The following interesting extracts are from a letter written by a local soldier, who was recently wounded in the Chantilly area and is now in hospital in this country:
“That night we heard that an attack was to be made next morning. There was a terrific bombardment in progress by the French ’75’s and the Yankees had got into action several batteries of guns, which had been captured in the earlier stages of the successful counter-offensives, and they had a huge dump of Krupp gas shells to supply the guns.
The attack was made at dawn, and we met with stern opposition from numerous machine-gun nests, firing from cornfields and even from positions up in the trees of the various woods to our front. I was leading my team, being No.1 on the gun, and somehow the platoon lost direction, and entered an old 1914 trench to move over to the right. This trench was full of dead and wounded, and was still being heavily bombarded. Here I lost touch with the remainder of the platoon, and got up to look for them. Immediately, I went down with a bullet in my foot, so I handed over to No.2 and took cover under a stranded tank.
The next thing was to get to the dressing station. Gas was everywhere and helpless wounded were quickly overcome by the fumes. After four direct hits on the tank, I decided to ‘hop it’ and trust to Providence. How I got through it and back to the dressing station I don’t know, as I have not been able to put my foot down since. My foot swelled up as soon as my boot was off.
Here I witnessed another case of German ‘Kultur.’ In the village first captured was an advanced dressing station which had been used by the Germans, so, of course, we used it for the same purpose. A large Red Cross flag was flying high over the top of it. Without warning, the enemy turned his guns on it and levelled it to the ground just when it was full of wounded, mostly stretcher cases. I think I advanced a mile, and the place was literally strewn with German corpses. My two toes had evidently been smashed up, but at the time of the operation I did not know I was to lose them both, though I guessed as much. The rest of the story you know.”