CHAPTER V
MUD, RATS, AND SHELLS

I must have slept for two or three hours, not the refreshing kind that results from clean sheets and soft pillows, but the sleep that comes from cold, wet, and sheer exhaustion.

Suddenly, the earth seemed to shake and a thunderclap burst in my ears. I opened my eyes,-I was splashed all over with sticky mud, and men were picking themselves up from the bottom of the trench. The parapet on my left had toppled into the trench, completely blocking it with a wall of tossed-up earth. The man on my left lay still. I rubbed the mud from my face, and an awful sight met my gaze-his head was smashed to a pulp, and his steel helmet was full of brains and blood. A German "Minnie" (trench mortar) had exploded in the next traverse. Men were digging into the soft mass of mud in a frenzy of haste. Stretcher-bearers came up the trench

-33-

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Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • To My Mother and My Sister iii
  • Foreword v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Over the Top 1
  • Chapter II- Blighty to Rest Billets 12
  • Chapter III- I Go to Church 24
  • Chapter IV- "Into the Trench" 27
  • Chapter V- Mud, Rats, and Shells 33
  • Chapter VI- "Back of the Line" 39
  • Chapter VII- Rations 46
  • Chapter VIII- The Little Wooden Cross 54
  • Chapter IX- Suicide Annex 60
  • Chapter X- "The Day''s Work" 63
  • Chapter XI- Over the Top 69
  • Chapter XII- Bombing 78
  • Chapter XIII- My First Official Bath 87
  • Chapter XIV- Picks and Shovels 92
  • Chapter XV- Listening Post 103
  • Chapter XVI- Battery D 238 108
  • Chapter XVII- Out in Front 131
  • Chapter XVIII- Staged under Fire 135
  • Chapter XIX- On His Own 145
  • Chapter XX- "Chats with Fritz" 158
  • Chapter XXI- About Turn 167
  • Chapter XXII- Punishments and Machine-Gun Stunts 177
  • Chapter XXIII- Gas Attacks and Spies 187
  • Chapter XXIV- The Firing Squad 204
  • Chapter XXV- Preparing for the Big Push 234
  • Chapter XXVI- All Quiet () on the Western Front 242
  • Chapter XXVII- Blighty 262
  • "Tommy''s Dictionary of the Trenches" 281
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