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Through St. Dunstan's to Light   By:

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[Illustration: Private James H. Rawlinson]

Through St. Dunstan's to Light

BY

PRIVATE JAMES H. RAWLINSON

58TH BATTALION, C.E.F.

TORONTO

THOMAS ALLEN

1919

COPYRIGHT, CANADA, 1919 BY THOMAS ALLEN

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I

PAGE

My Ticket for Blighty 1

CHAPTER II

In Blighty 14

CHAPTER III

At St. Dunstan's 23

CHAPTER IV

Braille 32

CHAPTER V

The Spirit of St. Dunstan's 37

CHAPTER VI

Air Raids 45

CHAPTER VII

Royal Visitors 55

CHAPTER VIII

In Playtime 61

CHAPTER IX

Memories of the Fighting Front 68

CHAPTER X

The Point of View of the Sightless 74

ILLUSTRATIONS

Private James H. Rawlinson Frontispiece

The Boot Repairing Workshop Facing Page 12

Sir Arthur Pearson " " 16

St. Dunstan's: The House " " 24

The Carpenter Shop " " 30

The Braille Room " " 34

Mat Weaving " " 56

Sightless Canadian Four " " 66

Basket Weaving " " 84

THROUGH ST. DUNSTAN'S TO LIGHT

CHAPTER I

MY TICKET FOR BLIGHTY

In the World War, it was not only the men who went "over the top" to assault enemy positions who ran great risks. Scouts, snipers, patrols, working parties, all took their lives in their hands every time they ventured into No Man's Land, and even those who were engaged in essential work behind the lines were far from being safe from death or wounds. On the morning of June 7th, 1917, before dawn had broken, I was out with a working party. Suddenly, overhead, sounded the ominous drumming and droning of an aeroplane. It proved to be a Hun plane; the aviator had spotted us, and was speedily in touch with the battery for which he was working. Fortunately for us, he had mistaken our exact position, and evidently thought we were on a road which ran towards the front line about thirty yards to our left. The enemy guns, in answer to his signals, opened up with a terrific fire, and the scenery round about was soon in a fine mess. Shells of varying calibre came thundering in our direction, throwing up, as they burst, miniature volcanoes and filling the air with dust and mud and smoke. This shell fire continued for about three quarters of an hour, but due to the defect in the aviator's signals and our own skill in taking cover we suffered no casualties. We were congratulating ourselves that we were to pass through this ordeal uninjured, when suddenly a 5.9 inch shell fell short. It exploded almost in our midst, and I was unlucky enough to get in the way of one of the shrapnel bullets. I felt a slight sting in my right temple as though pricked by a red hot needle and then the world became black.

Dawn was now breaking, but night had sealed my eyes, and I could only grope my way among my comrades. I was hit about 2.30 a.m., and it speaks volumes for the Medical Service that at 2 p.m. I was tucked safely in bed in a thoroughly equipped hospital many miles from the scene of my mishap.

Willing hands tenderly dressed my wounds and led me to the foot of the ridge on which we were located... Continue reading book >>




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