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Private Peat   By: (1893-1960)

Book cover

First Page:

PRIVATE PEAT

by

HAROLD R. PEAT

Ex Third Battalion First Canadian Contingent

Profusely Illustrated with Photographic Reproductions Taken at the Front. Also with Scenes from the Photo Play of the Same Name Released by Famous Players Lasky Corporation

New York Grosset & Dunlap Publishers The Bobbs Merrill Company

1917

[Illustration: Private Peat Still smiling though his right arm is useless]

To the boys who will never come back

FOREWORD

In this record of my experiences as a private in the great war I have tried to put the emphasis on the things that seemed to me important. It is true I set out to write a book of smiles, but the seriousness of it all came back to me and crept into my pages. Yet I hope, along with the grimness and the humor, I have been able to say some words of cheer and comfort to those in the United States who are sending their husbands, their sons and brothers into this mighty conflict. The book, unsatisfactory as it is to me now that it is finished, at least holds my honest and long considered opinions. It was not written until I could view my experiences objectively, until I was sure in my own mind that the judgments I had formed were sane and sound. I give it to the public now, hoping that something new will be found in it, despite the many personal narratives that have gone before, and confident that out of that public the many friends I have made while lecturing over the country will look on it with a lenient and a kindly eye.

To my wife, who has helped me greatly and who has been my inspiration in this, as in all else, I should have inscribed this volume had she not urged the present dedication. But she prefers it as it is, for "the boys who will never come back" gave themselves for her and for all sister women the world over.

H.R.P.

CONTENTS

Chapter

I THE CALL TO ARMS

II IN THE OLD COUNTRY

III BACK TO CANADA I DON'T THINK

IV ARE WE DOWNHEARTED? NO!

V UNDER FIRE

VI THE MAD MAJOR

VII WHO STARTED THE WAR?

VIII "AND OUT OF EVIL THERE SHALL COME THAT WHICH IS GOOD"

IX ALL FUSSED UP AND NO PLACE TO GO

X HELLO! SKY PILOT!

XI VIVE LA FRANCE ET AL BELGE!

XII CANADIANS THAT'S ALL

XIII TEARS AND NO CHEERS

XIV "THE BEST O' LUCK AND GIVE 'EM HELL!"

XV OUT OF IT

XVI GERMAN TERMINOLOGICAL INEXACTITUDES

XVII THE LAST CHAPTER

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF A SOLDIER WHILE ON ACTIVE SERVICE

SOME THINGS THAT WE OUGHT AND OUGHT NOT TO SEND

PRIVATE PEAT

CHAPTER I

THE CALL TO ARMS

"Well," said old Bill, "I know what war is ... I've been through it with the Boers, and here's one chicken they'll not catch to go through this one."

Ken Mitchell stirred his cup of tea thoughtfully. "If I was old enough, boys," said he, "I'd go. Look at young Gordon McLellan; he's only seventeen and he's enlisted."

That got me. It was then that I made up my mind I was going whether it lasted three months, as they said it would, or five years, as I thought it would, knowing a little bit of the geography and history of the country we were up against.

We were all sitting round the supper table at Mrs. Harrison's in Syndicate Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta. War had been declared ten days before, and there had been a call for twelve hundred men from our city. Six hundred were already with the colors.

Now, to throw up a nice prosperous business and take a chance at something you're not sure of getting into after all, is some risk, and quite an undertaking as well. But I had lived at the McLellens' for years and knew young Gordon and his affairs so well that I thought if he could tackle it, there was no reason why I shouldn't.

"Well, Bill, I'm game to go, if you will," I said. Bill had just declared his intention rather positively, so I was a bit surprised when he replied in his old familiar drawl:

"All right, but you'll have to pass the doctor first. I'm pretty sure I can get by, but I'm not so certain about you... Continue reading book >>




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