15th March 1918 Friday

Gallows Humour after German Attack

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“On the 15th the 16th R.W.F. raided the Huns taking six prisoners and a machine gun. It was a great sight to watch the barrage bursting on the enemy trenches, and the red S.O.S. lights bursting frantically on the front line. Just as I was going to retire for the night a shrapnel shell burst right overhead. There was a great stampede of everyone for the shelter of the farm cellar, but not another shell burst near us! It must have been a stray one. Anyhow, we all had a good laugh over the episode.”

The red S.O.S lights were rockets that were sent up to direct artillery fire. Yet another close call with a shrapnel shell scattering its deadly load above their heads. Now in his third year of hell on the Western Front Douglas survives another of countless close calls as the men scramble for cover. The laughs were clearly those of nervous relief.

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