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prevailing tone of men's thoughts in this war dulls one's perceptions.
It is just another _blessé_ - the word "_gravement_," spoken by the
_infirmier_, as they bring him out to the ambulance, carries only the
idea of a little extra care in driving. The last we see of them is at
the hospital. At night we have to wake up the men on duty there. The
stretcher is brought into the dimly lighted, close-smelling room where
the wounded are received, and laid down on the floor. In the hopeless
cases there follows the last phase. The man is carried out and lies,
with others like himself, apart from human interest till death claims
him. Then a plain, unpainted coffin, the priest, a little procession, a
few curious eyes, the salute, and the end. His grave, marked by a small
wooden cross on which his name and grade are written, lies unnoticed,
the type of thousands, by the roadside or away among the fields.
Everywhere in the war zone one passes these graves. A great belt of
them runs from Switzerland to the sea across France and Belgium. There
are few people living in Europe who have not known one or more of the
men who lie within it.

J. H. G.

_Night Duty_

A few days after our arrival at the front I had my first experience
of a night call. It was very dark and we had to feel our way forward.
Nothing gives one a stronger sense of the nearness of war than such a
trip. The dark houses, deserted streets, the dim shape of the sentry
at the end of the town, the night scents of the fields as one passes
slowly along them, are things not to be forgotten. We strained our
eyes in the darkness to avoid other vehicles, all, like our own, going
without lights. In those days, not being so well known as we are
now, the sentries challenged us: their "_Halte-là_" in the darkness
brought us frequently to an abrupt stop. As we drew near the trenches
we heard the guns very clearly, and saw over the crest of a hill the
illuminating rockets with which both armies throw a glare over their
attacks. They throw a greenish and ghastly light over the country,
hanging in the air a few seconds before falling. At our destination
everything was dark. We left the cars in the road and went up under
the trees to the _poste de secours_. Here we found some men sleeping
on straw, but had to wait close upon two hours before our wounded were
ready. From time to time a battery of 75's startled us in the woods
near by. At last in a drizzling rain we came back to quarters, passing
several small bodies of soldiers marching silently up to the trenches.
Another night, remaining near the trenches till half-past four in the
morning, I saw the wounded brought in, in the gray of dawn, from a
series of attacks and counter-attacks. I had been waiting in one of
the _postes de secours_, where, by candlelight, particulars were being
written down of the various wounded. The surgeon, in a long white linen
coat, in many places stained with blood, was busy with his scissors.
Many wounded lay on straw round the room, and at rare intervals one
heard a groan. The air was warm and heavy, full of the smell of wounds
and iodine. A window was opened, the light of morning making the
candles dim and smoky, and it was pleasant to go out into the cool air.
The wounded being brought in looked cold and wretched. There were many
who had been hit in the face or head - more than one was blind.

I overheard a few words spoken between a _brancardier_ and a wounded
man who - rare sign of suffering - was weeping. "You will be safe
now - you are going to your wife," spoken in tones of sympathy for
comfort, and the reply: "No, no, I am dying."... Later, as the sun was
rising and lifting the blue mist in the hollows of the hill, I watched
some shells bursting in a field; a brown splash of earth, a ball of
smoke which drifted slowly away.

J. H. G.

_Fitting into the Life_

During the months of May, June, and July the Section, increased in
number to twenty cars, broke all records of the American Ambulance. The
work was so organized and men brought such devotion to their duties
that it may be said that, of all the wounded brought down from daily
and nightly fighting, not one was kept waiting so much as ten minutes
for an ambulance to take him to the hospital.

Where, before the coming of the American cars, ambulances came up to
the _postes de secours_ only when called, and at night came after a
delay occasioned by waking a driver sleeping some miles away, who
thereupon drove his car to the place where he was needed, the American
Section established a service on the spot, so that the waiting was done
by the driver of the ambulance and not by the wounded. The effect of
this service was immediate in winning confidence and liking, of which
the members of the Section were justly proud. Their swift, light,
easy-running cars were a great improvement on the old and clumsy
ambulances which had served before them. In the early days, when these
old ambulances were working side by side with ours, wounded men being
brought from the trenches would ask to be carried by the Americans.
That the latter should have come so far to help them, should be so
willing to lose sleep and food that they should be saved from pain,
and should take the daily risks of the soldiers without necessity or
recompense seemed to touch them greatly. It was not long before the
words "_Ambulance Américaine_" would pass a man by any sentry post. The
_mot_, or password, was never demanded. And in their times of leisure,
when others were on duty, men could eat with the soldiers in their
_popotes_ and become their friends. Many of them have become known and
welcomed in places miles apart and have formed friendships which will
last long after the war.

J. H. G.

_Paysages de Guerre_

I went early one morning with one of our men, by invitation of an
engineer whose acquaintance we had made, up to the part of the
Bois-le-Prêtre known as the Quart-en-Réserve. We started at three,
marching up with a party going up to identify and bury the dead. The
sites of all the trenches, fought over during the winter, were passed
on the way, and we went through several encampments where soldiers were
still sleeping, made of little log houses and dug-outs, such as the
most primitive men lived in. It was a gray morning, with a nip in the
air; the fresh scents of the earth and the young green were stained
with the smoke of the wood fires and the mixed smells of a camp. After
a spell of dry weather, the rough tracks we followed in our course
through the wood were passable enough; the deep ruts remaining and here
and there a piece of soft ground gave us some idea of the mud through
which the soldiers must have labored a few weeks before. And it is
by such tracks that the wounded are brought down from the trenches!
Small wonder that when the stretcher is laid down its occupant is
occasionally found to be dead. In about half an hour, nearing the top
of the hill which the Bois-le-Prêtre covers, we noticed a change both
in the scene and in the air. The leafage was thinner, and there was a
look, not very definable yet, of blight. The path we were following
sank deeper, and became a trench. For some hundreds of yards we walked
in single file, seeing nothing but the narrow ditch winding before us,
and bushes and trees overhead. With every step our boots grew heavier
with thick, sticky mud. And a faint perception of unpleasant smells
which had been with us for some minutes became a thing which had to be
fought against. Suddenly the walls of our trench ended, and in front
of us was an amazing confusion of smashed trees, piles of earth and
rock - as though some giant had passed that way, idly kicking up the
ground for his amusement. We climbed out of the remains of our trench
and looked round. One had read, in official reports of the war, of
situations being "prepared" by artillery for attack. We saw before us
what that preparation means. An enlarged photograph of the mountains
on the moon gives some idea of the appearance of shell-holes. Little
wonder that attacks are usually successful: the wonder is that any of
the defenders are left alive. The difficulty is to hold the position
when captured, for the enemy can and does turn the tables. Here lies
the whole of the slow torture of this war since the open fighting of
last year - a war of exhaustion which must already have cost, counting
all sides, more than a million lives. The scene we looked round upon
might be fittingly described by the Biblical words "abomination of
desolation." Down in the woods we had come through, the trees were
lovely with spring, and early wild flowers peeped prettily from between
the rocks. Here it was still winter - a monstrous winter where the winds
were gunpowder and the rain bullets. Trees were stripped of their
smaller branches, of their bark: there was scarcely a leaf. And before
us lay the dead. One of the horrible features in this war, in which
there is no armistice, and the Red Cross is fired upon as a matter of
course, is that it is often impossible to bury the dead till long after
they are fallen. Only when a disputed piece of ground has at last been
captured, and the enemy is driven well back, can burial take place. It
is then that companies of men are sent out to pick up and identify. Of
all the tasks forced upon men by war, this must be the worst. Enough
to say that the bodies, which were laid in rows on the ground awaiting
their turn to rest in the sweetness of the earth, were those of men
who fought close on two months before. I pass over the details of this
awful spectacle, leaving only two things: one of a ghastly incongruity,
the other very moving. Out of a pocket of a _cadavre_ near to me I
saw protruding a common picture post-card, a thing of tinsel, strange
possession for one passed into the ages. And between two bodies, a
poppy startlingly vivid, making yet blacker the blackened shapes before

J. H. G.

_Soldier Life_

The main street of Montauville gives, perhaps, a characteristic glimpse
of the life of the soldier on active service, who is not actually
taking his turn in the trenches. He is under the shade of every wall;
lounges in every doorway, stands in groups talking and laughing. His
hands and face and neck are brown with exposure, his heavy boots, baggy
trousers, and rough coat are stained with mud from bad weather. He
laughs easily, is interested in any trifle, but underneath his surface
gayety one may see the fatigue, the bored, the cynical indifference
caused by a year of war, torn from every human relationship. What
can be done to humanize his lot, he does with great skill. He can
cook. Every cottage is full of soldiers, and through open doors and
windows one sees them eating and drinking, talking, playing cards, and
sometimes, though rarely, they sing. In the evening they stand in the
street in great numbers, and what with that, the difficulty of making
ears accustomed to shrapnel take the sound of a motor horn seriously,
and the trains of baggage wagons, ammunition for the guns, carts loaded
with hay, etc., it is not too easy to thread one's way along. In our
early days here curiosity as to who and what we were added to the
difficulty, crowds surrounding us whenever we appeared, but by this
time they are used to us, and not more than a dozen at once want to
come and talk and shake hands.


Perhaps the most interesting time to see Montauville is when,
after a successful attack by the French, the German prisoners are
marched through the village. These, of course, without weapons and
with hands hanging empty, walk with a dogged step between guards with
fixed bayonets, and as they pass, all crowd near to see them. Almost
invariably the prisoners are bareheaded, having lost their caps - these
being greatly valued souvenirs - on their way down from the trenches.
They are housed temporarily, for interrogation, in a schoolhouse in the
main street, and when they are lined up in the school-yard there is a
large crowd of French soldiers looking at them through the railings.
Afterwards, they may be seen in villages behind the lines, fixing the
roads, or doing similar work, in any old hats or caps charity may have
bestowed upon them.

J. H. G.

_July 22 at Pont-à-Mousson_

On Thursday, the 22d, we had a quiet day. In the evening several of
us stepped across to the house where Smith and Ogilvie lived, to have
a little bread and cheese before turning in. They had brought some
fresh bread and butter from Toul, where duty had taken one of them,
and these being our special luxuries, we were having a good time.
Coiquaud was at the Bureau and two or three of our men were in or
about the _caserne_. There were nine of us at the house at the fork of
the road, which, no doubt, you remember. Suddenly as we sat round the
table there came the shriek of a shell and a tremendous explosion.
The windows were blown in, the table thrown over, and all of us for
a second were in a heap on the floor. The room was full of smoke and
dust. None of us was hurt, happily, except Holt, who had a cut over
the right eye, and who is now going about bandaged like one of our
_blessés_. We made a scramble for the cellar, the entrance to which
is in a courtyard behind the house. As we were going down the stairs
there followed another shell, and quickly on top of that, one or two
more, all very near and pretty heavy. We stayed in the cellar perhaps
ten minutes, and then, as I was anxious to know how things were at
the _caserne_, I went up and, letting myself out into the street,
ran for it, seeing vaguely as I passed fallen masonry and _débris_.
The moon was shining through the dust and smoke which still hung a
little thick. When I got to the _caserne_, the first thing I heard was
Coiquaud crying, "_Oh! pauvre Mignot!_" and I was told that the poor
fellow had been standing, as was his wont, in the street, smoking a
pipe before going to bed. He was chatting with two women. Lieutenant
Kullmann's orderly (I think they call him Grassetié) was not far
away. The same shell which blew in our windows killed Mignot and the
two women, and severely wounded Grassetié, who, however, was able to
walk to the _caserne_ to seek help. He was bleeding a good deal from
several wounds; had one arm broken; his tongue was partially severed
by a fragment which went through his cheek. He was taken immediately,
after a rough bandage or two had been put on, to try to check the loss
of blood from his arm, where an artery appeared to be severed, to
Ambulance N{o} 3 at Pont-à-Mousson, whence he was afterwards taken to
Dieulouard and to Toul. He will probably recover.[11] A boy, the son
of our _blanchisseuse_, who was wounded at the same time, will, it
is feared, die. As I was told that Mignot still lay in the street, I
went out again, and saw him lying, being examined by gendarmes, on the
pavement. He seems to have been killed instantaneously. The contents
of his pockets and his ring were taken from the body by Coiquaud and
handed to me: they will, of course, be sent to his wife. He leaves
two children.... Poor Coiquaud, who had shown great courage, became
a little hysterical, and I took his arm and led him back to the
_caserne_. When we all, except those who had left with Grassetié and
some who had taken Mignot's body to Ambulance N{o} 3 (there was such
confusion at the time and I have been so constantly occupied since I
don't yet know exactly who took that service), collected at the Bureau,
our jubilation at our own escape - if the shell had travelled three
yards farther it would have killed us all - was entirely silenced by the
death of Mignot, for whom we all had a great affection. He served us
well, cheerfully from the beginning, honestly and indefatigably. He was
a good fellow, possessing the fine qualities of the French workman to
a very high degree. A renewed bombardment broke out about this time,
and we went down to the cellar. A shell striking the roof of one of our
houses knocked in all our windows. I think we may all honestly confess
that by this time our nerves were rather shaken. I was specially
anxious about the cars in the barn, including the Pierce-Arrow and the
Hotchkiss. One shell falling in the midst of them would have crippled
half our cars - and if an attack on Bois-le-Prêtre had followed...! Our
telephone wires were broken, so we were isolated. Lieutenant Kullmann
and I decided, after consultation with all our men who were present,
to report the situation to the _médecin divisionnaire_. So long as our
men kept in the cellar they were safe enough. The Lieutenant and I left
in the Peugeot brought by him to the Section, our leaving chancing
to coincide with the arrival of four or five fresh shells. It was
nervous work driving out; fragments of tiles and of shells - the latter
still red-hot - fell about us but without hitting us. After seeing the
_médecin divisionnaire_ we returned to the _caserne_ and spent the rest
of the darkness in the cellar. From time to time more shells came, but
soon after daybreak the firing ceased.

[11] He died soon after.

In the morning we were very anxious for a while about Ogilvie. He had,
unknown to the rest of us, gone to sleep at Schroder's and Buswell's
room, and in the night two more shells struck his house, one of them
penetrating right through to the cellar, making complete wreckage
there. Some of us spent a little time looking in the _débris_ for his

You would have been very moved if you could have been present at poor
Mignot's funeral. We did what we could for him to show our respect, and
I concluded I was only carrying out what would be the wishes of the
American Ambulance by authorizing the expense of a better coffin and
cross than he was entitled to in his grade in the army.

At eight in the evening as many men as were off duty went to
Pont-à-Mousson to attend the funeral. A short service was read in the
chapel of the Nativité. There were four coffins: Mignot's, covered with
a flag and with many flowers, and those of three civilians, killed
on the same evening. It was a simple and impressive ceremony: the
dimly lighted chapel, the dark forms of some twenty or thirty people
of Pont-à-Mousson, our men together on one side, the sonorous voice
of the priest, made a scene which none of us can forget. Colonel de
Nansouty, Commandant d'Armes de Pont-à-Mousson, and Lieutenant Bayet
were present; and when the little procession was formed and we followed
the dead through the darkened streets and across the Place Duroc, they
walked bareheaded with us. At the bridge the procession halted, and
all but Lieutenant Bayet, Coiquaud, Schroder, and the writer turned
back, it being desired by the authorities that only a few should go to
the cemetery. We crossed the river and mounted the lower slope of the
Mousson hill. Under the trees in the cemetery we saw as we passed the
shattered tombs and broken graves left from the bombardments, which
even here have made their terrible marks. In a far corner, well up on
the hillside, the coffin of Mignot was laid down, to be interred in the
early morning. We walked quietly back in company with Lieutenant Bayet,
and were at last free to rest, after so many hours of unbroken strain.

J. H. G.


_Incidents of a Driver's Life_

On the 3d of May N{o} 6 went back on me for the first time. I was
returning from Toul when the car broke down in half a dozen different
places at once. I could not fix it, but would have reached Dieulouard
on three cylinders if it had not been for a steep hill. Twice N{o} 6
nearly reached the top, only to die with a hard cough and slide to the
bottom again. On account of this hill I was forced to walk fourteen
kilometres to Dieulouard for help. The next night I had my first
experience at night driving. A call came in at half-past nine to get
one wounded man at Clos Bois. McConnell, driver of N{o} 7, went with
me. We neither of us had ever been there, so it was somewhat a case
of the blind leading the blind. It made little difference, however,
as the night was so black that nothing but an owl could have seen his
own nose. We felt our way along helped by a distant thunderstorm, the
flicker of cannon, and the bursting of illuminating rockets, picked up
our wounded man, and were returning through Montauville when we were
stopped by an officer. He had a wounded man who was dying, the man was
a native of Dieulouard and wished to die there, and the officer asked
us to carry him there if the doctor at Pont-à-Mousson would give us
permission. We took him. He had been shot through the head. Why he
lived at all I do not know, but he not only lived, but struggled so
hard that they had to strap him to the stretcher. When the doctor at
the hospital saw him, he refused to let us carry him to Dieulouard
because the trip would surely kill him and he might live if left at the
hospital. Whether he did live or die I was never able to find out.


Our life here is one of high lights. The transition from the absolute
quiet and tranquillity of peace to the rush and roar of war takes but
an instant and all our impressions are kaleidoscopic in number and
contrast. The only way to give an impression of what takes place
before us would be a series of pictures, and the only way I can do
it is to describe a few incidents. Sometimes we sit in the little
garden behind our _caserne_ in the evening, comfortably drinking
beer and smoking or talking and watching the flash of cannon which
are so far away we cannot hear the report. At such times, the war is
remote and does not touch us. At other times, at a perfectly appointed
dinner-table, laden with fresh strawberries, delicious cakes, and fine
wine, and graced with the presence of a charming hostess, the war is
still more distant. Pont-à-Mousson, moreover, is rich in beautifully
conceived gardens of pleasant shade trees, lovely flowers, and tinkling
fountains. Lounging in such a place, with a book or the latest mail
from America, the war is entirely forgotten. Yet we may leave a spot
like that and immediately be in the midst of the realities of war.
One evening, about seven-thirty, after the Germans had been firing
on Pont-à-Mousson and the neighboring villages for some hours, I was
called to Bozeville. This village, which is on the road to Montauville,
is a small cluster of one-story brick and frame buildings constructed
in 1870 by the Germans for their soldiers. When I reached this place
it was on fire, and the Germans, by a constant fusillade of shrapnel
shells in and around the buildings and on the roads near them, were
preventing any attempt being made to extinguish the fire. To drive
up the narrow road, with the burning houses on one side and a high
garden wall, thank Heaven, on the other, hearing every few seconds
the swish-bang of the shells, was decidedly nervous work, anything but
peaceful. After picking up the wounded, I returned to Pont-à-Mousson,
where conditions were much worse. At this time the Germans were
throwing shells of large calibre at the bridge over the Moselle. To
reach the hospital to which I was bound, it was necessary to take the
road which led to the bridge and turn to the left about a hundred yards
before coming to it. Just as I was about to make this turn, two shells
struck and exploded in the river under the bridge. There was a terrific
roar and two huge columns of water rose into the air, and seemed to
stand there for some seconds; the next instant, spray and bits of
wood and shell fell on us and around us. A minute later I turned into
the hospital yard, where the effect, in the uncertain and fast-fading
light, was ghostly. Earlier in the evening a shell had exploded in
the yard and had thrown an even layer of fine, powder-like dust over
everything. It resembled a shroud in effect, for nothing disturbed its
even surface except the crater-like hole made by the shell. On one side
of the yard was the hospital, every window broken and its walls scarred
by the pieces of shells; in the middle was the shell-hole, and on the
other side was the body of a dead _brancardier_, lying on his back with
a blanket thrown over him. He gave a particularly ghastly effect to the
scene, for what was left of the daylight was just sufficient to gleam
upon his bald forehead and throw into relief a thin streak of blood
which ran across his head to the ground. Needless to say I left that
place as quickly as possible.

Another scene which I do not think I will soon forget happened in

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