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Friday, February 26, 2010


I'm here still, I think. The sound, the noise is incredible...I can't hear myself think. I realize the funny taste in my mouth is...dirt. The last series of bombs from Fritz blew in part of the trench block and buried several fellows alive...including me. From the noise, the incredible fury of sound I realize that the fight is still on. The incessant hammering of rifle fire, bombs going off one after the other...a mixture of other sound, human made sounds..shouts, screams, the yelling, crying....

I shrug off the last of the dirt and push through the destroyed block to find myself alone...where are my Pals? Through the haze of smoke in the last light of day I begin to see snippets of images....a body here,German, unmoving...a man, one of ours on his knees, struggling to crawl away..with an arm missing, marking his path with blood. Now many corpses litter the remains of the trench floor, I move cautiously round a bend in the trench and I'm face to face with my enemy. I see him first, run him through the throat and he remains standing, frozen in time with a silent scream staring intently back at the man who just killed him. After a while of gazing back into the dead mans eyes, I remove the bayonet, he crumples to the ground. I stick him again, then again....dead. I pause, take a deep breath then begin to move again down the trench only to deflect a swinging trench shovel w/the butt of my rifle at the last second. Shouts from behind as lads from 3rd Welsh Fusiliers come up, over and through the broken and battered trench block. The Welsh lay down a sheet of rifle fire and a barrage of bombs on the next series of strong-points in the trench system. The German with the shovel dies in the onslaught. Systematically they bomb there way down the trench, eliminating dug outs and surviving Germans as they go. As quickly as the appeared, they were gone, lost in the smoke, lost in time like ghosts from Hell or Avenging Angels....

A cold shiver passes through me as I struggle to remain standing. I am confused by my weakness until stretcher bearers come through....In the chaotic confusion of the fight I failed to realize I'd been shot through the left thigh and am now missing parts of two fingers on my right hand. Seems it was my hand on the rifle butt that deflected the Hun shovel..

Suddenly I see a man from the Medical Corps, his face right in front of me and he is talking, his lips move but I don't understand what he is saying. It doesn't make any sense to me then I realize that I feel faint. With much help I am moved back through the trench we have just taken from Fritz. I can't begin to describe the horror of what I see: a private window into a small piece of the underworld. Bodies, parts of bodies, once human gobs of goo, chunks of stuff along with equipment strewn everywhere. In a large junction of several trench avenues I wait with other wounded to be moved back, behind the line to receive medical attention. I lay on the cold, hard packed dirt of the trench and slowly the intense noise of the previous hours begins to fade. I relax, I urinate where I lie but I feel OK yet I swear I hear a familiar voice...soft, comforting...Is it, no!? How can that be? is my Mother.

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