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He spent quite twenty minutes with the Leicesters, and they deserved it. They have done splendidly all through.
After that he gave two V. C.s to gunners who had won them very early in the war, and then when he ought to have been moving on he began strolling up and down the line again, asking all sorts of questions and noticing everything. At last they got him into his car to move on to the next army corps. The General came back to give us his message. It was that he was very pleased with all he had seen and heard; that he wanted the troops to know that both he and the Queen always kept them in their thoughts, and that he meant to see all of them again, with his own eye, as soon as the war was over. The General gave it out very well, (he is fluent in Hindustani,) and it made a great impression on the men.
It was altogether a wonderful visit, so quiet and informal and businesslike; no apparent precautions or rehearsal; the King tramping about in the mud as though he were partridge shooting, while the Prince wandered about as he listed. My interpreter, a French Canadian, was amazed.
A member of the London Scottish writes:
IN THE TRENCHES, Nov. 11, 1914.
This is our third day in the trenches. We have not had an attack yet, though there has been hard fighting on our immediate right and left. We are fairly safe here behind barbed wire entanglements, and this would be an easy job if one could get used to the row and the watching through the night, which is rather nerve-racking. This trench is in a bonnie fir wood, just like bonnie Scotland, but the shellfire has damaged nearly all the trees. Today being windy, they are falling in all directions. We have not had a hot meal since we came here.
We are not allowed to build fires, and it is impossible to get anything hot. We have lost our blankets again in the meantime. I am just going to have my
lunch of "bully" and bread and plain water.
Nov. 18, 1914.
We have had a pretty rough time lately. Last night was the first for ten days that I have had a roof over my head. The weather has been atrociouspouring rain and driving, cutting snowbut it did not get through my overcoat, which is richly caked with mud. We have had a fortnight's fighting and have marched back now from the firing line for a short rest to refit. It meant two days' marching through roads and fields ankle deep in clinging, porridgy mud, but we were all glad enough to put up with any hardship so long as we got away from the strain of flying shells and bullets. In the trenches we lost some more of our men, but not many. I just wish you could see our battalion now; what a change from the crowd that used to march through London. Every man, almost, has a beard, and you could not imagine the dirty, bedraggled crowd
The strain of watching through the night in the trenches is pretty awful. The nights were pitch black, and the rain came pouring down, making the trenches an awful mess. One chap gave a loud cry in his sleep. Thinking it came from the wood in front, I blazed away. We sent a burial party out in front of us one morning. There must have been hundreds of Germans lying there, with thousands further on. All we could do was just to cover them with earth. It was a horrible sight, and it is impossible for you folks at home to realize anything of the awfulness of this war. This awful pace surely cannot last long. But despite all the discomfort I would not have liked to miss the chance of doing my part here.
Nov. 20, 1914.
The Prince of Wales visited us yesterday. We are billeted in a café, and he came in rubbing his hands with the cold. He looked jolly well, and has a fine, healthy, clear complexion. We have been living in the lap of luxury lately. Yesterday was just like Christmas Day. We were inundated with parcels from
home, and the room is one litter of all sorts of comforts, and any amount of sweets, shortbread, cake, &c. I cannot recollect two much happy days as these have been. You can have no idea how ail these luxuries are appreciated after Living on "bully" and biscuits. We have a perfect avalanche of cigarettes and tobacco,
We had a bit of a panic this morning, as we were under orders to move at any moment, but by good luck it 4.d not come off, and we are looking forward to a few more days' rest. Our last week in the trenches was a picnic compared with our first experience. This is a grand, free life, a sight better than mooching around the city. I'm just going to have a tot of rum now and turn in it warms the cockles of one's heart and makes one sleep like Rip Van Winkle.
Nov. 29, 1914.
I never felt so fit in my life and never had such a good time before. This is simply a splendid life, and I am very glad, indeed, I did not miss my chance of being here. We were inspected today by Sir John French, who is tremendously pleased with us. Rumor has it that we are still to be here a few days, which is giving us a fine long rest. Then we may be wanted again. One of our fellows has just gone past the window with a huge sack on his back. It is most laughable to see immaculate city chaps out here doing all sorts of "orra" jobs. We have been served out with fur coats, no less; what on earth will they give us next, I wonder? We are still living in the lap of luxury and are a most happy family. We have a march every morning, which in this fine cold weather is delightful.
An officer in the R. A. M. C. wrote to The London Telegraph Dec. 19, 1914, as follows:
IGURE to yourself (as Wells says, isn't it?) country of flat plowed field, pollard willows and deep muddy ditches. Then we come along, and in military parlance "dig ourselves in." That is, with the sweat of the brows of hundreds of Tommies working by night deep narrow trenches five feet deep and at least with the earth thrown up another two and a half feet as a bank on top. These trenches are one and a half to two feet wide, and curl and twist about in a maddening manner to make them safer from sheilfire. Little caves are scooped in the walls of the trenches, where the men live about four to a hole, and slightly bigger dugouts where two officers live, All the soil is clay, stickier and greasier than one could believe possible. It's like almost
solid paint, and the least rain makes the sides of the trenches slimy, and the bottom a perfect sea of mud-pulls the heels off your boots almost. One feels like Gulliver walking along a Liliputian town all the time. The front line of trenches-the firing line has scientific loopholes and lookout places in them for seeing and firing from, and a dropping fire goes on from both sides all day long, but is very harmless.
Dec. 3, 1914.-I was just starting for my daily constitutional "on top” when the enemy began their bombarding, nearly one and a half hours earlier than usual, so I will postpone my little walk and finish this instead. Yesterday we had one man killed and two wounded, the first casualties for over a week. The story of one of the wounded is worth telling to show you the pluck of these men. He told me he noticed some new digging going on on the side of the enemy in
front of his firing post. One can see the spadeful of earth coming up from below the ground level when new trenches are being dug. Although this was in broad daylight, our man thought he would go and see what the Germans were up to, so he hops over the side of his trench and runs forward thirty yards to a ditch and crawls along it some hundred yards or so. He then spots a large shellhole in the field on one side of the ditch, so doubles off and gets into that and has a good look around. Not satisfied with the point of view, he sprints to a line of willows nearer still to the enemy—within 250 yards of them indeed-and proceeds to climb up one of them. While doing this he gets shot through the shoulder. He told me he thought he had ricked his arm at first, as it felt numb and useless. Meanwhile a great pal of his in the regiment, hearing that he had gone out like this, hops over the parapet and sets off to look for him, and comes up just as he gets hit. The second man upbraids the first roundly for being a fool, carries his rifle for him, and brings him back. All this is done quite in the day's work and "sub rosa," as they would get punished for leaving the trench like that in the daytime if it was spotted. The pluck of these men is perfectly extraordinary, and the placid way life goes on under the risk of being sniped or shelled any moment is, until one gets used to seeing it, quite past belief. I must say the officers set the men a magnificent example.
A young officer attached to the Yorkshire Light Infantry writes on Dec. 6:
One wonders when one sees a German face to face, is this really one of those devils who wrought such devastationfor devastation they have surely wrought. You can hardly believe it, for he seems much the same as other soldiers. I can assure you that there is none of that insensate hatred that one hears about, out here. We are out to kill, and kill we do, at any and every opportunity. But, when all is done and the battle is over, the splendid universal "soldier spirit" comes over all the men, and we cannot help thinking that Kipling must have
been in the firing line when he wrote that "East is East and West is West" thing. Just to give you some idea of what I mean, the other night four German snipers were shot on our wire. The next night our men went out and brought one in who was near and getatable and buried him. They did it with just the same reverence and sadness as they do to our own dear fellows. I went to look at the grave the next morning, and one of the most uncouth-looking men in my company had placed a cross at the head of the grave, and had written on it:
Here lies a German,
And under that, "got mit uns," (sic,) that being the highest effort of all the men at German. Not bad for a bloodthirsty Briton, eh? Really, that shows the spirit.
I don't believe there is a man living who, when first interviewing an 11-inch howitzer shell, is not pink with funk. After the first ten, one gets quite used to them, but really, they are terrible! They hit a house. You can see the great shell-a black streak-just before it strikes, then, before you hear the explosion, the whole house simply lifts up into the air, apparently quite silently; then you hear the roar, and the whole earth shakes. In the place where the house was there is a huge fountain-spout of what looks like pink fluff. It is the pulverized bricks. Then a monstrous shoot of black smoke towering up a hundred feet or more, and, finally, there is a curious willow-like formation, and then -you duck, as huge pieces of shell, and house, and earth, and haystack tumble over your head. And yet, do you know, it is really remarkable how little damage they do against earth trenches. With a whole morning's shelling, not a single man of my company was killed, although not a single shell missed what it had aimed at by more than fifty yards. That makes all the difference, that fifty yards. If you only keep your head down, you are as safe as houses; exactly, you will remark, as safe as houses."
The Things the Wounded Talk About
By a British Surgeon
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all till y one with wonder at first, Marble tiles, hidup they belong to the trudy unexpected, against - bich it to Impo-ble to be prepared. It would not be an e-aggeration to describe the first effect of them as startling. They kill so many illusions and they discredit 30 many beliefs. War, rendered thus the background of life, assumes a new proportion and a new meaning. Or, rather, it becomes vague and meaningless, like a darkness.
A few days ago I sat by the bedside of wounded sapper-a reservist-and heard the story of life in a sgnal-box on a branch line in the north of England. The man was dying. I think he knew it. But the zest of his everyday He delife was still strong in him.
scribed the manner in which, on leaving the army originally, he had obtained his post on the railway. He told me that there were three trains each way in the on Winter day, and mentioned that nights the last train was frequently very late. This meant a late supper, but his wife saw to it that everything was kept hot. Sometimes his wife came to the to meet him if it was a dry night.
e next bed there was a young
Scotsman from a Highland district which I know very well. We were friends so soon as he learned that I knew his home. He was a roadman, and we talked of his roads and the changes which had been wrought in them of late years by motor traffic. He recalled a great storm, during which the sea wall around a certain harbor was washed away and the highway rendered impassable. Then, rather diffidently, he confessed that he had lost a foot and would be handicapped in his work-" at Ypres."
At the far end of the ward there was a German who spoke a tle English. He was a married man and came from Saxony. His wife and children, he said, would miss him at Christmas. We spoke a long time on the subject of Christmas. I suppose by all the orthodox canons that this German should have told me that he was glad to be a prisoner or else should have declared his conviction that the German Army would speedily carry everything before it to victory. But somehow he forgot to say these things and I forgot to ask him about them. These things seemed far away in the quiet ward, even-and for this I beg forgiveness-grotesque and uninteresting.
I had the curiosity to return to the young Scot and to ask him if he regretted the decision which had led to his being maimed for life. He shook his head. "No, because I've had a good home. A man with a good home should fight for it." He added that his father had advised him very strongly to enlist.
By the touchstone of the men it has broken this war is judged, and the makers of this war. And more than ruined villages and desecrated churches these soldiers pronounce condemnation. They, who have given so much, are, in a sense, without joy and without enthusiasm;
rather they shun recollection. There is no zest in the killing of men. Their thoughts, especially at this season, are directed away from the dull, mechanic force which labors against its bonds
across Europe, and dwell in the homes it has threatened. The war is revealed as a thing gross and dull-witted, a crime even against the ancient, chivalrous spirit of war.
Three Dying Foes Made
I have read nothing more tender and moving than the subjoined letter found by a Red Cross agent at the side of a dead officer and forwarded to the person to whom it was addressed. The writer was a French cavalry officer engaged to a young American girl in Paris. It was written as he lay dying from wounds received in a cavalry charge. Let it speak for itself. E. P. P. HERE are two other men lying near me, and I do not think there is much hope for them either. One is an officer of a Scottish regiment and the other a private in the Uhlans. They were struck down after me, and when I came to myself, I found them bending over me, rendering first aid.
The Britisher was pouring water down my throat from his flask, while the German was endeavoring to stanch my wound with an antiseptic preparation served out to them by their medical corps. The Highlander had one of his legs shattered, and the German had several pieces of shrapnel buried in his side.
In spite of their own sufferings they were trying to help me, and when I was fully conscious again the German gave us a morphia injection and took one
himself. His medical corps had also provided him with the injection and the needle, together with printed instructions for its use.
After the injection, feeling wonderfully at ease, we spoke of the lives we had lived before the war. We all spoke English, and we talked of the women we had left at home. Both the German and the Britisher had only been married a year.
I wondered, and I supposed the others did, why we had fought each other at all. I looked at the Highlander, who was falling to sleep, exhausted, and in spite of his drawn face and mud-stained uniform, he looked the embodiment of freedom. Then I thought of the Tricolor of France and all that France had done for liberty. Then I watched the German, who had ceased to speak. He had taken a Prayer Book from his knapsack and was trying to read a service for soldiers wounded in battle.