Category: british army

Last night Camerons shot a German who was trying to bomb one of their saps. His correspondence showed him to be a bright boy. It included letters from parents whose daughters he had wronged and deserted, a variety of affectionate letters from young women and about fifteen different addresses of Frauleins.

They apparently have some facetious Germans opposite Givenchy now.
One of them shouted across to the Welsh Regt. “Is there anyone there from Swansea?”
Several answered “Yes”, whereupon he hurled a hand grenade across, with the remark – “Then you can divide that among you, you blighters.”

One burst a few feet over the crest-line, hitting gun, horses and my own poor horse. I had just time to call to the gunner drivers that it was no use running about when another 5.9 H.E shell came just right for us.  It struck a little tree about 12 foot up its trunk and exploded.
I felt something hit me on the left breast and on right instep, no pain and did not think I was wounded. I looked up and heard Corpl. Jack saying his leg was broken, and the lad laying next to me looked pitifully round and I saw he was practically disembowelled by the base of the shell.
Then I opened my shirt, found a fair hole about 4 inches above the left nipple, and a lot of blood flowing, foot only bruised, but very painful, and end of the left spur shot away. The bullet, or shell fragment, had gone through my medal ribbons.
Did not feel sick and was not spitting blood, so concluded it was not serious, but as well to clear out; picked up my kit, got out the field-dressing and stepped off down the road. Clancy of the machine-gun detachment helped me unpack the FFD which I held on the wound. Halfway down the hill found B and C companies just arrived with Stephen; also my poor horse lying dead. Stephen had just finished him off. Secured my sword, on which the horse had fallen, bending it to scythe shape, and offered it to the advanced dressing station at Vendresse.
There Meaden diagnosed my trouble as a superficial injury; but he was wrong, as I know the bullet if not in me will be in my trousers. Got a dressing put on, felt fine, and asked if I might return to the battalion. This was refused, and quite right, as I soon felt groggy with loss of blood, and pain and stiffness increased.
At about 1 I drove off on the box of a horsed ambulance to Villers 4-5 miles back, and beyond the Aisne, where a fresh dressing was put on, and the missle was found lying on my breast bone. I decided not to have it out then as I had had enough interesting incidents for one day.

Of the sights and sounds at the dressing station it is better not to write.

Australian troops practising bomb throwing at Gallipoli.

The Ottoman troops at Gallipoli were supplied with modern German hand grenades in relatively large numbers. The British and Dominion troops initially had none. Instead they made the famous ‘jam tin bombs’ out of, you guessed it, jam tins packed with gunpowder and scrap metal with a short hand lit fuse.

A jam tin bomb factory at Cape Helles.

Three members of the Imperial Camel Corps take their breakfast from a ‘funk hole’ table in the desert near Jaffa in Palestine, October 1918.

Above a German front line trench appeared a plank on which in big letters was scrawled these words:
“The English are fools.”
“Not such bloody fools as all that!” said a sergeant, and in a few minutes the plank was smashed to splinters by rifle-fire.
Another plank appeared with the words:
“The French are fools.”
Loyalty to our allies caused the destruction of that board.
A third plank was put up.
“We’re all fools. Let’s all go home.”
That board was also shot to pieces, but the message caused some laughter.

Wounded Soldiers in Palestine Being Carried on Cacolets on the Backs of Camels – George Pirie, 1917.

A Ward in The London Hospital  – John Lavery, date unknown.

Two Men Carrying a Stretcher among the Trenches in France – Daryl Lindsay, c1916

Scene of the Gatehouse at Welbeck Abbey, Nottinghamshire – Arthur Spooning, 1918.