The Great War, I was there - Part 25

r ™ft 9 ? 9 n Leaves from the Editor’s Note-Book (Continued from page ///of wrap£/>/s per )*mn m m ft »<#11•1 s i I I I *It* i 1 s H ::H i if H m"n« i f i**V f :would pick the gun up and take it farther down the trench, and go through the same performance— all so very crude. “Eventually we were issued with the Stokes gun, which was very good. W e were able to get several bombs in the air before the first bomb had exploded.” H E author of our chapter “The Impossible Adventure,” a brilliant account of the extraordinary naval expedition half across Africa to 1 anganyika, in Part 25, sends me some pithy anecdotes of the War’s lighter moments under the Central African sun. The first is entitled by Mr. Frank Magee, “Casualty ”:14 Our only casualty was that of one of the officers whose finger was bitten by a native boy he had been punishing. The boy had previously been eating some putrid elephant meat (they like it better that way), with the result that the finger swelled and the doctor decided it would have to be amputated. I being the jack-of-all-trades was ordered to assist at the operation, which took place in a grass hut. “When it was over and I emerged into the open, I found a ring of our native carriers squatting outside. “They were waiting hopefully for a tasty savoury in their evening meal in the shape of a naval officer’s finger. They were disappointed however, as the finger was accorded a funeral, with honours *’”^HE second“ storyette ”by Mr. Magee links up interest­ingly with European Christmas stories of either armistice or slaughter. The very contrast is amusing :“On Xmas morning at Tanganyika, my native servant, Piccanin, aged 15, woke me up with a few wildflowers ingathered the Bush, and stuck in an old salmon tin. H e wished me a Merry Xmas and demanded a present in return. I tried to get from him exactly what Xmas meant to the native mind, as 1 understood he had had some training in a Mission School. All I could get from him was, however :Xmas, sah— yes— all white men get plenty drunk.’” ffcuR contributor has also a final anecdote, macabre and slightly irreverent but nonetheless humorous, which is short enough to be quoted in full :“At a Belgian soldier’s funeral I attended, gorgeous vestments were worn by the priest officiating, a native boy, almost nude, carried an elaborate silver crucifix, and holy water with which the coffin was 9 ? B»¦* it sprinkled with a large feather was carried by a native boy in a glass jar still bearing the label 4 MIXED PICK LES .’”THE Virgin of Albert continues to abe never-failing topic of debate. Mr. Sidney Fuller, of Brighton, heard rumours in 1918 that the famous leaning figure had been brought down by our own artillery. He was at that time in the 12th Division, and gives an extract from his War Diary: M I heard from an artilleryman that the figure of the Virgin on Alber Cathedral was brought down by one of our 4'5 batteries (D .63 ),on or about April 25th. H e said the officers of the battery were discussing with the officers of an 18-pounder battery (C .63) the legend that ‘*he war would end when the Virgin of Albert fell. An officer o f one battery remarked that if that were so, his battery would end the War on the next fine day. The discussion then turned on the relative accurate shooting qualities of the two batteries, and a shooting match was arranged, with the figure of the Virgin as the target. When the shooting took place, the 18-pounder battery scored direct hits on the figure and on the clock dial, while the 4'5 battery brought down the figure with its third shell.” Mr. Fuller thinks this was “just a yarn,” but is anxious to establish just when the statue fell. I have inquired into the matter, and find that it is now confirmed, by the authorities at the Imperial War Museum, that the Virgin of Albert was shot down by British Heavy Artillery on April 16,1918. I may add, by the way, that the Imperial War Museum is not only a huge repository of photographs, weapons, and war relics of every kind, but contains the most complete library of war literature and information in this country. How magnificent is the collection of war-time photographs my readers have already had some opportunity of judging from the many hundreds of photographs selected from the Museum’s well-arranged stock which have already appeared in our pages. The authorities there have always been most ready to help in answering my readers’ queries and also the many questions that arise in the course of our work, and I would take this opportunity of thanking the staff of the Museum very cordially for that help. ¦¦¦¦¦¦¦a Old Comrades’ 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 M 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.] Mrs. K .Brit tan would like to get in touch with Pte. A .Matthews, author of 4 4 I Was 14 Days inN o Man’s Land,” Part 17, as she used to know his two sisters 20 years ago. His address at the time of joining up. she believes, was 54, H olm e Road, East Ham. Mrs. Brittan’s address is :18, Park Road, East Tw ickenham , M iddlesex. Mr. L J. Saunders (T.A,R.E. .),whose father was a stretcher-bearer in 3rd Canadian Div. during the War, would like to get into touch with any old soldier who has any regimental badges or buttons, ashe collects them. A d dress: 12, Hebe Road, Shoreham -by-Sea, Sussex. P t .F.e Long bot tom, 1st E. Yorks Regt., would like to hear from any old comrades stationed Mat ullingar Ireland, 1919 or from any ex-prisoner of war interned Mat arpent (France) or Altdam m (Germany), better known as No. 7. Address :54. Warms- worth Road, Balby, Doncaster. E x-L /Cpl. Harry A d cock wishes to hear from old comrades of 3rd Troop ,4‘ B ”Squadron, 18th Hussars, or from any manor officer of the regiment. Address :249, Broxtowe Lane, A spley Estate. Nottingham. Gun n e rH. S y mon d s ,38812, “D" Bty., 182nd Bde. .F.AR .,would like to get in touch with his old chum Gunner Fox (of Northampton), who left the battery at Vermelles (July 1916) to uptake a commission. Address :The Nook, High Street, Yarm outh, I.o.W .Ex- D riv e r (Farrier) J. F. ACross, /767 A .S.C .,would be very pleased to hear from old pals of 1st .PR (Cavalry), 9 Coy., A .S.C .—!sr Sergt. Paddy Miles. Driver Elliott (cook), Driver Davies (runner), or old chums who served with the Unit from the Mons Retreat until early 1916 or H.T. A .S.C .attached to 45th Field Ambulance, 15th (Scottish) Division Sergt. Harry Levis, M.M .,Driver Pickles, M.M .,C pl.-Farrier Mackintosh, Driver Tommy Evans— 4 4 in fact any dear pal who served with the famous F.A .”Address: W oodleigh, Sandside Road, Arnside, W estm or- land. M .C.r Heath ,late L /Cpl. 4 4 C **Coy., 9th N orfolks, would like to get in touch with Pte. S. Hammond, wounded at G inchy on ths Som e,m Sept. 15,1916, who later went to Italy. Also Pte. Gosling (Transport Section), of Norwich, if living. Address :5, Brookhill Road, W oolw ich, S.E.18. mn! 8 i t if X Pr nted in England and published every Tuesday by the Proprietors, The A glam a mated Press ,Ltd .,The Fleetway House, Farringdon Street London, E.C.4. Sole Agents for Australia and New Zealand :Messrs. Gordon and Gotch, Ltd .and for South Africa :Central News Agency Ltd!, Subscription Rates: Tnland and Abroad, n d .per copy. March 21st, 193.9.^ S.V.
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