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My experience of trench warfare – July 1916

Trench warfare was just stone walling one another.

It was stalemate. You devised all sorts. These ruddy mortars were just a tube and a base plate. You dropped the mortar in and it flew over to you. You flung one at him and he’d throw a dozen back at you. That went on all the time.

9.15 cm leichte Minenwerfer System Lanz in Flanders

It was like two people on either side of a stone wall. I throw a stone at you and you throw a few more stones back at me. That’s what it amounted to.

Only once on the Somme do I ever remember having a bit leave

I think it was for a day or something and it was to Amiens. The cafes did chips with everything; I think they knew what the lads wanted.

That’s the only time I ever had any leave in France, at all.

When you were out of the line for a bit rest you could always bet your boots on a good Salvation Army tent, writing paper and all the rest of it. You couldn’t write letters without them being checked. I don’t know what we would have done without them. Excellent.

Some time around then, before we were moved North to Paschendale, my kid brother Billy who was in France with a bomber squadron wrote a to me and said,

‘Why don’t you ask for a transfer to the Royal Flying Corps?’

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