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A description of going 'over the top'; the noise of the explosions, the vibration, the fear. How did they do it?
Before you even get to the front line you are scared, the ground vibrates under your feet and your ears ring with the sound explosions and machine gun fire. When you do finally get to the front line and you stand ready to go over the top, you check your kit so you’re all ready to go. On one attack on the Somme, I was waiting to go over the top and following the bloke in front of me up the ladder when he just fell back onto me, dead, he must have saved me coz the bullets hit him not me. I could feel the machine gun bullets tearing my uniform as I went forward, men all around me were spinning and falling as they were hit, in the end I fell down wounded into a shell hole, I was lucky to get back. People ask me how do we do it, duty I tell them, but if you want’s the truth you can’t let your mates down, anyway if you don’t go the officer behind you will shoot you.
WW1 British infantry soldier
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