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Combed Out   By: (1892-1957)

Book cover

First Page:

Note: Images of the original pages are available through the Internet Archive/Canadian Libraries. See http://www.archive.org/details/combedout00voiguoft

Transcriber's notes:

The author is listed as F.A.V. on the original title page. His full name was Fritz August Voigt, although he chose to be called Frederick.

Footnotes, being quite brief definitions, have been moved inline [like this].

COMBED OUT

by

F. A. V.

The Swarthmore Press Ltd. 72, Oxford Street, London, W.1.

1920

CONTENTS

PAGE. I. SQUAD DRILL 1 II. THE FATIGUE PARTY 9 III. ON DETACHMENT 42 IV. THE CASUALTY CLEARING STATION 53 V. WALKING WOUNDED 74 VI. AIR RAIDS 90 VII. THE GERMAN PUSH 109 VIII. HOME ON LEAVE 127 IX. ACROSS THE RIDGES 143 X. THE ARMISTICE 155

"The silent, colossal National Lie that is the support and confederate of all the tyrannies and shams and inequalities and unfairnesses that affect the peoples that is the one to throw bricks and sermons at."

(MARK TWAIN).

COMBED OUT

I

SQUAD DRILL

Our Sergeant looked at us contemptuously and we looked anxiously back at him. Then he gave his first instructions:

"Now I'm goin' ter show yer 'ow ter do squad drill. It's quite heasy yer've only got ter use a bit o' common sense an' do hexac'ly as I tell yer. Now we'll start wi' the turns. When I gives the order Right Turn, yer turn ter yer right on yer right 'eel an' yer left toe. When I gives the order Left Turn, yer turn on yer left 'eel an' yer right toe. Now just 'ave a try an' see if yer can do it. Squad! now when I shouts Squad it's a word o' warnin', an' it means I want yer ter be ready ter go through yer evverlutions. Now then, yer s'posed ter be standin' to attention. That's not the way ter stand to attention yer want ter use some common sense when yer stand to attention, yer stand wi' yer chest out, yer stomach in, yer 'eads erect an' facin' to yer front, yer shoulders straight, an' yer 'ands 'angin' down by yer sides wi' yer thumbs along the seams o' yer trousers. Now then, Squad! Stand at Ease!... When I gives the order Stand at Ease, yer places yer feet about eighteen inches apart an' yer clasps yer 'ands be'ind yer backs, yer right 'and inside yer left, but yer mustn't look round or talk until I shouts Stand Easy! Now then, Stand at Ease!"

We obeyed the command with fair smartness, only a few stood awkwardly, not quite knowing what to do with their hands or doubtful whether their feet were really eighteen inches apart.

"That ain't so bad for a first shot," said the Sergeant, to our great relief. "Now, remember what I told yer about standin' to attention when I gives the order Tshn! yer all springs smartly to attention. Now then, Squad Tshn!... No, no, I wants it done smarter'n that. Stand at Ease! Now then, try agin: Tshn! No, no, that ain't 'alf smart enough. Try agin. Stand at Ease! Tshn! That's a bit better, it wants a lot o' improvin' though. Still, yer only a lot o' rookeys [recruits] an' yer can't learn everythink all at once. Now we'll 'ave a bit of a change an' try the turns."

We turned to the right, the left, and the right about. We were all depressed or resentful and thinking of home. We performed the movements mechanically and repeated the same mistakes time after time. The Sergeant was losing patience. He glared at us and bawled out his orders. But the hour came to an end and we were dismissed for breakfast.

The breakfast interval seemed to pass like a flash. We were back on the parade ground, standing at ease. Another Sergeant approached us and yelled "Number Four Squad Tshn!" We sprang to attention and stood rigidly erect, not daring to move... Continue reading book >>




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