By JOSEPH DOUGLAS LAWRENCE
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Extra info for Fighting soldier: the AEF in 1918
German artillery fired on the trenches in the early morning as usual, but there were no casualties. After the firing died down the men were allowed to loiter and sleep in the dugouts at the rear of the trench. We went through the same procedure the next night. Early the following morning Walley said he had orders to take a raiding party to the German trench and try to capture one or more prisoners so the British and Americans would know what units were occupying the trench in front of us. He said I could go, and I told him I would.
We stayed in the ditch some little time because of the flares, and watched our chance to begin crawling through the grass, which was about twelve inches high. I soon lost Q. M. in the darkness, and after crawling quite a way did not find the wire. Feeling quite alone, I crawled forward, sure the Page 37 wire could not be far away. After covering quite a bit of ground by squirming through grass like a snake I decided I must have passed through all three gaps without seeing the wire, and this indeed is what had happenedI was quite a way into no-man's-land and in danger of blundering into a German patrol.
After a good night's rest the march started again and was hard, but we did not suffer as we did the day before. That night we halted near Herzeele, two or three miles from the Belgian border, and not caring to take a chance on more English rabbit we scattered among the nearby farmhouses and managed to buy a few eggs. We found we could not use our "French" here, as the people seemed to speak another language that we denominated Belgian. We were billeted in barns and went to sleep to the roar of the big guns that sounded very close.