A “TOMMY’S” HEROISM
Wo were looking through, the barbedwiro entanglements at tho German prisoners, -and to be perfectly frank, waxing wroth iu some measure over their happy and comfortable lot. Indeed, wo coukl_ not retrain from remarking how i'ow British prisoners in Germany would be. enjoying football, leap-frog, shower -batli.s, and tho like, nor from comparing tho generous conditions evidenced with tho privations that some of our wounded and recruits are- so chrcrfidly undergoing. I am glad, however. that we event to the compound, Unit was there wo mot him. Othrrwit-:o. 1 should not be writing this. Bk.aao do not imagine that by “him” 1 moan a. German, for on the contrary I mean no one of less importance, than a. real live wour.-iv*-Tommy in khaki. Strange coinek>'T7c it
f,eenied his spending even a. little of bis h.-ird-earned " holiday ” in such surroundings. But why not? ll.ow('v<>r, theio ho was. Out of no idle cmdosity, but from n genuine feeling of pride in our handsoniA, w<!l-lmilt <kfcn<leT (yon know what wo women arc. How wo 1-avo ;v hero) we drew a little nearer.
"Where was I wounded? At Along; an-d there it was they killed nry bvot-her and my dear chum. Oh ycis. I. am only waiting to get bank. (He, took a-not-lier steely look at the Gorman prisoners,) But my Jog is only healing 81-owlr.” His leg! Wc had onlj- noticed, kif. bandaged arm.
"Won poor deal' soul ’ IViict happened to tho leg?' 1
" Shot through the thigh., but- it might have been wnrso.'’ Just a.; wo had read of, these men never complain.
- Parents live anywhere near?" Both dead ”
“ Heiaiives?” "A sister in (he mentioned a town two or three hundred miles away) and another lumber ; but he's no good.” " Dear, oh. dear; why dyes he not ionic to see* vo-u?"
“1 wouldn’t look ;U liim ; ho won't play i the game and ’list, even in a. war Jiko I this. No. 1 don't ' wa.nl to we Mm," lie ' said, *• King and coin dry Hint with, mo.’’ With an increaisinrr desire to show out admiration tor onr hvi-o, we inquired’i “Where staying at prec-ent?" and learned that lie was at the cavalry barracks. “ Com fort able? (rood hod?” "Yea, on offiear who found hind c-hx'-ping ot> the. floor had lent him hi?. '■(' erne away.” I suddenly exclaimed. ” those sleek (iej-mnns make n:-, boil. Conic and have a good dinner with us. N’o -re* £n.sal now. Here, Alary. uilctt him • prkoiw-r V ” I It was 'Only with difik-ulty that, he i hobhlod along though leaning: on our units, j “‘You arc too kind to me.” lie said, j “ Many -another is far worse oil than I am, | and needing a meal more.” Splendid an- | £t\llLhlK’SS. 1 1! is smile, however, told us all we. wished ; to know, and so our captive came, along. ■ We ir«pe jubilant. Slowly his jvspivc broke down, and ho, i knowing wc were, eager for him to do so. | began to talk to an and tel! us things. I He was a ivscrvisl, his regiment the Dragoons, and he was amongst the first, lot of troops sent out. How near he wins to disappointment in this respect is an : interiidang story. It explains the chaw 1 actor of the man. It appears that whilst : in private employment. ho lost Jus natural teeth. In frantic haste, he ordered some ■ false ones, which, in wpito of all kuxU of prw.snre. the willing dentist was quite unable to deliver. What was he to dot How to pans the doctor? Here Is re ! soureefuinass. He I>om.wi.il a «>'* i;. m a comrade and "got through" tm- t siiin:ii;; • t-ion. Hut he went le [he flout, w if: ju.a i a few of the stumps of what Nahne. hid originally provided tor him. ’I In--., hjo l , ever, is not tho end. Hevk again, lie stdl ; wants the leeih. No pay as yet; he lells t odicer. who advances money out oi lii.s own jKiek-e; Does to dentist, wl-ave mn prise , >u till--, war slaiiK'd soldivr limping ; into iris surgery and coolly inquiring tor his teeth may 'veil Ik- imagin'd. To the. lasting credit of the ilcnlisi, amravet. .-n no account, iviuhl he .-■•.■eiq.t a. penny. *" it is the. least 1 can do," it.- said, whilst warm.lv shaking one Tommy by the band. Were I a, man 1 should lake my hat off to that deni let. 1 know his name. i lould fill columns aboiii our ‘'discovery.'' It, was. an uiiforgcUabii- experience to hear him speak in simple laugnage of the etlV-cl of Toni Kilehejiur’s mes.ai.eo, and the inanner in vrhieli it had in on kept, 'limy had not misted the- nniac. and had been f-ed well whenever they had time to take him mlmns. " .V fag?" -Mi yes, !i<woukl like to light up. In tin- liem-hes one f»g had passed along to f.eoivs of Ida puls fin- each to have a "dra"." h.imelinics a “ fag" was. on ha ltd, I Hit I lie) e was not a match in tho ireen. Of the Dritish ollicvr lie was full of praise- ho could say nothing too good for Idm. 'Fids love of Ids olli-vr is fine i rani- in dear Tommy AilansT character. It in-counts for much, and is v.-ctl dcsecv-nl. 'I in -tights of his olliceis evidently reminded him of liis little diary. 110111 v, inch lie. r- ad iirit-1 illuminating exl racks, brie; forsooth, necessarily so; 1 here wan little spare time. At Havre, he had been impressed by (lie. sight of move i.mnps than 110 had over seen in his life before ; the transport arrangement sent. bun dumb with amazement,, hut the sight of the milelong store shied set, most tongues wagging. Above all, he was Itm-ninit to get. back, t hough brother and eon ye,ides vwro tto more ihi.wn 10 pi.o-es by ids sidon H-lt be. hud tiirtimr scores to rub off. Ihuely have eyes Hashed as did this, knightly youth's when he uttered in it husky whisper; "I
have ,; een tilings of which I nvi.v not tell and thini.s of which 1 cannot toil, and wu.-d of ali. harmless little children iior rihiv lilt.; ilai-ed.”
At our guest's request-, my friend sang a. song for him r The Hoeary '), SJm never sang it betuir. Tlu-. im.-si- manly tears that i have ever scan sprang quickly to Ins eyes, do wh.it. he would to stop th-nn. I like to tec! (indeed 1 am ame (it ill there are t lions,vids. o-f oni’ lonmdes brave as lions, with just. Midi lender heat is. Vi ■ may we I thank (Jod otir c;:.ttse i< in (he hands of those Nature's
gentlemen, I have celled this one a. knight Iv youth. It is not Draise enough. These wonmldff sohlmrs <li onus who n.ie reinrniiig to the I rem!, in Ihe honors <>f war ;is they have iseen them, aro fired with a, righteousness that is as magnificent as is ■. in-nr loyalty to Ktiog ai.tl f iiuniry. deep based ~n tire, great tipii'h of m if-s.-ieriiiee .-•ml • Wmi -n to duty
highly conceived. And what, were our hero's iaot words, to us? Th.q were of o‘ ii-ct.s.
Vt lei t Jll w;1
avei’,’’ fi,. said-
“that, is, when Knglanrl has woti---a.il tiepraise, should g, ; ;,, 1 fie- nurses. (h>d | them. Tle-y have done t-lie best of all.” And tx> a: lea-'-r. one true foldier of tho King, ihoegii In- nmy pcvwc.ss net liter father nor mother, shall he followed on hie way with I lie alicctioiinle remembrance of T.vo grateful women and wit hj prayon* for ids safe rrtnrn. -■ -Horace S, Brown, in th-e ‘Veil;shire Post.’
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A “TOMMY’S” HEROISM, Evening Star, Issue 15699, 13 January 1915