Lieutenant L A J Hart RAMC of the 23rd Field Dressing Station, 15th Scottish Division


Now life was much more difficult because we were in shelling and mortar range [of the enemy] and we had to sleep in slit trenches. Its amazing what one can get accustomed to, and despite of rain, I always kept myself in bed dry.

Here we came into contact with our first deaths and it was my duty to bury the dead and here I made it my duty to impress the whole of my staff that I maintained a simple but impressive funeral for all our fallen comrades. This has been difficult many times since but it has always been carried out and the body lowered into the ground covered by the Union Jack unless they were German dead and a padre has always given a simple service.

At times it has been impossible to hear the padre speaking owing to our guns.

Then began the advance southwards to Vire and we were very busy, continuously on the move.

We had our first German wounded prisoners and one of them a boy of about 18 vomiting badly under a tree and he refused to enter our resuscitation ward because he thought we were going to kill him, he was sallow faced and despondent and sis not look anything like the arrogant Germans that we had seen.

This area and Caumont which we entered on Aug 3 was the scene of very violent fighting, we buried 14 men and everywhere was wrecked, dead cattle and men were lying about. The smell of death is very sickening.

Our first German dies for his Fuhrer and we buried him away from our dead.

The advance continues leaving a train of desolation and dead cattle and horses.

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