21st August (1918)

During the night vast bodies of cavalry trotted past the camp, including the famous Scots Greys.  There is something doing on the front.*

A digger entertained the half-credulous tommies with amazing stories of the Moa – how the whole ground trembles when they, from a great height, drop their 4 ft. long eggs, and the Katipo Spider, as large as the palm of the hand, whose bite means death in 10 seconds – they spring at you from almost any distance, and are so hard that a man has been known to break a cricket bat trying to kill one – How the Maori, in canoes of enormous length, leap over fallen trees lying across streams and the buffaloes sharpen their horns on trees and are purposely irritated by trained men so that they are induced to actually cut the trees down and save felling them.  The large Waikato youth with golden curls has dubbed me “King Mahuta”.

In the gloaming took farewell stroll by the river and watched the late harvesters building armies of stooks on the shaven fields, whilst the sun sank over the distant town and the moon rose above the trees.

[* “There is something doing on the front”.  Indeed there was.  From the New Zealand History website: “On 21 August, the British Third Army (including the New Zealand Division) attacked along a 15-km front north of Amiens, pushing back the German line and driving toward Bapaume. The New Zealand Division played a support role for the first few days of the battle, then moved into the vanguard of IV Corps’ advance. On 24 August it captured Grévillers, Loupart Wood and Biefvillers. Operating now in ground that had not been shelled, with villages, farms and forests largely intact, the New Zealanders revelled, and excelled, in the new conditions of open warfare.”]

IWM (Q 8952) Royal Scots Greys riding their horses on a road at Brimeux, 25 May 1918

[Image: Men of the Royal Scots Greys riding their horses on a road at Brimeux, 25 May 1918.  A windmill can be seen across the fields behind them. IWM (Q 8952)]

IWM (Q 3269) Royal Scots Greys resting by the road near Montreuil, 8 May 1918

[Image: Royal Scots Greys resting by the road near Montreuil, 8 May 1918. IWM (Q 3269)]

One thought on “21st August (1918)”

  1. I love the tall stories, punctuated nearby by the sounds of a gruelling war. Like the ghost stories around the fire close to a tramping hut in NZ.

    Like

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