The Great War, I was there - Part 22

Part 23 of THE GREAT WAR: I WAS THERE!On Sale Everywhere Tuesday, March 7 Leaves from the Editor’s Note- (Continued from page ii o f this wrap per ,personally. ...After his voyages, sometimes lasting 4 or 5 weeks, his ship is docked in Liverpool for a matter of 3 or 4 days, sometimes longer— then he comes home.” Mr. Lahiff also expresses his amazement at our photographs: 1 cannot understand how all these photos were taken in the War Zone. All the time 1 was serving (except when I was home, wounded, for about 5 months) I never once saw a camera.” |twas fortunately the casein the early days, before official photographers were appointed in 1916, that one or two liaison and H.Q. officers, particularly a personal observer attached to Gen. Gough (Mr. Paul Maze, who has made several brilliant and most human contributions to our pages), had cameras and were able to use them. These photographs have only come to light fairly recently. Obviously their existepce would not be openly acknowledged within a few year%, only of the war, and it is only since they have found their way into the files of the Imperial War Museum that they have been, as it were, discovered. I shall make further reference to this matter in a later page of the Note-Book. p H ANY stories that readers have sent me are little more than humorous anecdotes. These, while amusing as "yarns,” can hardly gain inclusion in this work as full-size chapters. The lighter side of the war comes as a welcome relief amid tales of carnage and stern valour, and I have given expression to it in these pages from time to time as opportunity and space offer. Humorous narration is in many ways the most difficult form of writing. The imagi­native author is tempted to add fictitious touches instead of allowing the flavour of the story to depend on interpretation and observation. The unimaginative writer sometimes spoils the point of his story. But what may bean exceptionally droll story when told byword of mouth among friends very often looks comparatively flat in cold print. PjEVERTHELESS, I have one or two anecdotes to hand in which readers may perhaps recognize familiar incidents. Ex-Lt. W. G. Davis, Cheshire Regt. (attd. R.A.F.), remembers being one of a small advance party in July or August 1915 which had to arrange billets for the main body. He was then a private in the 15th Batt. London Regt. (C.S.R.). The party overtook what “was most certainly the best-equipped farm I ever saw in France.” “It appeared that the troops we were relieving had annoyed the owner by ruining some of his straw and he rightly or wrongly wanted compensation, which of course we had no powers to promise. His attitude was only made known to us when we had made our allocations and were inspecting the well.” The winding-gear of the well was chained and padlocked, and the troops had to knock at the door and ask for the key. This the owner refused until he had had payment for the damage done by the outgoing troops. ^TvENTUALLY Mr. Davis's platoon found themselves installed in aloft, on sheaves of straw which were afterwards found to be laid across beams about 18 inches apart. On one occasion rations were to be divided by a certain L/Cpl. Ives :Now he was a little fat chap and the butt of the Company. He sat down on the straw surrounded by tins of iam butter and milk, also bread and cheese, with his little fat legs out,spread and was in the :>fact cutting a loaf when suddenly he and most of the rations disappeared. One by one we dashed down the ladder and into the cow byre, to find Fatty Ives picking himself out of the manger into which he had fallen. Thanks undoubtedly to his fine upholstery he was only shaken. The poor cow, however, must have had areal fright, for during the night it gave birth to a calf which we were told was premature by I believe some 3 or 4 weeks. “And that, sir, is how Fatty Ives gave birth to a calf.” -Old Comrade s’Corner These brief notes afford an opportunity for comrades of the Great War to get into touch with one another. Any reader of I WAS THERE who wishes to hear of his old comrades on any Front in the Great War should send details to the Editor to be published in this “Corn er,” stating whether he wishes his own address to be printed. [N.B .—Correspondents are requested to get into direct touch with each other where addresses are printed. Only in exceptional circumstances can the Editor undertake to forward letters, which must be stamped.] M A.R.r Smith ,late ol X/18 T .M.B ,would like to hear from all old comrades of W X, Y or Z Batteries, 18th Division. Address :SchoolHouse, Trittiford Road, Billesley. Birmingham, 14. Mrs .Maud Grahame wants to get in touch with two soldiers who went with her son Alfred G. Grahame (62588, Gunner, 68th Batt. 4th Bde., R.F.A.), to the British Embassy and saw Lord Kitchener. They were cutoff at Compaine (Compiegne ?)at the Retreat of Mons, Sept. 1,1914, When she went to bury her son on Nov. 10,1914, she saw, on the next grave to his, the name“ Pte P. Hearn, South Wales Borderers.” She has a photo of the grave, and will send it to any relative of Pte. Hearn who writes to her. Address :St. Martins, 6, Wray Street, Ryde, LOW .Cpl.- F i t t e r aLFred ck, 52nd Bde., R.F.A. 9th Scottish Div ,would like to hear from comrades of that brigade, and any who were at “Broad Oak House,” Ipswich, September 1914. Address: 15, Bournehall Road Bushey, Watford, Herts ergS t Sign all e r G.S .Barber .184, Brassey St., Ruchill, Glasgow, would like to hear from anyone of 49th Battery, 40th Brigade, .F.AR .,or B/55 Bat t ry,e 13th Division. Mr. R. V. Morley who was 22897 2nd Batt. Coldstream Guards No 3 Coy., during the War, wants to trace Laurie Graysmark, his comrade at Kneap Forest (?)on the Somme in March 1918. He was then with the 3rd Batt. afterwards coming to the 2nd. [Possibly Mr. Morley means Nieppe, although this hardly tallies with the military operations.— Ed.] Graysmark’s home was at Brighton during the War Mr. Morley’s address is :Sutton Cottages, Iford, nr. Lewes, Sussex. Gun n W.erE. S y mon d woulds like to hear from men of 293 and 223 Bdes. R.F.A. Address :“O.Kay,” Walford Road, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire. F. G. HOLYOAK, Hon. Sec. of the Leicester and District Branch of the Canadian Ex-Service­ men Associations of Great Britain, would he pleased to hear from ex-C.E.F. men wishing to meet old comrades Address :96 Scrap- toft Lane, Leicester. M rF. Barker ,medical orderly to 109th Battery, R.F.A., 3rd Div., which left Bulford Camp (Salisbury) in August 1914, would like to hear from any survivors, especially Gunner Sam Kearns and Driver W. Grant, also Ptes. Percy M cLeod and Tom Wigman, .C.R.A.M Address :30, Blenheim Road. Northampton. REPLIES Gunner A.S. Walk er, H.Q. Staff, 50th Bde. R.F.A.. 9th Div. (No. 82165), has seen Cpl. Craig’s name in the Comrades’ Corner, and would like to get in touch with him. Address :198, Boyson Road, Walworth, S.E.17. Ex- C p l .Gar Ker,n .Y.O .L.I., is a survivor of 21st Div., in which he remained from its information 1914 until wounded on July 11916. He writes in reply to Mr A.D. Johnson’s insertion in Part 15. Address: 6, Beechwood Ave., Hayes, Mddx. M r .Jame sF. Mar tin ,late 21st Div. Sigs R.E. (64th Inf Bde. H.Q.) also replies toM r.D A Johnson Address: c/o 31 Samsbury Rd., Upper Norwood, S E .19. Back Numbers Specially Kept in Print for New Readers
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