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BORN UNDER FIRE

The medical officer of the Royal British Medical Corps writes to the 'British Medical Journal ’; “Imagine a very small village, situated in the. shadow of a wooded ridge of hill, and above the village limestone caves, and above the caves reserve trenches, then trenches and wire entanglements, then the dead whom neither side could remove, and then the Germans crowning their slope ot the hill as wo do ours. Within 200 yd» of our most advanced trenches, and continually under shell fire, what remains of the civil life of the village goes on day by day. In the caves are our dressing stations and our wounded. The officers live in a farmhouse near the caves—or did until three days ago, when shell fire sent us back to the caves to sleep. And in the village some houses are wrecked—a few—and most are stripped of furniture and Valuables. These the inhabitants have taken down to large underground refuges—half-cellar and half-cave. Standing by the caves one day —a quiet day, with a little firing since one big bombardment at about 7 a.m.—a message was brought me by a sergeant that * 4 lady wanted a doctor to see someone whj had been hurt in the village.’ Putting og a haversack which contained most tmngf necessary for the ordinary casualties ot war, I went with the guides—‘two ladies' They led me to a cellar with one door and no other light. On the left of the door was a apace reaching the depth of the cave, and cut off by wire netting. In this were chickens. On the extreme right was inky darkness. Nearer to me on the right was a woman in bed. Beyond her enothet mattress on the floor, at' her feet two children asleep. In front of me as I entered was a pile of household goods, and, oa in our oVvn country, there were not wanting neighbors. My servant had followed me’, although not at my suggestion, but on perceiving an obviously newly-born babe I sent him away. The babe had been bom the night before, was very neatly and cleanly wrapped up, and should be a credit to its country. Necessary medical attention being given, a fee was offered, but declined. An hour or two later—an hour of terror for the chickens—my servant was given what appeared to be a fine chicken. Alas! It proved later to be uncommonly tough. Even so. I was amply rewarded by the mere sight of roast ducken. The few inhabitants left in this village live largely on our buily beef, eggs (when the chickens are obliging), and field produce. There is no bread or milk, Wo were relieved next day, and I did not see my patient again, but possibly the whole incident may interest you as a picture of things as they are in one. small spot of the great battle line."

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141212.2.58

Bibliographic details

BORN UNDER FIRE, Evening Star, Issue 15674, 12 December 1914

Word Count
483

BORN UNDER FIRE Evening Star, Issue 15674, 12 December 1914

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