The Bridge. 20 THE YPRES TIMES By H. M. SUTTON. IT was a misty night and a cold nightit was an uneasy night among restless nights, with an atmosphere ot impending danger more evident than usual. It was because everything was so unusually quiet in the wrecked and war- scattered village that the alarm was felt. The horses of the Brigade in the improvised camouflaged shelters stamped their feet, tossed their heads, rattled log- chains and confided one to another restlesslyfifteen hundred blood horses of the best stock in the world, the majority of whose owners were assisting the infantry to stem the Grand Offensive. In serried rows behind them were the piles of saddlery and equipment. In a hole in the ground were the Signals Corporal and his runner: pacing the horse lines, where black shapes moved pacifying and appeasing, was the Field Officer responsible. Away to the north on the horizon, the flashes and rumbling of guns, the chattering machine guns, the clattering transport and the screaming and tearing crash of exploding shells. The pandemonium of atrocious and bloody war! The bursting of a nine-point-two splintered the silence around, the acrid fumes floated across the sea of mud and someone called out: All well there?" The restless horses grew more restless and the furies of hell broke loose. Anything better than silence. A shell, bursting on the road, sent forth its death-messengers with a sickening and hideous crash. The Signals Corporal bent over his buzzer as the walls and floor of his dugout rocked and the universe hung suspended. Buzz-buzzbuzz-buzz-buzzbuzz-buzz Hope they don't drop one in the doorway," remarked the runner peevishly. Shut up, damn you!" replied the Corporal fiercely. Buzz-buzz-buzz, buzz-buzz," in bits and snatches the message came through, feverishly, irregularly and uncertainly. With, and despite all the hells without, they got it and deciphered it. Two divisions north of the river; bridge in enemy hands. Recapture at all costs, and quickly." Who inis goin' to do that?" Take it to the Major, an' never mind who's goin' to do it," came the terse reply. The corporal buckled on his equipment, half-conscious of work to be done, and the runner disappeared into the night toward the horse-lines. Immediately he had gone, the half-expected occurred; a roar, complete darkness, the sound of splintering timber and a flash of light. The floor jumped and the walls bounded. For a moment he was paralysed, then, finding himself apparently alive, he struck a match and looked about him. Hugh! there'll be no more messages received here this night," the Corporal remarked disgustedly, and clambered through the hole out into the open. Shells were bursting in a grand inferno everywhere about him, and the horses in the lines


The Ypres Times (1921-1936) | 1930 | | pagina 22