British NCO served with Devonshire Regt on Western Front, 1918 and in Middle East, 1918-1919
REEL 1: Aspects of period in GB, 1917-1918: reason for enlisting; story of unsuccessful attempt to join Royal Navy; problem with teeth; religion; army pay and allowances. Aspects of training with British Army in GB, 1917-1918: posted to camp at Sutton Veny, 3/1918; description of basic training and further training in Norwich and Thetford including rifle firing; qualified as marksman; opinion of Company Sergeant-Major and Company commander; sailed from Southampton to Le Havre, France. Aspects of operations as NCO with Devonshire Regt on Western Front, 1918: posted to training battalion at Etaples; opinion of other soldiers; travelled by bus to Albert sector; story of fight in canteen between Australian and American troops resulting in death of 2 American soldiers; opinion of US entry into war; story of bomb landing in village pond; rotation in and out of line; description of journey up to front line and design of trenches; delivery of rations at night; problem of tea being spilled from urns; first impression of front line; story of being blown off feet by noise of artillery; first experience of being in front line; story about nose of German shell cap landing nearby; problem of smell and rats in trenches; description of position on hill overlooking Albert; role as Lewis gunner in charge of team of 8 men; rank; duties on night patrols with Lewis gun team to cover raiding parties; problem of white tape revealing position to Germans; description of German grenade; Very lights; story about drunken officer; story of new recruits making too much noise and being fired on by German artillery.
REEL 2 Continues: description of march through Death Valley; reaction to seeing badly wounded soldier; story of friend killed by shell; description of dismembered bodies; story of pre-war civilian employment making tools for Stokes bombs; description of noise made by German minenwerfer; reaction to arrival of US troops and opinion of equipment; story about enthusiastic US soldier looking over parapet; role of Lewis gun team providing cover; problem of carrying Lewis gun along communication trench; proximity of German trenches; story about German sniper firing on latrine; in front line for 6 weeks; moved into deep dugout at midnight on 7/Aug/1918; description of British artillery barrage and going over the top in daylight, 8/Aug/1918; followed in support of main attack; description of dead German; arrived at Villers-Bretonneux, 10/Aug/1918; climbed to top of hill; description of Germans at crossroads coming under artillery fire; story of hearing skylark singing at Albert; attitude to war; moved to position in sand pit and stayed night; description of leaving sandpit at 5am and crossing open ground towards Germans; story of falling into shell hole and receiving medical treatment; description of journey with German POWs to GB; further medical treatment and convalescence; posted to Clipstone Camp.
REEL 3 Continues: Aspects of period in GB, 1918: excused duty and parades because of shoulder wound; story of meeting friend Eddie Skinner; reaction to Armistice, 11/Nov/1918; volunteered to serve in Middle East. Aspects of operations with Devonshire Regt in Middle East, 1918-1919: reason for deployment; relations between troops and Egyptians; moved to Syria and handed over to French in Beirut, Lebanon; reason for unpopularity of French; relations with local civilians; duties as acting corporal in charge of guard at prison; story about street entertainer with goat; story about CO organising treasure hunts and finding money and other prizes; story of encounter with local civilians in Beirut; sent on machine gun course in Egypt; visits to Cairo; story about Arab market trader; reflections on war; problem of lice and method of delousing clothes; further reflections on war and loss of life.