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taking advantage of any mud to lessen the
chances of noise. Nothing can be heard
except the crack, crack, of the sniper's rifles
and an occasional whiz of bullets which fly
over our heads. Suddenly the searchlight
gradually comes up and creeps round on us.
The party mechanically halts and stands stock
still a little movement would betray us. We
listen eagerly and intently to hear if the ma-
chine gun has spotted us. We soon learn that,
for it immediately spits out its deadly volley of
750 rounds a minute. This is the signal for down,
and down we have to get as flat as pancakes,
and when the light has passed on we go
again in the same way. On a very black night
flares are used every few minutes, hence the
journey is risky and slow. On arrival at the
trench we jump in and take our positions at
the firing points. Those whom we have
relieved disappear silently into the darkness,
and undergo the same ordeal getting away
as we have experienced getting into the
trench.
- Vivid Story of Life in the Trenches
An officer of an infantry regiment gives the
following account in the "Times" of the routine
of the trenches. The afternoon free, but I'm not
particularly happy, for it means that we go
down in the trenches as soon as it is dark. Tea-
time comes all too quickly, and then dinner at
6.30 seems on us before we know where we
are; already we have started to get ready;
extra vest for warmth, waterproof boots, a
thick muffler, and a stout stick. Soon a knock at
the door, and your sergeant informs you the
section is fallen in and waiting. Off you go,
ploughing through the mud which surrounds
our hut, till you reach the pave, which is so
painful to walk on in its present uneven state.
You stumble down the long straight road, past
long lines of troops either waiting to go into the
trenches or just returning from their 24 hours
spell, past various military carts, minus springs
filled with all kinds of war material. Away on the
horizon you see the German starlights float up
into the night, casting a faint, ghostly shadow,
or throwing into relief the man in front. These
lights seem to be but half a mile off instead of
nearer three. Three quarters of an hour and we
reach the first of the battered villages; the
headquarters are there in the cellar of a house;
it has no roof, it has no windows, the door is
gone; a dozen telephone wires are looped up
by a nail one going to this trench, one to that,
some to dug outs, some back to where the
General sits in his office. You halt your men out-
side, and, after being challenged by the
sentry, descend to see the Colonel of the
troops who occupy the trenches for that par-
ticular night and ask for any particular instruc-
tions as to what he wants done. Later, bullets
start singing past us ....
CLARA Soldier's LETTER
The following extracts from Mr. H. Greaney
are so telling that it would be like "painting
the Lily" to introduce them with many words.
Hence we place them without preface
before the numerous readers of the "King's
Co Chronicle"
Dear Mother - I sent you a card saying I was
wounded and in hospital. We went into the
trenches on Sunday after marching night and
day for a week and although we were shelled
for about an hour going up I came off safe and
the whole of Sunday night and Monday we
o'clock we got ready to charge Hill 70. Of
course we had to go out in the open and
charge up the hill.
There is a wood on the top and the Germans
were in hundreds there and opened fire on us
guns and shells the pack was cut off my back
with bullets but I was just after loading my rifle
and putting it up to my shoulder when it was
put into bits out of my hand and about half of
the first finger of my left hand went with it. I
came off very safe considering they were
falling all around me. As bad as I was I half car-
ried and half pulled after ma a chum for half a
mile till we came across the stretcher bearery
and they carried him the rest of the way. I am
quite satisfied as I am certain I shot four Ger-
mans and I don't know how many more. I did
not see Woods at all but I was told his company
suffered heavy. The watch Bill sent me was
smashed in bits with a bit of shrapnel; it saved
my chest as it changed the bullet's flight. I can
hardly believe I am alive after all I went through
Do not be fretting about me as I am alright.