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In the Coils of Battle.


In the Coils of Battle. (By Sapper Llew. Basset). I Calm before the Storm. I The infantry go over the top at dawn, after a short and heavy bombardment. The men are aware of this now. Thou- sands of troops move up the Imu. Every Division has its road; every Brigade has its allotted track to reach the front line. The moon is lurking behind the clouds. It is light enough to see the way. The sky is overcast with dark clouds, threaten ing Tommy with his constant friend the "rain." Our guns have been thumping away all day, but now they are surpris- ingly quiet. A silence comes over the night. Only a solitary shell is fired here and there from our guns. The German guns are also quiet. The unusual calm, has set them guessing, wondering what our move is next. ThLY know there is something coming off, but they are at a loss to know when we are going to strike. In these quiet hours the men are moving up. They are equipped in battle order, moving along like a human chain. How steady they inarch; what determination is set in their faces. Not a word is spoken. Each cne has a thought in his mind; the thought of "Home, sweet home," and whether they will see it again. Well may their thoughts bo. when soon they will be in the "inferno" of death dealing engines "of destruction, where scientilic barbarism is used to de- stroy human life. The storming infantry have reached. their particular destination ready for the time to go over the top. The Bombardment. The time has come for the bombard- ment. The silence is broken. Our bat- teries open out; heavy guns and light guns are pounding away. A continual roar is heard, a deafening row. Behind the position to he stormed, and where our guns lay, the very earth seems to vomit firk..Rapid red flashes stab the night everywhere. The noise is. terrific; one cannot hear another speaking, be one ever so near. Shells that make a noise like an express train, .shells that shriek and whistle go spinning through the. air. The rapid firing of our held guns is heard Our destructive barrages are over the German line, and all over their communi- cations. Red, white and green star shells, and S.O.S. signals shoot up from the German positions. The Hun gun- ners reply to our shell fire. They also put barrages over the British lines, and a lot of counter battery work is going on- It is a duel between both artilleries. Just picture the infantry in this "in- ferno." Well wo may be proud of our fighting lads. With all the guns we have at work in destroying German strong- holds, it is the infantry after all, with bomb and bayonet', who have to take them. The Attack. I Dawn is breaking fa-st, and with it comes the rain.. Our barrage is lifted farther into the German lines. The word is passed along to the infantry, "Get ready; five minutes to go." What. an ago this scorns- The suspense is great. 1 One can imagine what passes in the mind during this time. At last the command is given "Over the top," and away they go through bursting shell, through machine gun fire. Some of the men are hit early on. The line is weakening, but it istilot broken. On they go undaunted to take their objective. A party of men would -st/orTP- a "Pepper box," and fetch the German machine gunners out, leaving them to find their way down our lines. The Huns fight here as they have never fou ght bef ore. Where they have been caught by our barrage and instead of taking the risk of going through it, thef have taken cover in a shell hole. Our men have come up to them and forced them to fight. Instances there arc, where there had bfvm n. fight. both our Tommy and the German had fought to the death. Through shell holes filled with throiiwli a shell ridden woods in f:"Ce of a murder- ous; machine gun ifre, our men have ad- vanced. Their courage, their dash, their j determined obstinacy is soon rewarded. They have reached their goal. The ob- jective is gained, and now they are look- ing forward to German counter attacks. Prisoners of War. Two hours from the time the British troops went over the top, grey uniformed booted, square headed, grey uniformed, deluded victims of their demi-God, the Kaiser, were plodding down our lines as prisoners of war. One would see one of our Tommies leading as many as fifty of them down, passing them on to the military police, and they in their turn taking them to the P.O.W. cages. From their expression they looked pleased that they were going away from the inferno of battle. Well they may be. Although prisoners of war, they will be safe for the duration of war. Passing through our line they would see our guns, see the abundance of shells, see more troops going up to the battle. All this would give them the impression that their brothers and cousins would still have a rough time. I would not be far wrong in saying that they would rather be be- hind our lines than the German lines. The Wounded.. The battle is still raging, the Bosches Lave counter attacked sevcyal times, but our IlkIs have clung lo their llCW si- tions and repulsed all attacks up to now. In battles like these the coiiditioii lighting are getting beyond the endur- ance of human beings. These last kittles- -iii T l icse 1,-ist are fat worso than Loos, or the Somrno, or any others that have been in this war. It has been a big sacrifice for our men. The wounded are brought down to the front aid posts; the serious cases on stretchers and the walking cases hobbling j along as best they can. The stretcher bearers arc busy carrying their burden of pain. These devoted workers arc do- ing their duty splendidly. They have no fear and self is their last thought. The R.A.M.C. perioral a great and arduous task on these occasions, and it is wonder- ful how perfect their organization is car- ried out. Tile Survivors. The storming troops that have sur- vived the ordeal are relieved by fresh men. They come plodding along; their appearance speaks for itself what priva- tions they have suffered what hardships they have been in. They are covered with mud from boots to their helmet; their boots are soddened with wet. Their faces wear the strain of battle. They are pleased to come out from the inferno. It would lie a blessing if they did not see the line again, but that cannot be. They have survived the battle only to liva to prCpGTO thcmselrcs for the next "do." How soon they will be required cue can- not s.?y. There is on? thllg;Ll L will not deny, and that is, they do not want to see the line again. "The de- ciding issue seems as far off as ever," one remarked. "I wish they had one good splash and have done with it," an- other of them would say. "What do you think Bill ? Do you know that ridge we took." Bill: Yes. "Well they .are after another one again." Bill: ",Yen them damned square heads must be making those ridges." Such would be I another part of their conversation. Weil, there is logic in a great deal of what Tommy says. He is only a mere atom he does not know how distant the end is. He cannot fathom this terrible war. He knows very little; he only knows what he sees, and has seen enough to give him the impression that the end is not in sight yet. The war must go on until Prussian militarism is crushed; that Tommy knows. Although he has a feeling of despondency at times, he will not fail to do his duty until victory is achieved. All the soldiers wish the war was over and won. May they not have to wait lon,?, for the en d  long for the end. After this terrible war may warfare become impossible between humanity. The new engines of destruc- tion that arc for ever being and used, are leading fast to that end. Samper L. Bassebt, mth Field Co., R/R.


Occasional Notes .—

Board of Guardians, -——.—

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IAppointment of Teachers



Volunteer Battalion. -."-…


Church Property,.

Old Lad y am! her Money.