Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Baxter (3) Bombed

Baxter was to be sent to the trenches too.

Finally they decided to send me into the front trenches. A message was sent to the officer in charge there. The messenger returned with the reply that the officer refused to take the responsibility.

On this, Booth asked Stevenson if there were any place, near at hand, that was being heavily shelled. He pointed out an ammunition dump at some distance. The Germans had got the range of it and it was being heavily shelled at intervals of about twenty minutes. He told Booth to take me across to it and leave me there. Booth told me to stay there and not to move from where he had placed me. As he hurried away, leaving me standing by the dump, he called back, "I hope a shell gets you and blows you to your Maker."

I stood waiting. I could see him and he, of course, he could see me, though he was well out of range. Suddenly firing began age and the shells came thick and fast. I was in the midst of a storm of spouting, belching mud and fire and flying fragments. The shells seemed to strike everywhere but where I was. I believe that if had moved at all from where I stood I should inevitably have been killed. If the dump had gone up I should have gone with it. I stood and waited for what seemed inevitable death.

I remember that I had very strange sensations. They were probably due to my over-wrought condition. The normal instinct of self-preservation seemed for the time being to leave me entirely. I felt quite calm and peaceful and and saw everything round about bathed in a bright white radiance. The whole thing felt strange and unusual, but not unpleasant. I never felt the same again when I was, at subsequent times, under heavy shell fire.
When the shelling stopped, he was returned to his tent.

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