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A MODERN BATTLEFIELD.

GERMAN PBIBst 3 DESCRIPTION,

The following account of a modern Frenoh battlefield ia from the pen of a German from Saarbrncken (Rhine Provincee Prussia) who went at tha end of August to Lunevile to look for fcho body of a German officer known to have fallen on the field It was just after the terrible battle fought from the 19th to the 23rd of August. The priest save:

Wβ left Luneville at daybreak, and arrived almost at once on the immense battlefield over which we bad driven the evening bei

fore, eftpr dark. How shall I desorsbo sn

terrible a kingdom of death ? In the ditcher by ihe roadside, on every mould, in the fields and meadown, raized up with the dead f bodies of horsop, lay the mangled corpses of the enemy. Some bad their arm? bent as it in a la3t movement to defend themselves, \he olenohed fingers of others bore witness »to the horror of their last momenta, and "••blood and dust still further dufigured fea JMllSures already distorted by rage and terror. 7 Ammunition waggons, upset and with broken wheels, ccraps of uniforms, and arms kof every kind were heaped as far »s the eye Aoould see. No. German dead were to be aeon. jGreat moulds of recently dug earth, all in inline, carefully raked over, and marked with wooden crosses, show the places where the fallen heroes' comrades piously did their l»st duty by them After every battle onr vffoldiers first thought is for those who ace no /..more. , . Our way took "us to Einville, where is tbe Seventh Military Hospital. Great Gorf, what a epectac c! For two evenings I bad it con. I

tinually before my eyes, and I shall never be able to forget the horror of iti In the county house of a French notary were lying bide by side the moet seriously wound?d and tbe dying, perhaps already dead; They were /■ lying thus side by ride out of doors, even on

the lawn in front of the house. For days and night- they had been waiting for someone to attend to Ihcm, for moet of them had

not even had their wounds dressed. And the doctors were.doing their wok with ftnparalielled devotion, but ib*re was not of them to overtake it. In the -dusk we had to walk carefully for fear of knocking against the wounded or treading on the dying. After stepping over tbe last of them, we stood still a few minutes to look around

the dark field in Which they were lying, bo * close together as to touch one another. The silence wa? death-like, though from time to time it was broken by some feeble groan, after which absolute calm prevailed once more. We wondered whether the poor sufferers still lived or whether they were at tbe end of their sufferings. All my life long I shall remember this si-ht, at Einville, on the oanal from the Marne to the Rhine, that Hospital open to the sky, with the wounded Unattended day and night At length we found a dead man for whom we were loDking, and whom wa had promised to bring back to his own people that they

might bury htm in hie native earth. He wee a young officer, whose marriag" I had solem ised a few days before mobilisation. And now we were confronted with bis corpse. Some Einville peopie, poor day labourers,

belpfd ms to discover the body, and took

infinite pains over doing so, nor weuld they ftooept anything for their trouble "Wβ won't take anything," they said; "we are Chris-

I fcianp," Indeeil their wfiole tboughtwae fortha i trag'o f*tfc of the officer'and of bis joung wife. "Poor brave fellow! Poor woman," said they. I shook ben4B wiih them and went away, deeply toadhei. In the village street we met a more than usually mournful fnneral procession, headed by the cure a ?enerablft.wnit-'>"haired priest, with the vicaire beside him, anrfj behind them six large waagons, driwn by horses and led by some p The waggons were transporting heaps of corpses to their common grave, dug alongside tbe cemetery wall.

With the body of my young officer, I overtook an ambulance, in which a colonel hnd died of his wounds that very morning. He bad been laid on the ground, with his long cloak over him, and his military cap and sword on his breast. Hie orderly bad piously scattered flowers about his improvised deathbed. Despite his serious wounds, the office - looked as if he had fallen peacefully asleep. A coffin having been improvised, I took his dead body also home to his country on the motor van put at mv disposal.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AMBPA19141113.2.13

Bibliographic details

A MODERN BATTLEFIELD., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXIII, Issue 3452, 13 November 1914

Word Count
784

A MODERN BATTLEFIELD. Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXIII, Issue 3452, 13 November 1914

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