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An Outpost in No-Man's Land

Heroes Remember

An Outpost in No-Man's Land

One night five of us were ordered to take an outpost at No Man’s Land and it was half chalk in that part of France. To take a shovel full and throw it, it would stick on the shovel. You had to use your heel to get it off and by morning we were only down about two and a half feet. It started to rain and you had to keep your head down. So a fellow by the name of Guy said, “You know it wouldn’t be so bad here if you’d use your imagination. Imagine we’re at the Savile Hotel in London,” he said, “before a big great fire smoking expensive cigars. Let’s see now what we had for dinner, a tender roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, a whole lot of vegetables and after dessert...” Somebody said, “Oh shut up!” And he raised his head and a bullet went right through both cheeks. “He missed my teeth!” he said, “I'm going to make a run for it!” “You’ll never make it!” “I’m not going to sit in this puddle all day!” And away he goes. One of us had a periscope, he was zig zagging, it would take a few seconds to get a bead on him and by that time he was zagging and about 20 seconds he made it, he was waving his shovel.

Mr. Morrison describes the difficulty of digging trenches in chalky ground, and one man's attempt at relieving a stressful situation. A sniper shoots the man through both cheeks without him losing a tooth.

Alex Morrison

Mr. Morrison was born March 17, 1897. His father had a men's wear store in Sydney, NS. He started working with his father when he was a boy of eight years. He enlisted in 1916 at the age of 19. He trained at Aldershot, Nova Scotia for 6 months, then left Canada from Halifax bound for England. He was on the 13th voyage of the SS Olympic and eventually arrived in Liverpool. He proceeded to Whitley Camp for further training and was held there for a year until he turned 21. Mr. Morrison was then moved to France in February, 1918. He took part in battles at Amiens, Cambrai and Mons. At the end of the war, he returned to Canada, arriving in February 1919. He returned to work with his father in his men's wear store for three years before joining the work force in the automobile industry in Detroit, Michigan.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
February 2, 1999
Person Interviewed:
Alex Morrison
War, Conflict or Mission:
First World War
25th Nova Scotia Rifles
Platoon Officer

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