British NCO served with 1/4th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers on Western Front, 1915-1916, including Battle of the Somme, France, 7/1916
REEL 1: Aspects of training with Northumberland Fusiliers in GB, 1914-1915: story of volunteering with friends at drill hall, 1914; reason for joining Northumberland Fusiliers; story of journey to Newcastle and enlistment; description of barracks; opinion of food; posted to Aylesbury for basic training; issued with uniform and clothing; question of never having previously worn underwear; rifle training with wooden rifles; comments on Battle of Loos, 9/1915; reason for being selected as machine gunner; description of eleven months training for open warfare. Aspects of operations as NCO with 1/4th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers on Western Front, 1915: arrived in France and marched for five nights; relieved Scottish troops in Hill 70 sector, 9/1915; story of attempting to deliver message to Captain Pole; description of attack and casualties; story of rumour that German commander had ordered machine guns to cease firing on British troops; description of wounded returning to own lines; reaction to Haig's negative comments about performance of British troops; casualties during attack; opinion of Haig and nickname 'the butcher'. Aspect s of operations with as NCO with 1/4th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers in Battle of the Somme, France, 7/1916: location of 1/4th Bn in reserve in Fricourt sector, 1/Jul/1916; memory of German POWs; reaction to news of casualties on 1/Jul/1916; description of role in operations, 2/Jul/1916; issued with rum ration prior to leaving trench; problem of some men being drunk and forgetting to take rifles; description of leaving trench and crossing No Man's Land; reached German trenches and found only corpses; memory of seeing Germans troops running away; story of encounter with German soldier in trench and conversation about war.
REEL 2 Continues: question of Germans prior knowledge of attack on 1/Jul/1916; problem of lack of information as to location; opinion of role of cavalry; opinion of officers; opinion of Haig; comparison of facing artillery and machine gun fire; reason for number of officers being kept behind in attacks; story of receiving five days field punishment for taking souvenirs from dead Germans; description of Lewis gun; reaction to casualties and loss of close friends; story of accidentally killing fellow soldier; story of diary; procedure for burying dead.