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Transcript

“Before we went into the front line trenches to attack the Germans we bivouacked in a place called Henencourt Wood and while we were in there, there was rumours, rumours rife, they didn't know what day it was going to be  at first, but rumour began to come along and they said ... well moral was destroyed immediately because we learned that the three senior officers were not going to be there , they were all … one was going off on promotion to Brigadier General, chap called Trevor, the Major and another bloke were going down as baggage officers so it was left to a Captain Poyser to lead us over and we were the only battalion that never had a senior officer to lead them and so morale went down a bit.  So we hung about there and they kept going so I got a bit tired, I thought, cos you couldn't sleep knowing what was in front of you so I thought I'd have a walk round.  So I got up to walk round and thought I'd see what my pals were doing. Well I walked round, most of them were writing home to their folks, which included me.  Most of them, I should think 99.9% which sadly it was the last letter that they would ever write.”

[Interviewer] “Were you frightened at the prospect of going over the top?

I tried to think, you know, about it and I thought there was nothing you could do about it.  You see human nature is funny, as I say they were writing these letters, it was the last letter they would ever write, some were gambling believe it or not, cos the Colonel's groom had a Crown & Anchor board, some had bought in bottles of wine from the estaminets and they were drinking those up but I should say over all most of them realised the seriousness of the situation and were writing home.  Then it came about that they said off to the front line trenches.”

[Interviewer] “and what was your objective on July 1st ?

A place called Pozières  and they told us that you'd have no trouble, in fact I think they said there'll be no live Germans there cos you see they had as much ammunition as they wanted then – 1916 - and by God wasn't there!”

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