we went onto the rifle range
and it was amazing, the bull's-eyes I was getting.
So, the next thing, I was made a first-class rifleman.
Above all, we learned rapid fire.
Ten rounds, get those ten rounds onto the target in one minute.
It was known as "the mad minute".
I'd never seen a dead man, or anything of that kind
and I wondered, if it came to my shooting a man,
whether I would be able to do this.
You'd plunge the bayonet into the sack, shout like hell.
And they would tell you where to put your bayonet.
Either into his left shoulder, his right shoulder,
in the chest, or in the body.
We were told to make as much noise as we could.
I think that was to frighten the enemy.
Didn't seem a likely thing to do, but we used to shout.
When you've trained as a division, there's 12 battalions,
that's roughly 12,000 men who are on the move
and you're a very small cog in a big wheel.
Saturday mornings we were let off,
but we had to do sometimes barrack duties.
Then, on Sundays, we were all marched down to church.
It didn't matter what religion you were,
you all had to go and that was it.
Hardly a day passed without the shout around the barrack room,
Has anybody here had any experiences with horses?
Can anybody here play any musical instruments?
Anybody had any experience at so-and-so...?
So, gradually, the 1,000 men who joined up as a motley throng,
now became a transport man, a bandsman, signalman, and so on.
You didn't wanna mess about at the parade ground
with heavy packs on the route marches.
Most of us wanted to go across and do some scrapping.
After good food, fresh air and physical exercise,
呼吸了新鲜空气 优质伙食 体能训练后
they'd changed so that their mothers
wouldn't have recognised them.
They'd put on an average of one stone
in weight and one inch in height.'
Although we hated the sight and sound
of our disciplinary sergeants,
this reflects greatly to their credit
because they knocked us into shape
as regards to marching and foot drills.
But, far more than that,
they were handsome, ruddy, upstanding,
他们英姿飒爽 精神抖擞 正气凌然
square-shouldered young men
who were afraid of nobody, not even the sergeant major.
After six weeks, we were informed
we were gonna be posted overseas.
They said, "You're leaving tomorrow
morning for an unknown destination."
You were never told where you were heading for.
I just wanted to fight the Germans
and, as far as that was concerned,
it didn't matter tuppence to me where we went.
And when we pushed them through
this crash programme of military training,
they were pushed off to France in batches.
Before we left, the officer said,
"Well, you haven't had time to be made sergeants,
so we'll give you a couple of stripes."
So they made us corporals and, in less than no time,
we were marched down to the station.'
In my mind, I wondered, "Shall I ever come back?"
I didn't think I would at the time.
I didn't worry about it.
Oh, they were all full of euphoria.
They were all glad they were going. Nobody was crying.'
I wrote a postcard when I was in
the train and chucked it out the window,
hoping that it would be delivered to my family.'
We arrived at Folkestone in the evening.
We embarked on one of the old Thames pleasure boats.'
Well, pretty crowded.
Well, of course, it's only 21 miles
from Dover to Calais on the boat.'
There were talks by officers to us
as to how to behave ourselves on foreign soil
and that we'd got to respect other people's modes of conduct.'
The biggest number of casualties were NCOs
and we weren't all too keen about this.
So I went into the lavatory and my stripes came off
and they disappeared through the porthole.
And with that, I went back on deck as a private.'
As our horses were brought down the gangways,
I noticed the expression on the men's faces.
There were no cheerful, smiling faces
coming down that gangway at all.'
'It was beautiful weather. Very warm.
Every village and town we went through, people rushed out,
bottles of wine, yards of French bread, flowers...'
The land flowed in every single aspect.
There were farmers going about their
business, the most lovely country.
'If we were passing a field of carrots, we used to raid the field
and walk along munching the carrots and turnips.'
'I was dead scared that the war
would be over before I got out to it.
When I got out to France, I was terribly pleased.