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The Old Front Line   By: (1878-1967)

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Transcriber's Note: Inconsistent hyphenation and alternate spelling in the original document have been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected in this text. For a complete list, please see the end of this document.

THE

OLD FRONT LINE

BY

JOHN MASEFIELD

Author of "Gallipoli," etc.

New York

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

1918

All rights reserved

COPYRIGHT, 1917

By JOHN MASEFIELD

Set up and electrotyped. Published, December, 1917. Reprinted January, 1918.

TO

NEVILLE LYTTON

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

FACING PAGE

The Road up the Ancre Valley 16

Artillery Transport in Bapaume Road 28

Troops Moving to the Front 38

An Artillery Team 40

View in Hamel 42

The Ancre River 44

The Ancre Opposite Hamel 48

The Leipzig Salient 58

Dugouts in La Boisselle 66

La Boisselle 70

Fricourt 74

Fricourt 76

Sandbags at Fricourt 78

Mametz 82

Sleighs for the Wounded 88

The Attack on La Boisselle 94

THE OLD FRONT LINE

This description of the old front line, as it was when the Battle of the Somme began, may some day be of use. All wars end; even this war will some day end, and the ruins will be rebuilt and the field full of death will grow food, and all this frontier of trouble will be forgotten. When the trenches are filled in, and the plough has gone over them, the ground will not long keep the look of war. One summer with its flowers will cover most of the ruin that man can make, and then these places, from which the driving back of the enemy began, will be hard indeed to trace, even with maps. It is said that even now in some places the wire has been removed, the explosive salved, the trenches filled, and the ground ploughed with tractors. In a few years' time, when this war is a romance in memory, the soldier looking for his battlefield will find his marks gone. Centre Way, Peel Trench, Munster Alley, and these other paths to glory will be deep under the corn, and gleaners will sing at Dead Mule Corner.

It is hoped that this description of the line will be followed by an account of our people's share in the battle. The old front line was the base from which the battle proceeded. It was the starting place. The thing began there. It was the biggest battle in which our people were ever engaged, and so far it has led to bigger results than any battle of this war since the Battle of the Marne. It caused a great falling back of the enemy armies... Continue reading book >>




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