When I saw that bomb coming, I bunted at it like Ty Cobb trying to sacrifice. It was the only thing to do. I choked my bat and poked at the bomb instinctively, and by sheer good luck fouled the thing over the parapet. It exploded on the other side.
“Blimme eyes,” says Jerry, “that’s cool work. You saved us the wooden cross that time.”
We had found two more machine guns and were planting Stokeses under them when we heard the Lewises giving the recall signal. A good gunner gets so he can play a tune on a Lewis, and the device is frequently used for signals. This time he thumped out the old one—“All policemen have big feet.” Rat-a-tat-tat—tat, tat.
It didn’t come any too soon.
As we scrambled over the parapet we saw a big party of Germans coming up from the second trenches. They were out of the communication trenches and were coming across lots. There must have been fifty of them, outnumbering us five or six to one.
We were out of bombs, Jerry had lost his rifle, and mine had no “ammo.” Blofeld fired the last shot from his revolver and, believe me, we hooked it for home.
We had been in their trenches just three and a half minutes.
Just as we were going through their wire a bomb exploded near and got Jerry in the head. We dragged him in and also the two men that had been clicked on the first fire. Jerry got Blighty on his wound, but was back in two months. The second time he wasn’t so lucky. He lies now somewhere in France with a wooden cross over his head.
Did that muddy old trench look good when we tumbled in? Oh, Boy! The staff was tickled to pieces and complimented us all. We were sent out of the lines that night and in billets got hot food, high-grade “fags”, a real bath, a good stiff rum ration, and letters from home.
Next morning we heard the results of the raid. One party of twelve never returned. Besides that we lost seven men killed. The German loss was estimated at about one hundred casualties, six machine guns and several dug-outs destroyed, and one mine shaft put out of business. We also brought back documents of value found by one party in an officer’s dug-out.
Blofeld got the military cross for the night’s work, and several of the enlisted men got the D.C.M.
Altogether it was a successful raid. The best part of it was getting back.
A FEW DAYS’ REST IN BILLETS
After the strafing we had given Fritz on the raid, he behaved himself reasonably well for quite a while. It was the first raid that had been made on that sector for a long time, and we had no doubt caught the Germans off their guard.
Anyhow for quite a spell afterwards they were very “windy” and would send up the “Very” lights on the slightest provocation and start the “typewriters” a-rattling. Fritz was right on the job with his eye peeled all the time.