Lieut. Jack Haldane (Black Watch) has recovered from the wounds he suffered last May and since August has been training soldiers in the use of hand and rifle grenades. It is not surprising to learn that some of his methods have been, shall we say, unorthodox.
“Among the things which we occasionally did as demonstrations was to catch lighted bombs and throw them back, or more accurately, sideways, out of the trench.
I had a one-eyed and rarely quite sober corporal who used to do this, but I sometimes did it myself. I admit that we used to lengthen the time fuse beforehand. Provided you are a good judge of time, it is no more dangerous than crossing the road among motor traffic, but it is more impressive to onlookers.
Some idiot asked questions about it in Parliament and got an army order issued forbidding the practice.”
* * * * * * *
In the next edition of the Draconian we will be publishing this poem, which Jack has kindly sent us for publication:
An Intense Bombardment. The earth is burning; through her smoke there looms The wreckage of the immemorial years; The fruit of all that labour, all those tears Now in an hour collapses and consumes. Those monstrous masses of black oily fumes Are so much vaster than the men, whose cheers In this apocalyptic din none hears, They seem like angels who fulfil God's dooms. The breastwork there, that with its long brown wave Threatened the cities that we die to save Boils as a cauldron, its defenders hurled To darkness and confusion and the grave, And overhead great black clouds densely curled Hide from the sea the anguish of the world. "Safety-catch."
Jack was nick-named “Safety-catch” by his men, as he was always saying “Remember your safety-catch” when with the Black Watch in the trenches last year.
2 thoughts on “March 29th 1916”