I WASN'T wounded till late in 1916.
We'd just come out of the trenches and were marching over a bit of road a mile or so back which was supposed to be safe, but which the Germans must have got the range of some time earlier. Suddenly they started putting a few shells over--it was heavy H.E. stuff, and they were only firing about one a minute. There was the usual zwee-e-e-e! and then BOOM! in a field somewhere over to the right. I think it was the third shell that got me. I knew as soon as I heard it coming that it had my name written on it. They say you always know. It didn't say what an ordinary shell says. It said, "I'm after you, you b----, you, you b----, YOU!"--all this in the space of about three seconds. And the last YOU was the explosion.
I felt as if an enormous hand made of air were sweeping me along. And presently I came down with a sort of burst, shattered feeling among a lot of old tin cans, splinters of wood, rusty barbed wire, turds, empty cartridge cases and other muck in the ditch at the side of the road. When they'd hauled me out and cleaned some of the dirt off me they found that I wasn't very badly hurt. It
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Publication information: Book title: Coming Up for Air. Contributors: George Orwell - Author. Publisher: Harcourt Brace and Company. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1950. Page number: 129.
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