Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
0100_005E Over The Top Arthur Guy Empey

"Back Of The Line"

Page 2 of 3

Table Of Contents: Over The Top

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

After breakfast, our section carried their equipment into a field adjoining the billet and got busy removing the trench mud therefrom, because at 8.45 A.M., they had to fall in for inspection and parade, and woe betide the man who was unshaven, or had mud on his uniform. Cleanliness is next to Godliness in the British Army, and Old Pepper must have been personally acquainted with St. Peter.

Our drill consisted of close order formation which lasted until noon. During this time we had two ten-minute breaks for rest, and no sooner the word, "Pall out for ten minutes," was given, than each Tommy got out a fag and lighted it.

Fags are issued every Sunday morning, and you generally get between twenty and forty. The brand generally issued is the "Woodbine." Sometimes we are lucky, and get "Goldflakes," "Players," or "Red Hussars." Occasionally an issue of "Life Rays" comes along. Then the older Tommies immediately get busy on the recruits, and trade these for Woodbines or Goldflakes. A recruit only has to be stuck once in this manner, and then he ceases to be a recruit. There is a reason. Tommy is a great cigarette smoker. He smokes under all conditions, except when unconscious or when he is reconnoitering in No Man's Land at night. Then, for obvious reasons, he does not care to have a lighted cigarette in his mouth.

Stretcher-bearers carry fags for wounded Tommies. When a stretcher-bearer arrives alongside of a Tommy who has been hit, the following conversation usually takes place-Stretcher-bearer, "Want a fag? Where are you hit?" Tommy looks up and answers, "Yes. In the leg."

We have hundreds more books for your enjoyment. Read them all!

After dismissal from parade, we returned to our billets, and I had to get busy immediately with the dinner issue. Dinner consisted of stew made from fresh beef, a couple of spuds, bully beef, Maconochie rations and water,--plenty of water. There is great competition among the men to spear with their forks the two lonely potatoes.

After dinner I tried to wash out the dixie with cold water and a rag, and learned another maxim of the trenches--"It can't be done." I slyly watched one of the older men from another section, and was horrified to see him throw into his dixie four or five double handfuls of mud. Then he poured in some water, and with his hands scoured the dixie inside and out. I thought he was taking an awful risk. Supposing the cook should have seen him! After half an hour of unsuccessful efforts, I returned my dixie to the cook shack, being careful to put on the cover, and returned to the billet. Pretty soon the cook poked his head in the door and shouted: "Hey, Yank, come out here and clean your dixie!"

I protested that I had wasted a half-hour on it already, and had used up my only remaining shirt in the attempt. With a look of disdain, he exclaimed: "Blow me, your shirt! Why in 'ell didn't you use mud?"

Without a word in reply I got busy with the mud, and soon my dixie was bright and shining.

Most of the afternoon was spent by the men writing letters home. I used my spare time to chop wood for the cook, and go with the Quartermaster to draw coal. I got back just in time to issue our third meal, which consisted of hot tea, I rinsed out my dixie and returned it to the cookhouse, and went back to the billet with an exhilarated feeling that my day's labor was done. I had fallen asleep on the straw when once again the cook appeared in the door of the billet with:

Page 2 of 3 Previous Page   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
Over The Top
Arthur Guy Empey

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004