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Page 11 - Cape Bretoners in World War One

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1983/6/1 (484 reads)

Fr. Leo Sears, Mabou: (You were anxious to be in the artillery?) Very anxious. To be honest, I wasn't sure that I could take a rifle and a bayonet and kill anybody. But the artillery was useful enough, and suf? ficiently combative, to satisfy my feeling that there was a job to be done. I could kill what I couldn't see. Because the oth? er person was trying to kill us. We were doing a great deal of counter-battery work, trying to protect the infantry. I felt that if I saw someone my own age, drafted into the army, perhaps serving against his will--if I had to shoot him or bayonet him, I just don't know what the effect on me would be. I would do it, but I don't know what the effect would be. And I had the greatest sympathy and admiration for the infantry, but I felt in the artillery I would be helping them and protecting them. It was a chore that had to be done, and I could be happy doing it. We didn't see enemy at all, only prisoners coming back. We didn't see at all. We had observers within observing distance of the target. He was equipped with a telephone. He would telephone back the corrections for our fire, whether we were on the tar? get or not, to our own signal there at the battery, at the gun. That went on steadily during the shoot, during the attack. Howard Reid; We generally used to shoot on them at night. Generally on the barbed wire, you see. The entanglements in front of their trenches. They would try to fix them up at night. We'd maybe shoot, oh, say at 6 o'clock perhaps. Then you'd shoot maybe at quarter past 6. Then we'd maybe go to half past 6. And we wouldn't shoot maybe for half an hour. And we'd shoot a- gain, and catch those fellows trying to fix it, you see. And also break any wire that was being fixed. (Were you able to see what you were shooting at?) Oh no, no, nothing. I never saw anything at all in all the time I was there. Except at the second battle of Ypres--I know they could see us. We took our posi? tion all right. Our gun was No. 1. And we started shooting one day, and I think we hit--the observer told us that the Germans were pretty mad--he said we hit the field kitchen. And it was around 12 o'clock. But they came back at us. They hit our ammuni? tion wagon, and they blew it up, and it came down on a dugout next to us. And there was just a short distance between the two. And all those fellows came rush? ing into our dugout. But there was only one of our shells that blew, and that wasn't a shrapnel. That shrapnel shell was one that we used to put in at night, in the gun. It was set to bum so many seconds, and then explode. When it started, the pin would slip back and start this thing burning. And it would bum around till it got to that hole, and it would go down through a tube and ex? plode a charge, would blow the nose off. And then there were so many lead pellets-- I forget how many--and they being heavier than the shell itself, and the shell turn? ing, they would come out and sweep all a- round, you see. And they were supposed to Carson Denture Clinic Central Ave., Inverness 258-2511 Sydney Denture Clinic 201 Esplanade, Sydney 539-4311 Ronald F. Carson Wm. B. Lloy Rod Voutier Licensed Denturist Licensed Denturist Licensed Denturist Stirling Mall Denture Clinic Stirling Mall, Glace Bay 849-2221 Cape Breton's First Custom Denture Specialists Dentures Fabricated - Rebased - Relined - Repaired See the professionals for all your denture needs. Member: All Dental Plans Accepted Nova Scotia Denturist Society, Canadian Denturist Assoc, International Federation for Dental Prosthesis (11)
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