By Casualty, Arnold Gyde
A Soldier with the British Expeditionary Forces recounts his tale of the horror of warfare.
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Extra info for Contemptible: A Soldier's Tale of the Great War
Very soon they could hear their sodden socks squelching with water as they walked. A night of veritable horror lay in front of them; they were appalled with the prospect of it. The rain seemed to mock at the completeness of their misery. However, the Fates were kind, for the General, happening to pass, took pity on them and allowed them to be billeted in the outhouses of a farm near by. The sense of relief which this move gave to the Subaltern was too huge to describe. Contentment took possession of him utterly.
The fate of France was in the balance, and also the fate of the Russian Armies. If Paris fell, Europe might be as much the slave of Prussia as it had been a century ago of Napoleon. As for England, if her Fleet could master the German, well and good. But, if not.... It looked as if the enemy were within an ace of victory. He had flooded Belgium and Luxembourg with his armies, and, at the first clash of arms, had hurled everything before him in a manner which to the civilian must have appeared terrible in its completeness.
The name of a village known as Suchy-le-Château figured on many of the signposts that they passed, but they never arrived there, and, branching off east of Braisne, they came upon the remainder of the Battalion, drawn up in a stubble field. A driving rain had begun to fall early in the afternoon, and when at length the march was finished their condition was deplorable. Though tired out with a long day's march, they dared not rest, because to lie down in the sodden straw was to court sickness. Their boots, worn and unsoled, offered no resistance whatever to the damp.