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A Yankee in the Trenches R. Derby Holmes

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I finally brought up in General Hospital Number 12 in Rouen. I was there four days and had a real bath,--a genuine boiling out. Also had some shrapnel picked out of my anatomy. I got in fairly good shape, though still in a good deal of dull pain. It was a glad day when they put a batch of us on a train for Havre, tagged for Blighty. We went direct from the train to the hospital ship, Carisbrook Castle. The quarters were good,--real bunks, clean sheets, good food, careful nurses. It was some different from the crowded transport that had taken me over to France.

There were a lot of German prisoners aboard, wounded, and we swapped stories with them. It was really a lot of fun comparing notes, and they were pretty good chaps on the whole. They were as glad as we were to see land. Their troubles were over for the duration of the war.

Never shall I forget that wonderful morning when I looked out and saw again the coast of England, hazy under the mists of dawn. It looked like the promised land. And it was. It meant freedom again from battle, murder, and sudden death, from trenches and stenches, rats, cooties, and all the rest that goes to make up the worst of man-made inventions, war.

It was Friday the thirteenth. And don't let anybody dare say that date is unlucky. For it brought me back to the best thing that can gladden the eyes of a broken Tommy. Blighty! Blighty!! Blighty!!!

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A Yankee in the Trenches
R. Derby Holmes

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