The Fifth Leicestershire eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 383 pages of information about The Fifth Leicestershire.
location of his mortars and machine guns, the trench reliefs, all these must be watched.  The immediate purpose was of course retaliation, counter battery work, the making of our bombardments more effective by picking out the tender spots in his lines, and generally harassing the enemy; but there was a further purpose.  It was particularly necessary that the higher commands should be kept informed of all the big movements of troops, the state of the enemy’s discipline, etc., and often some little incident seen in the front line would give the clue to one of these.  Lieut.  L.H.  Pearson was at this time Intelligence officer, helped by Serjt.  Beardmore, M.M., the humorous side to their work, and many amusing things were seen, or said to be seen, through the observers’ telescopes.  The old white-haired Boche, digging near Monchy, who looked so benign that no one would shoot him, became quite a famous character, until one day his real nature was revealed, for he shook his fist at one of our low-flying aeroplanes, and obviously uttered a string of curses, so one of the snipers shot him.  Then again there was the lady of Douchy, who could be seen each evening coming out to hang up the washing; she was popularly known as Mary, and figured in the reports nearly every day.

With the observers worked the snipers.  After nearly two years, telescopic sights at last appeared, and we tried to train the once despised “Bisley shot.”  They were very keen, and had much success, of which they were duly proud, as their individual reports showed.  “We watched for 3/4 of an hour until our viggillance was rewarded by seeing a Boche; he exposed half of himself above the parapet, I, Pte. ——­, shot him,” so said one report, the name has unfortunately been lost.  Some snipers even kept a book of their “kills,” with entries such as “June 1st, 9-30 a.m.  Boche sentry looking over, shot in shoulder, had grey hair almost bald very red face and no hat.”  It was just the right spirit, and it had its results.  Autumn, 1915, saw us hardly daring to look over the top for fear of being sniped; Autumn, 1916, saw us masters, doing just what we pleased, when we pleased.


Gommecourt again.

29th Oct., 1916. 15th April, 1917.

Many Divisions were now taking part in the Somme battle for the second time, and as we suddenly left Pommier on the 29th October—­our final destination unknown—­we naturally thought it probable that we, too, should soon be once more in the thick of the fighting.  However, our fears were groundless, and we moved due West, not South.  Our first night we spent in Mondicourt, and then moved the next day in pouring rain to Halloy, where we stayed two days.  On the 1st November we marched 14 miles through Doullens to Villers L’Hopital, on the Auxi le Chateau road, where we found our new Padre waiting for us,

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The Fifth Leicestershire from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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