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An Infantry Subaltern's Impression of July 1st, 1916


Excerpt: s been killed and four men wounded."

The whole tragedy had happened so swiftly, and this sudden announcement of the death of one of our best N.C.O.s had come as such a shock, that all we did was to stare at each other with the words:

"My God! Corporal G---- gone! It's impossible."

One expects shells and death in the line, but three or four miles behind it one grows accustomed, so to speak, to live in a fool's paradise. We went round to see our casualties, and I found two of my platoon, bandaged in the leg and arm, sitting in a group of their pals, who were congratulating them on having got "soft Blighty ones." The Company Quartermaster-Sergeant showed me a helmet, which was lying outside the billet when the shells came over, with a triangular gash in it, into which one could almost place one's fist. At the body of Corporal G---- I could not bring myself to look. The poor fellow had been terribly hit in the back and neck, and, I confess it openly, I had not the courage, and felt that it wo