Over the Top
This page has been archived on the Web
The Standard on Web Usability replaces this content. This content is archived because Common Look and Feel 2.0 Standards have been rescinded.
Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.
The phrase "over the top" describes the process whereby infantrymen climbed up the side of their trenches and ran into No Man's Land to attack the opposing enemy trenches. Since the soldiers were exposed to the enemy’s machine-gun fire, such action usually resulted in high casualties.
Mr. Butterworth describes a raid at the M and N Line at Ypres, and the loss of a sergeant.
Our first action took place at what was called the M and N trenches at Ypres. I don’t, I was never told what the M and N meant, but that was supposed at that time to be a quiet front. But to brighten things up and to let the Germans know we had some ammunition and how to use it we were all lined up and we made a brigade raid. A brigade is four battalions of which, I don’t just remember how it was organized, but I do know we went over the top. But before going over the top, as all raids as followed, we had our (inaudible) battery behind us that started us off, but it was tit-tittit-tit-tit-tit-tit. And then all hell broke lose. We suffered some casualties, one in particular, a sergeant we all loved very much. And when we saw him lying there on the stretcher, some of us, we knelt by this old sergeant of ours whom we all loved. We touched his face and his hands, simply to say goodbye to him but we’re sure awful sorry.
- Date modified: