Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 33 > Page 20 - Cape Bretoners in World War One

Page 20 - Cape Bretoners in World War One

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1983/6/1 (407 reads)

.J' Canadian gunners at Passchendaele do it. Well, I can tell you right now, it was just the same as if it was a pure hell, that's what it was. I don't know how any? body ever came out of there alive. We had over 700 casualties there, in 7 days. There were only about, probably a hundred, could answer roll call when we came out-- killed, wounded, and missing. Of course, a lot of them were taken off to the hospital and we never saw them any more. secure ground, they had to retreat half a mile. There was a ravine, a gully. And they had to go down that gully and across, and then they had a wonderful opportunity against us, on the banks there. The Ger? mans had pillboxes, you know, all made of concrete, right at the head of the hill, the Passchendaele hill. Dan E. MacQuarrie: A bloody slaughter, that's what it was. And a lot of it was-- they never should have sent them in to Pas? schendaele, because it wasn't fit for hu? man beings. Just a mudhole,. There were places there you could fall off the track and be up to there. I saw fellows in to their hips, and it'd take 3 or 4 men to haul them out of it. It's hard to believe that, but it's true. You saw death, mostly. Barbed wire. And mud. And probably fellows lying there, dead. I saw them when we'd be coming out, when we were in Passchendaele--and you'd see the stretcher-bearers coming out with the wounded fellows--and the wounded fel? lows were dead and the stretcher-bearers were dead, lying in the mud. We couldn't touch them. Somebody else would go in and *t'4j' .' H ??; '''?? Oh my, we lost near all our officers there. I think there were only four officers left in the battalion. They weren't all killed, but wounded, and a lot of them were killed. Our colonel was killed there. Our second in command was killed there. And I don't know how many lieutenants--I just forget now. (And common soldiers?) Yes, lord. I'll tell you how bad it was--they pulled us out, about probably 20 miles from Ypres. And we had to stay there for a whole month till we got reinforcements. There was noth? ing left. When I came out of there, the blood was running out of my feet. Blood, you know, and you couldn't have time to change your socks. She was rough. (What would they do with someone who died there?) I'll tell you what they did with them--they were rolled up in a blanket and buried, with their shoes on. Be all they got. (Cemetery?) Oh yes, they had nice cem- eteries--still there, and still looked af? ter. Just two men that I saw put in a box. Two officers--the boys thought so much of them that they went to an old house and ripped the ceiling out and made a rough casket for them. No, none came home. The Americans sent their dead home.
Cape Breton's Magazine
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