternative but to go.
So I called the runners and my corporal and
we started over.  Whether it was due to the
depressing effects of the gassing that we had
gone through I know not, but at any rate this
was the only occasion during my service at
the front on which I had a real presentiment
that death was going to meet me.  Distinctly
do I remember expressing to myself the
following inelegant sentence:

"I believe this is the last damn walk that I
am ever going to take!"

But, fortunately, presentiments seldom
materialize.  Our trip across that field was
without even a narrow escape.  The shells obligingly
burst not closer to us than two or three
hundred yards, and we reached B Company
headquarters in safety.  There a number of men
were in rather a bad condition--as a matter
of fact, one was dying--from the effects of
a shell which had struck directly into their
dugout.  It killed one man by impact and gave the
others such a concentrated dose of the gas as
to put them into a dangerous condition.

As a result of this gas attack many of our
men had to go to the hospital, and those of us
who escaped that were depressed for several
days.  Gassing weakens the morale of troops.
Men do not fear to stand up and face an
enemy whom they have a chance of overcoming,
but they do hate dying like so many rats in a
trap, when death is due to a gas against which
they cannot contend except by keeping out
pure air and breathing through masks a
mixture of carbon dioxide, poison gas, and air.

Fighting with gas is cowardly and is against
the rules of civilized warfare.  Only a race
which cares for naught but success, no
matter how attained, would employ it.  True, we
now retaliate in kind, but we should never have
considered this method of warfare as worthy
of civilized man, except in self-defense.  If
you are fighting a wild beast of the jungle,
jungle methods are in order.  I, for one,
believe that retaliation is the only method to
combat an enemy who has shown himself ready
to use any means to attain his end.



When one battalion goes out of the line
it is relieved by another, and no section
or company of a battalion may go from its
point of duty until a corresponding section or
company has relieved it.  Reliefs, except on
very quiet parts of the line, are usually carried
out by night to keep the enemy from being
aware that they are going on.  A severe shelling
during a relief is always more likely to cause
many casualties than at other times.  Battalion
H.Q. goes out last.  As each company or
section is relieved it notifies H.Q., and when all
are relieved, H.Q. takes its departure, having
handed over all necessary documents and
information to the incoming battalion.

Because the human nervous system can
stand only a certain amount of abuse battalions
can be kept in the line only a certain
length of time, which depends upon the
activity upon that front, upon the exposure of the
lines to the enemy, and so the extra nervous
strain, or sometimes upon the urgency of
advance or retreat.  A relief may be very
welcome, or very unwelcome, depending upon the
same things, but also to a certain extent upon
the quality of the dugouts in the lines, and the
kind of accommodation outside.  For, strange
to say, the dugouts in the lines may be
preferable, even with their added danger, because,
on arriving at your rest station, your battalion
may find, instead of the good billets they hoped
for, a few forlorn-looking one-inch board huts,
with only one-half the required accommodation,
the temperature below freezing, and no
stoves; or you may find only tents; or you
may find virgin forest in which you are to
build your own camp, while the rain comes
down with monotonous persistence.

It is midnight in the late winter, and the
adjutant, Major P----, and I are just leaving
H.Q. dugout on our way to reserve billets.
The trenches are very dark, the light from the
stars overhead not reaching to their depths.
We throw down a glare from a flashlight, and
a Tommy's voice angrily cries:

"'Ave a 'eart there, myte; d'ye think ye're
the only man in the army?  Douse the glim."  So
we douse it, and decide that the best way
to keep peace in the army is to pick our way
along.  Gradually our eyes become accustomed
to the dark, and instinctively our feet keep on
the trench mats as we twist and turn along
the trenches.  An occasional flare or star shell
from the front lines aids us for a moment, but
plunges us into deeper darkness afterwards.
Our feet slip on the semi-frozen mud of the
mats, over our heads in both directions shells
sing at intervals, and we hear the pounding
of the guns and bursting shells before and
behind us.  In the quieter moments we can
hear a quarter of a mile away the rattle of
transport wagons on the hard road as they
bring their nightly loads of ammunition and
food to the dump where we are going and
where we expect to find our horses.

We arrive at the dump, and here one might
think he was in the midst of a large city
market just before the dawn.  Limbers, general
service wagons, pack mules and men make a
jumble of hurrying, scurrying workers.  No
lights dare be shown for fear of drawing the
shells of the Germans, who have the range of
this dump and have been shelling it during the
day.  Someone tells us our horses are just
around a bend in the road, and we make our
way there, and find the grooms holding the
animals, which have become cold and restive
with waiting.

Mounting, we start on a five mile ride along
a hard stone road, dodging and picking our
way among transport wagons and foot soldiers
all along it.  The road is bordered with trees
which look like phantoms in the sighing night
breeze.  The stars are twinkling brightly and
peacefully; to our left the big guns flash and
roar and their shells sing overhead, and on
the other side flares are being thrown up by
the battalions in the line.  The north star is
well up to our right, so we are riding due west.

We approach a corner where we turn a little
northward.  Flashing from the window of
a small house on the corner is a light that
should not be there.  The adjutant who is a
strict disciplinarian draws up his horse
opposite the sentry and proceeds to "strafe" him for
negligence.  (How many new words during
the next few years will be the result of the
war!)  We take the road to the right and a
couple of miles in advance we see the dim
shadows of those ancient and architecturally
beautiful towers on the hill of Mont St. Eloy.
The Huns have for some days been trying to
complete their ruin, recently destroying a corner.

At 2 a.m. we arrive at wooden huts just
behind the towers.  Our Colonel, who had
preceded us, with that fine thoughtfulness that
characterized him, had arranged that a battalion
in some adjoining huts supply us with tea and
toast--a banquet after our cold night ride.  By
3 a.m. we are sleeping fast on the floor in our
Wolseley kits, as we are to rise at 6 a.m., for
by 7 a.m. the battalion is to be on the march
to a wood four miles back.  As the camp we
are in was shelled yesterday by the Germans,
causing thirty casualties, we had better get out
of range while we can.

At the appointed hour we are all up, our
kits are rolled and piled on a transport by our
batmen, and a hurried breakfast of bacon,
bread and tea partaken of.  I see a few sick
and send a couple to the field ambulance, the
battalion marches away, the camp is inspected
to see that all is spick and span,--for each
battalion must always leave a clean camp behind
it--and we are on the road to map location
W 17 c 4 9, the only description we have of
our new home.

As we start we pass the bodies of five dead
mules, victims of yesterday's shelling.  The
roads are crowded with soldiers, horses, and
motor transports of all sorts.  It is a bright
cool day--Sunday by the way--and a picturesque
scene meets the eye.  In addition to the
busy, hurrying roadway traffic, the fields show
life of varying forms and pictures of interest
to a seeing eye.  On one side in a field stands
a battalion forming three sides of a square.
The fourth side is filled by the regimental
band playing, "Lead, Kindly Light," the padre
standing beside them.  It is an open air church
service.  As far as the eye can see are military
huts, tents, drilling soldiers, and piles of
ammunition, but in the distance, overtopping
all, is the spire of a church, dumbly supplicating
us to send our thoughts upward to the
Prince of Peace, as everything on earth seems
to tell us to give our minds to the Gods of War.
And sailing high above the church steeple are
two military aeroplanes, like guardian angels
ready to protect their loved ones.  Beyond
them in the dim distance hangs the lazy,
sausage-shaped form of an observation balloon.
Above the earth, on the earth, and under the
earth, one sees war, war, war!

Here and there one passes white limestone
farmhouses of France with red tiled roofs, the
buildings forming a square about the court.
The latter is filled to overflowing with its
ever-present pile of manure, at one side of which
always stands the well, raised, it is true, a little
above the manure dump, but built of brick and
mortar through which in many cases permeate
the fluids from this cesspool in the center.  A
medical friend of mine once told me that the
peasant farmer objects to chloride of lime
being put on the manure, as it gives a disagreeable
taste to the water!

Then as far as the eye can see the fields that
are not employed for military purposes are
tilled and cultivated.  How it is done is
something very difficult to understand, for one never
sees anybody working in them except an aged
man and woman, or a young child.  Those in
the prime of youthful manhood are all
fighting for their adored country, la belle France.
On the corner of one of these cultivated areas
stands one of those small, stone shrines so
common in France.  This one was erected, so it
said in carved letters, in 1816, "to the honor
of his beloved child, Eugenie de Lattre, by her

The date unconsciously carries one back to
the great Napoleon.  If he could rise from
his magnificent tomb in the Invalides and look
about him in the midst of a war which dwarfs
his famous battles into insignificance, what
would his thoughts be?  No longer would he
see his famous guard on prancing steeds and
with flowing plumes charging bristling British
squares, as they did in his last great fight at
Waterloo.  He would find them in somber,
semi-invisible garb, standing shoulder to
shoulder with their one-time hated enemies, the
latter clad in plain khaki, both facing the same
foe, the Prussian, whom he had once humbled
by marching into Berlin, but who had later
helped the British defeat him at Waterloo.
And many he would see groveling in the earth
in trenches, dugouts, and tunnels, like so many
earthworms.  Some few he would discover
who, with the French love of the spectacular,
are sailing thousands of feet in the air, or
leagues under the surface of the sea.

We pass through a village, Camblain
L'Abbé, where we go into the town major's to
inquire about water supplies for our men.  The
town major, a Canadian of fifty, reminds one
of us of an old friend of the same name in
Chicago, one of the many Canadians who has made
good--very good--in the United States.  It
is a brother!

So, it is being continually shown that
this war has made the world an even
smaller place than it was before.  Our
information obtained, we move on to our new camp,
a virgin forest one-half mile above Camblain
L'Abbé, where there is no sign of tent, hut, or
dwelling of any kind.  But the men are
already lolling happily on the bare ground,
ignoring the pounding of our guns a few miles
north and inhaling with anticipatory pleasure
the fragrant odors of stew, steaming in the
Battalion field cookers just below the brow of
the hill.

The busy work of turning an open forest
into a camp to be occupied by one thousand
men for a week or more is already in progress.
The tents have not arrived, but brigade has
promised to get them along shortly.  Plans
are being made as to where each company is
to be, where orderly room will be most
convenient, what is the best position for the
H.Q. and the other officers, where the cook houses,
cookers, water carts, latrines, refuse dumps,
canteen, batmen's quarters, medical inspection
tent, shoemaker, tailor, transport department,
and the hundred and one other departments
and sections are to be located.

You see, it is not as easy as it sounds to take
a thousand men and encamp them in a proper
manner.  Gradually the chaos is subdued, and
as tents and half-built huts come they are
quickly placed in their proper positions.  While
it is all in progress one is likely to stumble over
the Colonel who has stolen half an hour from
his busy work to sit on the ground and eat
some bully beef, biscuits and chocolate, and
who insists on everyone else doing the same;
or to bump into the corpulent form of the
R.S.M.--regimental sergeant major--who is
everywhere, directing everything, in the way
that only a R.S.M. can do, though his
crossest word is usually grumbled through a smiling
ruddy face, for his heart is proportionate to his
large size.

The day advances, night is coming on, and
the tents have arrived only in sufficient
numbers to cover one-third of the officers and men.
Fortunately the sun still shines, though the
March air is getting colder.  A sleep in the
open air promises to require extra blankets
which do not exist in the camp.  However,
everyone smiles, and there is at least a gradually,
though slowly, increasing amount of cover
for the men of the battalion.  Some of the
men, wiser perhaps through previous like
predicaments, are choosing the sheltered side of a
small hill, and are digging shelters for
themselves over which they are putting coverings
of boughs.  As it turns out they are wise, for
in the end only sufficient coverings come for
two-thirds of the battalion, and consequently,
a few officers and quite a few men sleep in the
open with only a blanket and their overcoats
for covering.  And Nature, the deceitful jade,
who had smiled kindly upon us all day and
promised us a dry, though cold, night, about
midnight and for two days succeeding poured
torrents of rain down upon us.

The sick parade grew larger and the ground
became lakes of mud.  The cook-houses--so-called--which
were only fires built in hollows,
had their fires so drowned that we all ate
primitive diet as well as lived most closely to
nature.  Everyone, as usual, had his consolation
in laughing at the discomforts of the others,
till order came out of chaos in the days
that followed.



To anyone who has served any time at the
front the above word will bring back
recollections of various kinds, for dugouts are
of varying types.  The term is employed to
denote any shelter in the neighborhood of the
firing line, from the funk hole which is only a
recess cut into the side of a trench with little
or no shelter above it and none at the entrance,
to the cavity dug down into the ground a
distance varying from ten feet to seventy, and
strengthened by supports of wood, steel, or
concrete.  It is also loosely used to denote
cellars, caves, and shellholes which may be
employed as means of protection from rifle bullet,
shrapnel, or high explosive shell.

It is probably true in dugouts, as in many
of the other necessities of war, that we learned
much from the German, for he was probably
the first to recognize the protection rendered
by a well-built--or, rather, well-dug--reënforced
hole in the ground.  At various times
when we have taken portions of the German
lines we have found well-made homes underground,
with two or more long entrances, one
at either end, so that if one is hit by a shell, the
other affords a means of exit to the inhabitants.

Those we took at Vimy seemed almost free
of rats, which statement could not truthfully
be made of our own dugouts.  I don't know
whether the German has some method of
getting rid of rats, but I do know from practical
and irritating experience that the German
either has no method of freeing his dugouts of
lice, or else thoroughly enjoys the company of
vermin.  None of us who occupied his
underground dwellings, even if only for a few days,
came back free from these annoying and
disgusting companions.  So tenacious and
clinging were they that it took repeated baths and
changes to free us of them.  One might conclude
that they had been treated in a brotherly
way by the Hun.

Of course, as Kelly said, scratching is
common in the best circles out there.  The man
who has to reach over his shoulder in an
attempt to remove an irritation from that almost
unattainable spot between the shoulder blades
is not shunned or looked at askance, but serves
only as a source of amusement to his
companions.  Underwear searching is a common,
very common, form of pastime.  Though you
may have been a very dignified and sensitive
soul, your sensitiveness gradually dulls until
you care not a "hoot" who may see you sitting
in a brilliant sunshine anxiously scanning your
clothes; or rising at midnight from a
much-troubled sleep and by dim candle light
beginning the often well-rewarded inspection.

So far as the ordinary Tommy is concerned,
he ignores not only his acquaintances but the
world in general.  There he sits in his bare
pelt and performs a massacre which in numbers
dwarfs almost to infinity the killings of the
Armenians by the Turks.  In the town of
Vimy I one time passed a jocular, though
profitable, hour at this occupation while I sat
on the floor of the cellar of an old brewery
with a Scotch padre on one side of me, and a
Nova Scotia major on the other, all absorbed
in the same intense search, while above our
heads the shells every little while hit the fallen
walls of our shelter.  And through the
thin-walled partition that separated us from our
soldier-servants we heard propounded a most
momentous question which showed us that they
too were employing their time to advantage.
The question was:--

"Say, Kelly, what the h---- will all the lice
do for a living after the war?"  And for once
Kelly was floored.

Often dugouts are but shelters dug into the
wall of a trench, a thin sheet-iron roof put on
top, and two or three layers of sandbags on
top of that.  This gives protection against
bullets, shrapnel, or bits of shell, but a straight
hit from a medium-sized shell would go right
through.  And yet it is strange how seldom
these are hit direct, considering their large
numbers.  This may in part account for one's
feeling of relative security while in them, but
this feeling is no doubt also partly due to our
resemblance to the ostrich which hides its head
to avoid danger.  Be this as it may, many a
good night's sleep have I passed in shelters
such as this, with shells bursting within one
hundred yards at frequent intervals during the
night.  During the month previous to the
Battle of Arras my orderlies and I lived in an
abode of this nature most of the time, only 500
yards from our front line trenches.  Shells
continually fell well within the hundred yard
radius of it--as a matter of fact, shortly
afterwards this dugout was completely blown
in--yet no one worried in the least about it.  This
is not told as a strange experience, for all
officers who have served at the front have often
lived in the same surroundings.  This experience
is related only to illustrate one type of
protective shelter.

Deep dugouts vary in depth anywhere from
ten to forty or fifty feet in cases where the
soldier has had to do all the digging, but in some
cases where limestone quarrying has been
extensively carried on there have often been
found, ready to hand, caves, sixty to one
hundred feet in depth, such as the famous Zivy
cave, opposite Mt. St. Eloy.  There are many
of them about this region, some of which, as
the one mentioned, are large enough to give
shelter to 1000 men.  Usually there is a
circular airshaft in the center.  This shaft in
Zivy cave was the target for months for
German gunners, as they had occupied this region,
and knew it well.  In fact the story is told
that in this cave, or one of the others near
about, 800 Germans were gassed and killed by
the French when they retook this ground.
How much truth is in the story it is difficult to
say.  But at any rate, all through the hard,
cold winter of 1916-17 the Canadians who were
holding this front found good protection and
some warmth in this cave for many of their
men, though at all times the air in it had a
grayish tinge, as the ventilation was hardly

On one occasion at 11 p.m. Colonel J----
and the writer found Zivy cave as welcome a
sight as ever struck the eye of man.  Coming
into the trenches, we stumbled into a heavy
Hun artillery barrage.  After a number of
close shaves, in two of which we were buried in
mud from the exploding shell, we were heavily
dragging our feet through the thick mud of
Guillermot trench when a shell struck full in
the trench twenty feet in front of us, nearly
bursting our ear drums.  We pressed closely
against the wall of the trench, awaiting the
next.  It came almost immediately, landing
thirty feet behind us,--bracketing us.

"The next will get us, sir," I said.

"Not on your life, doctor," cheerfully
replied Colonel J----.  And he was right, for a
few moments later we were stumbling into the
entrance of Zivy cave, and that slimy, dark,
four-foot opening was more welcome to us
than would be today the spacious rotunda of
the Savoy.  I always admired the Colonel's
cheerful confidence, but, as Kelly well said,
"Confidence is a foine thing, but it raly has
very little affict in stoppin' a Hun shell that's
comin' yer way."  This, the Colonel unfortunately
found out in the Battle of Arras.

From one of these deep caves on the Vimy
front previous to the battle of Easter Monday,
tunnels miles in length, electric lighted, were
built, leading to different headquarters, aid
posts, ambulance depots, and to various points
in No Man's Land.  They were of inestimable
service when the day of battle arrived.  No
doubt they will be among the show-places of
France to encourage tourist traffic after the

The entrance to deep dugouts is usually
only high enough to go through in a stooped
position; and in this case the easiest way to
enter them is to back down.  After some
practice one gets accustomed to this manner of
progression, and it becomes easy--as if our
bodies had reverted to the days of our
cave-dwelling ancestry to accompany the turning
back of civilization's clock.  The two entrances
preferably point away from the enemy lines,
but in case of advance the enemy dugouts may
be taken over in spite of the fact that their
entrances seem to invite a shell to enter.  And,
rather strangely, shells rarely seem to make a
straight hit on an entrance.

Cellars are quite often utilized as shelters
where a little village has become incorporated
in the lines.  They often make comparatively
luxurious places of residence for officers and
men, as luxury goes in these parts.  The fallen
brick walls, in addition to the cellar roof, give
fair protection, though a straight hit by a
shell would mean a good chance of death to
those within.  As breweries are usually the
most palatial buildings in French towns, they
are often chosen as headquarters, or as dressing
stations either for field ambulances or
regimental aid posts.  A brewery at Aix Noulette
which, not excepting the church, was the only
building not destroyed by shell fire, for many
months served as a most complete advanced
dressing station.  The rats were plentiful, as
they are in most dugouts, and often their little
beady eyes would stare in a startled manner at
one's flashlight, and their bodies remain in a
sort of hypnotized immobility.  But this brewery
gave shelter to thirty or forty patients, and
was exceedingly useful, till one day a selfish
artillery officer came along and placed a
battery of heavies just behind it to draw German
fire on the brewery.  This is a disagreeable
habit of the artillery, to choose hitherto safe
locations and to turn them into uninhabitable
ones, to the disgust of those about.

One cellar dugout in Calonne is worthy of
description.  It was in the cellar of what had
been a large residence.  We used it as a
regimental aid post, and it was by far the most
luxurious that I have had the pleasure of
seeing.  In the room of the cellar occupied by
the M.O. the walls had been papered, a
fireplace installed, and it contained two
comfortable beds, arm chairs, two carved oak-framed
mirrors, and a well-tuned piano with a stool.
This was only four hundred yards from the
front line.  Often as the shells dropped all
about us a group of officers sat there in the
warm glow of a coal fire--the coal probably
filched by our batmen from the fosse nearby--while
someone of a musical turn played the
piano, and the others sang such classical ditties
as, Annie Laurie, When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,
and Another Little Drink Wouldn't Do
Us Any Harm.

One morning, after a night of jollity such
as this during which the shelling had been fairly
heavy, one of the orderlies found a "dud" in
the next cellar which, had it exploded, would
have jolted the piano a bit!  An engineering
officer mentioned to me that he had been
passing the previous night, and could not believe
his ears when he heard the singing and the
piano accompaniment.  Could he be blamed?

I hasten to add that this was the only dugout
in which such luxury as this existed, or
anything approaching to it.  This cellar had one
other advantage.  It still had enough of the
walls and roof standing to allow us in spare
moments to look through the holes made by
shells and see what was happening in No
Man's Land.  And on one occasion the writer
stood up there and watched every detail of one
of the most successful raids ever put on by a
battalion on the British front.

It was a cold winter's day, and the ground
had a complete covering of snow.  Just at
daybreak a box barrage was put on a part of
the German line on our front.  Our men
climbed out of the trenches, and apparently at
their leisure went across to the German lines.
One of the men carried a telephone with wire
coiled about it which he unrolled as he went,
and Major R----, M.C., telephoned back to
H.Q. in our lines that all was proceeding well.
They returned with one hundred prisoners,
at that time a record number for a raid.  The
boy, aged twenty, who had carried the
telephone coolly rewound his wire, and brought
phone and wire back with him, getting a bullet
in the thigh, but finishing his work, and later
receiving a military medal for his conduct.  I
was called down from this interesting sight to
dress him and some others of our wounded, as
well as many German wounded who were
brought in prisoners.

For those who are unacquainted with barrages,
it may be explained that a box barrage
is a heavy shelling put on the enemy lines in
the form of a box, taking in the front line and
some of the supports in such a manner that
those within it cannot get back and reinforcements
are unable to come up from the rear.
The enemy are then dependent upon shell, and
machine-gun, and trench mortar fire in retaliating.

We obtain the identification of the troops
opposite by the prisoners taken, as well as
getting from them in different ways information
useful to us and detrimental to the enemy.  Of
course the enemy employs like methods, but
during the winter of 1916-17 on our different
fronts we positively owned No Man's Land.



The handling of the sick is not so easy a
matter as the caring for the wounded in
the lines, for the reason that it is not what
disease the man has that the medical officer must
decide as much as whether he has any disease,
or has simply joined the Independent Workers
of the World.  In other words, is he really
ill, or is he just suffering from ennui, has he
at last become so "fed up" with it all that he
has decided to go sick, running the gauntlet of
an irate M.O. with the hope of receiving a few
hours or days of rest at the transport or in the
hospital?  It may be a lucky father who knows
his own son, but it is a fortunate medical
officer who knows his own battalion.  If he does
it is fortunate for the M.O., for it makes his
toils lighter.  But it may not be so fortunate
for the poor devil who has just decided that
once again he will endeavor to "put it over"
the doctor.  For the latter gets to know the
regular parader, and meets him with a
suspicious look of recognition.

"Well, Jones, and what is it this time?"
asks the M. O. in tones so cold that the
poor victim can almost taste Pill No. 9, or
Castor Oil as he listens.  If he is not ill, but is
simply sick and tired of the mud, dirt, rats,
lice, discipline, and discomfort--as we all get
at times--he will have to tax his ingenuity and
his acting ability to convince the doctor that
his pains in his legs and back are real, not
imaginary; or that his right knee is swollen, when
the practised eye of the physician says it is not.
If he is an old soldier and knows the game
well, he may get away with it, sometimes with
the tacit consent of a sympathetic medical officer.

Tommy is not the only one who endeavors
at times to get out of the lines with imaginary
ills.  His officers, and some medical officers for
the matter of that, occasionally set him the
example.  It is very human on occasions to long
for comfort instead of discomfort; cleanliness
in place of dirt; a decent, white-sheeted bed in
exchange for a hard, uncomfortable, and
possibly vermin-infested bunk; and to wish to
indulge in peace, quietness, rest, safety, and
civilization after the noise, fatigue, dangers, and
barbarism that give truth to the saying that
war is hell.  But the officer gets the same
treatment as does his men.  On one occasion I saw
a colonel removed from an ambulance to make
room for a badly wounded Tommy.

And it may safely be said that if the ordinary
soldier hates the sick parade, his abhorrence
of it is mild in comparison to that felt
for it by the battalion representative of the
Army Medical Corps.  It is a thorn in his side
that makes itself felt daily.  And the reason
is that he is between three fires,--the Assistant
Director of Medical Services who expects a
low sick rate in the different units; the
battalion and company commanders who expect the
men on parade, which means fit and on duty,
while at the same time insisting, quite rightly,
that the men get every attention at the hands
of the medical department; and a certain small
percentage of the men for whom the novelty
and glamour of the war has worn off and who
have become tired of the food, and find the
work arduous and monotonous.  It is this
small percentage of the men--not large in
numbers, but present in most units--who
make the work difficult, for they begin to
wonder how they can escape the working parties
or the dangers and hardships of the trenches,
and if by any chance they have varicose veins,
flat feet, rheumatism, short sight, or any of the
thousand and one ills that man is heir to, they
immediately begin "swinging the lead," as the
boys call malingering.  In the Royal Army
Medical Corps they call it "scrimshanking."

The M.O. is not popular with leadswingers
or scrimshankers.  A witty Tommy once said
that all you can get from an officer of the
medical department is a pill number nine--made
up mostly of calomel--"an' if 'e hain't got a
pill nine 'e'll give ye a four an' a five."

No doubt the man who "swings the lead" is
to be sympathized with at times.  Often he is
given work to do almost beyond human endurance,
his dugout may be a mudhole, his clothes
soaking from a downpour of rain, his rations
short, and, finally, perhaps the rum ration, the
one cheery thing on a dark day, is missing.
He has done his bit anyway--or thinks he has--and
his only possible relief is to say that he
is too ill to go on the next day.  Occasionally,
he has an attack of what a sharp little French
Canadian sergeant called frigidity of the feet,
and he dreads his next tour in the front line.
At any rate, for one cause or another, he
decides to go before the M.O.  And many funny
stories are told of the attempts made by men
to get a few days' "excuse duty," which means
a few days with nothing to do.  Two men are
overheard at the following conversation:

"Say, Bill, what are you goin' to tell the
croaker?"--a common name for a stern M.O.

"Oh, I've got bad rheumatic pains in my back."

"The devil you have; that's what I had.
Well, I'll go strong on diarrhea."

Each tells his story.  It depends on how sick
they appear or how often they have been
before his medical majesty in the past as to the
result.  The latter at least may work a day
off, at the expense of a nauseating dose of
castor oil, taken at once, and some lead and
opium pills, consigned to the gutter as soon as
the sick man is out of sight.  The former
probably gets M.&D., that is medicine and duty,
which translated means, carry on, with perhaps
a good rubbing of his back with a strong liniment.

My corporal told me a story of two men who
opened a can of bully beef and for four days
left it standing on the parapet during hot
weather.  Then they ate it with the hope of
getting ptomaine poisoning.

Another chap is said to have feigned insanity
by giving all his attention to snatching up
every bit of paper he could find in the trenches
or out of them, and studiously endeavoring to
make the bits of paper into some important
document.  He carried out this apparently
foolish search so long that at last he was
pronounced insane and given his discharge from
the forces.  On receiving his discharge papers
he studied them carefully as he walked away.
Another soldier heard him murmur:

"Why, that's the paper I have been searching
for all the time."

Deafness is one of the commonest complaints
of a soldier who is scrimshanking.  The soldier
tells the M.O. that for some months past his
hearing has been lessening and that at last he
is so deaf that he cannot carry on.  He claims
that while on sentry duty or "standing to" in
the front line he has already nearly shot one
officer and three different men because he
could not hear them giving him the password.
The M.O. in a loud voice questions him as to
his name, place of birth, age, and so on, and
so on, keeping his face straight and his lips
hidden, to avoid allowing the soldier, if really
deaf, to read his lips.  Gradually the voice of
the officer is lowered, and the man who at first
had difficulty hearing his loud tones,
unconsciously, if faking, answers the lowered voice
till he is answering to a voice that is almost a

Then comes suddenly a change in the manner
of the "croaker."  He becomes stern and
rebukes the man, ordering him forth to do his
duty like the other men of his battalion, and
not ever again to dare to come on parade with
a plea of deafness, under a threat of marking
him plain "DUTY," which means criming and
a likelihood of twenty-eight days first field

Looking backward one can think of many
amusing incidents in which some chap tried to
get out of the lines, and perhaps succeeded in
so doing, by an imaginary ill.  A soldier named
Jones who had not been long in the lines
became a regular caller upon me.  As usual at
first every consideration was shown to him,
but as his face appeared and reappeared
almost daily, and as the said face was suffused
with the glow of health, his form of the
robust type, and his complaints always
functional--that is, consisting of symptoms only,
with no _signs_ of a real disease to cause them--I
began to feel certain that he was a
"lead-swinger."  On his first call or two he had been
"excused duty," but as my suspicions grew
firmer that he was simply shifting his work
onto the shoulders of some other poor Tommy,
my manner toward him grew rather reserved,
and finally antagonistic.

About this time he came to see me at one of
my daily morning sick parades.  He tried to
look as ill and dejected as his very healthy
appearance would permit.

"Well, Jones, what is the trouble this time?"
I asked harshly when his turn came.

"I can't swallow, sir.  I can't get any food
down my throat.  I don't know what's the
matter, sir, but I had this happen to me ten
years ago, and I nearly died.  I was in the
hospital for three months."

"How long since you have swallowed any
food, Jones?"

"Well, I managed to get down a little, night
before last, but not a bite since then, not a bite.
And I'm feeling awful weak.  I don't think I
could carry on long like this.  But of course
I'll do my best, sir."

"Yes, I suppose so, Jones," I answered,
feeling certain that he was lying.  "Of course
a few days without food really does most of
us good.  A friend of mine regularly goes a
week on nothing but water whenever he feels
a bit 'livery,' as the English say.  And then
you remember there was a man once who went
forty days fasting.  He became quite famous.
So another day or two won't hurt you, Jones.
However, if it went too long it might become
serious.  So I want you to report back here
tomorrow morning, sure, if you have not
succeeded in swallowing by that time.  I have in
my panier a stomach tube, and we'll pass it
down through your esophagus and open it
up.  It's a very tender passage," I continued
without smiling, "and you must expect severe
pain from the passing of the tube; unfortunately
we have nothing to deaden the pain, but
you can stand it if you make up your mind to
do so.  Now you do your best to swallow like
a good fellow, and I think you will succeed,
but be sure to come back tomorrow if you
don't.  That'll do, Jones.  Next."

As a matter of fact I had no stomach or
esophageal tube, but I was just trying out a
little Christian Science treatment, for, as
Dooley says, if the Christian Scientists had a little
more science and the medical men a little more
Christianity it would not matter much which
you called in, so long as you had a good nurse.
And the moral treatment proved effective in
this case, for Jones did not come back next
day; nor did we see him again till nearly a
week had passed when he came in on parade

"What's doing this time, Jones?  Can't
swallow again?"

"Oh, no, sir.  I got my swallowing back all
right."  I could hardly resist the temptation
to smile.  "But since then I vomit all my food.
Haven't kept a thing on my stomach since I
saw you, sir.  I saw your man, Kelly, the other
day, and he was so unkind as to tell me that I
had better take something with claws in it.  He
seemed to think I was swinging the lead, and
I'm a sick man, sir," with an injured air which,
however, did not take any of the healthy red
from his cheek.  I stepped outside and asked
the corporal in charge of the sick from his
company what diet Jones was able to eat.

"Diet!  He don't eat no diet, sir.  He eats
every darn thing in sight and looks for more,"
was the sneering reply.

"I thought so.  Now, Jones," I said sternly,
"if you come on sick parade again, when you
are not sick I'm going to put in a crime charge
against you for malingering.  Now, get out."

And he got out, and that was the last time
I saw him on sick parade.

The chaps who fake are nearly always new
arrivals in the line.  One such came hopping
into my dugout in the middle of the night,
with his boot, sock, and puttee, off one foot
which he carefully kept off the ground.  He
said he had been blown up by a shell and
buried, severely injuring the foot he had bared.
I examined the foot tenderly and found a
swelling half the size of an egg just over the
inner side of the ankle.  He howled with pain
when I touched it, so my examination was
rather cursory--that is hurried.  Without
diagnosing the condition, I swabbed it with
iodine, merely to do something, and applied a
dressing, telling my assistant to make out a
hospital entry card for him.  After leaving him
to go back to my bunk, for I was tired, I
happened to glance around and saw a broad grin
on his face.  Stepping back I took off the
dressing, and carefully examined the swelling
notwithstanding his protest that it was very
painful.  I found then that it was simply a
fatty tumor--an excess, but harmless, growth
of fat in a localized area--which had probably
been there for years.  He then admitted the
fact that the swelling had been there for years,
but of course still claimed that he had hurt his
ankle a few minutes before.  As it showed no
sign of it, he went back to duty!

Every medical officer has many such incidents
after a few months of service.  They often
add a bit of humor to a dull business.
Rather strangely, the parades are always
larger out of the lines than in them, for the
vast majority of the men hold it as a point of
honor to stick it out, no matter how rough it
may be, while in the line.  But as soon as the
battalion gets out of the line and hard training,
route marches, equipment cleaning and inspection
begin, the parades increase in size.  Often
the men hope that they will be given excuse
duty, which means that they have nothing to
do for that day.  Or, should the parade be held
at a late hour, some few of them prefer to
stand about the M.O.'s tent awaiting their
turn, to doing some drill or route march.  The
sick parade is held daily at a fixed hour, and
as a rule the earlier the parade the smaller the
number who come.  If it is held before all
other parades, only the really ill come, for the
others would but add to their daily number of
parades if they came pretending to be ill.

A medical friend of mine had an interesting
way of keeping down the numbers at his
parade.  He was a young man with a ministerial
air, wore eyeglasses, and was apparently very
serious, though underneath the outer covering
was a rich vein of humor.  When his numbers
grew too large to suit him, in other words
when fifty to one hundred came, to practically
all he gave an ounce of castor oil, to be taken in
his presence.  One day the colonel came to him
and said that he had had some complaints from
the men that the only thing they got from the
M.O. for all complaints was castor oil.  The
medical officer's face remained long and
serious, and looking at the colonel over his
spectacles, he said:

"Well, do you know, my dear colonel, that
castor oil is a wonderful remedy, marvelous,
almost miraculous.  Can you believe it on my
sick parade a week ago today there were
seventy-five sick who came.  I have given them
nothing but castor oil, and so many are cured
that today only seventeen came to see me.  It's
really an astonishing remedy.  Wouldn't you
like to take an ounce of it, sir?"

"No, damn you, I wouldn't," roared the
colonel, as he made his exit.

I was sitting in his tent one day when a
lieutenant came in to see him, saying that ten
years before he had broken his clavicle--"collar
bone,"--and that over the old fracture he
was having so much pain at times that he
feared he would have to get a month off.

"Ah, yes, my dear Mr. Blank.  Would you
kindly divest yourself of your clothes till I
examine the shoulder?" and the half of his
face on my side screwed itself up into an
exaggerated wink, which meant to me that he
considered that this officer was trying to "put
one over."  He probably knew him!

When the officer had stripped, Capt. Smith
asked him to show the exact spot of tenderness,
and the lieutenant put his finger with
exactitude on a certain point.  Captain Smith
touched the spot with his fingers, the officer
exclaiming, "Oh, that hurts, doc," and
drawing back in pain.

"Ah, yes, I'm sorry, but I'll be careful,
Mr. Blank," and he examined gently the shoulder,
arm and chest, but always finished the
examination by pushing in fairly hard with his
finger and saying, "Now that's where it hurts,
Mr. Blank?"  And Mr. Blank would each
time cringe with the pain of the touch.  He
repeated this again and again, but I noticed
that each time he came back to the tender spot
he chose a point an inch or so from that which
he had chosen the last time.  Finally he had
poor Blank saying, "Yes, that's the spot,"
when the spot touched was nearly six inches
from the original sensitive point.  At last the
doctor said, very seriously:

"Yes, yes, Mr. Blank, that painful condition
must be attended to.  It is a strange
condition, don't you know, for as I go on examining
it, the tenderness shifts about a great deal,
and I feel sure that with a little rubbing it
may be driven out altogether.  Now this liniment
is the very thing, the very thing.  Yes,
yes, twice daily, night and morning.  Good
afternoon, my dear Blank.  Don't fail to come
back if it troubles you any more;" and Blank
went out looking a bit sheepish, while the
doctor turned to me again with his face wearing
that exaggerated wink.  Then he continued,
as if he were just carrying on an interrupted
conversation, "You know, Manion, some of
these officers are exceedingly troublesome,
exceedingly so, when they happen to swing the
lead, for one must appear to have the greatest
consideration for them.  Now I have one
extremely interesting case of laryngitis in one
of the officers.  It goes every now and then to
the extent of complete loss of voice.  Troublesome
condition, for he cannot give his orders
to his men, and to hurry him back into
condition I have sent him twice to the hospital.
Now, though this officer's courage is absolutely
unquestioned, I find myself at times wondering
if it may not be just that general fed-up
feeling that we all get rather than laryngitis
that affects him.  Captain Thompson is a great
friend of mine which makes it all the more
difficult, but you know, my dear chap, really it's
so easy to quit speaking aloud, and just whisper
instead.  I wonder does he talk in his
sleep?  By Jove, that would be interesting.  I
must make inquiries.

"But," he continued, "I told him off a bit
a couple of nights ago.  One of our companies
was putting on a raid at daybreak, and the
officer in charge of the raid is not overburdened
with nerve.  One-half hour before the raid he
started to groan, when we were all in
headquarters dugout together, and said he had a
very severe pain in his stomach or bowels.
Though I doubted the pain, I examined him
carefully, and finding no real cause for it I
allowed him to carry on, and, to do him justice,
he went over the top like a man and did his bit
in the raid as well as anyone could have done.

"But just after I had examined him Thompson
stepped up familiarly to me and said: 'Do
you really think, Smith, that So-and-so did
have a pain?'  'Damn you, Thompson,' I
replied, 'what right have you to ask me such a
question?'  'Oh, come now, Smith, really, do
you think he _did_ have a pain?'  'Well, frankly,
Thompson,' I answered, in a low, confidential
tone, 'I am losing so much of my faith in
humanity, don't you know, that I find myself
doubting if you have any laryngitis when you
lose your voice!'  And with a good-natured
burst of laughter he left me.  But I somehow
feel that he won't have laryngitis again for
some time!

"But honestly, Manion, my great surprise
always has been, and still is, not that so many
try to get out of the line, but that in spite of
the dangers and hardships 95 per cent. of
officers and men do their hard, dangerous,
trying jobs with a smile and without complaint.
How very little cowardice there is in the

And anyone who has served out there must
agree with that opinion, particularly when he
remembers the great numbers who have
remained at home, facing no guns, braving no
dangers, enduring no hardships.  The above
stories are told to illustrate the humorous side
of the life; for all praise and gratitude is due
to the men who have served out there in the
noble cause of the allies.  If at times some
officer or man gets tired of the mud, rain, lice,
shells, dirt, and dangers that he is daily
encountering, and tries to get a few days in
civilized surroundings, he is but showing a very
human side to his nature.

[Illustration: Diagram Showing Route of Wounded
from Firing Line to Base Hospitals.]



The method of caring for the wounded
at the front depends a great deal upon
whether a battalion is holding a set of trenches
on a standing front, or advancing, either in a
big push, or in a raid.  The medical officer to a
fighting battalion is the member of the Army
Medical Corps who is closer to the firing line
than any of the other officers of that corps in
the whole theater of war.  He is served by the
nearest field ambulance, whose stretcher
bearers not only evacuate the wounded from his
R.A.P.--regimental aid post--but also keep
him supplied with medicines, dressings, splints,
and other medical and surgical necessities.
His food is sent up with that of the remainder
of his battalion from his own battalion transport.

The field ambulance evacuates the severe
cases to the nearest C.C.S.--casualty clearing
station--which is the closest hospital to the
lines.  It is at the C.C.S. that the necessary
operations are performed.  Here the real
surgical work of the medical corps begins, for up to
that station it is much a matter of first aid.
From the casualty clearing station cases that
look as if they will require protracted attention
are transferred to ambulance trains, which
convey the cases fifty, sixty, or more miles to the
base hospitals at the rear, perhaps about
Boulogne, Havre and other towns reasonably well
out of danger.  And from these hospitals the
wounded or sick may be transferred again, this
time to hospital ships which cross the channel
to one of our channel ports.  At these points
they are once more put aboard ambulance
trains and distributed to hospitals in London,
Manchester, Canterbury, Edinburgh or any
of the other large hospital centers.

Suppose that a battalion is holding a part
of the entrenched front, roughly one thousand
yards square.  The medical officer always
travels with his battalion.  In an area such as this
his R.A.P. would be in a dugout somewhere
in the vicinity of the one which is used as
headquarters for the battalion.  A medical officer's
position is toward the rear of his battalion
whether the men are on the march, in an
advance, or holding the lines, for the reason that
the wounded and sick are naturally sent toward
the rear.  Very commonly the R.A.P. is about
half way from the rear support trench to the
firing line.

The dugout of the M.O. is generally of the
superficial variety.  It has a roof made up of
two or three layers of bags of sand piled on
top of a layer of boards, just sufficient to give
one a feeling of security in a most insecure
position.  A straight hit from a shell on the roof
of this type of dugout means that a new medical
officer will be required for that battalion
at once.  I have a vivid recollection of my
first experience in such a dugout, long before
I had become accustomed to living in them by
the week.  It was on a fairly active front near
Bully Grenay.  I had been sent from a field
ambulance to relieve the regular M.O. while
he took a well earned leave.  His palatial
residence was only about two hundred yards from
the front line, its ceiling was less than six feet
from the floor, for my head hit it whenever I
stood up, and the rain which poured for days
trickled down our necks as it filtered through
the roof in many places.  The shells kept
dropping most annoyingly that first day, hitting
everywhere except exactly on the center of
the roof, and I knew it was only a matter of
minutes till one landed there.  Then to add to
my uneasiness the sergeant lit a fire with wet
wood which made a black smoke that poured
from the bit of tin which was used for a pipe
in the roof.  This was the finishing touch, for
I felt certain that every gunner on that front
was using that smoke for a target.  Turning
to the sergeant, I asked with as cool a manner
as I could command:

"How close do those shells have to come before
you would consider it advisable to move out?"

"To move out?  Oh, coming through the
roof, I guess," he answered, with a blank stare.
I did not dare to ask any more questions, but
I thought to myself,--"what a nice, healthy
time to move!"  It took some time for me to
become accustomed to that billet, but out there
one learns to become accustomed to anything.

In front of the Medical Officer are the men
who hold the line.  There are four platoons to
a company, four companies to a battalion; and
with each platoon is one stretcher bearer,
making sixteen bearers to each battalion.  These
stretcher bearers are trained in first aid,
dressings, setting fractures and so forth by the
M.O. of their regiment when they are out at rest
billets behind the lines.  In the lines they
accompany their platoons and companies, and
when the men go over the top in raids and
advances the stretcher bearers go with them,
stopping to dress and care for the wounded
as they cross the battle area.

No finer set of men serve out there than the
stretcher bearers, whether they serve with a
battalion, an ambulance, or any other unit.
Their work is without the stimulation or
excitement the fighting men get, but has the same
dangers and hardships.  They go over the top
as do the others, and it is their duty to carry
wounded with all haste through heavily
bombarded areas.  The fact that, out of thirty-two
stretcher bearers used by me in three days,
thirteen were hit, well illustrates the dangers that
these boys cheerfully go through.  A good
story is told of one of them, a chap who in civil
life had been a "tough" in the slums of one of
our large cities, and who had seen the inside
of a jail more than once, but who as a stretcher
bearer faced coolly, even gayly, any extraordinary
danger to get his wounded to the rear.

He was in charge of a squad for Number
---- Canadian Field Ambulance one day.  He
and his men were taking a stretcher case over a
ridge which was under constant and heavy shell
fire.  Tiring, he commanded his squad to stop
and rest.  They obeyed, but demurred, saying
that it was too dangerous a place to rest.

"Naw," he said, lighting a cigarette after
handing one to the wounded man, "there ain't
no danger.  Sit down an' take it easy."

"But, look here now, Tom," the others
argued, "you may be the first to have one of
those bally shells blow you into Kingdom

"Not--by--one--damsite," he slowly
replied, "I've got a hunch dat I'm goin' to slip
me arm round Lizzie once agen before dey
get me;" and he lay on the ground and thoughtfully
puffed at his cigarette.  So the others
joined him, for their bravery was unquestioned;
and with the philosophy so common out there,
one said,--"Well, I guess we can stand it if
you can."  Tom had puffed at his fag a few
moments with the shells dropping dangerously
near, when, without changing his position, he

"Did you mugs ever hear de story of de two
specials wot met in Lon'on de oder day?
Naw?  Well, I'll tell yez.  Two special
constables met, an' one o' dem had no hat, coat
all torn to rags, bot' eyes black, an' some hair
gone.  'Hello, Brown,' says de oder, 'wot-a-hell's
wrong wid yez?'  An' de first answers:
'Ye know dat purty little Missus Smit wot
lives behind de Lion an' Dragon whose husban's
gone to de front?  Well, he ain't gone!'"

Even the wounded man joined the laugh.
They all finished their smoke without even
glancing in the direction of the shells bursting
nearby, when the stretcher was picked up and
carried safely to the rear.  His officers all say
that they would as quickly trust Tom in a
ticklish job as any other man in the world.  But
he is just an example of the thousands of loyal,
life-risking stretcher bearers--some, like Tom,
rough, uneducated, uncouth; many others with
the culture acquired in college halls and
drawing rooms--who are daily and nightly giving
of their blood and their service to the men in
the lines.

These bearers wear a red cross on the arm,
are non-combatant troops and carry no rifles.
Each two of them carry a stretcher, and all of
them carry a little haversack slung over the
shoulder and filled with large and small
surgical dressings, bandages, scissors, splints, and
perhaps a bottle of iodine.  Being non-combatant
troops they are supposed to be allowed to
carry out their work in comparative safety, but
they really run the same risks as the combatants.
This is to be expected in severe actions,
for a machine-gunner or artilleryman cannot
even try to avoid the stretcher bearers when
they are mixed up, as they always are, with
the fighting troops.

But, at any rate, the Germans get the reputation
of caring as little for red crosses or white
flags as they do for scraps of paper.  One
afternoon I stood in a trench one-quarter mile
from Willerval which was held by our troops,
and in the ruins of which there was an advanced
dressing station of a field ambulance.  For
some reason two ambulances came over the
crest of Vimy Ridge in broad daylight, in
plain view of the Germans, and ran rapidly
down into Willerval.  They arrived without
mishap, but one-half hour later I saw them
start back over the ridge a few minutes apart.
The first one had got one-half way up the steep
side of the ridge when a heavy German shell
lit thirty feet behind it.  And then shell after
shell dropped behind it all the way up the
steep slope.  Fortunately the gunner's aim was
short, for the car disappeared from view over
the crest.  Then the second car made the trip,
the German shells falling behind it just as they
had with the first one.  They both got out in
safety, but no thanks were due to the Huns
who had done their best to get them with heavy
shells.  That was one instance in which I saw
the Germans shell two ambulances which could
not have been mistaken for any other type of

Suppose a soldier is hit by a piece of shell
or sniper's bullet while he is in a trench which
his battalion is holding.  He is first attended
by the stretcher bearer nearest to him at the
time, who should use the man's own aseptic
dressing which each soldier is compelled to
carry in the lining of his coat or tunic.  The
injured man is then taken to the dugout of the
M.O., if necessary on a stretcher, where the
M.O. rearranges the dressing, gives a dose of
morphine if pain is severe, and after seeing that
all hemorrhage is stopped and the man is
comfortable, he hands the case over to the field
ambulance stretcher bearers who always serve him
and live in an adjoining dugout.  This squad
carries the case back--through the trenches if
there is no hurry, but overland if haste is
important--to the advanced dressing station of
the field ambulance.  If this should be a
particularly hard trip it may be done in relays.
For there relay post dugouts are established
with other bearer squads.

The A.D.S. is usually situated a mile or so
in the rear of the trenches, preferably in a large
cellar, but at any rate in a fairly well sheltered
area where cots are ready to receive fifty or
more patients.  At the A.D.S. one or two of
the medical officers of the field ambulance are
stationed with a large staff of men.  The
patient is here made comfortable; given coffee or
cocoa; name, number and battalion recorded;
and finally he is inoculated with anti-tetanic
serum.  This has practically wiped out tetanus,
or lock-jaw, which was very prevalent at the
beginning of the war.  He is kept here till a
convenient time, which may be after dark,
when he and any others who may have come
in are put into ambulances and taken to the
M.D.S.--main dressing station--of the field
ambulance, another two or three miles behind.
The M.D.S. may be in some old château, or
in a group of huts, or, if the weather is mild,
in tents.  Here a light case, or slightly
wounded man, may be kept for a few days and then
sent back to the line or to a rest station to
recover his stamina and quiet his nerves.  But
if the case should be a serious one, such as a
shattered leg or arm or a large flesh wound
that will take a considerable time to heal, he is
again transferred by ambulance to the
C.C.S.--Casualty Clearing Station--another two to
four miles back.

The C.C.S., usually in huts or tents, is the
first real hospital behind the firing zone.  It
may have accommodation for a couple of
hundred patients; is supplied with X-Ray
equipment, a well-arranged operating room with
expert surgical assistance, and is the nearest place
to the line that trained nurses are sent.  Here
for the first time since he left the line the
patient gets all those little motherly attentions
that only a woman can give.  The injured man
may be kept here days, weeks, or even months
if he happens to be a case that would be
endangered by moving.  All immediately
necessary operations are at once performed, and
often a seriously wounded man from the firing
line may be lying anesthetized on the operating
table of a C.C.S., being operated upon by
expert surgeons within two or three hours of
receiving his injury--practically as good
attention as this type of injury would receive in
civil life.

This is particularly the case where a man has
been wounded in the abdomen, from which
wound he may quickly develop peritonitis and
reach the valley of the shadow of death in a
few hours if prompt attention is not given.  It
is also done in cases of head or lung injuries,
or in any wound causing uncontrollable
hemorrhage.  In any of these emergencies, after
the M.O. in the line has given all immediately
necessary attention, the patient is ticketed
SERIOUS by him, and he is rushed with all
speed to the A.D.S., perhaps at great personal
risk to the stretcher bearers.  Here he is
quickly transferred to an ambulance which may have
to rush him over heavily shelled roads, missing
the main dressing station altogether, and taking
him direct to the C.C.S. for his life-saving

After varying periods in the C.C.S. the
patients are sent by ambulance trains, which run
almost to their doors, to base hospitals at the
rear.  From here they are re-transferred to
hospital centers in England and Scotland.

So much for the methods used in caring for
the wounded in the lines during stationary
periods.  The same principles and methods are
employed during big advances, but of course
on a larger and more thorough scale.  All the
arrangements are made during the weeks
preceding a push; extra stretcher bearers are
trained; the field ambulances increase their
staffs, particularly just behind the firing lines,
in order that the field may be cleared of wounded
at the first lull in the fighting.  The whole
intricate system is so complete and so well
arranged that hundreds of cases may be rushed
through in a few hours, some of them being
comfortably in bed in English hospitals the
evening of the day on which they received their

It must be remembered that in actions of a
severe nature, such as great advances, the first
object of the advancing troops is to obtain
their objective and to hold it.  Therefore care
of the wounded may not be possible till the
action is over.  But during these hours the
wounded are by no means without attention.
It is here that the battalion stretcher bearers
do their finest and most self-sacrificing work.
They go over the top with the fighting troops,
and as the men are hit it is their duty to give
them first aid, while the fight still goes on, with
machine-gun bullets whistling by their ears and
shells bursting all about them.  Their duty it
is, and nobly they perform it, to dress the
wounded, stop bleeding if possible, and
temporarily set fractures.  Then they place the
wounded men in the most protected side of a
shellhole, or in any other sheltered spot, and
pass on to the next needy one, after placing
any bit of available rag on a stick or old bayonet
to attract the attention of the field clearing
parties who come over that area.  In the
meantime the wounded who can walk--walking
cases--make their way to the point at which
the M.O. is caring for the injured.  After
getting the required attention, they walk on back
to the A.D.S. of the field ambulance.

At the first lull in the fighting it is the duty
of the medical officer to see to the clearing of
the field of those wounded who cannot walk.
Any men going to the rear for supplies, and
any German prisoners, are commandeered by
the M.O. as stretcher parties.  In big actions
his own trained stretcher bearers are employed
only as dressers.  In the battle of Vimy Ridge
which began at 5:30 a.m., it was twelve hours
later ere all the wounded on our front were
evacuated to the field ambulances.  That was
quick work when one considers that some
battalions, including my own, had 35 per cent. of
their men hit.  One hundred German prisoners
were sent up under escort to act as stretcher
bearers, and gradually the field was cleared.

The only difference between the handling of
the wounded during actions and during
stationary warfare is the fact that in the former
more unavoidable congestion takes place,
though this is prevented as far as possible in
the forward areas by rushing the cases to the
rear or to England.  In big actions, where
many wounded are expected, this is always

After hospital treatment in England or
Scotland the men are sent to convalescent
homes in Ramsgate, Herne Bay, Whitstable,
Sturry, Brighton, or any of the hundred and
one other points that are suitable in the
British Isles.  Later these men are sent before
medical boards which decide as to their
disposal thereafter.  They may be sent directly
back to duty; to prolonged rest; to have some
weeks, P.T.--physical training--which is not
popular with the men, but is often needed; or,
they may be marked P.B.--permanent base
duty--which means that they are not fit for
general service, but are able to perform some
duties at the base or at home.  Lastly, they
may be discharged as permanently unfit for
further service, the amount of their pensions
being decided by the pension board.

Until the wounded man reaches the C.C.S. his
wounds are dressed in very rough surroundings,
not the aseptic dressing rooms of peace
times.  Dugouts, cellars or open trenches are
employed for dressing stations.  After the
battle of Vimy Ridge my boys and I dressed our
men for four days in an open, muddy trench,
with the shells dropping about all the time.
Dugouts are simply holes in the ground, and
may be most primitive dressing rooms.  Everyone
knows how aseptic the ordinary cellar could
be made, even with the greatest care on the
part of an M.O.'s assistants.  But our
dressings are folded and wrapped in such a
manner that they can be applied, even though the
dresser's hands are covered with mud, without
the aseptic part of the dressing, which is
applied to the wound, being in any way soiled.
I have given one hundred and fifty inoculations
hypodermically for the prevention of typhoid
in a tent in which the men and myself
stood ankle deep in mud.  Not one case of
infection of the point at which the needle was
inserted occurred.  This illustrates the efficiency
one reaches from being accustomed to working
in filthy surroundings.  Your stretcher bearers
and dressers become as skilled in this art as
yourself, so that the men really get good
attention in spite of the many difficulties in the
way.  Of course, at the C.C.S., which is five to
ten miles from the trenches, the surroundings
are as good as they are in the average city
hospital.  And the base hospitals are often
elaborate in their equipment, though they may be
situated in large tents or newly constructed
wooden huts with stoves to lessen the raw cold
of the French winter weather.  The base hospitals
in England are the highly scientific city
hospitals, simply put under military control.



Something that is noticed by all who
have served at the front is the drollery of
the men in dangerous or uncomfortable
surroundings.  Sometimes it is good-natured,
sometimes ill-tempered and critical, but it is
ever present.  One cannot but believe that the
wag of the company is better than a tonic to
the men, in fact is almost as good a pick-me-up
as the rum ration.  Who has not felt the benefit
of a good laugh?  Who has not seen a well-developed
sense of humor save a difficult situation,
or at least alleviate it?

With Tommy the humor crops out in the
most unexpected situations.  Under circumstances
in which the ordinary man would turn
ghastly pale, Tommy cracks a joke.  Crossing
an open space toward a railway embankment
I was fifty yards or so from a culvert through
which I had intended passing, when a soldier
reached it.  He was carrying a load on his
back, and was sucking on a pipe, his head
bowed in thought.  A whizz bang shrieked by
me, and struck just at the entrance to the
culvert, missing him only by inches.  Fortunately
it banged into the earth four or five feet
beyond his position at the moment, so that the
fragments spread from him, not towards him.
He had escaped death by a hairbreadth.  He
stopped in his path, took his pipe from his
mouth, raised his head and looked with a
surprised air at the hole in the ground made by
the bursting shell.  His only comment was
uttered in a slow voice:

"Well, I'll--be--jiggered!"  And putting
his pipe back into his mouth, he coolly resumed
his walk and his meditation, without altering
his course by one inch.  Thus do men come to
accept narrow escapes from death as a matter
of course, where such escapes are as common as
is plum jam in the rations.


The men are plodding along in thick tenacious
mud, carrying sixty-pound trench mortars,
each foot with its accumulated mud weighing
at least twenty pounds, and feeling as if it
weighed a ton.  They are sweating, and blowing,
and tired.  They halt for a rest and lean
up against the wet, muddy wall of the trench,
carelessly chucking the heavy mortars into the
mud.  Then the wag begins by cursing the
bally war, consigning the officers to perdition,
condemning the food as unfit for "villyuns,"
and wishing the Kaiser "wuz in 'ell."  "And
the blighters hexpect hus to stand an' face the
henemy.  An' ye betcher life we'll do it too,
coz we couldn't run if we want to: we're stuck
in the mud!"  A smile passes along the tired
faces; their rest is over, and more or less
rejuvenated, they take up their burdens and pass


Coming out of the front lines one day when
we were relieved by another battalion, my
corporal and I were going along a support trench
when we came up with some officers of our
battalion who were leaning against the parapet,
waiting for the Germans to let up shelling the
trench twenty-five yards in advance of us.
We joined the other officers, and were soon
joined by about sixty men who were trying to
get out the same way.  The Germans were
persistent, so we all finally turned back to go out
by another trench.  The shells followed us
along the trench, for which reason none of us
slackened our pace.  As we hurried along a
rich Scotch voice said loudly enough for all to

"By G----, these Hun shells are better than
the pipes to make us march."


Passing along a muddy support trench,
returning from a tour of inspection, we came
upon a fatigue or working party of soldiers
digging an ammunition dump.  They were
working on a ridge, and as it was a bright day
they could be seen much of the time by the
German snipers and might at any moment get some
shells or bullets thrown into their midst.  It
was hard, dirty and dangerous work, but
bantering voices reached us:

"What did you do in the great war, papa?"
asks one.

"I dug 'oles, m'son," replies another.

"But that's not as bad as 'avin' 'oles dug in
ye," adds a third.

"You're bally-well right, it's not," says a
fourth.  And the work proceeds.


Humor, of course, is not limited to the ordinary
ranks, O.R.'s as they are called officially.
Our battalion was putting on a big raid, "a
show."  In the end it was carried out very
successfully, but owing to the fact that it was a
daylight raid, and that a smoke barrage was
to be employed, the wind had to be taken into
account, and the raid was put off from time to
time.  Code words had to be arranged to be
telephoned by brigade to the battalion.  Codes
are employed because of the danger of the
Germans picking up the messages by a special
apparatus for that purpose.  An English officer
present at the meeting to discuss plans
suggested the following code which was employed:

If the raid was to be indefinitely postponed
the word _Asquith_ was to be used, meaning,
wait and see.  The word _Haldane_ was
employed with the signification, put off until
tomorrow.  And when it was finally decided to
be put on, _Lloyd George_ was the code word
which meant, to be carried out at once.

Anyone familiar with British politics during
the war will agree that it was rather a neat


And it is said that a French Canadian
commanding officer, in whose battalion a murder
had been committed, had inserted in his orders
of the day the following bit of unconscious humor:

"It is to be regretted that a murder has been
committed in this battalion.  This is the second
murder in our Canadian forces.  It is to be
distinctly understood that this pernicious habit
must cease forthwith."


Many amusing stories are told of the contents
of letters censored at the front.  Usually
all the letters of a company or section are
censored by the officers of the company or section.
One of the best stories was told me by an English
officer.  A Tommy of his section wrote to
his beloved:

"Dear Maggie: I'd a bally sight rather be in
your arms than in this trench with a dead German!"


I sat one evening smoking a cigar with a
Canadian Colonel who was much incensed at
the fact that he had served at Gallipoli where
he caught an infectious diarrhea of which he
nearly died, while in the meantime his other
officers who served no better than he were
decorated and promoted.

"Manion," he said to me in an angry voice,
"I was promised that if I went to the Mediterranean
I would get promotion and any decoration
they could get for me, and the only d----
thing I got was dysentery, and I wouldn't have
got that if my superior officers had had the
giving of it."


A rather good story with a touch of dry
humor provoked by a desire for justice is that
of the lonesome soldier.  One of our Tommies
sent an advertisement to an English daily in
which he hinted, rather than said, that he was
a duty-loving Briton, honorably doing his bit,
and being without friends in the world he
would welcome a correspondence with some
English girl.  He implied that, as the diet was
rough, a few comforts would not go amiss,
signing his advertisement, "H.H., a lonesome
soldier."  He was rewarded by a mail large
enough for Horatio Bottomley, accompanied
by so many parcels that our mail department
had to add another man to its staff to handle
his portion.  Instead of imitating the generosity
of these English girls, and sharing his
ill-gotten gains with his companions, he chose the
selfish part, keeping most of the good things
for himself, giving away only what he had no
possible use for.  And what was still worse,
he started a correspondence with each of the
priceless young things who had offered him
their goods and their friendship.  Had this
been a fair and square correspondence it might
have had nothing to condemn it.  But though
uneducated, he was sly enough to suit his
letters to their recipients.  To one he implied the
possibility of a strong attachment; to another
he was more reserved, speaking only of friendship;
while to a third he would send a warm,
date-making epistle, hinting at cozy hotels;
all according to what he thought their letters
to him showed him of their characters.

This went on for some time, the lonesome
soldier writing many letters daily, all franked
by a kindly government, and all to be censored
by a group of H.Q. officers.  The friendships
he had worked up were getting more friendly,
the intrigues deeper, and the passions warmer,
when Major E---- decided that in fairness to
the young women and in justice to the wily
Tommy he would put an end to this planning
and plotting.  So, in censoring the letters
Major E---- saw that the warm, passionate
letter to "My Beloved Maisie" was, by mistake,
of course, put into the envelope of "Dear Miss
Jones;" Miss Jones' letter put into that of
"Darling Kiddo," and the latter's into "My
Own Emmey's," and so on.  The result was a
rapid cessation of the letters and parcels to
the lonesome soldier, and the straightening out
of what otherwise might have been an
interminable tangle.  To the really lonesome
soldier--and there are such--all consideration is
due, but to such a one as this may justice
arrive swiftly, as it did to him.

Potash is a North American Indian.  He
was chief of his tribe, is very intelligent, well
educated, and the best sharpshooter in his
battalion.  His intelligence is proven by the fact
that he has never indulged in alcoholic drink,
nor has he in any other manner allowed his
close association with us whites of Canada to
deprave him.  In other words, he is a living
refutation of the remark that the only good
Indian is a dead Indian.  If it were not for
the copper tinge to his skin, one would take
him for what he is,--a well-informed, educated
North American.  He is very proud of the
fact that Sir Wilfrid Laurier, when Premier
of Canada, presented to him and his bride at
their wedding a silver tea set.

Being the only Indian in his battalion he is
treated with a good deal of consideration by
all.  Colonel Blank stood chatting to him one
day, the center of a group of officers.

"You are an Indian, Potash.  Tell me why
it is that alcohol has such a bad effect upon
Indians in general."

"You know, Sir," seriously replied Potash,
"that alcohol acts principally on the tissues of
the brain.  And so, the Indians having more
brains than the whites, alcohol has a greater
effect on them."  The colonel and Potash
joined in the general laugh.


Often shells do not explode, and Tommy
calls them "duds," but up to the declaration of
war by the United States in April last, these
duds often got the nickname, "American
shells--too proud to fight."


In the lines one often finds evidence of a
prejudice against officers of the staff--nicknamed
"Brass Hats" by the boys--this prejudice
being due to the fact that Tommy looks
upon staff jobs as being safety-first positions,
and that the man in the line thinks, rightly or
wrongly, that too many young fellows who
should be doing their bit under fire remain at
the rear through family pull or connection.
There is also the impression that many of the
staff only get under fire when they absolutely
have to.  Of course this is a much exaggerated
idea, but that it exists is shown by the
following humorous conversation overheard in the

"Say, Bill, did you hear that peace has been

"Naw; nothin' to it; hot air; no sich luck."

"Sure it has.  Didn't ye see those two Brass
Hats goin' along the trenches just now?"

The Tommies call their helmets "tin hats,"
and on a certain occasion one soldier was heard
to ask another if he thought a tin hat as safe
as a Brass Hat.

Of course in a war such as that of today mistakes
are inevitable at times.  Occasionally
battalions or companies are ordered to accomplish
the impossible.  The Charge of the Light
Brigade has repeated itself more than once, and
the staff get the credit, or discredit, for these
mistakes.  Sometimes it is the orders which
cause the wag of the company to speak of these
officers with his fine contempt.  Everyone has
seen Bairnsfather's picture of a subaltern
under heavy fire in the front line, and at the same
time having to answer a telephone message as
to how many cans of apple jam had been sent
in the rations in the past week.  It seemed, no
doubt, a ridiculous exaggeration, but is no more
ridiculous than an order which came through
one day to test out a certain rat poison, a
sample of which accompanied the order.  The
battalion receiving this command was at the time
holding a very bad bit of line where the
Germans did much sniping and dropping over of
pineapples, rum jars, whizz bangs, and so
forth.  The battalion was to test this poison
with particular reference to the following

1.  Adequacy of eight tins per 1,000 yards
of trench.

2.  Amount of bait consumed.

3.  Number of sick or dead rats seen.

4.  Post-mortem examination of dead rats.

5.  As to diminution of rat population,
"staleness of rat holes might be taken as
corroborative evidence of diminution."

Then followed three foolscap pages of typewritten
directions along this line.  (Foolscap
in the foregoing is not intentionally sarcastic.)

Do you wonder that the men made jokes?
Imagine, if you can, a battalion under very
heavy fire night and day trying to carry out
tests that might easily be carried out behind
the lines as to the efficiency of a rat poison.
Imagine a Medical Officer, while not attending
the wounded or sick, doing post-mortem
examinations of dead rats, or estimating "the
staleness of rat holes," with, perhaps, a
German sniper trying to get a bead on him!

Of course such an order as this, written by
some theorist in a comfortable room two or
three hundred miles from the bursting shells,
would usually be stopped by the practical men
of the staff.  When one has inadvertently
filtered through, as in this case, can those in the
lines be blamed for talking about foolkillers?
As is to be expected, the order was ignored
until the battalion some time later received a
reminder.  They protested that this test was
surrounded by too many difficulties, and were told
to "try it on a small scale."

The gruff voice of the Regimental Sergeant
Major said that he supposed they would send
up "some small scale rats to try it on."  As
they were not forthcoming, that is as far as the
order got.

But though Staff Officers are disliked
almost as much as Medical Officers, Tommy
must bear with them, even if it be with a poorly
disguised sneer of disgust and tolerance; for
an army without a staff would be as incredible
and undesirable as sick and wounded without
attention.  No doubt, in spite of Tommy's
humor and banter, when the truth is told, both of
the above types perform their duties as ably
as they can according to their lights.


While dining with the officers of C Company
one evening, I heard two of that company's
likable young subalterns arguing as to
whether the rum ration, so popular with most
of the men out there on cold winter nights,
would, after the war, conduce to temperance in
the nation.  The argument grew quite hot, as
it often did there, and one of the debaters stuck
his helmet on his head, and strode to the
entrance of the dugout where he turned and
clinched the argument with the sneering remark:

"By gad, Smith, you know less about more
things than any other man I've ever met," then
made a victorious exit.

And speaking of the rum ration, an old soldier
once told me that, being the oldest man in
his platoon, the serving out of the rum usually
fell to his lot, whereupon he always took from
his haversack a little tin vessel which held just
the right amount for each man, thus showing
his absolute fairness and impartiality.  But,
as he poured the liquor into the little cup, he
kept his thumb on the inside, so that at the end
of serving some thirty or forty of his comrades
he had thirty or forty "thumbs" of the beverage
left as his portion--a form of humor, no
doubt, better appreciated by himself than it
would have been by the rest of his platoon, had
they known how absolutely (im-) partial he
always was, to himself.



Practically all men and most
women are brave when the occasion
requires it.  Out there one sees many types of
brave men.  There are few cases of cowardice
in the face of the enemy, though in all the
armies in this great conflict men have been shot
for this crime.  Conscience may make cowards
of us all, but war makes brave men of most of
us.  In this war the pampered few, as well as
those who earned their bread by the sweat of
their brow, have shown a courage unsurpassed
in the so-called chivalrous ages that are gone.

Death-dealing instruments have been multiplied
and refined by the inventive resources of
our times till they have reached a stage of
perfection never even approached in the past.
Aeroplanes, zeppelins, artillery, various types
of trench mortars, mining, machine-guns,
poisonous gases, liquid fire, and the many other
means of killing and disabling our enemies
have rendered this war the most horrible and
terrifying in history.  Yet it is rare at the front
to see officers or men exhibit cowardice.  With
few exceptions all face death in its many forms
with a smile on their lips, bearing at the same
time indescribable hardships of mud, dirt, lice,
work and weather with unbeatable stoicism.
They are always ready to go forward with
their faces to the foe, an irresistible army of
citizen soldiers.  The hardships are often more
trying than the dangers, yet it is always an
inspiration to hear gay peals of laughter at the
discomforts and hardships borne by men
accustomed to all the luxuries of comfortable
homes and beloved families.

Just at dark on a zero-cold winter's
day our battalion arrived at some new frame
huts on the edge of a wood.  The huts had just
been built; they knew not the meaning of
bunks, stoves, or other comforts.  The gray
sky could be seen through many chinks in the
war-contract lumber, and the frozen earth
through cracks in the floor.  After a cold
supper of bully beef, bread, and jam, there lay
down on the bare floor of the H.Q. hut to
sleep as best they could,--the colonel, a
criminal lawyer of Vancouver; the second in
command, a lumber dealer of Ottawa; an attached
major, a lawyer of the same place; the
adjutant, a broker of Montreal; the paymaster, a
banker of Kingston; the signal officer, a bank
clerk of Edmonton; the scout officer, son of a
well-known high court judge of Quebec; and
myself.  Not a complaint was heard, but jokes
were bandied to and fro, and shortly the
regular breathing of some and the snoring of others
testified that man may quickly become
accustomed to strange surroundings.  In the
morning the boots of all were frozen to the floor!

Men are brave because of many motives.
When they are standing shoulder to shoulder
facing an enemy, few of them flinch, no
matter how dark the outlook is at the moment.
Their pride in themselves, their loyalty to their
native land, their love of their comrades, and
their hatred for the enemy combine to prevent
them from allowing fear to conquer them.
Fear, _per se_, is another matter.  Practically
all men experience fear under fire at times, but
they grit their teeth and press on.  The quality
that makes them do this is what we call
courage.  Any man who could look into a hole in
the ground into which you could drop a small
house, and, knowing this hole was made by a
large caliber shell, yet feel no fear on going
through a barrage of such shells, is not a brave
man; he's an imbecile.  As Kelly said:

"A man that's not afeard o' thim shells has
more courage than sinse."

But even outside of that natural fear of
shells there is no doubt that at certain moments
during the multitudinous dangers of war all
men really feel afraid.  It cannot be avoided
if a man sets any value whatever upon his life;
999 out of 1,000 conquer that impulse to fly,
and carry on, the thousandth allows the
impulse to conquer him.  He is thereafter
branded, "coward," unless he retrieves himself later.
Instinctively the brave man is recognized by
his fellowmen.  In a dangerous advance there
are usually a few who drop behind, hide in a
shellhole or dugout till the danger passes or
lessens, and then rejoin their unit, claiming to
have been lost or stunned by a shell.  In this
way they escape being accused of, and perhaps
shot for, desertion.  It may be that these
men are more to be pitied than blamed.  Self
preservation is the first law of nature, but it is
a physical law, and the moral law that man
must not be a coward overrules it.  A few
hours after the advance over Vimy Ridge, my
corporal and I, while dressing wounded on the
field, met a number of stragglers, all going
toward the front lines.  They gave various
excuses for being behind their companies, and
some no doubt told the truth, but it is also
certain that a few had shirked.

There is a legitimate nervousness, named
"shell shock."  The real cases of this condition,
when they are extreme, are sad to see.  An
officer or Tommy, who has previously been an
excellent soldier, suddenly develops "nerves"
to such an extent as to be uncontrollable.  He
trembles violently, his heart may be disorderly
in rhythm, he has a terrified air, the slightest
noise makes him jump and even occasionally
run at top speed to a supposed place of safety.
He is the personification of terror, at times
crying out or weeping like a child.  He is
unfit for duty, and will require rest for an
extended time.  Some cases are not so extreme
as this and may simply display sufficient
nervousness to prevent their going on.

Shell shock is brought about by the effects
of severe shelling; by being buried by an
explosion of shell or mine; or by the killing beside
the sufferer of a companion.  In short, these
cases are due to the subjection of the nervous
system to a strain which it is unable to
withstand, making it collapse instead of resiliency
rebounding.  The extreme cases are pitiable to
observe, and are just as ill as if they were
suffering from insanity, or delirium tremens.  It
is doubtful if the man who has suffered from
a severe attack of this malady is ever again fit
to serve in the firing line.  Only time can tell
whether or not any permanent weakness will
be left in the nervous system as its result.
These are not cases of cowardice, though to a
superficial observer they might appear so.
Some of them six months later, after that full
period of rest and care, still show marked
tremor, a fast or irregular heart, are "jumpy" on
the slightest sharp sound, and are generally
unfit for service.

It is interesting to study the psychology of
the coward, but it is more interesting and
infinitely more inspiring to study that of the
brave man.  Brave men and courageous
women are so common, as this war has amply
proven, that we may find plenty of material for
this study.  The women--God bless them, and
sustain them--have to show more courage than
the men; for they have to endure in patience
the life-sapping tedium of staying at home,
while their loved ones go into danger--and
perhaps to death.  They have not, as their
men have, the variety of change, the interest
of novelty, or the excitement of battle to
sustain them and occupy their minds.  Their duty
is to wait, wait, wait--praying and hoping that
a good and merciful God will spare _their_ loved
ones.  Oh, you wives, and mothers, and
sweethearts, who wait, the world owes to you much
more of honor and thanks than it owes to the
men at the front!  You, in your sublime
unselfishness, prefer to see your beloved
men-folks get the honors and praise, while you are
content and happy to accept the reflected

Every country in the world believes that it
has the fairest women and the bravest men,
and, to make an Irishism, each is right in
believing it.  It is only natural that each country
should have a national pride in the deeds of its
heroes, and this war will give to most countries
enough acts of bravery and of chivalry to
inspire their youth for a few generations.


Capt. Gammil was a handsome, dashing
chap whose love of fine clothes, bright colors,
silk pajamas--which he wore even in the lines,
while the rest of us slept in our uniforms,
according to orders--and immaculate cleanliness,
gained for him the sobriquet, Beau
Brummel.  His farcical gayety was continuous,
and rarely did he appear serious, even
though a serious mien would have been more
appropriate.  His extremes of style made him
a daily cause of humorous remarks on the
part of his comrades; and yet his courage was
unquestioned.  I have seen him coolly walking
along, daintily smoking his special brand of
cigarette, apparently as much at ease as if he
were in his own smoking room, with the shells
at the same time bursting all about him.  Good
stories were told of his careless fearlessness at
the Somme and elsewhere, as he carried out his
duties in tight corners with the _sang-froid_ of
a veteran.  Here was a fellow one would take
to be the lightest of the light, a poseur, a
farceur, a dandy of the ladies, who could be as
gay and light in danger as in London.  He is
the type of chap who was, no doubt, "a sissy"
in the opinion of his fellow-schoolboys, but is
in reality of the stuff that men are made.

Major Billbower, an English bank-clerk
who had lived some years in Canada, was
rather the reverse of the above.  He took life
more seriously, and hardly a day went by that
he did not put into the orderly room a
complaint, great or small, until he got the name,
"the grouser."  Usually his complaints were
on behalf of his men whom he seemed to think
were always getting discriminated against by
someone.  Because he was of the rather
extreme, unmixable, aristocratic type his men
respected him rather than loved him (though he
was a very likable chap to those who really
knew him) but they would unhesitatingly
follow him through hell-fire, for in danger his
handsomely-chiseled features wore a scornful
smile as he strode along, gayly swinging his
cane, with the same air that he had worn in
more peaceful days in Hyde Park.  He had
been decorated for conspicuous bravery, and
well deserved it.  On one occasion a large
caliber dud shell struck in the doorway of a
superficial dugout in which he was writing, and
rolled to his feet.  Without more than a glance
at it, he coolly pushed it to one side with his
foot, and continued writing.

Corporal Pare, a red-headed Irish boy, was
for a long time my sanitary corporal in the
lines and out.  He had been serving in the
lines for sixteen months at the time of which
I write, and was tired of it.  He frankly said
he was afraid to do certain things, but when
ordered to do them, he carried them out
cheerfully and smilingly.  At the Somme he won
great praise as a runner for carrying messages
through heavy barrages, always appearing
terrified at the prospect, but always getting
through.  Many a time inspecting the trenches
with me he would say, respectfully: "Those
pineapples are dropping in just ahead of us,
sir.  Hadn't we better turn back?"  Perhaps
to tease him, I would go on, telling him to
"come along."  "Very good, sir," he would say
with a cheerful smile on his red face, and he
would trudge along like a faithful dog.  He
was "homely" in looks, red-headed, not clever,
and said he was afraid, but no more faithful or
more dependable soldier ever went to the front
than Corporal Pare.

Sergeant Gascrain was a small, shriveled,
sharp-tongued, five-foot-high, French
Canadian who assisted me for some time.  He was
cynical as to the illnesses of the men, and
treated them usually like so many cattle,
believing them all to be malingerers, till one day
I reminded him that a man may often malinger,
but that did not prevent him from occasionally
getting sick.  He apparently did not believe
it, though he often cursed the rheumatism that
afflicted his own joints.  He said they all had
"frigidity of the feet, with a big F."  He was
at times addicted to alcohol and every few
months he lost his stripes because of intoxication.
Then he would labor incessantly till,
by his good work, he won them back again.
And when he did regain them he was as proud
as if he had won his marshal's baton, until the
next occasion when the great god Bacchus put
him back to the ranks with one fell swoop.
With all his faults he had an absolute
disregard of danger.  I sincerely believe that he
thought that if a shell should strike him--well,
so much the worse for the shell.  At the Somme
his cool, courageous work under heavy shell
fire won for him, at the recommendation of a
British colonel who had observed it, the
military medal.  But one deed he performed which
I think deserved more praise than any other.
While working on the field a Lieutenant
Colonel was brought to him on a stretcher.
The Lieutenant Colonel's wound was so slight
as to cause a sneer to hover about the sergeant's
lips as he dressed it.  A stretcher squad
carried the colonel to the rear, and another squad,
under the sergeant's direction, carried a
badly-wounded Tommy.  An ambulance came for
them.  The sergeant had the soldier put in first
and then the colonel.  But the colonel angrily
protested against the Tommy being allowed to
go in the same ambulance with him.

"_Tres bien, monsieur_," replied the sergeant
in his quick, sharp tones, and turning to a
stretcher squad, said, "Remove the officer."  It
was quickly done, the colonel staring in angry
astonishment, the sergeant coolly continuing
his work while the officer awaited the coming
of another ambulance.  In my opinion this act
of an N.C.O. was worthy of a V.C.

Major Peters.--This officer somehow
impressed me as being without any semblance of
nervousness under any conditions.  He was
always an interesting study.  If a shell burst in
our neighborhood, close enough to make most
of us "duck," Pete would go on serenely as
if on church parade.  Rather slow thinking,
he was sure in judgment.  He never made
haste to give his thoughts tongue, "nor any
unproportioned thought his act."  He had a
quiet, dry humor, and generous, kindly nature.
He was invariably late on parade, and
probably improperly dressed.  I have met him on
one occasion wandering aimlessly across an
area looking for his company, which he had
somehow mislaid.  If the orderly room gave
out an order for some return to be made by
company commanders by 8 a.m., his was never
in before 10, and then only after he had been
reminded of the order.  After the Battle of
Arras he forgot altogether to put in his
recommendations for bravery on the part of any of
his men, though by a rush movement he
succeeded in getting them in on time.

But with all these faults he had the respect,
trust and confidence of everyone.  He had
won the M.C. twice for coolness and bravery
in action.  If the holding of the front line was
a particularly risky proposition at any time,
he would probably be the man in charge of the
task.  He was never found wanting when cool,
courageous action was needed, and all knew
it.  Many are the good tales told of him in his
early front line days.  By night he would
quietly wander off over the parapet by
himself, and an hour or so later would come
strolling back, after having had a good look into the
German lines, and perhaps into some of their
dugouts.  In his slow voice he would give any
valuable information, not wasting any words
in doing it.  On one of these trips, as he
stepped back over the parapet he was met by a
senior officer who, knowing his junior's
characteristics, said,--

"Well, Pete, what have you found out this time?"

Pete sat himself down on the firing step of
the trench and gave him all the information
that he had.  Suddenly the senior noticed that
a pool of blood was collecting where Major
Peters sat.

"Are you wounded?" he cried.

"Well, yes," Peters answered slowly, "guess
they got me that time," and he rose and strolled
carelessly along to the R.A.P. where his
wounds were found to be serious enough to put
him out of action for a few weeks.  The
Germans had thrown a bomb at him.

The major loved dearly going into dangerous
zones, just wandering off to see what he
could see.  After we had taken Vimy Ridge,
but not yet progressed beyond it, we had
outposts on the German side of it, looking down
on Vimy and other German positions, 400 or
500 yards away.  A good deal of sniping was
going on against us, as our men were so much
exposed on the side of the hill, where they had
very little protection except an odd shellhole
or a few feet of shallow trench here and there.
Our battalion was holding this line, and I, on
the day Vimy village was taken, April 13th,
had occasion to make a hurried trip along this
whole front, At one spot, where a trench two
feet deep was the only protection from possible
sniping or shell fire, Major Peters stood,
leaning back against the parados, two-thirds of
his body exposed, hands in pockets, gazing
pensively across at the Vimy ruins.

"What are you trying to do?  Get your
bally head blown off?" I demanded.

Without looking around, or otherwise changing
his position, he replied in his slow voice:

"I don't think there's anyone there to blow
my head off."  This shows his judgment, for
he was right, as it proved a little later when
our scout officer, followed by a single platoon,
entered it.  But it showed also his carelessness
as to danger, for at the moment he was
only guessing, or surmising, that there was no
one in Vimy, and at any moment he might have
found it out to his sorrow.

A few minutes after this the accidental
explosion of a Mills bomb killed one man,
wounded two officers severely, and six men
almost as severely, and I was kept busy for some
time attending to them.  Having finished, I
found Major Peters near me, looking longingly
toward Vimy, into the ruins of which
our scout officer, Lieutenant A----; our
O.C. battalion, Major E----; and a platoon in
charge of ever-smiling Lieutenant G---- had
all disappeared.  Major Peters was apparently
impatient to go across, though he had no right
to do so without orders.  Leaving the wounded
to be evacuated by my always trustworthy and
fearless assistants, Corporal H---- and Private
B----, M.M., and their stretcher bearers,
I joined him.  Though I had even less right
to go across than he, we dared each other to
go, and off we went.  An odd shell was falling
about and it was quite characteristic for
Pete to remark, slowly and seriously,--

"I don't mind dodging shells, but I do hate
dodging that damned orderly room of ours."

But he was as joyously gay as if he were a
schoolboy going on some forbidden picnic.

Without encountering a Boche we leisurely
strolled through the ruined and deserted
streets, passing here and there a dead German,
and one Canadian who must have got lost, and
been killed while looking for his own lines.
On the main road was a wagon of heavy shells
with its wheels interlocked with those of
another wagon--both apparently deserted in a
hurry by the fleeing Germans, for an officer's
complete kit lay beside them.  We passed the
station and went on out 500 yards to where
our platoon was "digging in."  We joined
them, and then wandered on for one hundred
yards into what was to be the new No Man's
Land, without ever having encountered a
German.  They had deserted the village by dark,
and had not left even the proverbial corporal's
guard behind.  Guided by the major through
the streets which were now in the shadows of
evening we unerringly found our way back
whence we had come, for he had the path-finding
instincts of the North American Indian.
On arrival we found that, while my absence
had been unnoticed, poor Pete's had been, and
for some minutes in the orderly room he was
in hot water explaining matters.  His
explanations ended, as they usually did, by
being unsatisfactory, and our strict disciplinarian
adjutant, Major P----, turned aside to
hide a smile, and murmur,--

"Poor Pete!  Always in trouble."  No
matter what breach he ever made in the rules,
Peters was always forgiven, for his sterling
worth was too well known to allow anyone in
authority to hold anger against him.

One of the best stories told of him is so droll,
and yet so typical, that it is worth repeating:
He was attending a course of instruction with
a number of other officers on measures to be
taken during a gas attack.  The gas expert
had shown carefully how the gas masks should
be put on quickly and correctly, and the
officers were applying them.  They were
instructed to take off the masks, and to see which
of them could have his on in the shortest time.
To the surprise of all present the slow-moving
major had his mask on before any of the
others.  On inquiring of him how it happened,
he admitted with that humorous dry smile of
his that he had not bothered taking his mask
off after the first trial.


Some twelve years ago when I was studying
in Edinburgh, at Scotland's famous
university, I occupied rooms at the apartment
house of a bonnie little Scotch woman on
Marchmont Road.  Miss Anderson was a
mother to us all.  How well I remember her
smiling, sweet face, above which her white hair
made an appropriate halo, as she came in to
do for us some kindly, thoughtful act.  May
she still be in the land of the living and happy!

In the next suite of rooms lived Jack Cullum
of Regina, Canada, and for the last month
before examinations, the regular lessees of his
rooms having returned, he and I occupied the
same suite.  He was a square-jawed,
firm-mouthed, good-looking chap, with a strong arm
and leg, made strong by breaking bronchos
on the western Canadian ranch where he grew
to manhood and prosperity.  He was blunt,
almost to a fault, but his word was good, his
mind fair, and his manners sociable.  Other
Canadians who were post-graduating there at
the same time will remember many a gay
evening we passed in the old R.B. on Princes
Street, that most magnificent thoroughfare in
Scotland, with the old Castle which saw many
of the happy and unhappy hours of poor Mary
Queen of Scots as a background, Calton Hill
and its unfinished Grecian architecture at one
end, and that fine Gothic monument to Sir
Walter Scott in the center.  In all these jolly
evenings dear old Cullum was foremost in
pay-times and gay-times.

In serious moments and in times of leisure,
however, his mind often carried him back in
happy reminiscence to his homeland where a
pretty Canadian girl, whose photo he carried
and often showed, was anticipating his return.

When the war came Jack was among the
first to come forward.  He went across to
France with a Western Canadian battalion.
In the next year Cullum was decorated for
conspicuous gallantry three times, twice by the
King and once by the French Government
with the Croix de Guerre.  His first act of
bravery was performed when the Huns blew
up a mine in No Man's Land, injuring many
of his battalion.  He, heedless of danger--and
orders--rushed over the top, and attended
his men in plain view of the enemy.  For this
he was given the Military Cross by King
George; and a bar to the M.C. and the French
decoration came later for acts of almost
reckless courage.  He was the first Canadian to
win three decorations, and now he was thought
to bear a charmed life by his comrades.  Shortly
after the last bit of ribbon came to him he
applied for transfer to the fighting forces,
resigning his commission in the medical corps, to
accept a lower rank in the infantry.  And just
following this noble act, while sitting in a mess
hut two miles behind the lines at Noulette
Wood, a stray shell came through the roof,
slightly injuring two other officers, and
mortally wounding Cullum.  His generous soul
displayed itself to the last, for he absolutely
refused to have his wounds dressed until after
the others had been attended to, maintaining
that his injuries were slight.  And the gallant
Cullum died in the ambulance on his way to
the hospital.

But of course they are not all the fine types.
You occasionally meet what the English call
a rotter, but his kind is exceedingly scarce.
After all, the finest type is the ordinary
common soldier, without any special qualifications,
who, day in and day out, night in and night
out, performs the dirty, rough, hard, monotonous,
and often very dangerous, tasks of the
Tommy; who does his duty, grumbling perhaps,
swearing often, but does it without
cowardice, without hope of honor or emolument,
except the honor of doing his duty and doing
it like a man.  When his work is done he comes
back, if still alive and well, to sleep in wet
clothes, on a mud floor, under a leaky roof or
no roof, often hungry, or his appetite satisfied
by bully beef and biscuit.

Yes; with all his swearing, despite any
lead-swinging, the finest type of all, the real hero
of the war, is the ordinary common soldier!



Up to the present the greatest aid given
by the air service to any of the armies
in this war is that of acting as scouts; or, in
other words, the air service supplies the eyes
of the army and navy.

Much is said of the time when thousands of
planes will be used as offensive weapons on a
large scale.  It is quite possible that in the
future this will come to pass; but up to the
present, spasmodic bombardments of fortified
positions by a few planes, and the useless
murder of non-combatants by German zeppelins,
has been the limit of the attacking power of
air fleets.  There are spectacular fights in the
air between airmen of the opposing sides; and,
when one considers the limited perspective of a
man living in a seven-foot ditch, the monotony
of such a life, and man's natural love of
competition, one can easily understand the deep
interest taken in these air duels by the men in
the trenches.

One sometimes sees six or seven battles in
the heavens in one afternoon, and another
dozen machines driven back by shells from our
anti-aircraft guns.  Tennyson's prophetic
words, written long ago in Locksley Hall, are
indeed fulfilled:--

  For I dipped into the future, far as human eye could see,
  Saw the vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be;
  Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
  Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales;
  Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rained
        a ghastly dew
  From the nations' airy navies grappling in the central blue;

Let us hope that after this war for liberty
and freedom has ended in the subjugation of
militarism, his further prophecy in regard to
"the Parliament of man, the Federation of the
world" may also come true.

When airmen fly over their opponent's lines,
they are first met by shells from anti-aircraft
guns and bullets from machine-guns, and
between the two they are often forced to return
to their own side of the lines.  It is a beautiful
picture, on a clear day, to see these machines,
swerving this way and that, diving, ascending,
out of the path of this rain of shot and shell
that greets them, though it rarely brings them
down.  The swaying machine, cutting its way
through the hundreds of white and black puffy
balls, caused by the bursting shells, is a sight
for gods and men; and the men, at least, never
tire of watching it.

A very amusing incident, in this connection,
is told by the officers of a certain Canadian
battalion of infantry.  Their original Lieutenant
Colonel, now a General, came of a well-known
and able, though rather egotistical and
bombastic Canadian family.  When in the
trenches this Lieutenant Colonel always
insisted on being accompanied by his batman or
a special runner whose duty it was to carry a
Ross rifle ready loaded.  When he saw a
German plane soaring over No Man's Land toward
him, anywhere from ten thousand to fifteen
thousand feet in the air, he would cry:--

"Quick, give me that rifle!" and, putting it
to his shoulder, he would pump shot after shot
in the direction of the distant airman.  If the
latter chanced to go back from whence he came,
the Lieutenant Colonel would turn to those
about him with a satisfied and triumphant smile
of self-approbation:--

"Ah, I've turned him back," he would say.

When he learned, as he occasionally did, that
he had been filling the sky with lead in a
mistaken effort to hit one of our own machines,
it worried him not at all, for the knowledge
he had that he had "turned back" hundreds of
Hun planes prevented an occasional slight
mistake from damping the ardor of a spirit such
as his.

When the war is over he may rest assured,
as he no doubt will, that no Canadian, no
Britisher, yes, it might even be written, no
man, had done more in this great war to
accomplish the defeat of the Hun than he!

Very often, while you are looking up at a
shelled aeroplane, the bits of shrapnel and
shell are heard thudding into the earth
all about.  On one occasion my commanding
officer and I lay on the ground in a shower
of this kind, while a short distance away a
soldier of another battalion was severely
wounded by a piece of shell casing.  It is
strange that more men are not hit in this
manner, and the same remark may be made of the
few who are wounded in proportion to the
number of shells poured over in an ordinary

A young airman described his work to me
as "much monotony, and a few damned bad
frights"; and this may be taken as a description
of almost any branch of the service at the
front.  The phrase, "a young airman," is very
appropriate in speaking of most of our heroes
of the air, for they are often only boys of
nineteen or twenty years of age who, with the
recklessness of youth, but the courage of
veterans, risk their valuable young lives in
dangerous reconnaissances or in battling with the
enemy a mile or two in the air.  Strange that
buoyant, happy young fellows like these, with
all their lives before them, should value the
future less than those who have lived more than
half of theirs.  But this is the case; and it is
stated, truly, that the steadiness of nerve of
these heroic youngsters surpasses that of older

One day we relieved the ---- battalion in
the lines, and as the trenches were veritable
mudholes, Major P---- and I took to the
fields and crossed overland to our rear lines,
passing through our long line of Howitzers
and field guns on the way.  As our batteries
were just about to open a heavy strafe on the
enemy, to find out the strength of their
artillery on this front, we sat on the edge of a
shellhole to smoke a cigarette and watch the
effect of the bombardment.  The batteries
near us had eight or ten men to each gun, using
a small derrick to carry into the dark breech
of the gun the heavy shell.  This was pushed
home, and behind it was shoved in the charge
of guncotton.  Then the metal door--for all
the world like the door of a small safe--was
closed and bolted.  The range having been
given from a row of figures called across by an
artillery lieutenant with field glasses, the gun
was brought to the proper level by one man
turning a wheel, while another, gazing through
a clinometer, told when the proper range was
attained.  Another man pulled a string, the
gun belched forth its death-dealing load, and
we watched the shell bursting a mile or two
away over the German lines, with a flash, a
great upheaval of earth, and a cloud of smoke
high in the air.

Presently to our right we heard a machine-gun
playing its rat-a-tat-tat.  Looking up we
saw one of our own planes spitting its stream
of fire at a large, red, German flyer that had
been doing much damage to our machines on
this front for some weeks.  The Hun plane
was above, thus having the advantage.
Suddenly his machine made a nose-dive downward,
like a hawk swooping down on its prey, and as
the German had speed very much in his favor,
he quickly arrived at the position he desired.
His machine-gun poured forth bullets, and to
our horror we saw that the tail of our aeroplane
was cut cleanly off by them, as though by a
huge sword.  The machine, having no guiding
rudder, immediately turned nose downward,
and we sighed sadly and felt sick at heart as
we thought of the gallant young chaps falling
rapidly to their death.

It is always with a sinking feeling that you
watch one of your own machines brought down.
You can't be entirely without pity even for the
enemy under the same conditions.  For when
a man dies in a charge, or even when he is
mortally hit by a sniper's bullet or by a shell,
he is either killed instantly, or he is brought
back on a stretcher with hopes of recovery.  But
when an aviator is ten thousand feet in the air,
carrying on a duel with a foe, it is often only
his machine that is disabled, and while it noses
down the long ten thousand feet, though it is
only a matter of moments, he has time to realize
that death is about to conquer him, and not in
a pleasant manner.

Just before our unfortunate machine in this
fight crashed into the earth one of the
occupants fell or jumped from it.  The other
remained in his seat, facing his quickly-coming
death with the same courage that made him
take the chance.  The tail of the machine,
being the lighter, came down more slowly and
struck the earth not far behind the body to
which it had been attached.

In the meantime the German soared
triumphantly above, but now he circled down,
sailing close to the earth over his fallen
opponents, apparently to see the result of his work.
Then he soared aloft again, as all about him are
fleecy white clouds or puffs of smoke from the
explosions of shells from our anti-aircraft guns
in the neighborhood.  They burst everywhere
except in his quickly-changing path, and he
sailed back over his own lines in safety.

Stretcher bearers hurried forward from a
nearby field ambulance dressing station to find
that the man who had fallen from the machine
was still alive, though probably fatally injured.
He was hurried off to receive attention.  The
other was beneath the machine and beyond
human aid.  As the smashed machine was in
plain view of the Germans it might at any
moment become the target of their artillery,
and the stretcher bearers here, as in all their
work, showed an absolute disregard of personal
danger.  All honor to them!  One-half hour
later, being nearby with my corporal, we
crossed over to the ruined aeroplane.  Already
the Royal Flying Corps had a guard on it to
save it from souvenir hunters, and we were
warned away, but were later allowed to go
around it, and had a good view at close hand
of its tangled mass of wires, machinery, and
armament.  There, with his youthful face
looking up toward his Maker, lay the other
occupant of the plane.  Shortly his loved ones at
home would receive the sad intelligence of the
untimely, but honorable and courageous, death
of this boy who gave up the life he was to
live, the sons he was to father--"his
immortality," to use the words of Rupert Brook--in
order to do his share in holding aloft the
lamp of liberty and freedom.

Sometimes it is difficult to say who has command
of the air at a certain section of the line.
This big red plane, and a few others of its
type, seemed to be speedier than any of ours
on this front; but just as we have gradually
surpassed the German in artillery, in the
morale of our men, in control of No Man's Land,
and in general offensive power, it was only a
matter of a short time till we again took
control of the air on this front, as we have on

The control of the air depends in great part,
not on the courage of the aviators, but on the
efficiency of their machines.  Two days later
I saw this red plane, or one of its type,
daringly fly over our lines, and only about 300 feet
above them--an exceedingly low flight over
enemy lines.  A scouting plane of ours, much
inferior in speed and fighting power, but manned
by some brave boy who cared not for his life
so long as he did his duty, flew straight at the
red machine.

We watched in strained silence, while they
circled about each other, their machine-guns
spitting fire, and once they nearly collided,
head on.  The Hun decided to retreat, and
flew back over his own lines; and our man, or
boy, sailed away in another direction to
continue the observation work he had been doing
when the Hun came.  Had our boy lost, his
would have been just another name added to
the long list of heroes of the Royal Flying
Corps; for his act, in risking his life in
attacking a much speedier and more dangerous
machine than his own, was the act of a noble,
courageous, fearless boy, well worthy of all
praise, and of the finest decoration.  Had he
succeeded in downing his enemy, luck would
have been on his side, for success in fighting in
the air, as in ordinary life, often depends on

Besides the courage displayed by the youthful
members of the air service, they and their
German enemy-rivals usually display toward
each other a chivalry perhaps not equalled in
any other branch of the army.  It is partly
due, no doubt, to the fact that the men who go
into the air service, outside of their courage,
are naturally lovers of the picturesque and
spectacular.  It is also due to the unconscious
admiration one brave man has for another; the
pity which he must feel for a fellowman whom
he may shoot to his death ten thousand feet in
the air; and finally, the knowledge that it is
only a matter of time, if he remains in the
service, till he meets a superior machine, if
not a braver man, who may give him the same
fate.  This feeling does not prevent them
fighting most fiercely, for each knows that while to
the winner may come rewards and decorations,
to the loser comes almost certain death.  But
if by chance they both escape through poor
firing, exhaustion of ammunition, or that great
element, chance, there is little or no personal
hatred, but rather admiration for a brave foe.

The greatest of British airmen, the late
Captain Ball, V.C., D.S.O., told of a contest
in which he and a German both exhausted
their machine-gun ammunition without serious
injury to either; and then, after having done
their best to kill each other, they sailed along
side by side, laughing one at the other, till they
parted company with a friendly wave of the
hand to return to their own lines.

It was not uncommon, in the early part of
the war, when one of our men was brought
down behind the German lines, for the Germans
on the following day to fly over our lines
and to drop a note telling us that Lieutenant
Blank had been killed in a fight on the previous
day, and had been buried behind their trenches
with all military honors.  Needless to say our
airmen displayed the same courtesy toward
their opponents.  The knowledge thus given
often saved that depressing uncertainty on the
part of the missing hero's relations and friends,
which is more disheartening than the knowledge
of his death.

Personal bravery is not the monopoly of any
one nation.  The airmen of our brave French,
Belgian, Italian, or Russian allies require no
praise from my feeble pen; and those of us who
have been out there have seen too many
incidents of the courage of our enemies to belittle
them, and we have no desire to do so.  They
have often been barbarous in their uncalled-for
cruelties and outrageous in their acts, but they
have been sometimes brave, careless of death,
and chivalrous.

On one occasion I saw a German airman fly
so low over our lines from the front to the rear
that we could see him leaning out over the side
and looking down at us in the trenches.  Some
companies of infantry in the front lines raised
their rifles and peppered away at him.  But he
carelessly flew on toward the rear where a
company of pioneers were digging trenches;
and so struck were they at this reckless trick
that they pulled off their helmets, and
swinging them in the air, they cheered him.
Another instance of British--Canadian in this
case--love of any brave act!

The annals of our British air service are so
crowded with tales of heroic deeds that they
seem almost to dwarf the heroism shown in
the infantry, artillery, or naval branches of our
forces.  Many stories worthy of the classic
heroes are yet untold of boys twenty-one or
twenty-two years old who grappled with their
enemies in the clouds with the same undaunted
fearlessness displayed by Horatius at the
bridge in the brave days of old.



Now, the ordinary combatant officer who
perhaps will read these lines may expect
a diatribe against what the boys call, "the
brass-hats," but, if so, he will be grievously
disappointed.  Outside the fact that Staff Officers,
like Medical Officers, are a necessary evil,
the writer has the vivid recollection of one
occasion on which he might have been
court-martialed, and perhaps shot, for _lèse majesté_,
or something akin to it, but for the good humor
of a well-known Brigadier General.  So there
will be no scathing denunciation of Staff Officers here.

At noon I was sitting in a dugout in the
lines when I received an order to immediately
relieve Captain ----, of the --steenth Canadian
Battalion.  The order gave no information
as to the whereabouts of this Battalion,
and as it turned out the order had been wrongly
transmitted, and I had been directed to go to a
Battalion which was not on our front.  However,
I did not know this at the time, and so, I
quickly got my things together, hung my steel
hat, my cap, haversack, pack, overcoat, stick,
and other odds and ends on various parts of
my person,--for an officer, like a private,
seems to be made to hang things upon.

To get out of the lines to where I was to be
met by an ambulance was a long, hard trudge.
The ambulance was over one hour late, and
hours followed in which we searched everywhere
to find a trace of the Battalion.  Night came on
and we were still searching, and as no food
had accompanied us, and a mixture of snow
and rain was falling, I was cold, wet, hungry
and pugnacious, when I entered a Headquarters
in order to try to get some information.
Forgetting I was only a Captain, and stalking
angrily in, I demanded:--

"Where the hell is the --steenth Battalion?"  An
officer rose, came forward and
smilingly asked me what the trouble was.

"I have been hunting for hours," I replied
hotly, not even looking for his rank, "searching
for this bally Battalion, and I'm fed up to
the neck with being pushed around like a
basket of fruit," for I had had many moves recently.

"And a pretty healthy looking basket of
fruit you are, too," he returned with a
good-humored laugh, while he proceeded to put me
on the right track, and at last I noted his rank.
He was the General of my Brigade.  So now
you have the reason that I will say nothing
against Staff Officers.

A story akin to this of an incident that
happened in one of our trenches may be worth
relating, though it has nothing to do with Staff
Officers.  My Colonel who always, even in his
busiest times, had a vivid sense of humor, was
sitting in his dugout when a Tommy's voice
yelled down:--

"Say, Bub, how do we get to the Vistula
railhead from here?"  The Colonel's voice
floated up giving directions.  But the Tommy,
thinking he was talking to another Private,

"Oh, say, Bub, don't be so damned lazy,
come up and show us the way," and the
consternation of the Tommy as the Colonel
good-naturedly came up and showed him the way
was good to look at.

On a drizzling, rainy day when our Battalion
occupied the front lines on part of the
Vimy Ridge, I was standing in front of a
so-called dugout, which consisted of a room about
twelve feet by twelve, in which, through lack of
space, two Medical Officers and their four
Assistants and two batmen, ate, slept, and
attended the wounded and sick.  We were
sheltered from shells by a tin roof, on which
someone had piled two layers of sandbags.

The trenches were of sand with no revetments
of any kind, so that the rain, which had
been pouring for days, washed the earth down
and formed mud to the knees.  Sometimes the
mud was rich and creamy, and, except for the
fact that whoever happened to be in front of
you spattered it in your face, it was easy to get
through.  The other variety of mud was mucilaginous
and tenacious, and in getting through
it one was very likely to lose his
boots--particularly if they were the long rubber
kind--and socks, or to get stuck fast.  There were
many cases where men had to be dug or pulled
out; and not one but many men, and on one
occasion an officer, came into this dugout of
mine during the night in their bare feet.  They
had come for hundreds of yards in some cases
in this manner.

On the day of which I speak I was standing
in the creamy mud half way to my knees
listening to the sharp crack made by bullets
whizzing over head, and to the singing of shells,
by way of a change from the rather poisonous
atmosphere in the dugout, made offensive by
the carbon monoxide from a charcoal fire, when
I heard someone splashing along through the

Looking up, I saw three Staff Officers with
the distinguishing red bands on their caps, for
they were not wearing helmets.  Two of them
wore raincoats, so that their rank could not
be seen; the third wore no overcoat, but an
ordinary officer's uniform with ankle boots and
puttees.  He strode doggedly behind the
others, apparently caring nothing for mud or
rain, and to my surprise he had upon his
breast, though he looked no more than twenty
years of age, the ribbons of a number of decorations.

They stopped just before they came to
where I was.  Taking out a map of these
trenches they and their guide, or runner,
began studying it, while I stood wondering how
a boy of twenty could have won these coveted
decorations, finally deciding that he must be
in the Air Service.  While I was still
wondering he turned to me, and, though he was of
my own rank, he saluted and, with a pleasant
smile, asked me if I could give them any
information as to this front.  I joined them, and
for some time I answered their questions,
which, rather strangely, were in regard to a
cemetery to which Guillemot trench--the one
in which we stood--led on its way to the firing
line 500 yards away.

"After we go there," asked one of the older
officers, "what is the easiest way out?"

I explained that the easiest way was overland
to Neuville St. Vaast, and then down the
road, but as we still heard the bullets passing
a few feet above the parapet it might not
be the safest.  He smiled whimsically, and
said he would personally rather take the risk
than plow through this dreadful mud, but
perhaps they'd better stick to the trenches.  We
chatted a few moments more, and they put
their feet once again to the task of getting them
through the trenches, the rather thin legs of
the young officer pushing him determinedly
along behind the others.

That evening the Colonel informed me that
he had learned at Brigade that my questioner
of the afternoon was the Prince of Wales,
who is Honorary Chairman of a Commission
in charge of British cemeteries in France.  And
this removes, for me at least, the idea which
many of us had that, while the Prince is in
France, he is kept well out of the danger zone.
For on this day he was well up toward the
front lines and under filthy trench conditions
at that.  A Prince with as much red blood in
his veins as he displayed in making that
journey should not have enough blue blood to
prevent his being some day a strong and righteous



On Easter Monday, April 9, 1917,
occurred on the western front the great
push which has been named by the press the
Battle of Arras.  For some days previously our
bombardment of the enemy lines had been
almost continuous, the so-called "drum fire"
which sounded like rolls of thunder.  At times
during the night the rumble would become a
roar, and one of my tent mates would half
awaken, and say:

"Well, they're giving poor Heiny hell
tonight," and the tone would almost imply pity.
A grunt from the rest of us, and then we'd
roll over on our steel-hard cots to try
unsuccessfully to find a soft spot, and shortly the
snores from one of the officers who was
notorious for snoring would drown even the roll of
the guns.

Since the Somme advance in 1916 no great
pushback of the Germans had occurred.  After
all the many and great preparations had been
completed, an attack was now to be made on
a ten-mile front north and south of the ruined
city of Arras by British and Canadian troops.
To the Canadians fell the lot of taking the
famous Vimy Ridge which they, with the
absolutely necessary assistance of almost
unlimited artillery, successfully took, consolidated,
and held, on Easter Monday, April 9.

The argument which sometimes occurs as to
whether the artillery or infantry did the
greater work in the taking of the Ridge is beside
the question; one was as necessary as the
other.  The artillery could have hammered the
Ridge until it became absolutely uninhabitable
by the enemy, but the artillery could not
consolidate and hold the Ridge, which could be
done only by foot-soldiers.  Without the proper
aid being given by artillery, no foot soldiers
in the world, be they ever so valorous, could
have taken this strongly fortified hill.

The taking of this Ridge was considered a
most difficult achievement for the reason that
the French in 1915 nearly captured it, but with
losses estimated unofficially at from 150,000 to
200,000 men.  Anyone who has been in this
neighborhood and has seen the areas dotted
with equipment and bones of killed French
soldiers, and the trenches marked at almost
every turn by little white wooden crosses,
"Erected to an unknown French soldier," by
their British allies, could hardly doubt these
figures.  Then the Allies, after holding the
conquered part of the Ridge for some months,
were pushed off it by the Germans, who
successfully held it till the Battle of Arras.

Before this battle it was said that French and
British were betting odds that the Canadians
would not succeed in this project of taking the
Ridge.  These facts are not given in any spirit
of rivalry or criticism, but only as points of
interest and to give honor where honor is due.
The Canadians certainly can never complain
that they were denied their proper meed of
praise by the British press and public for their
work at Vimy, but neither can it be gainsaid
that they deserved the praise accorded.

The advance was to have taken place much
sooner, but preparations were not complete.
Easter Sunday, then Easter Monday became
the day decided upon, and 5.30 a.m. of that
day was to be the zero hour, or hour of attack.

Promptly at that hour the wonderfully
heavy artillery barrage multiplied one
hundredfold.  Three minutes later the
soldiers began going over the top and following
the barrage.  So complete were the arrangements,
and so successful every move, that
objectives were taken almost to the minute as
planned, and returns coming in to Brigade
H.Q. on the immediate front on which our
battalion attacked were as optimistic as could be
hoped for by the most critical.

A little over one hour after the first wave
of Canadians started across No Man's Land,
our O.C., Lieutenant Colonel J----, with an
orderly room staff, signalers and scouts,
started for the German lines to open a battalion
H.Q. at Ulmer House dugout, about 600
yards behind the trenches which two hours
before this had been the enemy front line.  I
accompanied the party, for I was to establish
a Regimental Aid Post somewhere near the H.Q.

When we stepped out of the tunnel which led
from Zivy cave to the center of No Man's Land,
we had the misfortune to arrive in a sap--a
trench leading toward the Hun lines--which
sap at the moment of our arrival was being
very heavily shelled by German artillery.  As
the sides of the sap were no more than two or
three feet in height, and as the shells were
dropping so close that we were continually in
showers of mud from them, our party became
broken up, leaving the Colonel and five of us

Some two hundred yards on our way
we stopped to rest.  The Colonel and I were
sitting behind a small parapet, our bodies
touching, when a shell dropped beside him,
pieces of it wounding him in five or six places.
He pluckily insisted on going on toward our
goal, but soon fell from exhaustion.  The
problem then was to get him back in safety, for
there had been no cessation in the shelling.
Fortunately this was accomplished with no
other casualties, with great pluck on the
Colonel's part, and some slight assistance on the
part of his companions.

Major P----, M.C., then took charge, and
with most of the original party set out for
Ulmer House.  Our route this time was
slightly altered by dodging the unlucky sap and
going directly overland.  Stepping around
shellholes and keeping well away from a tank
stuck in a mud hole to our right, in order to
avoid the numerous shells that the Germans
were pouring about it, we proceeded on our
trip through the German barrage, which was
somewhat scattered now.

In passing it may be said that on this
immediate front, because of the depth of the mud,
the only assistance given by the five or six tanks
to the troops was that of drawing and localizing
the enemy fire to a certain extent, and so
marking out areas of danger that it were well to
avoid.  None of them got even as far as our
first objective, but remained stuck in the thick
mud till they were dug out by hand.  On hard
ground they are no doubt dangerous weapons
of war, but in this deep mud their only danger
was to their occupants and to those about them.

Our trip across this time was not particularly
eventful.  Veering this way and that to avoid
the most heavily shelled bits of ground,
stepping over corpses of Germans, or, what was
more trying, of our own Canadian boys,
saying a word of comfort to some poor wounded
chaps in shellholes, we gradually and successfully
made our way across the shell-devastated
and conquered territory to Ulmer House.  We
suffered only two slight casualties, a wounded
hand to the assistant adjutant, Lieutenant
C----, and a bruised chest to the signaling
officer, Captain G----.

A couple of hours later the shelling had
ceased so completely that it was comparatively
safe for anyone to wander about the
field which had so recently been the scene
of one of the greatest battles in history.  Here
and there, in shellholes marked by a bit of rag
tied to a stick, we found many of our own boys
and the boys of other Canadian battalions who
needed attention.  Stretcher parties were made
up, generally of German prisoners, and the
wounded were cleared with all possible speed.

One poor young chap we discovered late in
the afternoon in an advanced shellhole, with
his leg badly wounded and broken, he having
lain there from 6.15 in the morning.  Yet he
smiled good-humoredly and thanked us gratefully
for what we did, asking only for a cigarette
after we fixed him up.  Field ambulance
stretcher bearers and German prisoners under
Captain K----, M.C., of No. -- Canadian
Field Ambulance, worked tremendously to
clear the field.  Other working parties were
encountered at different points, all with the same

In our rounds we visited all that remained
of Thelus and saw some of the many captured
guns.  One of the most interesting visits
we made was to a cave at Les Tilleuls, near
Thelus, which was being used as H.Q. for
another battalion as well as H.Q. for C
Company of our own.  Here Lieutenant J----
greeted us warmly but failed to tell us the
details of his own exploit, which has acquired a
fame it well deserves and for which he received
the Military Cross.  Here is the story:

Lieutenant J---- was second in command
of C Company, the C.O. being "Old Pop,"
who was killed early in the fight, the command
of the company devolving upon his subordinate.
He is a boy of twenty-two, a bank clerk in
civil life, as mild, gentle and good natured a
lad as one could find in a day's march.  He
had led his men on till they obtained their
objective, and then he and a corporal who were
scouting about came to this cave with its long,
winding staircase.  They threw down a couple
of Mills bombs, drew their revolvers, and went
down, to be confronted in flickering candle
light by one hundred and five German officers
and men, all armed.

Bluffing that they had a large force
upstairs, they covered and disarmed the 105
Germans, took them prisoners, and, hunting
up an escort for them, sent them to the rear.
Those are the cold, bare, undecorated facts.
And then to complete as pretty a bit of work
as was done at Vimy Ridge, Lieutenant J----
took a German carrier pigeon that he found in
the cave, tied to its leg a message giving the
necessary essentials, and finishing with the
words, "everything bright and cheery," he
freed it.  It found its way to our battalion
H.Q. at Ulmer House, where we had the
pleasure of reading the note!

To stand at the mouth of this cave and look
about on all sides as far as the eye could see,
and to know that all that shell-racked ground
was won in a few hours by the citizen army of
Canada made one feel a legitimate pride in
being a native of that land.  And the stories
which kept dribbling in for days, as we held
the line, of the gallantry of this man or the
nobly inspiring death of that one, were of
deep interest to us all.

Of our own battalion we lost on the 9th, 217
men out of a total of 657, and ten officers--not
counting two who were slightly wounded--out
of twenty-two of us.  Three of our officers
were killed outright: "Old Pop;" Lieutenant
Beechraft, an American lawyer from Michigan,
who often said to me with a confident
smile: "The Germans have not yet made a
shell to get me."  And he was right, poor Tom,
for I saw him lying dead that day on the field
with a German rifle bullet wound in his head.
The third of our officers killed was Major
Hutchins, a man well past fifty, who had
recently joined us and who had taken a
Lieutenant's position of platoon commander in
order to serve at the front.  This was his first
fight, and he was killed by a shell while leading
his platoon across No Man's Land.  All honor
to his gray hairs, and may they ever be an
inspiration to younger men!

One of the best stories of this battle
concerned a Canadian Brigade on our left under
the command of Brigadier General H----.
This brigade on April 9 took all its objectives
except one very difficult hill, No. 140,
nicknamed, because of its shape, the Pimple.  The
General of the division sent word to Brigadier
General H---- that he was going to send in
some British troops to aid him in capturing this
hill.  Brigadier General H---- is a bonnie
fighter, an Anglo-Indian who has been living
some years in British Columbia, and he has
a temper much resembling an Irish terrier's.
He curtly sent back word that his Canadians
needed no assistance.  Knowing him well, the
General of division good-naturedly replied
that if General H---- succeeded in taking this
difficult hill they would give him the title Lord
Pimple.  The next day the division received
the following message:

Have taken, am consolidating, and will hold Hill


The main facts of this story can be verified
in the official records of this division.

I have a vivid recollection of General H---- when
he was Lieutenant Colonel in command
of the --th Canadian Battalion.  I had been
sent there to relieve the regular Medical Officer
who was away on leave in England.  Lieutenant
Colonel H---- was also away on leave
during my first few days' service with his

On a certain day when we were being
relieved from the front line opposite Bully
Grenay I had not yet seen General H----.  On
going out with my orderlies we were to pass
along Damoisette trench, which was one of the
front support trenches, and was an "out"
trench that day.  We found it blocked by
some other officers of our battalion and a
couple of platoons, for this trench was being
heavily shelled just ahead of the block.  We
joined the others and waited some time, when
an officer said:

"By G--, I take enough chances without
waiting here for the Huns to drop those shells
on our heads.  I am going out Caron d'Aix,"
which was an "in" trench that day for this
relief.  But the relief was to have been
completed at 10 a.m., and it was then 10:15, so
we would hardly cause any obstruction.  This
fact, combined with the fact that probably
everyone, as is often the case, was waiting for
someone else to propose going back, made us
all turn about and retrace our steps.  We were
going along Caron d'Aix trench when I heard
an angry voice behind me demanding:

"Doctor, what are you doing in this trench?
Don't you know that this is an 'in' trench?"

I turned and saw a thin-lipped, square-jawed
Lieutenant Colonel who, I guessed at once, was
our returned O.C.  I explained that Damoisette
was being shelled heavily, that relief was
complete, and that only three of the men ahead
were mine.  His face was quite dark and
frowning, and I could see that he was debating as
to whether he should give me a strafing, or pass
it over.  Finally, he said sharply:

"All right; carry on."

That night at Bully I did not look forward
with any great pleasure to my dinner, for I
had heard of his reputation as to temper, and
I expected he would say a few things to me,
though, as Kelly well put it, "it's none of an
officer's business to put his nose against an
advancin' German shell."  But I plucked up
my courage and entered the H.Q. mess room,
to be greeted in a kindly and friendly manner
by Lieutenant Colonel H----.

"How are you, doctor?  I have not had the
pleasure of meeting you before," shaking my hand.

"Pardon me, sir, but you met me in a trench
today where I had no right to be."

"No.  You were quite right to be there.  I
made inquiries, and find you were right.  And
anyway, I had no damned right to be there

In the time that I remained with his
battalion I found him always to be a courteous
gentleman, but with an irascible temper.  One
would not be surprised if, since his becoming
a Brigadier General, his temper is less touchy.
And the incident of the Pimple shows that
he is an efficient officer, well worthy of the land
of his forefathers, and a credit to the country
of his adoption and of his men.



One day toward the end of March, 1917,
our battalion was in reserve in huts and
tents at Bois des Alleux, a mile or so back
of Mt. St. Eloy, so I took advantage of a fine
afternoon to ride about the country.  Making
a detour through fields to avoid being stopped
by some officious transport control, I came to
the Route Nationale running from Bethune
to Arras.

To my surprise it looked like the Strand
on a busy day, for it was full of marching
troops, transport wagons, hurrying motor cars
with staff officers, and double-decked
motor busses painted gray, full of Tommies, gay
and happy, going to a railhead to enjoy a
well-earned leave.  One could not but wonder in
what part of London these motor busses used
to carry their passengers, and think how
strange it was to see them now hurrying along
a French road within shell fire of the Germans.
As I rode along the well-paved route, our
trench lines could be seen in the nearby fields,
and the picturesque towers of Mt. St. Eloy
were on my left, seen through the nets stretched
from tree to tree to hide the traffic from the
watchful eyes of the German observers.

Riding toward Arras, eight kilometers away,
I came up with an English officer riding in the
same direction.  When I joined him he was
at first, as all English officers are, a little loath
to be joined by a stranger, though the latter
wears the same uniform.  But gradually he
thawed and became the likable, courteous chap
that the English officer nearly always becomes
on closer acquaintance.  He informed me that
one required a pass to enter Arras, but as he
had one and was going in to see his commanding
officer, he offered to take me in as the
medical officer of his battalion.  Availing myself
of this brotherly offer, I rode with him along
the net-guarded road till we came to the
outskirts of Arras where a sentry allowed me to
enter with him.  We put up our horses at the
old French cavalry barracks, now occupied by
British--not Canadian--troops, and then we
started out to search for his C.O.

We came first to what was once the
attractive Boulevard Carnot, now "Barbwire
Square," as it was nearly filled with this
material to keep the soldiers out of it to prevent
them from being hit by the German shells
which landed there daily, either from the
enemy lines only 100 yards away, or from hostile
aeroplanes.  The Huns had the range of this
street to a nicety.  As we walked along the
street shells bursting a couple of blocks away
threw pieces of rock so near our heads that we
were glad when we reached the end of it.

We wandered about the streets, deserted by
nearly all civilians except an old man here and
there walking about with bowed head, or an
old woman long past the days of her beauty
being spoiled by the splinters of a shell.
Except in a shop where I coaxed a young woman
to sell me a souvenir spoon, in two hours I
saw only one young woman in the streets.  She
was hurrying along with a parcel under her
arm, paying no heed to the sharp, cutting
explosions of our 18-pounders nearby or to the
explosions of the German shells a few blocks
away.  She looked for all the world like a young
housewife returning home after a morning's

The houses that lined the streets were nearly
all closed.  All of them showed marks of shell
fire, some being completely demolished, others
having only the rear walls standing with parts
of the sides pointing outward like arms
stretching forth for their loved ones.  The
immense station of the Chemin de Fer du Nord
was a mass of ruins.  The stone Cathedral was
represented by the lower part of the tower,
and a brass bell lying on the pavement, the
bell that had in times of peace so often called
the faithful to prayer.  The Avenue Pasteur--France
is a country that recognizes its
scientists--showed few complete buildings, and
ironically one noted the ruin that German
shells had made of the Avenue Strassbourg.

Here and there a stone barricade had been
built, loopholes being left for machine-guns,
to prevent a possible German advance.  Notices
told all to keep near the walls and away
from the open streets to avoid shell fire.
Estaminets, cafés, épiceries, and restaurants were
all damaged and closed.  Joyful nights and
gay days were things of the past in this shadow
of a prosperous city.  _À la mode Parisienne_,
the sign over a ladies' suit store, was all that
remained of the center of fashion of the women
of Arras.

Altogether Arras, which had been a well-built
and modern city of 25,000 people, had
become a deserted village.  What shutters
remained were closed and riddled with shrapnel,
and the place had a sad, forbidding air, as if
the inhabitants had flown because of some
horrible plague.  It reminded one of the ruins of
Pompeii.  In one square stood the pedestal
only of a monument erected, it said, in 1910,
"in honor of the sons of Arras who had died
for their native land."  When the monument
is rebuilt the dead heroes in whose honor it
was erected will have been joined by many

I passed out of the walls, depressed by the
unhappy wreck of a once prosperous city
destroyed by the highly refined methods of
warfare developed by twentieth century German



(Trench Stew)

Usually hunting partridge or grouse
is the pleasure only of those who remain
at home; but one day, while sitting in a
dugout, I enjoyed a wonderful meal.

Our dugout was in a communication trench
some five hundred yards from the front line,
and probably six hundred from the German.
The dugout was one of those steel-roofed
affairs, the roof forming a graceful semicircle
of one-eighth-inch metal, covered with sand a
foot thick, carelessly shoveled on.  My
orderlies were Corporal Roy, a Canadian boy of
twenty; Private Jock whose well-developed
sense of dry Scotch humor showed itself by
his irritating the men about him by any
method of teasing which came easiest, but whose
personal good nature and loyal love of doing
his duty, be it the most arduous and
dangerous, made everyone forgive him any of his
annoying tricks; and my batman, Private
John, a decent, clean and brave Canadian boy
who, by the way, was one of the best men I
ever had to look after my comforts, or lessen
my discomforts, whichever way you choose to
put it.

This fine, cool winter day we had been
standing at the door of our dugout peeping
over a comparatively safe bit of parapet,
watching some of our sixty-pound trench
mortars hurtle through the air and burst in the
German lines.  At last, tiring of the performance,
I went inside and sat down to read one
of Jeffrey Farnol's latest books.  A few
minutes later Roy came hurrying in, grabbed his
rifle, and went racing out again.  Wondering
what was the cause of this strange behavior,
and hearing a shot, I went out.

Turning into the main communication
trench, I was just in time to see Corporal Roy
climbing back over the parapet with a plump,
dead partridge in his hand.  Only those of you
who have been living for some months on army
rations can appreciate the glorious
anticipations which a fat, plump partridge can conjure
up in one's imagination.  His rifle was leaning
against the parados, and Roy explained to us
that he had seen two partridges, but had only
succeeded in getting one.  His impatience
getting the better of his judgment, he did not wait
till dark to go out and get his prize, but went
over the parapet in plain view of German
snipers only six hundred yards away, and
brought in his bag of game.

The partridge was cleaned by John and
Jock and with the addition of a little mutton
and carrots from last night's rations, I made a
stew of it.  All agreed--perhaps my boys
didn't dare to disagree--that it was delicious.

This is the recipe for _Ragoût à la mode de
guerre_: Shoot a partridge over the parapet
on a bright day; take your life in your hands
to go out and get the victim; clean it--but
not too clean; mix with it a little mutton and
carrots; stew it in a canteen or dixie over a
charcoal brazier, with plenty of the penetrating
charcoal fumes entering your lungs; and
perform all these rites in a dugout with enemy
shells popping about in the neighborhood.  If
you have carefully carried out all these
directions, then, being sufficiently hungry, add a
goodly portion of that most savory of
sauces--appetite--to the dish.  I promise you that,
though your tastes are _blasé_ to the last degree,
you will admit that _Ragoût à la mode de
guerre_ makes a meal fit for the discriminating
palate of a king.



Leave is the be-all and end-all of anyone
who has been at the front for any great
time.  It is supposed to come every three
months.  It never does, but you know that if
you stay long enough it will come, for Army
Headquarters, Corps H.Q., Divisional H.Q. and
finally Brigade H.Q. (I don't dare mention
Battalion H.Q.!) "may use all of the
leave some of the time, and some of the leave
all of the time, but they cannot go on using
all of the leave all of the time," to paraphrase
Mr. P. T. Barnum in regard to fooling the

So all you must do is to possess your soul
in patience, avoid getting directly in front of
a shell or bullet, and some day in the dim
and distant future leave will come for you to
expose yourself once again to the temptations
of the World, the Flesh and the Devil in
London; that is, if any of them remain when the
Bishop of London, the Food Controller, the
Anti-Treating Laws, and the Provost Marshal
have done their work.

One day a fellow officer (in this connection
I nearly said sufferer) informs you that his
batman was told by the O.C.'s batman that
he had heard that the Brigadier General was
taking leave the end of the month.  After that
you go on hearing by devious routes that the
Brigade Majors, Captains, and Lieutenants
are going soon, and suddenly you realize that
shortly your own Battalion Headquarters will
find leave filtering through on them.  And
perchance, toward the end of the list, you know
you come somewhere.

It is then you look up your bank account,
if you happen to have any, and you take no
extra chances either with shells or superstitions,
for soldiers are almost as superstitious
as sailors.

You could barely find in the British Armies
ten men who would light three cigarettes
with one match, and that despite the fact that
the match ration is sometimes as absent as
the rum ration.  We none of us are superstitious,
but we adhere to the same platform
as did a very charming Canterbury lady.
Her two sons, as fine chaps as England
produces, were at the front, and as she and I,
walking down St. George's Place, came to
a ladder leaning against the wall of a building,
she carefully walked round the other side of
it, saying:

"You know, Doctor, I am not the faintest
bit superstitious, but I am not taking any
chances these days."  And that is the position
of the Army in the field.  They are not taking
any chances.

Your leave comes one day after many
months beyond the three required of you.  You
start to a railhead where you put up for a
night at an Officers' Club and mingle with the
other happy beings who are leaving for the
same purpose on the nine-mile-per-hour French
train in the morning.  As you sit about after
a dinner that makes your ration meals for the
past six months look literally like "thirty
cents," you light a cigarette, cock up your
heels, and look at the world through a
beaming face, made ruddy by an extra portion of
the grape juice of France, and wearing a smile
that won't come off.

"You going on leave, too?" you ask genially
of your neighbor, a young officer of that
Suicide Club, the Royal Flying Corps.  He is
about twenty-one, and you feel old enough to
almost patronize him.  But before you do it
you glance carefully at his left breast to see
if it is, or is not, covered with D.S.O., M.C.,
and perhaps, V.C., ribbons.  To your relief
you find it isn't.  However, on second thought,
you decide you will keep your patronizing for
the Army Service Corps and not for these
smiling, gay, life-risking, dare-devil boys about

"Y-yes in a w-w-way," the young chap
answers with a charming boyish smile, "sick
leave.  My old b-bus hit the earth s-s-suddenly,
and I'm g-going for a rest.  I d-d-didn't
always talk l-l-like this."  And in an engaging
way he stammers out an invitation for you to
take a Crême de Menthe with him.  Of course,
courtesy compels you, much against your
desire, to accept.  He has with him two others
of the R.F.C., all young like himself, and
for a couple of hours you listen to their
modest tales of their really wonderful exploits,
undreamed of except by the far-seeing few
twenty-five years ago.  One of the others has
a scraped nose, blackened eye and swollen lip,
which he says he received when his "waggon,"
in landing, struck a rough bit of ground which,
"he tried to plow up and he must have hit
the bally gravel underneath."

"W-were you t-t-tight?" asks the first with
that boyish smile.

"Certainly not," indignantly replied the
other, and he laughed.  "Of course, I had had a
couple in the morning, but I had a sleep
afterwards, and anyway, the O.C. smelt my breath,
and he wouldn't have allowed me up if he had
smelt anything."

And you listen with fascination to their
comparisons of their machines and their
methods of diving; and "stalling," in which they
drive up against the wind in such a way that
they can keep stationary in relation to a certain
bit of earth; and "corkscrewing," or nose-diving,
towards the earth with a circular turning
of the whole aeroplane, out of the midst of
enemies, and righting the machine thousands of
feet lower down out of danger.

You become quite an expert as you listen.
They tell you that earlier in the war the
German aviators were very chivalrous foes,
returning courtesy for courtesy, never shooting a
fallen enemy, and dropping notes as to the fate
of some of our missing airmen.  On one
occasion the great German aviator, Immelman, who
remained chivalrous till his death, dropped a
box of cigars on the aerodrome of a great
British pilot, "with the compliments of the German
Air Service."  The following night the Briton
returned the compliment in the same manner.
But now the Germans in the air, as on the sea
and on land, are much less sportsmanlike and
take mean advantages of a fallen foe.

You listen to stories of the great exploits of
Baron Richtofen's "circus," and still greater
of the "circus" of our own Captain Ball--unhappily
since killed--who at times went up in
his pyjamas.  He had a trick of shooting
straight up through the roof of his plane at
an enemy overhead and, fearing that the
enemy might some day try the same trick on him,
he had a machine gun so placed that he could
also shoot through the floor directly
downwards.  Oh, what entrancing, picturesque
stories, beyond the wildest dreams of imagination
two generations ago!

"I always take up with me a goodly supply
of cigarettes in case I have to land where I
can't get any.  Do you?" asks one.

"N-no, I d-d-don't.  That's looking for
t-t-trouble.  I order b-b-breakfast of p-porridge
and cream and b-b-bacon and eggs," smiles our
young stammering friend.  "And then it's all
ready when I c-c-come in."

You listen for hours to these gallant boys
who have all the fine natural courtesy and
modesty of the well-bred English, and the gayety
of a Charles O'Malley.  Unconsciously they
make you feel that you really have seen such
a prosaic side of the war in comparison with
them.  Then, like all good Britons, they for
some time curse the Government, and you aid
and abet them.  The night wears on, the liqueur
bottle runs low, and at last you must say
good-night to these rollicking boys who insist that
you must not fail when you come back to visit
their mess, "for you C-C-Canadians, you know,
are such d-damned fine chaps, and we l-love to
meet you."

The little sin of flattery is so easily
forgiven when it is accompanied by that frank,
fascinating smile, and when you have all been
tasting a drop of good French liqueur.

You wend your way up creaky old stairs
to No. 13, or is it 31, and, luxury of luxuries,
you find a tub of hot water--or it was hot at
the hour for which you ordered it--awaiting
you.  Divesting yourself of your clothes you
double your body this way and that in a vain
endeavor to dip more than half of yourself at once.

At last you feel clean, and you struggle
into pyjamas, and crawl into bed between real,
white, clean linen sheets for the first time in
six months, and you sleep as no emperor can
sleep on the most silken of divans, while you
dream of the morrow when you really begin
your leave.

Leave!  Ah, we were speaking of leave!
Well, let us, you and I, take it together.  Let
us enjoy to the full the flesh-pots of London.
For our leave lasts only ten days, and the war
must go on till we have shown the Hun that
he cannot autocratically put his Prussian
militaristic crown of thorns on the fair brow of



Paris, that queen of cities, has been an
interesting study to all who have paid
her a visit at any time, but particularly
interesting is that study since the war began.

Previous to the war I had the good fortune
to visit this city on a number of occasions, my
last visit having been but a few months before
the beginning of this great militaristic
conflagration which is still sweeping over the
civilized world.  At that time I had just returned
from a "grand tour," taking in Italy, Austria,
and Southern Germany, where no signs were
discernible on the horizon of the stupendous
attempt at world domination which the Prussian
junkers were to engineer within four months'
time.  Paris at that time was enjoying bright
and balmy spring weather; the boulevards were
crowded with visiting tourists, the
Champs-Elysées with gay and merry crowds, and the
Bois de Boulogne with riders and motorists
in its wooded avenues, and rowers and paddlers
on its lakes.  It remained in my memory a
picture of beauty, peace, gayety, and prosperity.

My return to it came within the year, at the
beginning of 1915, when the war cloud that
hung over the whole of Europe particularly
dimmed the sun of Paris.  I came into it in
the afternoon from the north, and my first view
of it showed that beautiful edifice, the Church
of the Sacre Coeur, on the hill of Montmartre
standing out _en silhouette_, "just as if cut from
paper," as a traveling companion remarked.

Since the war began, on one's arrival at his
hotel in Paris he has to give many particulars
of himself not required in peace times.  The
following morning he must call at the nearest
police station and obtain, after many more
questions as to nationality, occupation, and
reasons for being there, a _permis de séjour_--permit
to remain--good for a certain length of
time, at the expiration of which the permit
must be renewed.

On stepping out of my hotel the following
morning to go to the police station, the first
thing that struck my attention was the large
number of women in mourning, though it was
then only a matter of months since the beginning
of hostilities.  The thought that flitted sadly
through my mind was that one-half of the
women of Paris are in mourning now, and ere
long the other half will be.  It must not be
forgotten that the French wear mourning for
relations much more distant than those for
whom we wear it; but even at that the war
must not have gone on many months before a
very large percentage of the French homes had
been touched by the deaths of those near and
dear to them.  For the soil of France was under
the heel of the foreign invader, and there are
no people in the world who love their mother
country with a deeper devotion than the
French.  A very old woman, living away up
in the north of France in a town that was
shelled by the Germans almost daily showed
me her love for la belle France and her hatred
of its enemies in one expressive sentence.  I
had asked her if she did not tire of the
continuous pounding of the guns.

"No, I love them, I love them," she answered
passionately, "for when they cease it means that
the accursed boche is being left alone; but when
they roar, roar, roar, it means that we are
driving him out of our beautiful France."  Her
face showed, as an old woman's wrinkled face
can show so well, her hatred of the Germans.
The soldiers of France by their traditional
gallantry, their superb courage and their
patience, have not only shown their love for their
country, but have been an example of noble
heroism to us all.

One of the next notable changes on the
streets of Paris was the fact that one saw no
young men in civilian clothes.  All were
serving their country in some capacity in the
armies.  The little hotel in the Rue Bergere at
which I was a guest, a hotel of not many more
than one hundred rooms, had given thirty
men--waiters, porters, clerks--to the armies of
France, for it was one of those small, select
hotels that one finds scattered throughout
Europe.  The only male help that remained of
its original staff was the concierge, and he was
a Dutchman from Amsterdam.  The manager,
accountant, and all the other help were women.
No meals were served except a French
déjeuner--so hateful to hungry Anglo-Saxons--of
bread, and tea, coffee, or cocoa.

And the same condition was noticeable all
over the city.  Anyone who has visited this fair
metropolis of France in peace times will
remember the delicious, snow-white bread that is
served with the meals, that French bread with
the crackly brown crust as delicious as pastry.
The first day of my stay I noticed that this
bread was served no longer.  In its place we
were given some of a much inferior quality
and not nearly so white.  When this had
occurred in many different restaurants and
cafés, I asked the reason.

"_Mais, monsieur_," was the reply, accompanied
by that Gallic gesture of helplessness, the
turning upward of the palms, "the good bakers
are all serving with the armies."  Of course,
this reason was enhanced by the conservation
of the wheat which prevented the mixing or
blending of the superior qualities of grains to
produce the high-grade flours used by the good

The streets by day were the same crowded
thoroughfares as of old, except for the black
of those in mourning, the blue-gray of the
military uniforms, and the military cars and Red
Cross ambulances.  The touts who in peace
times had tried to inveigle the tourist into
moving picture houses in which the films had
_not_ been passed by the censor; or who
offered to take him around the forbidden
night-sights for a small honorarium; or who
endeavored to sell him postcards so indecent that the
ordinary man would not accept a fortune and
have them found on his corpse; all these fellows
still plied their trade.  They were not quite
so obtrusive or so numerous as usual, but it
was difficult to cross the Place de l'Opéra
without having one of them step up behind
you and whisper his enterprise, whatever it

The girls of the boulevards were perhaps
even more in evidence than at other times, for
in those early months of the war few chose
to cross the submarine-infested channel, and
still fewer to cross the Atlantic through the
areas laid out by the Huns as danger zones,
unless good cause made them do so.  Paris,
usually the Mecca of tourists from all the
countries of the world, had become instead the
business and military headquarters of France.
And to Paris came, instead of the gay youth
bent on pleasure, the gray youth bent on
business, whose eyes were so busy studying his
engagement book, or reading the market
reports, that they had not time to meet the
roaming glances of the girls of the boulevards.  New
friends were hard to find, for _les riches Américains_
came no more except on business, and the
old friends in the persons of gay Pierre or
gallant Paul were serving in the trenches--perhaps
dead, for news of them came but seldom.
So the girls had plenty of time to promenade
and one found it necessary to keep his
eyes fixed steadily on some imaginary object
straight in front, as he walked down the Boulevard
des Italiens or the Boulevard des Capucines,
to avoid receiving too many inquiring
glances from the boulevardières.  Generally
speaking the annoyances were limited to
glances, as the rules of the city are strict.

One noticeable thing about these women was
the fact that many of them wore black,
probably for two reasons--on the one hand, war
economy, and on the other, to attract sympathy
for real or supposed losses at the front.
Those who were not in black went with the
prevailing styles which seemed to be governed
also by war economy, for less and less materials
were being used in the dresses: the waists
were getting lower, and the skirts higher.  One
would imagine that if this kept on till they
met, some kind of catastrophe would be likely
to happen, even though it were Paris!

At that famous corner of the Café de la
Paix the chairs on the street were well
patronized, though the weather was chilly; and I
found myself wondering if it were the same
crowd who had occupied them a few months
before on my last visit.  No one ever passes
here without taking a seat, unless he is pressed
for time.  Someone has said that if you sit
here long enough you will see everybody in
the world who is anybody in the world pass by.
I took a seat and a cup of coffee and glanced
about me.  It was the usual mixed crowd, with,
perhaps, fewer of those who chase Bacchus and
Venus, and more of those who pursue Mammon.
But, after all, men and women are much
the same the world over, and this was much
the same group of coffee-sipping, liqueur-tasting
people that one finds in the cafés from
4 to 6 p.m. in any of the continental cities
from Paris to Vienna, from Naples to Berlin.
There were a few more men in uniform,
a little less gayety than usual, a trifle more
business talked in one's hearing.  Otherwise,
it was the same group.

A couple of tables from me was a handsome
officer in a French uniform, but plainly, from
his cast of features and his mannerisms, not
a Frenchman.  He wore the ribbon of the
Legion of Honor on his tunic, and he was,
perhaps for this reason, saluted by many of the
officers who passed on the boulevard.  Many
glances of admiration were thrown in his
direction by civilians.  Some of the officers
stopped for a moment and chatted with him.
I watched him for some time, my curiosity
increasing.  He was sitting alone at the moment
when I got up to leave, and I made the excuse
of asking him something about British hospitals.

Apparently glad to hear his own tongue
spoken he welcomed me, and we exchanged
confidences for a few minutes, as strangers
sometimes will when there is something in
common between them.  He was an Australian who
had been in France when the war broke out,
and he had not agreed with England's hesitation
in entering the war by the side of Belgium
and France; so he joined the French

"Oh, yes, that is the Legion of Honor," he
returned smilingly to my remark as to his
decoration.  "A very ordinary bit of work at the
front brought it to me," he continued modestly,
apparently not caring to give details.
Though I was in Paris some time, I did not
come across him again, nor have I ever met
since this Australian lover of freedom.

At that time the women of France were
already doing much of the work usually
performed by men.  This was long before London
had reached the stage that she has attained
today, with women filling such a wide variety
of occupations, so that it was very noticeable in
France at that time.  At the border my goods
had been looked over by women customs
inspectors; women guards in the train had
examined my ticket; and in Paris women were
everywhere, handling the motor buses, conducting
on the tramways, collecting fares on the
Metropolitan, or Underground, and filling the
hundred and one other positions that, since the
war, woman has proved herself so capable of

All the women of the world have proved
themselves heroines in this war, but none more
than the women of France.  At the early stage
of the war of which I am writing, they showed
those characteristics of patience, loyalty, and
nobility of mind which have distinguished them
in the straining times that have come and gone
since then.  They seemed to have become
resigned to all things.  If one spoke to them
petulantly of the raw, cold weather:

"Ah, well," they returned, smiling, "it is the
season, and one must expect bad weather."  Or
you may, perchance, have known some woman
whose son or brother was serving in the lines.
At that time the French Government gave out
but little information as to any of the
happenings at the front, and unless the government
knew positively that a man was killed, no word
of news was sent to the anxious friends.  Often
many weary months of waiting passed without
knowledge on the part of the soldier's nearest
of kin as to his fate.  And if during this time
of waiting you asked this woman whom you
knew for tidings of her loved one, her reply
invariably was:

"No, no.  I have had no news of _mon cher_
Jacques for a long time now.  But I do not
fear," she would continue with a patient smile,
"for the good God will protect him, I am sure.
And if it is necessary, we must give all for our
beloved France."  And it may have been many
more long, long months, and it may have been
never, that she learned the real fate of her
"cher Jacques."

One morning during this visit, as I entered
a car on the subway, a living picture of sorrow
passed in ahead of me.  The picture was made
up of a beautiful young widow, leading tenderly
by the hands her two lovely children, now
fatherless.  Her deep brown eyes looking
sadly out from her pale face saw no one.  Those
eyes were looking into the far-off distance of
the blank and lonely years to come, those years
without hope "for the touch of a vanished hand,
or the sound of a voice that is still."  All
that saved her from black despair was the
knowledge that she had to bear up because of
the helpless children at her side.  But, God!
The pity of the thousands of these lonely
widows!  What a contribution France and her
allies are making to the cause of liberty!



At this period of the war the restaurants
of Paris--and no other city is so famous
for its restaurants--were not appreciably
curtailed in their food supplies.  They still served
the well-seasoned, dainty dishes of the French
chefs, though their clientele was considerably
smaller in numbers.

You could still get a delicious cut off the
joint at Boeuf à la Mode near the Palais
Royal; or you could have a choice of many
luscious dishes at Voison's well-known dining
place.  If you preferred French society, you
could still go to Larue's aristocratic restaurant,
opposite the Madeleine, patronized by the
society of Paris.  Prunier's oyster house was
apparently as busy as it had been in the piping
times of peace and tourists; and the most
deliciously cooked fish in Europe--according to
my taste--was still being served at Marguery's
under the title of _Sole à la Marguery_.

The less pretentious eating places of the
modest diner, such as Duval's dining-rooms
or the Bouillon Boulant, served good meals at
reasonable prices.  These latter are akin to
the Child's restaurants in America.  But
already the food question was beginning to cause
some anxiety throughout the world, because of
the lessened production and increased
consumption due to the millions of men taken
from productive occupations who had to be
kept fit as fighters.

For this reason I decided one day to see how
cheaply I could obtain a satisfying meal
during wartime in Paris.  The Diner de Paris
advertised exceptionally cheap meals, and they
seemed to be well patronized, so I entered one
of these eating places.  The large dining-room
was filled to overflowing with a well-dressed
throng, no doubt mostly clerks from the
adjoining business blocks.  Here I partook of
a tastily cooked meal of soup, roast pork and
potatoes, apple pie, and a bottle of milk, all
for the munificent sum of twenty-six cents,
plus the regulation tip of two cents, most
certainly a reasonable price for a good meal in
the principal city of a country with the
invader on its soil.  Unfortunately since that
time the food situation in all the countries at
war has become much more complicated.

The hotels of the first class still kept open
doors, and a few of them seemed to have an air
of prosperity, but these were very few.  Many
of them who, in the season, considered it
"infra-dig" to have more than a small card in the
hotel columns of the daily papers, which card
never hinted at their prices, had descended to
the habit of advertising "special rates during
the war."  But others still preferred their small,
select clientele--and a deficit--to accepting
prosperity obtained by any such plebeian method.

One point noticeable was the fact that
unless the traveler carried them himself he saw
no gold Louis or half-Louis, so much in
evidence in times of peace.  I had brought with
me some English gold, but once it disappeared
from my hand it never returned.  A journalist
friend of mine told me he was collecting the
equivalent of one hundred dollars in gold to
keep for an emergency, and was delighted
when I gave him a few sovereigns in exchange
for French money.  The gold was being gathered
in by the government, and today in France
only paper money is used in exchange.  All
the smaller cities issue paper currency in
denominations as low as one-quarter franc, or
five cents.

Among my letters was one of introduction
to the director of a large hospital in the Rue
de la Chaise.  This hospital was supported by
funds collected by _La Presse_, a daily journal
of Montreal, and so it was partial to any
Canadian visitors, though it received as patients
only French officers and soldiers.  The institution
was doing much good work, all of which
was done by Paris medical men, Dr. Faure,
a well-known surgeon, performing most of the
operations.  My reception was cordial, and I
became a regular visitor to its operating
theater during my stay in the city.

On one of my early visits I was watching
Dr. Faure remove some dead bone from an old
wound of the leg, when a tall, distinguished
lady entered.  She had donned a sterilized gown
over her street dress, and was apparently a
visitor like myself.  Noting that Dr. Faure's
English and my French were both a trifle
labored, she, during my visits, acted as
interpreter for us, her English having the soft
intonation of the educated Britisher.  She
informed me that she was neither doctor nor
nurse, but was simply learning something of
nursing in order that she could be of service
to her country in its need, though she had a
little son and daughter of her own to care for.
That was the extent of my knowledge of her,
though I saw that she was treated with
more than ordinary consideration by surgeons,
and nurses, one of the younger surgeons,
by the way, being a stepson of the idolized

The last day I visited the hospital she was
not there, and as I was leaving Paris the
following day I left my card for her with one
of the sisters, with a word of thanks scribbled
upon it for her kindness to a stranger.  That
afternoon I went to Cook's to get my railway
tickets, and as I came out of the door this lady
stepped from an automobile to enter Cook's.
Recognizing me, she told me that she had been
at the hospital after I had left, and had been
given my card.  She was leaving the following
day for Switzerland for a two weeks' rest; and
hoped that when I returned to Paris I would
call and meet her husband.

"I should be delighted, madam, but I fear
I do not know your name."

"Comtesse (Countess) de Sonlac," she replied.

All the French women were doing their bit.
A very clever, cultured woman-journalist
whom I met at the home of a high Canadian
official in Paris was leaving in a few days to
take a position as _cook_ on an ambulance train
in the north of France!

At night the streets of Paris were well lit
up, even more brightly than those of London,
though a little later, after the Germans had
made a couple of Zeppelin raids, the lighting
was dimmed.  When a raid was expected the
police warned the people by the blowing of
sirens, and the hurrying about of motor cars
under police direction tooting foghorns.  The
warnings were given when word had been
received that Zeppelins had been seen going
toward Paris; and on receiving these warnings
the street lights were extinguished, and all
other lights that could be seen, including the
headlights of motor cars, had to be switched

The Opera was closed, but most of the theaters
were in full swing, for it had been found
that the people must have some recreation, and
the order issued at the beginning of the war
closing all places of amusement had been
rescinded.  The far-famed and somewhat
notorious Moulin Rouge music hall, well known
to all visitors to Paris, had been burned a short
time before, and had but recently reopened its
doors at the Folies Dramatique in the Place
République.  Wandering one evening along
the boulevards I came to it, and entered.  A
very ordinary vaudeville was in progress,
equaling neither in quality nor in gayety the
performances at the original Red Mill in
Montmartre.  Here and there throughout the
evening skits in English were put on, in
compliment to their British allies; just as French
playlets are common today in the London
theaters--a social touch to the Entente Cordiale.

About ten-thirty I tired of the rather tawdry
performance, and made my exit to find
the streets in pitch black darkness, only broken
here and there by the small side-lights of a
flitting automobile or a dim light far back in
a boulevard café.  A gendarme, with whom I
accidentally collided as I strolled slowly along
the street, told me that a warning had been
sent out that the Zeppelins were coming.  Rain
was pattering on the pavement which glistened
as the automobiles hurried by, and occasionally
searchlights swept overhead, flashing from
l'Étoile.  The people were good naturedly
jostling their way along, and as someone near me
struck a match to help him grope his way, a
giggle was heard and a bright-eyed French girl
pulled herself back from the escort who had
just kissed her.  They apparently were not
worrying about the Zeppelins that were
coming, and so far as I could see neither was
anyone else.  As the people collided in the dark,
jokes and friendly banter were bandied to and
fro.  Someone on the opposite side of the
boulevard knocked something down which hit
the pavement with a crash, and a gay voice

"_C'est un obus!  Les bodies, les boches!_"
(It's a shell!  The boches, the boches!)  And
a roar of laughter greeted the remark.

All took the expected raid as a joke; and yet
a few nights before the Zeppelins had reached
Paris and had done some damage to property
and life by dropping what the Parisians gaily
call "a few visiting cards."  But this attack
reached only the outskirts of the city, though
the inhabitants had no way of knowing that
such would be the case.

The following day I had dinner with some
friends who live on the Champs Elysées, and
the hostess was envying one of her maids who
had had "the good fortune" to be spending the
previous night with her family on the outskirts
of the city, and had seen the Zeppelins!

In the more than two years since that time,
I have been in London during a number of
air raids, some by Zeppelins and others by
aeroplanes.  The last was on July 7, 1917, on
which occasion twenty-two planes sailed over
London, dropping bombs and doing considerable
damage in broad daylight.  The people
of London accepted these raids as spectacles
too precious to miss.  I was writing a letter in
the Overseas Officers' Club in Pall Mall at
the moment when I received my first intimation
that anything out of the ordinary was
happening.  This intimation came to me by my
noticing that everyone in the club, men and
women alike, was rushing into the streets to
see the German planes overhead, surrounded
by the bursting shells of our anti-aircraft guns.
Only in the immediate neighborhood of the
exploding bombs was anything but curiosity
shown by the populace.  The spots where the
bombs struck attracted the curious during the
rest of the daylight hours.

All of which goes to show that human
nature is much the same the world over--except
in Germany, where by some kind of perverted
reasoning the people seem to imagine that
these child-mutilating, women-killing raids
cause widespread terror amongst the English
and French people.  The real result is disgust
for such barbarous methods, hatred against the
Huns who employ them, and a more firm
determination on the part of the allies to
continue the war until the German perpetrators
of these atrocities, realizing the enormity of
their offenses against the laws of civilization
and real culture, decide to honor their treaties,
abide by the laws of nations, and keep faith
with the other people of the world.

On Sunday morning I visited Napoleon's
old church, the Madeleine, noting as I walked
along the streets that any business houses with
German names had an extra allowance of
French and allied flags across their fronts.
These air raids made them nervous!  The
Madeleine was jammed to the doors, many of those
present being, like myself, strangers in the city.
The service was an elaborate high mass, and I
found it high in more ways than one, for four
collections were taken up: the first for the
seats; the second for the clergy; the third for
_les blessés_--the wounded; and the fourth for
the soldiers.  I could not help but think that
they should have taken up a fifth from the
soldiers, the clergy, and the wounded, for the rest
of us, for when I got outside I possessed only
my gloves and a sense of duty well done!

That afternoon I visited the Bois de Boulogne.
Thousands were there.  It might easily
have been a Sunday during any of the
previous forty years of peace.  On superficial
inspection one could not see any sign of the
injury done to the trees due to many of them
being cut down at the beginning of the war in
preparation for the defense of Paris.  The tea
houses of the Bois were doing their usual
business, and it was just as difficult as at other
times to find a table.

Two of the famous sights of Paris to which
the tourist always goes are Napoleon's Tomb
in the Invalides, and Notre Dame.  At the
former in ordinary times one will always find
a crowd of sightseers of various nationalities,
admiring the beauty of the immense porphyry
sarcophagus and its surroundings; dreaming of
Napoleon's days of greatness as a youthful
general in Italy, or as dictator of the whole
of Europe except Britain; or giving a pitying
thought to his last days at St. Helena.  Today,
as I strolled in, few were there, and they
were mostly the veterans who live in the
Invalides, and I have no doubt their thoughts
consisted of hopes that another would arise
with the military genius of Napoleon to drive
the invader from the soil of France, and to
once more dictate terms from Berlin.

On my return I went for a moment into
the Louvre from which most of the art
treasures, such as the Venus of Milo, have been
removed to underground vaults, safe from
bombs dropped by the destruction-loving Hun.
And a painting that I looked for, but did not
find, was Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, the
lady of the mysterious smile, the stealing of
which had caused such a furore in the world
of art.  It had just been returned before my
last visit to the Louvre.

The following day I wandered across the
Seine and viewed again that magnificent
Gothic pile, the church of Notre Dame de
Paris.  It happened to be a holy day and
immense crowds were entering.  Someone said
to me that the war seems to have brought back
religion to the spirit of France.  After all,
there are few people in the world who, when
beset by troubles, do not glance upward at
times and utter a prayer that the Supreme
Being will take notice of them and have pity
on them.  I joined those entering, and mingled
with them as they made their way into the
solemn interior of the great edifice.  It seemed
that thousands were there.  Those entering
were directed in such a way that they passed
in order before two immense lifelike paintings
arranged on one side of the church, one
above the other--the Last Supper, and the
Crucifixion.  Before these paintings myriads
of candles were burning, and as the people
passed each took one or two or three more
candles and lit them.  It was a splendid, solemn,
and impressive spectacle.

To send telegrams or cables from France
was a most troublesome procedure.  You had
to get the written consent of the military
police after they had interviewed you as to your
objects in sending the message, and had
scrutinized the message carefully to find if,
perchance, you had hidden somewhere within it
information that might be of service to the

But even this was an easy matter
compared with getting out of Paris once you
had entered.  For to get out was very much
more difficult than to get in.  You had first
to report to the police station nearest to your
hotel that you were leaving the city.  Then
you had to go to the office of the Consul of
the country to which you were going, explain
the purpose of your change of residence, and
have the consul or his representative _visé_ your
passport.  Then finally you had to call at the
Prefecture of Police--akin to our central police
station in a large city--and again get your
papers certified.  Each of these moves meant
considerable time lost, sometimes as much as
a day, since long lines of people were at each
of these places hours before they opened for

On my departure, during my visit to the
British Consulate, I had an amusing experience
that is worth relating.  As I turned into
the court of the building in which the
consulate is situated, an automobile drove up, and
out stepped a stylish and pretty woman of
perhaps thirty years.  She followed me into
the court, and after looking about her
doubtfully for a minute, she turned and asked if I
could direct her to the office of the British
Consul.  I had walked there the day before to
"learn the ropes," and so knew my way about.
I replied that it was up a couple of flights of
stairs, but as I was just going there I should
be pleased to show her the way.

We went up the two flights of stairs, and
reaching the waiting room found some thirty or
forty people ahead of us.  We took our place
in the line to await our turn, which meant a
delay of an hour or two.  As the people waited
conversation was quite free, as was also
criticism of the consulate for not having more help
at a time of pressure such as the present.  The
lady whom I had shown up was next to me in
the line.  She looked upon me as an American
compatriot, for she was from New York, and
apparently felt quite safe in carrying on a
conversation with a stranger in a strange city.
She mentioned that she was on her way back
from Spain to England.

"Spain," I said in some surprise.  "Might
I be curious enough to ask why a young woman
like yourself should be traveling in Spain in
times like the present?"

"Oh, I'm a eugenist," she replied readily,
"and I have been in Spain studying the
effects of the war on the Spanish people in
relation to eugenics for a book I am preparing
for publication.  I am going to spend some
time in London, in the British Museum,
looking up some data to complete my manuscript."  And
then quite voluntarily she went on to criticize
the majority of all the cherished institutions
of society, and as she became more enthusiastic
her criticisms became more free, more
radical, almost nihilistic.  She ended in a
tirade against civilization as we know it, not
by any means becoming at all boisterous, but
simply youthfully animated in her fault-finding
with the world in general.

I could hardly believe my ears.  Here was
a pretty American woman of thirty, highly
educated, whose outlook on life was more
nihilistic than that of the most extreme German
socialist.  But finally she capped the climax
by telling me frankly that she was an
anarchist; had taken part in two anarchistic plots
in Italy; and promised me that the next ruler
who was going to pay the death penalty for his
tyranny was King Alfonso of Spain.  Beginning
to feel certain that she was "ragging" me,
I asked her jokingly if she expected me to
believe her.

"Does it sound like something that a young
woman would claim were it untrue?" she asked,
and I was forced to admit that it did not.  "I
will tell you something further," she continued,
"I dare not return to New York at the present
time or I should be put in jail.  For the last
time I was there I was jailed for some of my
writings.  I obtained my freedom on bail of
three thousand dollars, and, hearing that I was
to be railroaded to prison, I jumped it."

"Why do you tell a stranger like myself
this story?" I asked.  "How do you know that
I am not going to report you to the police?"

"I know you are not going to report me to
the police," she answered coolly, "because if
you did I would shoot you."

"Do you carry much of your artillery on
your person?" I asked, laughing.  And seeing
that I was taking it all as a joke, she joined
in the laugh.

"It's your turn, madam," said the porter to
her, and she passed out of the line into the
office of the consul, giving me a charming smile
and curtsy as she left.

Whether her story was the result of mischief,
insanity, or conviction, I really have no
idea; but I do know that I have in my life
passed many more tedious and less interesting
hours than the one I passed while awaiting my
turn at the office of the British Consul that



Early in the conflict, after the Germans
had been pushed back from their rush on
Paris, the French were in a bad way for many
of the necessities of a country at war.  Among
the necessities that France lacked was
sufficient hospital accommodation for the sick and
wounded of her armies, and for the first year
of the war this shortage was partially supplied
by voluntary ambulances--the word ambulance
in French being employed for a field
hospital.  Many rich Americans gave valuable
service at this time to their sister republic, the
American ambulances at Neuilly and Juilly
being among the most noted of the war hospitals.

It was not at all difficult to get staffs for
these hospitals, for thousands of young Americans
with red blood in their veins and the love
of romance in their hearts were only awaiting
the opportunity to do something useful
anywhere between Paris and the firing line.
Between the people of the United States and the
French there has always been a deep
sympathy, possibly engendered up to half a
century ago by their common antipathy to
England, a sentiment forever removed by mutual
sufferings and common interests and ideals in
this war.  A witty writer one time said that
"good Americans, when they die, go to ----
Paris"; jokingly showing the love which the
people of the southern half of this continent
have for the French.  But, no matter what the
reasons, the greatest republic in the world was
early in responding to the call, and so placed
her sister republic, France, under deep
obligations for assistance of surgeons, nurses, and
hospitals long before Mr. Wilson led the
United States to join with the other civilized
peoples in their fight against barbarism.

The British were very early up and doing
in the same manner, and not many months after
Kitchener's Contemptibles--a name now
revered in Britain--had made their heroic retreat
from Mons, many well-equipped hospitals
manned by Britons were doing excellent work
behind the French lines.

It was my good fortune to serve at the
beginning of 1915 in one of these, the Château
de Rimberlieu, just three miles from the point
at which the German lines came nearest to
Paris, and seven miles north of Compiègne
where a little over one hundred years ago
Napoleon for the first time met Marie Louise
of Austria when she came to replace the
unhappy Josephine.

I obtained the position after much searching
for an opportunity to be of service.  Going
across from New York to London I had been
refused a position by the British unless
I could enlist, which personal reasons prevented
at the time.  Then, after two days interviewing,
taxicabbing, viséing, pleading, and
explaining, I obtained a permit to go to France.
At Boulogne the authorities of the British Red
Cross and St. Johns Ambulance Association
told me they were oversupplied with surgeons
and I decided to go to Amiens, where I had a
surgical friend.

I could not get away till the following
morning, so I spent the afternoon wandering
about.  The streets were filled with
a cosmopolitan throng of soldiers of all shades
of color--white, black, and brown--and of
various nationalities, British and Canadian
Tommies in their khaki, French poilus in their
blue-gray uniforms, Ghurkas from India in their
picturesque dress, and French Soudanese with
strange accouterments.  The better hotels were
all occupied by the military authorities as
headquarters, and the harbor was filled with
hospital ships and transports.  Walking about the
streets one had to look sharp to avoid being
run down by hurrying Red Cross ambulances
or lumbering motor lorries.

I strolled to the beach, where on the sands
Tommies were lounging, gazing longingly
across at the shores of England, dimly visible
in the distance.  One of the soldiers turned to
me with a smile and said:

"I was just taking a last look at the old
'ome, sir.  Of course, I 'opes to see it again
sometime if I don't 'appen to stop somethink."  And
it was all said most cheerfully.  I added
my wishes for his luck to his own.

On the slow train from Boulogne to Amiens
we passed many military camps with their
white tents in orderly rows.  Here and there
oxen were being used by old men and women
on their farms, and in one little brook some
boys were fishing.  I could hardly believe that
forty miles or less away two armies of millions
of men were contending for the mastery, with
civilization depending on the outcome.  When,
later, I was much nearer to the front I was
struck again and again by the matter-of-fact
manner in which the French peasant accepts
his or her military surroundings.  He works
coolly in fields into which at times enemy shells
are dropping, or over which long range guns
are firing into some semi-ruined town of
Northern France.  Something which is always a
cause of wonder and admiration to the observer
is that, despite the fact that all the young
and able Frenchmen are in the trenches, the
women, old men and children who remain
succeed in cultivating the farmlands of France
right up to the lines.

At Amiens my surgeon friend, who had over
twelve hundred war operations to his credit in
the past six months, much regretted that I
could not be used at the moment,--much
regretted; but still regretted.  I began to feel
that the gods of ill luck were camping on my
trail.  I went on to Paris.  Here my letters of
introduction were looked at with anxiety and
I with suspicion, for in the early months of
the war some foreign surgeons were found to
be giving information to the enemy.  At any
rate, though courtesies and promises were
showered upon me, I remained a useless guest
at my hotel in the Rue de Rivoli until I reached
an almost desperate stage, realizing that,
though surgeons were urgently needed, I could
not be of service.

Sickly visions of returning home after a
futile attempt to be of use came to me, when
suddenly luck changed.  The director of the
Ambulance Anglo-Française in the Château
de Rimberlieu came to Paris in search of
assistance.  Being an Englishman, he looked in
at the British Red Cross in the Avenue d'Ièna
where they told him of this forlorn Canadian
who had been haunting their offices, but of
whom they had lost track.  By a bit of luck
their commanding officer met me that afternoon
on the Place de l'Opéra, and gave me the
director's address at the Hotel de Crillon.  I
hurried at once to call upon him, and offered
to take any position from chauffeur to surgeon.
There is a biblical quotation that the meek are
blessed, for they shall inherit the earth.  I
inherited the surgeoncy--not a lucrative
inheritance, it must be admitted, for it carried no
salary, no railway fares, no uniform, all of
which must be supplied by the inheritor.

After obtaining a _sauf conduit_ from the
military authorities to take me as far as Creille,
I left on the train that afternoon for
Compiègne, sixty miles to the north, accompanied
by an affable young Red Cross orderly, of
English parents and Paris birth, who in civil
life was a drygoods salesman.  At Creille,
which was the beginning of the war zone, our
troubles began.  I was in civilian dress, my
uniform not yet being completed.  The French
military officers here were almost adamant.
My passport, director's letter, Red Cross
authority, all proved of no avail to get me
further.  Rather strangely, the letter which
obtained the desired permission to proceed was
an ordinary letter of introduction from a
prominent French Canadian parliamentarian which
I had in my pocket.

Presto!  The officer knew his name, and by
I went.

We arrived at Compiègne about midnight,
and for the first time we heard the sound of the
guns ten miles away.  As we were now only
seven miles from the Château, we thought our
troubles were over.  But we had reckoned
without the sous-prefet de police, who said in
the morning when we called that we could go
no further without a special permit.

"That chap's a bit of an awss," remarked my
young friend, expressing my sentiments to a

However, about 10 a.m. the director whirled
into town in his 60-horsepower Rolls-Royce,
and learning of our troubles, he smilingly said
that he thought he could get around that
difficulty.  He pulled from beneath the rear seat
a military overcoat and cap which I put on;
and out of the town we whirled, past sentries at
crossroads and railway crossings, to whom the
director yelled the password--it was "Clairemont"
that day.  The password changes daily
at a certain hour, and anyone without the new
word when required is hailed before the
authorities.  The director ran some slight risk
in thus smuggling me through the lines, but
nothing ever came of it; and I gave a sigh
of relief when we at last swung into the
spacious grounds of the château.

The house was a large stone building, used
in peace times as the summer home for the
family of the Count de Bethune, one of the
oldest titled families in France.  His two
daughters, the Countess de Ponge and the Marquise
de Chabannes, lived in a small corner of the
building, and gave their time to help us in our
nursing work.  They did everything in their
power, and it was much, to make life pleasant
for the patients and for the staff.

The building was ideal for a hospital with
room for a couple of hundred patients.  The
reception hall was used as a general reception
room for patients, as well as a lounging room
for us in our spare time.  Its immense,
exquisitely carved mahogany mantel was one of
the artistic ornaments that had not been
removed to avoid injury.  The drawing and
reception rooms and the dining hall had been
transformed into wards, called the Joffre,
French, and Castelnau wards, as were also the
larger of the bedrooms on the next floor.  The
surgeons, nurses, and staff occupied the
servants' quarters on the top floor.  The
oak-paneled library and smoking room had become
the operating theater and the X-ray studio.
Our dining-room was the original servants'
dining-room in the basement.  The French
officers and men who were cared for here
received, as they deserved to receive, the best we
had to give, the staff gladly taking second place
in all things.  And at that our life was so much
easier than that of the boys in the trenches that
we often felt a bit ashamed of the difference.

The château was surrounded by some two
or three hundred acres of well-laid-out
gardens, artificial lakes, fountains, and woods.
These grounds had been cut up to a certain
extent by trenches, wire entanglements,
dugouts, funk-holes, and gun emplacements, all
in order and ready for use if the enemy should
drive the French back in this direction.  The
fighting trenches were only three or four miles
to the north of us, this château being said to
be the nearest hospital to the lines in the whole
theater of war.  We worked, slept, ate, and
killed time to the sound of the guns and shells,
the latter often bursting well within a mile of us.

The really interesting part of the hospital
was the personnel of the staff.  There were four
surgeons, a French military medical officer,
Villechaise; Allwood, a Jamaican, an old
college friend of mine whom I had neither seen
nor heard of for twelve years until the day
I arrived at the château, when he came
forward to give an anesthetic for me to a case
which General Berthier had ordered me to
operate upon; King, a Scotsman; and myself.
And we four were practically the only
members of the staff who were not paying for the
privilege of being allowed to serve.  The rest
of the staff were well-to-do society people who
not only financed the institution but also did
the nursing and orderly work, gave their
automobiles as ambulances, and their personal
servants and chauffeurs to act as servants in the

Besides the Comtesse and the Marquise, we
had as nurses a niece of an ex-president of
France; a grand-niece of Lord Beaconsfield;
and another was a sister-in-law to Lord
Something-or-other in Scotland.  The latter nurse
had as a pal Miss C----, who had stumped
her father's constituency for him during the
last general elections in England.  She was a
clever girl of twenty-three, an exceptionally
good nurse, but oh, what a Tory.  She had all
the assurance of her age, and Mrs. Pankhurst
in her palmiest moments could not put Lloyd
George "where he belonged" as could this
charming girl of twenty-three.  The son of a
prominent Paris lawyer, a young, black-eyed
chap of seventeen who was doing his bit there
till he became old enough to join the army,
was one of her great admirers; and when he
was not scrubbing floors or performing some
other necessary work, he sometimes wrote poetry
to her.  The last four lines of one of his
rhymes I remember:

  May your years of joy be many,
  Your hours of sorrow few;
  Here's success in all ambitions
  To the man who marries you.

A Mr. and Mrs. G----, of Cambridge, originally
of Belfast, were two of the most pleasant,
kindly, and useful people the hospital
possessed.  Their automobile was now an
ambulance which their chauffeur handled at their
expense; they paid two hundred dollars per
month in cash; they were continually buying
luxuries for the patients and necessities for the
hospital.  Mrs. G---- acted as nurse in a
most capable manner; and her husband as an
orderly.  A Mr. and Mrs. R---- from Cairo,
Egypt, were also with us.  In Cairo he was a
professor in the University; here he acted as
chauffeur on his own automobile ambulance,
and his wife looked after the checking and
arranging of the laundry for the whole hospital.
One afternoon I went into Compiègne with him
in his car, and he delighted some French
African troops by chatting to them in Arabic,
after which they followed him around like little
boys.  Mr. R---- also paid a goodly sum
toward the upkeep of the hospital.

The director of whom I have already spoken,
and the directress, both were heavy donors to
the hospital, as well as giving automobiles and
servants as assistants.  A godly clergyman
from York acted in the triple capacity of
chaplain, chauffeur on his own auto-ambulance,
which his parishioners had given him when he
left, and general chore boy.  One of my finest
recollections of him is on a Sunday evening
when he held service, while outside the guns
roared and shells from the enemy burst a mile
or so to the north of us in plain view from
the windows of the room in which the
clergyman was interpreting the word of God.  It
was a most impressive ceremony.  My last
recollection of him, and it's just as fine, he had
thrown aside his tunic and was working with
pick and shovel digging a dump for the refuse
of the hospital, the sweat rolling down his
honest face.

The above people are only among the most
interesting of the staff.  There were also a
sheep farmer from the north of England, a
journalist of London, a student from Oxford,
and many other ladies and gentlemen who gave
of their best, all of them, giving the French
soldier scientific, sympathetic, and kindly
attention.  Those names mentioned will
illustrate the personnel of hospitals such as this,
for there were many of them on the western
front in the early months of the war.  Ours
was a part of General Castelnau's army, and
while nominally under the Red Cross we were
under the discipline of the French army.
General Berthier, who had charge at that time of
the medical arrangements of that sector of the
line, visited us daily, inspecting the whole
institution, ordering this, advising that, and
perhaps insisting upon something else.  More
ether and hydrogen peroxide were used by the
French military surgeons in wounds than
appealed to my ideas; but one little trick they
had of sterilizing basins by rinsing them out
with alcohol and touching a match to it--"flammer,"
they called it--was both rapid and
thorough where steam sterilizers were not too

Sometimes we were also inspected by civilian
surgeons on behalf of the military authorities.
Dr. Tuffier, a famous Paris surgeon, who
is as well known on this continent as in
Europe, came to make one of these periodical
inspections.  I had first met him at a surgical
congress in Chicago before the war; then in
Paris I had called upon him.

"Ho, ho!" he said with a smile, "I have meet
you one time in Chicago; then I have meet you
in Paris; now I meet you here.  Perhaps the
nex' time it may be at the Nort' Pole that we
meet"; and with a friendly slap on the
shoulder he passed on.  He had been very courteous
to me in Paris, but had not given me the
position that I desired so much.  In fact I had
found myself sometimes wishing that the
French authorities had given me less politeness,
but more opportunity to be of service.

In our spare hours of the day we watched
the shells bursting in our neighborhood.  By
night we often sat and smoked in the dark
while we watched the flashing of shells and
guns and the flares sent up in the lines to
prevent surprise attacks.  We often saw aeroplanes
being bombarded as they sailed to and fro
along the lines directing the fire of the
artillery.  One soon got to recognize by ear the
puff, puff, puff of the anti-aircraft shells
bursting about the planes.  Why the enemy did
not shell our institution I know not, for we
were well within range.

In passing, it may be mentioned that no
Red Cross flag flew from our roof, and when
I inquired the reason I was told that it would
only serve as a target for German shells.

Our work alternated, as it always does on
the battle front, between days of strenuous
labor and days of ease.  When the work was
heavy all went to it with a will.  In the hours
of leisure the ladies, who in civil life knew
nothing of danger and strife, begged and
sometimes vainly insisted on being permitted to
go with the ambulances as far as the trenches.
We were all civilians and knew little of
discipline and our lack of it at times was
troublesome to the French military authorities, and
some irritation arose because of it.  For
example,--lights were ordered not to be shown
in the windows after dark till all the shutters
were closed and curtains drawn.  This rule
was occasionally so carelessly obeyed that the
military would at times sneeringly call our
hospital "the lighthouse."

One afternoon there drove up to our
entrance a cream-colored limousine, and out
stepped an English society girl, saying that
she had come to nurse.  Some of those who
were already there were friends of hers, but
the authorities decreed that we had enough
assistance and that she must return to Paris the
following morning.  In the morning she
started in the limousine, ostensibly to return to
Paris, taking the sister-in-law of Lord
Something-or-other as company for a short run.

When outside the grounds she told the
chauffeur to turn toward the lines instead of
toward Paris.  With the military pass which she
had obtained through influence in Paris, they
passed sentry after sentry till they were only
a few hundred yards from the trenches.  Here
they were overtaken by a pursuing military
motor cyclist who ordered them put under
arrest, and they were taken before a high-up
officer who told them he was forced to confiscate
their automobile and send the ladies under
arrest to the rear.

But beauty in distress--and one of them was
a real beauty--made him relent.  They were
allowed to proceed rearward after a severe
reprimand and a considerable fright.  A few
weeks later I met the lady of the automobile
in a train near Paris and she told me that
she had just sent up a big box of real
cigarettes--not French ones--to the officer who
should have confiscated her car, but didn't.  I
did not inquire how she had obtained his address!

There was another occasion when a plot was
hatched to duck a disagreeable officer in the
artificial lake at the lower end of the grounds.
Fortunately the saner heads prevailed and
averted any further complications.  And "it
would have served the creature bally well right,
for what right had he anyhow to insist so
strongly on his old rules," as one of the
hotheads expressed it.

It was a trifle irritating at times to have
a nurse, in reply to your order to give such
and such a patient massage, say that she would
do it presently, as she was just going for a
short tramp in the grounds.  _Mais, que voulez
vous?_ as the French say with that delightful
shrug.  Were they not paying to be there, and
should not that fact have given them some
rights over those horrid rules of discipline?
And we men were the same on occasions, for
discipline cannot be had outside of the trained

But the breaches of discipline were small
in comparison to the really excellent work that
the hospital was carrying on, so they were
overlooked, and, as they occurred only at wide
intervals, they but served to give a touch of
humor to the life which was monotonous
enough at times.  The French realized full
well the sacrifices that were made daily by these
aristocrats who had given up their luxurious
homes, their autos, their servants and their
money, to live in the servants' quarters of this
old château, and to wait hand and foot upon
wounded poilus, with at any moment of the
day or night the chance of a shell coming
through the roof and stirring things up.  No
praise is too high for the self-sacrificing work
of these men and women, all voluntary workers
and untrained in this type of labor.  The
women were members of the V.A.D., Voluntary
Aid Detachment, which has been the target
at times of coarse jibes and criticisms,
spoken by those who do not know whereof they
speak.  I have worked with members of this
corps of women workers in hospitals in
England and France, and I know that, taking it
all in all, their work is beyond praise, and their
nobility of character beyond estimate.  This is
vouched for by many a lonely, hard-hit common
soldier, sick in a strange land, far from
his home and his loved ones.

A field telephone line ran from the château
up to the rear trenches.  The cases were
brought out of the trenches to a sheltered spot
and one of our ambulances was telephoned for.
One of us medical men accompanied the
ambulances on these journeys, and they were
often very interesting.  On one of the trips on
which I accompanied the ambulance we came
to a ruined village, Gury by name, from which
the civilian population had been sent away.
It was occupied by French soldiers not in the
front line.  This village had just been shelled
rather heavily by the Huns, one hundred and
fifty shells having been dropped into it.  After
the first shell, which hit one of the houses but
injured no one, the soldiers took shelter in the
cellars and when the smoke had cleared away,
just before our arrival, it was found that the
only damage done was the killing of a cow
and a pigeon!  The soldiers were hilariously
laughing at this waste of shells.  An officer
showed us the remains of a brass bed in a
wrecked house, saying that he had been
sleeping in that when the shelling began.

We were then taken to see a battery of the
famous .75's--_soixante quinze_--perhaps the
finest field gun on the western front, with
which they said they were going to pay back
the Germans for their audacity.  They were
like so many boys at play!  The guns were set
up in a cavity in the ground, a roof built over
them on which sod had been placed in such a
manner that from enemy planes it appeared
like the surrounding fields.  Dugouts led down
from the gun position so that the artillerymen
could come up from their disturbed slumbers
at a moment's notice and send across a few
rounds of their death-dealing shells.  Round
about were laid out flower beds with the
flowers forming in French the words:

_Gloire aux Allies_--Glory to the Allies.

_Honneur aux Soixante quinze_--Honor to
the .75's.

Wherever man lives he must have something
to care for and to love, and these flowers gave
the poilus an outlet for their affection.

Every few miles away from us in all directions
except the north were other hospitals of
the same type as our own.  One very good
example, ten miles away at Fayel, was under the
direction of Countess H---- G----, a cousin
of King George.  She came sometimes to visit
some acquaintances in our institution, and I
spent a very pleasant afternoon on her first
visit showing her our grounds, trenches, gun
positions, wire entanglements, and other things
of interest.  She was as kindly mannered and
democratic as anyone could desire, though she
was King George's cousin and wore a number
of ribbons for previous service in South
Africa.  Since that time she has served with the
Italians in Italy and has been decorated by
King Victor Emmanuel.

In Compiègne was another very interesting
hospital presided over by that wonderful
Frenchman, Alexis Carrel, of the Rockefeller
Institute of New York.  Here he has done
research work that has made his name familiar
in every scientific circle the world over.  And
here in Compiègne, in this newer field, his
researches have brought forth new methods of
treating wounds which have been adopted in
hospitals throughout the war zone.  His
hospital was a government institution, not one
of the voluntary ambulances of which our
château was an example.

At the time of writing, two years from my
period of service at the Château de Rimberlieu,
it is still doing good service as a hospital,
though now it is entirely directed by the
French military authorities.  But a number
of the original people are still there,
performing the same generous deeds which they
performed in my time, though they are performing
them many miles from the scene of fighting,
for early in 1917 at this point the French
happily pushed back the invaders for many miles.



Since the war began and the Germans
undertook the drowning of women and
children by the submarine method I have
crossed the Atlantic four times.  Two of these
voyages were on troop transports.  Traveling
on a transport is really a pleasure voyage,
except for the military discipline, always a bit
obnoxious to the Anglo-Saxon of the North
American continent--but absolutely necessary
if an army is the thing desired, not a mob.  On
a transport the food and sleeping quarters are
all that anyone could desire in a time of war,
and they satisfied all, from the veriest batman
to the highest military officer whose duty it is
to maintain discipline.

On my first transport experience we took
the ship at an Atlantic port some days before
sailing, and no one knew the date or hour of
our intended start except the first officer of
the ship, who received his orders from the
admiralty.  Our crowd was an immense one,
made up of men from all the different departments
of the army, and women who were either
trained nurses, or members of the Voluntary
Aid Detachment, going overseas to do their
bit in the hospitals or the convalescent and
rest homes in England and France.

Until the boat started on its voyage, dances
were held nightly on the main deck, but once
we put out to sea, the ship traveled in
darkness.  No one was permitted on the decks at
night except the guards, and they were
forbidden to smoke for fear of attracting
attention that was not desirable.

We were not long away from land till a
fairly heavy swell made some of the uninitiated
sea voyagers feel all the pangs of that nauseating
illness, _mal de mer_,--seasickness.  One of
the nurses sitting in a deck chair, looking away
off over the swelling billows, said languidly:
"If the Germans torpedoed us now, I wouldn't
even put on a life preserver."  And another
traveler, a Tommy with a markedly Jewish
cast of countenance, as the ship took a more
pronounced dip than heretofore, exclaimed

"My God!  She's a submarine!"  The usual
sympathetic roar of laughter was the only
solace that he received; but one of his pals who
saw him leaning over the ship's side, giving an
excellent dinner to the fishes, stepped up to
him and, giving him a resounding slap on the
shoulder, said:

"What's the matter, poor old Ikey?  Are
you seasick?"

"Am I seasick?" Ikey roared, glaring at him.
"What da hell do ye tink I'm doin' dis for?
For notting?"

We had not proceeded far on our voyage
when a cast-iron order was issued that all must
wear their life-belts at all hours of the day.
And shortly, life-boat drill became a daily
occurrence at irregular hours.  A bugle call
to drill would be given, a call that might be
real for all that anyone knew, and each
company, section, and unit took its apportioned
part of the deck, to be inspected by the higher
officers.  Life boats were kept conveniently
hanging over the side of the ship for
emergencies, and certain officers were detailed to each
boat whose duty it was in case of mishap, to
maintain order during the loading and launching
of that boat.  Before long this drill was
carried out with the most exact precision.

There were a few other parades daily for the
different sections.  A sick parade was held
each morning, and a hospital established for
those too sick to stay up and about.  The
medical officers and nurses were detailed in turn
to do duty in this institution.  But nothing of
a very serious nature turned up on the voyage.

Otherwise time was whiled away much as
usual on shipboard.  Some of us took to the
gymnasium, trying out all the exercises from
throwing the medicine ball to riding the horse,
at which some of the cavalry officers would
give that excellent piece of advice to those
beginning to learn to ride:

  Keep your head and your heart up,
  Your hands and your heels down;
  Keep your knees close to your horse's side,
  And your elbows close to your own.

The regular stewards, who were serving on
the ship as in peace times, amused themselves
by telling tales that they were supposed to have
heard in confidence from the wireless operator,
and which they would whisper into your ears
in a supposedly friendly manner at any and
every opportunity.  They were tales to the
effect that just ahead of us last night
such-and-such a ship was torpedoed and sunk by
the Germans with all on board, "and not a
soul was saved."  They would add that the
Germans had a most intense desire to get our
boat; why, it was common talk in New York,
so a friend had written to them, that a sub
would get us this trip; "as a matter of fact,
sir, betting is five to one that they will sink
us."  What a ghastly sense of humor some of
those stewards have!

However, the days slipped by, and no one
seemed to be at all worrying as to his or her
safety.  The last couple of days out from
England the guns, fore and aft, were gotten ready
for business, in case the Hun dared to show
the nose of his periscope in our neighborhood.
Eyes looked in all directions searching for the
tell-tale trail of a torpedo, and, though many
were called out, few chose to materialize.
Suddenly one morning someone spied out a couple
of those fast, dangerous-looking torpedo boats
which swung about, and crossed our bows, and
thenceforth accompanied us like a pair of
faithful bulldogs accompanying their master on

Though no one had expressed a word of fear
of the submarines, and no person, man or
woman, on board had seemed to worry in the least
as to the possible dangers from torpedoes, it
was noticeable at once that a pressure or
tension had been withdrawn.  In the smoking
room the hum of voices rose to a much higher
pitch than it had attained during the previous
twenty-four hours of the voyage, during which
we had felt that a danger might lurk unseen
about us.  The gayety on deck became
appreciably more merry.  These torpedo boats
accompanied us till we reached the safety of the
harbor; and as we once again placed our feet
upon the soil we felt that in war as in peace the
end of a voyage is often the most welcome part
of it.

But was it the end of the voyage?  Ah, no,
it was but the beginning; because for the men
there are many hard roads to travel ere they
reach that which they set out to attain--a
goal of peace and liberty for the small and
the large nations, protected by the democracies
of the old and the new world.  And the women
who accompanied us will soothe many a poor
boy's pain or ease his troubled mind, and will
write many a letter of comfort to his loved
ones at home, ere they join us at that peaceful
goal we all desire to reach.



To sneer at decorations is often much
easier than to earn them.

It is true that more decorations, from the
Victoria Cross down, have been awarded in
this war than in the hundred years before it.
It may be stated that for each of these
distinctions given a man, ten others should now be
wearing the bit of ribbon which signifies the
award, if justice could only be done.  Many
a high-minded chap is lying out there, with
only a small wooden cross to mark his last
resting place, who, if the truth were but known,
earned the finest that we had to give.  And
thousands of gallant others there are with
naught but their khaki to distinguish them
as soldiers of liberty, who have, with a smile
on their lips and with no thought of awards or
rewards in their minds performed feats of the
noblest courage and self-sacrifice.

It was an inspiration of genius that made
Napoleon institute the Legion of Honor.  By
that act he proved himself a student of human
nature, as well as the greatest military leader
of perhaps any age.  For most men who are
normally constituted would rather receive a
decoration honestly earned for gallantry on the
field, than accept a reward in money for the
same deed.  While it is true that:

  Ambition has but one reward for all:
  A little power, a little transient fame,
  A grave to rest in, and a fading name;

a large proportion of humankind are so
constituted that for "a little transient fame" they
are willing, aye, even anxious, to risk getting
only "a grave to rest in."

The difficulty lies in deciding who is most
worthy of these coveted awards, for in the
excitement of battle courageous acts are
common, and often unobserved.  For the occasional
man who has unjustly received an award, there
are thousands whose bravery should be rewarded,
but who, for one reason or another, are
overlooked.  All who show courage and
resource cannot be chosen for the bit of ribbon,
so the attempt is made to choose the most
conspicuous examples.  And in this choosing it is
inevitable that fallible human nature must
often err, but the erring rarely goes to the extent
of recommending someone who is wholly unworthy.

Someone has sneeringly remarked that the
surest way to a decoration is to court the favor
of one's commanding officer who usually puts
in the recommendations for award; but there
must be few officers commanding units who
would be so unwise as to alienate the loyalty
of their men by picking favorites in this
manner.  And men are not so depraved that there
are many who would desire the recognition
of the multitude without at least fair grounds
for that recognition and praise.  You might
suppose that at the base or at home, where
recognition is given rather for general good
work than for special acts of honor, favoritism
is more common.  But it may safely be stated
that decorations in all fields are usually
honestly earned.

The saddest mistake is when a man has
performed some lofty, noble, self-sacrificing act,
yet receives no reward but his consciousness
of duty well done.

I was one day assisting Colonel B---- to
hold a board on a disabled soldier to decide the
amount of his disability and his right to
pension.  His left arm was missing, and Colonel
B----, in his sympathetic manner, asked him
how he had lost it.  The facts were that he
and his officer, being one night out on a
scouting trip in No Man's Land, were both wounded
by rifle fire, the officer the more seriously.
The private put his officer on his shoulders
and carried him through a shower of machine-gun
bullets to a place of safety in a shellhole
near their own parapet, one of the bullets
smashing the man's arm on the way.  In the
morning both were pulled in by comrades, and
sent to the hospital.  The officer died on the
way without regaining consciousness, and the
private's left arm had to be amputated.  He
alone knew the details of his heroic work, and
he received an ordinary pension for a V.C. deed.
He told his story at the colonel's request,
in a quiet, modest, uncomplaining manner
which gave it the stamp of truth.  His
case is one of many like it where no adequate
reward has been given for great heroism; but
their total avoidance is impossible.

Sergeant-Major D---- took part in the
Battle of the Somme, and did such excellent
work under dangerous surroundings that he
was recommended for a decoration, which
recommendation was approved.  In the usual
course of events it was published in divisional
orders that Sergeant-Major D---- had been
awarded the Military Medal.  But then the
powers bethought themselves that he, being a
warrant officer, should have been given
instead the Military Cross, and as a result the
whole order was cancelled, and he was given
nothing.  However, at the Battle of Vimy
Ridge, he was a Lieutenant in our battalion.
Some months previously he had been given his
promotion, really against his own desires as he
said that he could do better work in the junior
position--a not very common form of modesty
in the army.  After this battle he was chosen
for courageous and able work, and was awarded
the Military Cross.  Thus he at last came
into his own.

The Blank Highlanders held the lines to
the right of a certain Canadian battalion.  They
planned to put on an important raid, but,
being short a certain necessary section, they
asked the loan of an officer and twenty men of
this section of the Canadians on their left.  The
Canadians were glad of the honor of aiding
this well-known Scottish unit in their raid.
Twenty men gaily joined them, but for some
reason the men were sent in charge of two
officers, the regular officer of the section and
a subaltern.  The officer in charge remained
at the Scottish H.Q., while his subaltern took
part in the raid.  So effectually did the
Canadians aid the Scots that the latter were very
high in their praise of the Canadians, and put
in a recommendation that "the officer in charge
of this Canadian Section be awarded the M.C. for
gallantry," intending the award for the
subaltern who had assisted them on the field.

But the "officer in charge of the Canadian
Section" was he who had remained at the
H.Q.  By some twist in this recommendation
he received, and accepted, the M.C. which had
been meant for his junior who had really done
the gallant work for which the decoration was
given.  The subaltern did not get even a
mention in dispatches, and at a later date he was
killed while fighting bravely.

The Canadian battalion to which the two
officers belonged were so annoyed, and so
ashamed of the decorated officer, that no word
was said of the mistake to their Scottish friends.
The officer was allowed to wear without comment
his unearned award, but his stay with his
battalion came to an abrupt end shortly afterward.

But it may be repeated safely that mistakes
such as the above are very, very rare, and that
most of those who win recognition on the field
may wear their ribbons with pride and without



Just before the great Vimy Ridge offensive
a crowd of us stood on a small hillock
beside our camp, which is in a wood six or seven
miles behind our lines, to watch the "earthquake"
that was to open on Thelus at 3 p.m.,
and of which we had been told by brigade.
The "earthquake" was to take the form of a
bombardment of Thelus,--a small town one
mile behind the German lines, opposite our
front, and which, from the lines, we could see
very distinctly with the naked eye,--by every
gun of ours that could throw a shell into it.  As
guns here are much more numerous to the
square mile than they were even at the Somme,
and as others are going forward day and night,
some so large that it takes eight or ten horses
to pull them, and as ammunition goes forward
at the rate of three or four hundred motor
lorries full daily for each mile of front, this means
indeed an earthquake.

We stood on the hillock at the "zero" hour,
and on the stroke of three, shells began to burst
on the skyline.  Some, high explosives probably,
caused those immense black upheavals of
earth which, except for their color, remind one
of nothing so much as the spouting of a whale
at sea.  Others bursting higher in the air,
shrapnel very likely, left large, white, fleecy
clouds just above the skyline, and a third type
burst with a flash of flame, and left brown
clouds of smoke in their wake.

Higher in the air, all along the front, some
near, some far, some ours, and others the
enemy's, hung nine immense observation
balloons; and soaring in and out among them were
twenty-one aeroplanes by actual count at one
moment.  Some of them were being shelled,
for fluffy clouds of smoke were about them
showing the bursting shells from anti-aircraft
guns, and while we watched two machines
engaged in one of those ever-interesting air duels,
out of which one of them came nosing down
into the earth.  Whether it was our machine
or an enemy we could not tell at the distance.

Even the sights on the earth were of interest.
The tall Gothic towers on the hill at
Mt. St. Eloy were silhouetted against the blue of
the sky, on our right.  On the extreme left
was an emaciated forest, standing out against
the horizon; and between these two land-marks
were countless acres of cultivated ground, just
about to give forth the first sprouts of the
hoped-for harvest.  Here and there the white
walls of the limestone farm houses, with their
red-tiled roofs, broke the monotony; and about
the center of the picture a group of them with
the shell-shattered spire of a church in their
midst formed the village of Villers aux Bois.
To the left of this latter place lay a peaceful
cemetery with some two thousand graves of
British, French, and Canadian soldiers who
had given up their lives on the blood-stained
soil of France in the cause of liberty.
Distinctly we could see through glasses a padre
saying prayers for the dead over the bodies of
some of the allied soldiers which were being
laid in the newly-dug graves.

Beyond the cemetery a road twisted here
and there, and along it hurried from time to
time motor ambulances, with the large, red
cross on their sides; motor lorries, full of food
and munitions; limbers, painted in vari-colored
patterns, and looking like a calithumpian
procession, to make them inconspicuous against
the earth to the German aviators; large guns
drawn by strings of horses; pack mules with
their burdens of shells; and motor cyclists
hurrying forward or rearward with messages.

And all this in the cause of the great god, Mars!

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Surgeon in Arms" ***

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