Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 35 > Page 27 - Sam Glode: Travels of a Micmac

Page 27 - Sam Glode: Travels of a Micmac

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1983/12/1 (491 reads)

fire. It was like a big show, and kind of pretty in the night. This was in the sum? mer of 1916. The next night we went up to the front line trenches, which were on a rise facing over a long stretch of low ground towards Messines Ridge. The idea was to give us the lay of the land before we started to dig the tunnel towards the ridge. When day? light came it was fairly quiet till a Ger? man airplane came over, sailing slow and high. The infantry soldiers in the trench didn't do anything about it, so I did. I put up my rifle and shot at the airplane till it was away out of range. Late that afternoon the German artillery on Messines Ridge began to shell our trench and kept it up a long time. They scared us bad, I tell you. We were all green hands, and we would leave our rifles and run along the trench away from every shellburst. Then an? other shell would burst near us and we would run down the trench again. Some fel? lows got hit and they hollered and there was a lot of blood. Everybody said it was my fault for shooting at the plane. But I said I didn't hit it. Anyhow, I didn't shoot at planes after that. The next day our bunch was sent along a communication trench to a place behind the rise where the front line trenches were. This was the place where the engineer of? ficers had decided to begin a tunnel to the German lines. From the Canadian front line the ground sloped down to no-man's- land, so we had to go down 80 feet straight before we could start the drift- tunnel towards the ridge. It was all pick and shovel work, mostly in hard blue clay. At night we took the clay out of the shaft in sacks and dumped it in a ravine back of the reserve trench, and there was net cam? ouflage over the ravine to keep the German airplanes from seeing what we were doing. But the Germans knew just the same. There was another bunch of Canadian tunnel- lers on our right, digging a shaft at a place called The Bluff. The Germans dug a tunnel of their own to it, and blew it in with d5mamite. It blew up about 300 feet of the Canadian front line trench as well, and left a big crater. By this time I was a corporal, and one morning the sergeant left me in charge of the section working in the tunnel. We had got the tunnel dug pretty well under no- man's-land. Two or three men worked with picks and shovels at the "face," and the rest worked at timbering the sides and roof. About 20 men in all. An iron pipe brought fresh air to us, driven by a fan in the vertical shaft behind the Canadian front line. We knew the Germans were tunnelling. We had a man with a listening outfit. On this particular day, all of a sudden he said, "Say, the Germans have stopped working," We stopped for awhile ourselves, wondering what that meant. Nothing happened. Finally we went on with the work. I was sitting on a ledge in the tunnel, watching the men timbering up behind the diggers at the "face," All of a sudden everything went black. I felt like somebody had hit me on the head with a big club. I don't know how long I sat there like that. When I came to my senses I was wet with sweat and my ears were singing like a steam whistle was in? side them. Our candles had gone out. I could hear some men stirring, but nobody spoke till I did. I called out the names of the ones that had been nearest to me, and they answered me, but their voices sounded queer. I went over all the names in the section, and they all answered, one by one. We couldn't figure what had hap- THERE MAY BE A BETTER WAY! *vt' The Cape Breton Development Corporation believes there are many ways to improve land efficiency and productivity. And so the pri? mary purpose of our farm facilities is to investigate and demon? strate just how such methods can be implemented and adapted on Cape Breton. During the winter and spring of 1984, a series of short courses will be offered to interested land owners and operators. You may pre-register by checking any of the following courses and enclos? ing a cheque or money order payable to the Cape Breton Develop? ment Corporation in the amount of $10.00 per course. Classes are limited in size and acceptance will be on a first come basis, so pre-registrati on prior to January 25th is desired. For more in? formation write or call today, or fill in the following coupon. CZI small engine operation woodlot management dJ diesel tractors Q vegetable production 1 • 1 basic record keeping Name February 18 February 25 March 5 March 24 to be determined Address Postal Code _ Telephone MAIL TO: Point Edward Farm P, 0. Box 1750, Sydney, N. S. BIP 6T7 Phone: 562-6867 CAPE BRETON DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION Mabou Farm, R. R. #3, Mabou, Inverness Co,, N, S, BOE 1X0 Phone: 258-2194
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