Page 6 - Cape Bretoners in World War One
ISSUE : Issue 33
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1983/6/1
that we were so proud of, that we were fighting for the Maple Leaf. Now if you asked me, was I fighting for Canada, was I fighting for Europe, was I fighting for the King--I believe in the Queen, yes, sure I believed in the King. But beyond that, it was that emblem we had on our breast, that Maple Leaf--that was Canada's emblem, you know. (Was war what you thought it was going to be?) I never thought of such a thing as war. No, no, never. (What did you think you were going to?) Really and truly, if God Almighty struck me dead, I didn't know. Only, I was there. There's nobody in the God Almighty world-- I'm telling you God's truth--that can un? derstand the idea of seeing a poor soul dy? ing. I remember we went up--shells came and struck--we were going through the Ypres, the moat line, you know--and that was all concrete. And when shells drop on concrete, she scatters. A fellow got shrap? nel shell through the head, in his temple-- pierced right through. I was on my way up the line. "Sergeant"--I was a sergeant; I was made a King's sergeant on the battle- field--"Sergeant, do away with me, do away with me." "Darling, no, I couldn't do that. I can't do that." "Why?" And you could see the blood coming up, blood coming up out of his eyes, as the heart was going, and then the heart was easing up, the blood was easing, and away he went. It's the sad? dest and the horriblest thing that ever you see in your life. Oh, many other times, you know, I'd be in the trenches, a shell would come, I'd be lucky enough to escape it. Somebody else would get it. I'd have "to go to work and try and do my best to comfort him, knowing that he was dying. And I saw another thing, too: I saw Ger? mans dying. I saw Germans dying on the Hin- denburg line. There were 21 machine guns there, and not one bullet fired out of them, with 15 poor dear soldiers dying be? low on the ground, 15 feet underground in a dugout, that they dare not come out. I saw them dying. My God. There was nobody to tell you. Who knew? No? body knew, at the time, you know. There was such a thing as a war. Listen, darling, do you think that I in? tended to kill anybody? Never. Never. But I was fighting for John Angus, yeah, I was going to save myself. There was Hill 70. It was bayonet fighting--we had 15 minutes of it. Now, you'd ask me, was I there? I was in it. You'd ask me, did you kill any? body? I wouldn't know. I was there, as a daze. I was just helping John Angus, sav? ing his life. Who I did, who I didn't, I don't know. And I don't think anybody else would know, if he told the honest truth. Because, when you were in that, you just lost control of yourself and your memory and everything else. If I hurt anybody, I don't know. God forgive me if I did. See, I didn't intend to. I didn't want to kill anybody. .1 never intended to kill anybody. The big push came to Amiens, a city compar? able to Saint John, New Brunswick. It was on the side of the hill, and the river flowed around. There was a Catholic church up at the top. There was a machine gunner there, and he played on that river until in Glace Bay CAPE BRETON MINERS' MUSEUM The Museum offers guided tours of its own Ocean Deeps Colliery, as well as the Miners' Company House and Company Store. The Miners' Village Restaurant will be open to the public during the summer season. Fully Stocked Gift Shop on the Site 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 13 to September 9 7 Days a Week Inquire about Group Tours after September 9 Phone (902) 849-4522 Bill's Bikes We Handle Quality Bikes SALES AND SERVICE 653 George St., Sydney 539-5095 _ (6) 46 MODERN UNITS Swimming Pool Air Conditioning Tour Buses Welcome Seallsland A Motel and ''' Dining Fk)om ''''L (Licensed) 'V''B Seafood ''V our specialty '[''''' Located bei ''''F Overlookii Country j-iving at the Seal Island Bridge 674-2418 Located between Baddeck and Sydney Overlooking the Bras d'Or Lakes
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