Newspaper Page Text
Thursday, March 21, 1918.
"Over the Top" By An Amerlcu Soldier Who Went ARTHUR GUY ENPEY Machln« Gunner Setting in Franc• voomrtighKim, by AnkuQv (Continued from page 11) with the" resf of the" men. In each' traverse two of the older men had been! put on guard with their heads sticking over the top, and with their eyes try ing to pierce the blackness in "No Man's Land." In this trench there, were only two dugouts, and these were used by Lewis and Vickers machine gunners, so it was the fire step for ours. Pretty soon it started to rain. We put on our "macks," but they were not much protection. The rain trickled down our backs, and it was not long before we were wet and cold. How 1 passed that night I will never know, but without any unusual occurrence, dawn arrived. The word "stand down" was passed along the line, and the sentries got down off the fire step. Pretty soon the rum issue came along, and it was a Godsend. It warmed our chilled bodies and put new life into us. Then from the communication trenches came dixies or iron pots, filled with steam ing tea, which had two wooden stakes through their handles, and were car ried by two men. I filled my canteen and drank the hot tea without taking It from my lips. It was not long be fore I was asleep in the mud on the fire step. My ambition had been attained! I was in a front-line trench on the west ern front, and oh, how I wished I were tack In Jersey City. CHAPTER V. Mud, Rats and Shells. I must have slept for two or three hours, not the refreshing kind that re sults from clean sheets and soft pil lows, but the sleep that comes from cold, wet and sheer exhaustion. Suddenly, the earth seemed to shake ®nd a thunderclap burst in my ears. I opened my eyes—I was splashed all over with sticky mud, and men were picking themselves up from the bottom of the trench. The parapet on my left had toppled into the trench, completely blocking it with a wall of tossed-up learth. The man on my left lay still. I rubbed the mud from iny face, and an awful sight met my gaze—his head was smashed to a pulp, and his steel fielmet was full of brains and blood. A German "Minnie" (trench mortar) had exploded in the next traverse. Men were digging into the soft mass of mud In a frenzy of haste. Stretcher-bear ers came up the trench on the double. After a few minutes of digging, three •till, muddy forms on stretchers were carried down the communication I trencTi to the "rear. Soon they would be resting "somewhere in France," with a little wooden cross over their heads. They had done their bit for king and country, had died without firing a shot, but their services were appreciated, nevertheless. Later on, I found out their names. They belonged to our draft. I was dazed and motionless. Sud denly a shovel was pushed Into my hands, and a rough but kindly voice said.: "Here, my lad. lend a hand clearing the trench, but keep your head down, and look out for snipers. One of the Fritz's is a daisy, and he'll get you if you're not careful." Lying on my belly on the bottom of the trench, I filled sandbags with the sticky mud, they were dragged to my rear by the other men, and the work of rebuilding the parapet was on. The harder I worked, the better I felt. Al though the wgather was cold, I was soaked with sweat. Keep WRIGLEVS in mind as the lontest lasting confection you can buy. Send it to the boys at the front* mini War Time Economy ssUUI in Sweetmeats— a 5-cent package of WRIGLEVS will fiive you several days* enjoy ment: it's an investment in benefit as well as pleasure, for it helps teeth* breath* appetite* digestion. Chew After Every Meal The Flavor Lasts! S III Occasionally a bullet would crack overhead, and a machine gun would kick up the mud on the bashed-in para pet. At each crack I would duck and shield my face with my arm. One of the older men noticed this action of mine, and whispered: "Don't duck at the crack of a bul let, Yank the danger has passed—you never hear the one that wings you. Always remember that if you are goiiiir to get it, you'll get it, so never worry.* This made a great Impression on me at the time, and from then on, I adopt ed his motto, "If you're going to get it, you'll get it." It helped me wonderfully. I used it so often afterwards that some of my mates dubbed me, "If you're going to get It, you'll get it." After an hour's hard work, all my nervousness left me, and I was laugh, lng.and joking with the rest. At one o'clock, dinner came up in the form of a dixie of hot stew. I looked for my canteen. It had fallen off the fire step, and was half buried in the mud. The man on my left noticed this, and told the corporal, dishing out the rations, to put my share In his mess tin. Then he whis pered to me, "Always take care of your mess tin, mate." I had learned another maxim of the trenches. That stew tasted fine. I was as hungry as a bear. We had "seconds," nr another helping, because three of the men had "gone West." killed by the explosion of the German trench mortar, and we ate their share, but still I was hungry, so I filled in with bully beef and biscuits. Then I drained my water bottle. Later on I learned another maxim of the front line, "Gn sparingly with your water." The bully beef made me thirsty, and by tea time I was dying for a drink, but my pride would not allow me to ask my mates for water. I was fast learning the ethics of the trenches. That night I was put on guard with an older man. We stood on the fire step with our hands over the top, peer ing out Into No Man's Land.<p></p>RIGLEY5 Tow seemed to take It was nervous work for me, but the other f£i- it as par? of tEe night's routine. Then something shot past my face. My heart stopped beating, and I ducked my head below the parapet. A soft chuckle from my mate brought me to my senses, and I feebly asked, "Fop heaven's sake, what was that?" He answered. "Only a rat taking a promenade along the sandbags." felt very sheepish. About every twenty minutes the sen try in the next traverse would Are a star shell from his flare pistol. The "plop" would give me a start of fright. I never got used to this noise during my service in the trenches. I would watch the arc described by the star shell, and then stare Into No Man's Land waiting for it to burst. In its lurid light the barbed wire and stakes would he silhouetted against Later we learned that the word, "No challenging or tiring, wiring party out. in front." bad been given to the sentry on our right, but lie had failed to pass it down the trench. An oflicer had over heard our challenge and the reply, and immediately put the oflending sentry under arrest. The sentry clicked twont.v-me days on the wheel, that is, he received twenty-one days' field pun ishment No. 1, or "crucifixion," as Tommy terms it. This consists of being spread-eagled on the wheel of a limber two hours a day for twenty-one days, regardless of the weather. During this period, your rations consist of bully beef, biscuits and water.- A few months later I met this sentry and he confided to me that since being "crucified," he had never failed to pass the word down the trench when so or dered. In view of the offense, the above punishment was very light, in that failing to pass the word down a trench may mean the loss of many lives, and the spoiling of some impor tant enterprise in Xo Man's Land. CHAPTER VI. "Back of the Line." Our tour in the front-line trench lasted fovr days, and then we were relieved by the brigade. Going down the communication trench we were in a merry mood, al though we were cold and wet, and every bone in our bodies ached. It makes a lot of difference whether you are "going in" or "going out." At the end of the communication trench, limbers were waiting on the road for us. I thought we were going to ride back to rest billets, but soon found out that the only time an In fantryman rides is when he Is wounded and is bound for the base or Blighty. These limbers carried our reserve ammunition and rations. Our march to rest billets was thoroughly enjoyed by me. It seemed as if I were on furlough, and was leaving be hind everything that was disagree able and horrible. Every recruit feels tills way alter being relieved from the trenches. We marched eight kilos and then halted in front of a French estaminet. The captain gave the order to turn our on each side of the road and wait his return. Pretty soon he came back and told company fo occupy billets 117, 118 and 119. Billet 117 was an old stable which had previously been occupied by cows. About four feet In front of tiio entrance was a huge ma cure piie, and the odor from it was anything but pleasant. Using my flashlight I stumbled through the door. Just before entering I observed white sign reading: "Sitting 50, lying •,*• but, at the time, its significance did not strike me. Xext morning I asked 'lie sergeant major what it meant. He nonchalantly answered: "That's some of the work of the R. A. M. C. (Uoyul Army Medical SHINE IN EVERY DROP* Black Silk Stove Polish I Is different. It does not dry oat: can be wed to the I I est drop: liquid and put* I on* quality absolutely no I mite no dost or dirt. Tea I Cot year BMoey'e worth. I Black Silk Stove Polish la not onlf meet ceeaeaied.bat it elvaa a IxflH' ant, silky lustre that cannot be obtained with any other polish. Black Silk Stove Polish does Dot rub off-it lasts (our times as Ions as ordinary polish—so it saves yoa time, work and money. WILLISTON GRAPHIC ItSj light like a latticed window. Then darkness. Once, out in front of our wire, I heard a noise and saw dark forms moving. My rifle was lying across the sandbagged parapet. I reached for it, and was taking aim to fire, when my mate grasped in/ arm, and whispered,j "Don't fire." lie challenged in a lowi voice. The reply came back instantly from the dark forms: "Shut your bllnkln' mouth, you bloomiif idiot do you want us to click! it from the Boches?" 0* corps), it simply means that in case of arj at tack, tliis billet will accommodate fifty w«'U!ided who are able to sit iiji Riid lake notice, or twenty, stretcher cases." (To be Continued next week) Don't forget—when yeo want stove polish, be sore to ask (or Blade Silk. If it isn't the best stove polish yoa ever used—yoar dealer will refund your money. Black Silk Stove Polish Works, Sterling, Illinois. Use Black Silk Air Drying Iron Enamel an grates, reg isters, stove-pipes, and auto mobile tire nms. Prevents rusting. Try it. 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