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Soldier Silhouettes on our Front   By: (1885-1949)

Book cover

First Page:

SOLDIER SILHOUETTES ON OUR FRONT

by

WILLIAM L. STIDGER

Y. M. C. A. Worker with the A. E. F.

Illustrated by Jessie Gillespie

[Frontispiece: "Traveller, hast thou ever seen so great a grief as mine?"]

New York Charles Scribner's Sons 1918 Copyright, 1918, by Charles Scribner's Sons Published October, 1918

TO

DOCTOR ROBERT FREEMAN

PIONEER RELIGIOUS WORK DIRECTOR OF THE Y. M. C. A.

AND THE HUNDREDS OF PREACHER SECRETARIES WHO ARE SERVING SO BRAVELY AND EFFICIENTLY ON THE CRUSADE OF SERVICE IN FRANCE AND TO THE CHURCHES THAT SENT THEM

FOREWORD

Some human experiences that one has in France stand out like the silhouettes of mountain peaks against a crimson sunset. I have tried in this book to set down some of those experiences. I have had but one object in so doing, and that object has been to give the father and mother, the brother and sister, the wife and child and friend of the boys "Over There" an accurate heart picture. I have not attempted the too great task of showing the soul of the soldier, although I have tried to picture him at some of his great moments when he forgets himself and rises to glorious heights, just as he might do at home if the opportunity called.

I have tried to show his experiences on the transports, when he lands in France, his welcome there, the reactions of the trench life; something of his self sacrifice, his willingness to serve even unto the end; his courage, his sunshine. I have also given some other pictures of France that aim to show his heart relations to his allies and to the folks at home.

If I have done this, sufficient shall be my reward.

CONTENTS

I. SILHOUETTES OF SONG II. SHIP SILHOUETTES III. SILHOUETTES OF SACRIFICE IV. SILHOUETTES SPIRITUAL V. SILHOUETTES OF SACRILEGE VI. SILHOUETTES OF SILENCE VII. SILHOUETTES OF SERVICE VIII. SILHOUETTES OF SORROW IX. SILHOUETTES OF SUFFERING X. SOLDIER SILHOUETTES XI. SKY SILHOUETTES XII. THE LIGHTS OF WAR XIII. SILHOUETTES OF SUNSHINE

ILLUSTRATIONS

" Traveller, hast thou ever seen so great a grief as mine? " . . . . . . Frontispiece

" What are those dots on the sun?" Doctor Freeman shouted to me

The upturned roots of an old tree were just in front

" The last seen of Dale he was gathering together a crowd of little children "

" The boys call her 'The Woman with Sandwiches and Sympathy' "

What was the difference? He had gotten a letter

One night I had the privilege of seeing a plane caught by the search light

The air raid had not dampened her sense of humor

I

SILHOUETTES OF SONG

The great transport was cutting its sturdy way through three dangers: the submarine zone, a terrific storm beating from the west against its prow, and a night as dark as Erebus because of the storm, with no lights showing.

I had the midnight to four o'clock in the morning "watch" and on this night I was on the "aft fire control." Below me on the aft gun deck, as the rain pounded, the wind howled, and the ship lurched to and fro, I could see the bulky forms of the boy gunners. There were two to each gun, two standing by, with telephone pieces to their ears, and six sleeping on the deck, ready for any emergency. The greatcoats made them look like gaunt men of the sea as they huddled against their guns, watching, waiting. I wondered what they could see in that impenetrable darkness, if a U boat could even survive in that storm; but Uncle Sam never sleeps in these days, and this transport was especially worth watching, for it carried a precious cargo of wounded officers and men back to the homeland, west bound.

For an hour I had heard no sound from the boys on the gun deck below me. When I was on watch in the daylight I knew them to be just a great crowd of fine, buoyant, happy American lads, full of pranks and play and laughter, but they were strangely silent to night as the ship ploughed through the storm... Continue reading book >>




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