Balme letter and diary, 29 April 1918 / Gerald Archibald Balme - Page 6

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[Page 6]

25.11.19 [17]
Pill Box, in which 4 of my boys sleep, & more shelter when he shells us. My dug out is at the side of this Pill Box. It is very exposed but we can stand in it; and it is our kitchen; quite a palatial dug out. As I say, it's a bit exposed; but then if he hits us at all, that won't make very much difference. One is a fatalist here – absolutely.
Our first night up here under fairly heavy shelling, I had a magazine. Their was an article in it by a man under shell fire in Ladysmith, and it fitted my frame of mind exactly.
Bravery (and no one here poses as even ordinarily courageous) isn't of any use to a man under his first shelling.
Coming to a war, I suppose one expects trouble, in a vague sort of way: but one cannot imagine beforehand the sensations one experiences when crouching in a Little hole listening to their missiles rushing towards you in the dark.
You hear the far away gun at times: then a whisper, rising to a whistle, and; (if its coming near) to a shriek drowned in the shattering burst of the shell.
I have timed one big gun of his, and it takes

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