Flares

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Flares, or star shells, were fired from a gun as signals between troops, or to light a section of No Man's Land at night so that enemy patrols or activity could be detected. The flares were usually followed with intense machine-gun fire.

Mr. Featherstone describes the use of flares in the field and how to avoid being spotted.

Transcript

Then you'd get the odd shell dropping over. We had odd fellas got wounded. Well, they were just way behind the lines putting up this wire. But we used to have to go out on night patrols. Take a bunch of men, about twelve of us, go out at night up and down No Man's Land and old Fritz would put these flares up, you know. They'd have these flare guns and they'd put these flares up and he'd be straining his eyes looking. We'd try to hold our head down, keep your eyes... soon as the flare goes out, you could see them quite quicker than they could see you because he would be watching this light and his eyes would be all aflame from the light. They'd go way up in the air and come down. And if you're caught in one of them, if your arm's up or down, just stays that way. Especially if you're around the bush at all.

Images

Caption: Webley signal pistol and Parachute Flare

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