THE YPRES TIMES 143 shouted, They are coming over. Stand to!" We all jumped to the fire step and saw the advancing lines of Germans coming towards us. We at once fell to firing frantically with rifles and Lewis guns, but still they came on in short rushes. There was no time to take aim, and we just fired and reloaded as rapidly as possible. I fired about three hundred rounds, until my rifle was red hot. While the excitement was at its height our sergeant was dashing along the trench handing each of us portions of bread and meat from the rations which had arrived during the night. The enemy never reached our trench, but came to a halt within about a hundred yards of it. hiding behind some broken walls. On our right, however, they had more success, for we could see them going right through. First came the waves of infantry, then the supports in column closely followed by field guns, while away in the distance we could discern cavalry. Our artillery seemed quite blind, for in response to our S.O.S. signals only a few shells burst amongst the advancing Germans. We were unable to do anything further to help, and had to wait where we were for orders while the enemy were pouring through on our right. During the day there were sounds of much strife on this flank, but our immediate front was quiet except for machine gun bullets which swept the parapet. That night we managed to bury our dead in the frozen ground. The next day found us cold and hungry, for we had had no food for two days, except foi the brief snack during the firing. The following night, however, we were ordered to file out of the trench as quietly as possible, so we were led by our Commanding Officer through the village by devious routes' until we reached the canal, which we crossed. It appears that when we evacuated the village it was almost completely surrounded by the enemy with exception of a gap a few hundred yards wide, through which we had passed successfully. Leaving the 62nd Brigade to defend the canal, we made our way back to the rear, and so ended our portion of the Cambrai surprise. K. J. Fenton. The following was written in December, 1915, in a dug-out at La Belle Alliance, a health resort doubtless known to many readers of the Ypres Times. It was inspired by the receipt of a message from Division asking for a Return of Number of Rats killed by Gas in the Battalion area and. possibly by the fact that it was the author's birthday. What returns do we make to-day? Undercoats, fur, or S.A.A., Or a shortage in pepper, or coke, or hay, Or RATS? What is it smells so awfully high, Is it the cheese, or gumboots, thigh, Or a long-dead Boche that lies near by, Or RATS? What do the officers see at night When an issue of rum has obscured their sight. A Hun attack to the left, or right, Or RATS? What do we find in Flanders mud. Beef, or biscuits, or butter, or blood. Or a bully beef tin near a pip-squeak dud. Or RATS? What does the gas kill off in a trice, Brigade Commanders, or kittens,* or mice? No, not even a few odd lice. But RATS Percy and Archibald, attached to B.H.Q. for instruction in mousing, but who had not attended a course in the use of anti-gas appliances. Happily, they recovered


The Ypres Times (1921-1936) | 1929 | | pagina 17