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A WOMAN'S EXPERIENCE AT THE FRONT, Issue 15708, 23 January 1915
A WOMAN'S EXPERIENCE AT THE FRONT
TERRORS OF BOMBARDMENT. A GRAPHIC NARRATIVE. LONDON. November 2. Louk-3 Mack (Mrs Creed), the only woman war correspondent in the present war, has just returned here from Belgium, where she has been for the past six weeks. You might reasonably expect a woman who litis been living in a bombarded town to be suffering from nerves, but not so Mrs Creed. She is just as calm as if she hail been for a holiday trip to the Continent. " I got quite used to the bombs," she said. "In fact. I quite miss them now. At lir-t they were terrifying, especially the noise. VYe all felt we couldn't stand it. Then wc didn't seem to mind. The shells make a noise like. a. big mosquito buzzing through the air. You hear th: l buz/, and wonder whore it will land. 1 saw one come down about 20yds ahead i f me. It was terrible. The earth shook. I felt my legs melting from under me, and I fell straight down on the ground. As i lay there I saw a liig building slowly drift down to the earth in the oddest way. 'The -hell had gone right through the centre, and the walls gently collapsed. I lav quite still for a while, for I could not 'move; then I got up and went back to the hotel. There 1 met Mr Lucien Jotm-. the correspondent of the 'Daily Chronicle.' lie was quite white, and said to me: ' I've just seen a bomb.' I said : 'So have I.' and we both found that we were trembling. But somehow I wasn't really afraid. —At Brussels.--"When 1 first went over I went straight from Ostein! to Antwerp. 'Things were quite calm there, so I went on to Brussels. There 1 went to an hotel where I had stayed some years ago. It was closed, but the proprietor remembered me. and took me in. They all loved the English there, and -would do anything to help us. I stayed in Brussels for three days, but nothing very exciting happened ; the people went abuitt their work as usual, only everything looked -ad and dull. So I thought J would go back to Antwerp. J got an American passport, and set off in a cart with, some Belgian peasant-'. We had gone as far as Ninone when we were stopped by soma Germans. 'They questioned us and examined our passports, and then, lo my horror, they let the peasants go on and arrested me. They took me into the chateau, where they were stationed, and 1 was marched upstairs to a bedroom. There a Reil Cross nurse undressed me and took my clothe-, away, leaving me an old wrapper. She took everything except my hat and my papers were all in the crown lining of my hat ! There 1 wa- left all night with a soldier guarding my door. They sent me some supper and some breakfast, but I would not touch their food Then the nurse brought back my clothes and fold me I could go. I managed to get a lift on a car that was going along the road, and so I reached Antwerp just as the bombard- | nifiit had begun. The first thing I -aw was the notice thai, there was no wtt.ee !i That seemed wore than the. bombardment. Two other war correspondents | were staying in my hotel --Mr .Frank Fox ' ('.Morning Po.-t') 'and Mr Jones ('Daily ) Chronicle"), and they wore so good to me. 1 When there was no longer any question of Antwerp holding out they begged me to go with them. Tt would have boon suicide for thorn to 'Jay. but there was far J less risk for me. so I made up my mind i to wait and see Ihe Germans come in. Mr F'ox and Mr Jones waited till Friday morning, and then they could not waif any longer. One of the <a-d things thev | did war. to pu.-h my big wardrobe in front i oi" mv window. 'to keep tilings from .-ph-hing in.' I wa- glad afterwards that they did, for all the windows of the hotel were smashed by a boinb hitrsfing nearby. When they had gom- I felt, \ orv lonely, for I know ! was the only English woman
--probably the imlv English por.-on--in the town.' I stood looking down tho road watching for tho Gorman.-, and I -aw a Belgian peasant, woman running by with a figure in a little carl. I -aid to her: ' Ithat someone who i- ill?' and -he called out. without stopping: 'No. he -is dead. He is my sou. I have ju-t got his bodv from the fortification-, and T waul to burs' him before the Germans come.' Then -lie went on. —When the Germans Came. — : "Then the Germans came. Fiist. two young soldiers walked by and saw the .sign 'Winter Garden' over tho door. T suppe,-..-' it reminded them of home, for thev pointed at if and smiled. It was so pathetic, th" Belgians going and the Germans coming in. that I \wl stood and ci'ic-d. Then mono sold'ois etimo, and one looked up and saw me ciying and jeu'ed at ma Auel thai was th-" worst thing 1 saw of i hem in Ant werp. "I lend arranged, whh the hotel po >n*e to sta\ as their tnahl. thinkbiv that thev wouid'chiit their d 0...-:, and that I eoi.ld go in and out. Imagine my honor wbon they threw 0:...-n their do-is wide, and web'/uri -ri th.- d.-uiiaiii wiib o| en arms. 'Then I found that ihe hopj was full •,■" man. and T's ••? others, waiters vir.d g-.'oom.s and m«n I hat I had thought good Belgian 'iliinms. I don't think the proof! 1., make nous v. and "t ' didn't cue who-,, mono- if wa-. f saw t h-mi ai l sit tmg loimd tiie t,i Lie. and the fph-v giving oi--i thev wen- alt laughing ov< r :t And. wo.s< .if ah. ivie.' two men who w--thought wne English marines, and who for a week before. 'They spoke p.yfeet marims. and had boon out on the fortithcy wore Germans and snie.s. ft iua.de me furious, and 1 wanted to toil tle-ni to th.-ii I'm e.s what I though; of tlneni : but for fe ;u . they should Vec gois.- me. Evidciilv the hot-H (-v-onlo w-r-re afrahl too, for after a couple'of 'days they min my room, for sii.fety. th"',- raid. They kem'no -Jieic for two days, hip of the days was mv birlhdav ; and f new-r felt -o'wild about anything. 1 cauld hoar the German.-: going up and down stairs, laughing and talking, and t!i"r.- was I, shut no te-'oie would Iwtrav ni". However. U:-'.v wei o not so bad. and after two days thev le! 7iio out. I rot irv.iv from the hotel. 1 "eat out. as th" chauffeur's wife. T«;i Ft! to gii-ls came with us. J tcok ..lie hv tie- \'-.\:<.d. and Fram-cis ;the chauffeur) took the other, and we walked out. Francois ,-alled mo Louisa, one! as we passed Ihe GeruuiTis ho --aid • ' I iiavc just found iiiy wife; sh> la's arrived Cos moining r rom Bni.s-.'-ci-' ' 'Thev '■ v es pass, and Francois took me to a little inn. whoie the woman. w]|-. was a German from .birvomliouio-. was v .- rv kii:-!. Phr- pi;; ln-i----arms i-mmd me when wo «-r-r" in the kit. hen. a.el said ' Peer madiiine !' I tn]d hj r not in s-i y irad.-ro-". bin lo call me Louisa. She did. and 1 stayed with her as her ro.ivmi fV r a couple- ~f days. -A Bop rowed passport Rv a hi' of good luck, some peopL T l-m-w had given'me the key of their housLefoie thev left Antwerp.' It was lock-' un, and I be Germans did not touch any of the houses that vore shut up. 1 mot a man and lis wife, who wore homo!.-----, ,-p 1 took thorn fo this iiou.'--s. and fhe;- hi ldian the Belghans are the im-'f gr.-lefuf o'" p-oplo -unrVoiook fo got mo out of Belgium. 'Th" v.-ife lopi, m« her passport, ord th l luishnti.-l borrowed a motor ear and took me as his wife. And one of my most dreadful moments wa..- in that r,tr. T: belonged fo n wealthy old man. who drove us himself. My 'husband' had told him that i had a most important mission for tho good of the country, Lit the old man seemed a bit suspicious of me. We drove along fo>- a iiule way. and 'hen, suddenly, out on the road, with the Germans all round us. lie stopped and said he would not take me without a security of 500 francs. I really was terrified at that moment, for I was afraid he would denounce rive as a -py. and I know that if he did thev would" shoot, mo. 1 didn't know what 'to do. I only had 2CO frar.es. so I turned to Francois and quietly asked him for 300. He l'.wc them to me at vivx, and 1 handed'the 500 O the old
beast. Then he went on. When nc rvrived at (lie village "it the border, Albert told him I hiid to send a telegram. This waft pu\i(inse<l to he my :mn<iYlanfc business. 7 went in to write it. and he. cumr and looked over my shoulder. For a inonieeel I could not think of r.nything to fay : then, with ,-i flash of YispiraMoji, I :;ddr<>.-;(l a telegram to Enid Kitchener, and said 'Guard Ostend.' and signed it. When '.lie old man (saw it he ■.runted with approval, and (lion, as wo left luni. gave, me hack tli'i 1 500 francs. Of course, I've e.vj.i.Tiiifil to the War Ofliee since my return, hut it v/.-is only one of the many thousand mere sages they get every day."
A WOMAN'S EXPERIENCE AT THE FRONT, Issue 15708, 23 January 1915
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