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06 November 1915

From the letter of a Private in the Loyal North Lancashires.

We have been told off to capture a small stone bridge, another soldier told me, and, as it was the only one for some distance it was important.

On the other side, a strong battery kept shelling us, so we advanced on our hands and knees, while our artillery banged away to keep their attention.

“Then we got the order to charge. There was only a small company holding the bridge at the other side, and when we got there the enemy’s artillery had to stop firing, for fear of hitting their own men.

“Presently the Captain sent me back with a message. Just as I was half-way across the bridge, two Germans darted out from under the arches and bolted off.

All at once a sheet of flame roared up from the arch, followed by a deafening crash, and the next thing I knew I was flying through the air among a cloud of stones and mortar. Something hit me a thud on the head, and everything went black.

Some hours later I came to myself to find I was lying half buried in the mud and rushes by the side of the river. The fall had only fractured my elbow!

Paul McCormick
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