Thomas Witham ["Tales of the V.C."], item 4
- January 18, 2018 04:12:21 Thomas A. Lingner
TALES OF THE V.C.
Private Thomas WItham, 1st. Battalion Coldstream Guards.
By, Lieut: J. P. Lloyd
It was the morning of the 31st of July 1917,
and the 1st battalion of the Coldstream Guards had taken two
lines of German trenches on Pilckem Ridge. In each one of
the chain of shell holes, that was all that remained of the
German second line, crouched the men of the leading wave,
waiting only for the order to go forward again.
In one of these craters on the right of the
line sat three men - a sergeant, a corporal, and a private.
Up and down the dreary waste of gray mud in front of them the
British shells were bursting in a leaping inferno of smoke and
flame. They were bursting, too, in clouds of red dust upon
a heap of bricks and rubble, which had once been a house, some
70 yards away to their right front.
Suddenly, as they waited there, out of the
ruins came a quick gust of bullets, that cracked like whips
overhead, and, even above the thunder of the barrage, the three
men could hear the familiar insistent chatter of a machine-
gun. Lurking in some hidden corner, it had escaped the anger
of our guns. In a few minutes the barrage would lift, and
the machine-gun would work its will upon the khaki line that
marched behind it up the base slope of the hill.
Somehow, and at once, that machine gun must
be silenced. But how? Between the three men and the
emplacement fell what seemed to be an impenetrable curtain of
fire, and if, by a miracle, a man should come safely through
that, how could he reach the machine gun unseen by it's crew?.
Pilckem Ridge, near Ypres
Story location Pilckem Ridge, near Ypres
- 5454 / 60684
- Jeremy Arter
- Western Front
- Trench Life