Soldier’s Narrow Escapes




Extremely interesting letters continue to arrive in this district recording the doings of the Neston men on active service. Very descriptive are those of a young private in the Cheshires, as the following extracts will show:

I must not forget to mention my exciting experience during a German bombardment. Hearing the whistle of a shell on its way over from the German lines, I instinctively fell flat in the mud. It burst within a half a dozen yards of me, and the shock of the explosion went right through me. I was lucky to get off with nothing but a plentiful supply of dirt over me.

I have had another experience of the German’s idea of warfare. They opened fire on our front line with artillery and sent over weeping shells. These take effect immediately after exploding, and cause your eyes to water so that you cannot see. Now that it is over, we can see the comical side of it, for it was really funny to see everyone weeping. Of course we have goggles for protection against these fumes, but it had taken effect before we realised what it really was. 

The bombardment lasted over an hour, and I should think they sent over four hundred shells on a front of a mile or less. We were relieved that night, and beyond some swollen eyes the effects soon wore off. 

In the following, he mentions another narrow escape he has had:

This is the warmest place I have been in, I think. As we were marching up a German aeroplane spotted us, so we had to go in under a heavy shell fire. The snipers were also very keen, and I had another narrow escape. A bullet struck the gun, but luckily did no damage. I was on duty at the time, and kept well down after that.

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