free ebooks

Over the Front in an Aeroplane and Scenes Inside t

Some of these latter were false emplacements


"Alas!"

an infantry Captain yesterday complained to me, "they are fine soldiers and have good uniforms, but we cannot get the men to look 'chic' in them like the British. Just look at those caps! They've pulled them and twisted them about to suit their ideas! Those caps a few days ago were 'chic' caps! And now, mon Dieu! look at them!"

However, I confess I was not much interested in whether these privates were Belgian Beau Brummels or not. I had come to Flanders not to inspect them on parade, but to watch them work on the firing line. There I found them scrupulously clean, very patient and wholly courageous, attributes which are more important than creased trousers, unwrinkled jackets and well-blocked caps.

Once free from La Panne, our motor made good time along the country road till we reached Furnes. There we stopped to take some photographs of the beautiful old Hotel de Ville which the German shells that drop in from time to time have left practically undamaged.

From Furnes on we took the straight road to Ypres. The road was for a time quite congested with ammunition-wagons, ambulances, supply-lorries, etc. On our left we passed an encampment of mitrailleuse dog-teams; on our right a park of British armored motor-cannon.

We passed, too, long lines of trolley-cars packed with cheerful soldiers being brought back from the front for their period of

rest, and with others going out to take their places. Thus the humble street-car has taken its place in the machinery of war.

Soon we turned into another road which led us to the village of Lampernisse. Here we visited and photographed the ruins of the church. Not very long ago the Germans dropped a big shell into this church and killed forty-two chasseurs who were sleeping in it. They are buried in the graveyard in one big grave. Subsequently the Germans, believing that the steeple of the church was being used for observation purposes, kept on shelling it till they brought it all down, and incidentally wrecked what remained of the village.

From here on our movements must be shrouded in mystery, but ultimately at about 11.45 we reached a humble group of farm buildings, the headquarters of Colonel D----, commanding the artillery of the sector. We found him in a little bomb-proof telephone central built onto one of the farm buildings. With a Major and a Captain he was poring over very large scale maps spread on a table. Behind him a soldier sat at a telephone switchboard. From the outside a whole sheaf of telephone wires ran away, in various directions.

My Commandant presented me to the Colonel and explained my desire to see some howitzers in action.

"Perfect!" exclaimed the Colonel genially. "We have just definitely located a German blockhouse in their defense system and at two o'clock this afternoon we are going to destroy it with one of our 150-millimetre howitzers. So if you will honor the Villa Beausejour with your company at lunch you can afterward watch the howitzer work."

The old farm-house had been euphemistically christened the Villa Beausejour by the Colonel's staff.

Inviting me into the bomb-proof, the Colonel then showed me on one of the large scale maps the whole lay of the land. Red lines indicated the Belgian intrenchments, blue lines the German. In the same way all over the map behind the red line the Belgian batteries were indicated in red, while the same held good in blue of those German batteries which the Belgians had managed to locate. Some of these latter were false emplacements. It was only when a little blue cannon was drawn behind the emplacement that an actual gun was indicated.


eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us

freefictionbooks.org is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 freefictionbooks.org - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us