British NCO served with Royal Fusiliers in GB and on Western Front, 1915-1917
REEL 1: Background in London, 1896-1914: family; education; employment; description of service with Boys' Brigade; memory of Boer War celebrations; reaction to outbreak of war, 4/Aug/1914; story of call-up and enlistment with Royal Fusiliers, 1915; memory of Zeppelin raid, Aspects of training with Royal Fusiliers in GB, 1915: basic training at Shoreham; story of nearly losing arm after vaccination and opinion of treatment; description of training; value of previous experience in Boys' Brigade and promotion to lance-corporal; rifle drill and bombing course.
REEL 2 Continues: comments on bombing operations and techniques during war; types of bombs and training course; attitude to use of bombs; opinion of training; various experiences of gas; memory of shell-shock case; relations between officers and NCOs; description of journey to France and arrival at Etaples, 1915. Recollections of operations with Royal Fusiliers on Western Front, 1915-1918: description of Delville Wood and first experience of being under fire; role as mobile unit and reserve force; question of transport and walking between positions; description of conditions in trenches; question of obtaining rations; problem of lice and vermin; problem of frostbitten legs and feet during winter, 1915-1916.
REEL 3 Continues: daily routine in Somme area, France; problem of boredom; description of night raids and problem of barbed wire entanglements; description of various types of fire; improvement in supplies of ammunition; ration parties; description of going over the top and question of fear; opinion of German trenches and problem of mining; attitude to use of bayonet; memory of wounded men and opinion of medical treatment; description of role in Battle of Arras, 4/1917; memory of period before start of Battle; story of following sewers under Arras to trenches and concert party in sewers; description of creeping barrage; memory of tanks and opinion of effectiveness.
REEL 4 Continues: further comments on creeping barrage; memory of cavalry going forward and casualties; nature of advance with tanks; story of promotion to corporal; memory of burying dead horses; opinion of use of cavalry; casualties and story of death of Sergeant-Major; description of platoon advancing in extended formation; story of jumping into German gun pit and being unconscious for three months; parents notified of death; memory of regaining consciousness at Victoria Station; treatment and convalescence in GB. Aspects of period in GB, 1918-1919: problem of nervous condition; story of being torpedoed while en route to posting in Northern Ireland; promoted sergeant and role in training older recruits, 1918; continuing problem of nervous condition; discharged from army, 10/1918; story of disability pension being disallowed; problem of nightmares; story of obtaining civilian post with RAF.
REEL 5 Continues: description of duties with RAF, 1918-1919; further comments on Battle of Arras including extent of advance and opinion of success; nature of duties with mobile unit of Royal Fusiliers; opinion of Gurkhas, Belgians and French; attitude to senior commanders and opinion of strategy; attitude to role of padres and Salvation Army; communications with home; state of health and question of hygiene; shaving; memory of concert parties; story of son in Second World War; reflections on First and Second World Wars.