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contribos at the did not hinto expla
The moment the dootors of Colonel of the batteries of the dressing station law us that hill, and he naturally and our large box of surgical wanted to know where we necessarios they all fell upon were going and who we were. them, and although we remon. We were very muoh blown strated feebly, saying they and purple in the face, and were moant to go on to other began pulling out our permits, stations as well, they took the explaining between gasps who whole lot! They did not hide we were. Before we could their joy at the unexpected finish he burst out, “Oh yes, contribution, and we were I know all about you; you very much pleased at the are most welcome to ge up”; 8000088 of our expedition. and turning to our guide said, Oar car being now empty, “Make haste, you have only there was no further necossity ten minutes to get to the top for our staying, and we were and down to your battery.” turning homewards when one We ran the rest of the way, of the officers asked if we and arrived speechless at woald care to go up to the the observation post. Luckily observation post on the hill our guide was not as blown above, as the guns were just as we were; he explained going into Gorizia, and we hastily who we were to the should be able to see them young observer, and then with cross the bridges from there. & polite wave and salute was Of course we cared! ... and gone. We had our glasses, away wo toiled along endless and we settled down to watch trenches and under covered the most wonderful sight passages, hearing all sorts of imaginable. exoiting things going on and The whole landscape was one anable to see out. The trenohes mass of flame and smoke. The are maddening for that! Thon village just boneath us was ap and ap, an offioer who was red with smouldering fire, and leading us going horribly fast, shrapnel were bursting, with excusing himself for hurrying their red smoke, every two us by saying that his gun was minutes over it. The bridge to be one of the first to lead over the Isonzo was broken in over the bridge and he had many places, and great holes very little time in whiob to and gaps showed the water get baok.
through thom. As we watched, Half-way up we came upon we saw the first gun appearing rows of soldiers sitting on the down the road towards the side of the hill in their gas bridge, going at a good smart masks. They looked like a trot. As it oame fully into row of Spanish inquisitors, as sight, it broke into a haud. they wore all sitting in dead gallop; a big high-explosive silence. Then we met the burst at the other end of the
1 The smoke of the Austrian shrapnel was red, and of the Italian shrapnel grey or white.
bridge, but the gun kept not covered with explosives. steadily on, swung round the It was getting too dark to see bend, and off up into the town. by this time, 80 we descended It was followed closely by an- to find our car, which we had other, and yet another. Shells left under the shelter of the by this time were bursting all churoh tower, in a little hamround them, and we were let at the foot of the hill. We breathless for fear one should were rather agitated at not be hit. Then, just as two finding it at once, but Whiteguns were on the bridge at head soon appeared, saying the same time, oame a big that as the church tower had shell bang in the middle of twice been hit while he was the bridge; a huge smoke went there, he had thought it as up, and nothing could be seen well to move away from its of the bridge or of the guns. vioinity. As the smoke lifted, we saw The next six weeks were so that one gun was down, the full of work that I have no other making a big detour to remembrance of any partionlar avoid it: it seemed as if all inoident. We were on the road must be killed- & mass of usually by 8.30 or 9 o'clook, struggling men and beasts— with six or seven hospitals to and a groan went up from the fit into the day, some alone officers standing near us. But together, others as much as no! They picked themselves up, ton or even twenty kilometres hauled the horses to their feet, apart. The distant ones of and, as at the Military Tourne- ourso lost as a lot of time ment in London, quickly put on getting from one to the other. another wheel, and were up and At other times we would go off before you could count five. to one hospital and stay there There was a roar of cheering all day, soreeding all the from all the mon who had been wounded as they came in, standing just below us; the marking where the ballet or officers turned, quiokly made brokon bone was, and passing us & bow, saying, “It is our the man straight on into the turn now," and ran off down operating-room, where he was the steps, leaving us in sole operated on at once. When possession of the post. We there was much work, the stayed there another full half surgeons used to leave us enhour watching the orossing of tirely to ourselves to find and the oavalry, & most impressive mark the bullet or piece of sight. They took the bridge shell. We used, when posat a gallop singly, lying flat sible, to mark its position on on their horses' necks, the shells the skin in front, then tarn falling steadily on the road and the limb over, soope it again, on the bridge; but we did not and mark it on the side. see any of them hit, why, I The perpendiculars from these oannot think, as there was marks gave a right angle, and soaroely & square inoh, at least the bullet was naturally at the so it seemed to us, that was apex of the angle.
I remomber that on one busy fifteen minutes in the developer day we did 67 examinations and fixative, and two hours in in the morning. This quan- water, you can understand how tity usually meant about 12 that often before the Red Cross or 13 plates all to be devel- sont us out a developer, Mrs oped and dried before next Hollings and I having come in morning, and when you think from work at 10 P.M., were still that each plate takes roughly developing at 2 in the morning.
We used to take all the asked the Captain of the EnItalian orderlies and drivers gineers to whom our men were out in turn to learn the work attached for rations and pay of loading and unloading, fetoh- to give them their punishments. ing plates out of the car, help. It usually consisted of their ing to oarry the wounded, &o., pay being dooked for a week, and they had become very use- or a couple of days' cells ful. We found we hardly ever (this last they rather liked, had to tell them a thing twice, as they used to sleep all the for when once they understood time), the whys and wherefores of a Italian discipline always apthing they never forgot it. peared to us to be much more
Another thing that is so ex- severe than ours. Rules were cellent about the Italians is that very striot about the time the they never break anything: soldiers roported themselves at you oan trust them with even night. Any soldier found out the X-Ray tubes and have no and about after 9 o'olook P.M. qualms. They were always was instantly looked up by the willing, and never thought Carabinieri unless he had a about their own comforts. speoial permit from his ohief, Food, rest, nothing counted as which stated that he was out long as we got our jobs for the on duty. Soldiers going on day satisfactorily onded. In leave had to go to the baths all the time we were in Italy I and be thoroughly washed and only once knew a man show in- disinfected before leaving, and subordination, and he, I think, the same rules were observed was rather odd in the head on their return, the junior He oould not understand that officers being shut in with the he might not go out whenever men on their return from leave it pleased him!
and often spending the night Although the Italians had in a room strown with straw, kindly given Mrs Hollings and all awaiting together their myself the honorary grade of bath and disinfection. Several Majors in the Italian Army, of them told us that the first wo never punished the men night back from leave is one ourselves; if it became neoeg- of the most unpleasant in the Bary for any small fault, we campaign, and they mostly
VOL CCIV.NO. MCCXXXIV.
spend it walking up and down insurmountable rules and reguthe room.
lations to be found in other Looting of any kind is looked armies, whatever we asked for upon very sternly, and any was given with the best of man oaught looting or merely goodwill, and in consequence souvenir · hunting is very we were careful to ask for as severely punished.
little as possible. You never see any drunken- Another thing that impressed ness amongst the soldiers : in as very much was the cleanlithe two years we spent in Italy ness of the hospitals. Of course, I never saw a single Italian we know nothing of the Base, soldier the worse for drink. As we were at the Front all the In the matter of cruelty to time, and so saw only the field animals the Italian Army is hospitals and dressing stations, also very sovere. The slightest but the cleanliness struok us hint of a soldier being cruel to very forcibly. We had every his beast and he is punished opportunity of judging, beoause very severely, men being sent we were in and out of them at to what are called the Punish- all times and in all places. We mont Trenches on the second saw them when they were so report; the reason for this busy with fresh cases pouring being not only humanity, but in after an action that the also expedienoy, as every man surgeons and orderlies did not is taught the importance of know where to turn. We saw keeping his beast fit and well them at all hours of the day and for the work he has to do. also at all hours of the night.
The Italian soldier is always Often when the work was very well turned out, and looks heavy we stayed on all night generally exceedingly smart. to soreen the cases as they Even close up to the Front he came in, and always the same usually wears a small white good organisation and cleanlichoker inside his collar, which ness. One hospital I remem. always gives the appearance of ber wbich had been prepared cleanliness. How they always for 150 patients received 380 managed to have them olean I after a big battle; the staff, do not know, but somehow they of course, was worried, but by always did. Their breeches no means lost its head, and were very well out, and they very soon tents had been certainly were the smartest ereoted in the courtyard and looking of the Allies up at the gardens, straw mattresses or Front.
straw-stuffed saoks borrowed Another thing that struok or made, all the men housed us very favourably was the till they could have their absolute want of red tape, wounds attended to, and the We never saw any of it, least badly wounded sent on and I heard English officials to the other hospitals. say the same thing. There After an action such as the were so seldom any diffioulties taking of Podgora and Gorizia made. Instead of the usual the Labour Battalions were turned on immediately to tidy by the Austrians. As we got up; and although we were opposite to the Opera House wo generally on the roads within stopped and asked a carabiniere à couple of days, all was to tell us where the hospital tidy and clean, all the horrors of the Fate Bene Fratelli was. taken away, the roads oleared He pointed up the next street, of débris and the shell-holes saying, “It is ap there, but filled,
you cannot go there, it is being Our first business visit to shelled and no one may go Gorizia (we had been there down the street.” We argued once before to see the lie of the point, saying we had to go the land in case we were sent as we had orders, and it could for in a hurry) was an interest- not be helped if it was being ing one. Mrs Hollings happened shelled. We felt very noble in to be late that morning and making this statement, but it we started a good ten minutes was true all the same! The after we meant to. As we got carabiniere gave in at once, down to the bridge of Lucenico and we proceeded up Via it was being shelled, so the Alvarez to a place which was carabiniere on duty signed to covered with débris, large oopas to wait under cover of a ing-stones, split beams, &o. We bit of wall, and to be ready were greeted with enthusiasm to go direotly he made a sign, by the Director, who had been and then to go fast, so as to expeoting us, but owned he was get over before another shell glad we had not turned up ten came. We kept our engine minutes sooner, as we should running, and I kept her in gear have come in for three highwith the olatoh ready to slip explosives (quite as well that in the second we got the sig- my partner had been late that nal. When it came, we went morning). Why the hospital as hard as we could at the was still in existence I don't bridge, and got aoross nicely know, Only one had hit it as the next shell burst just direct, but that one had shaken behind us. The driving was it to its foundations besides not easy, as the holes in the destroying the top floor and bridge were many and large, most of the next. and lots of them had been They proposed that we should stuffed with mattresses! We work in the cellar, whither they buzzed up the hill past the had taken all the wounded; but station of Gorizia and along that was impossible, as it was the main street, the Corso, a too damp, and we should have fine wide street with trees on had short circuiting all the either side-plane-trees I think time, so we went on a voyage they were
of discovery and found a small The houses were knooked room which suited our pur. about & certain amount, but pose. It was only just big not nearly as muoh as we had enough for our trestles and expected, and not nearly as stretoher, and the explosions much as they were afterwards had done something odd to the