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I never got a scratch

First World War Audio Archive

I never got a scratch

The German was looking for, expecting us alright, but at that

Hill 62 Memorial Belgium.

we fooled him because he had, was under the impression that maybe this was as far as we were going to go. We had pushed

Courtrai Memorial Belgium.

off, way off down to our right, three or four miles further down there, pushed them all off the top, what would have been the top of the Ridge from there. We were just left to push him off that particular high spot. Just shortly after we left, went over,

Le Quesnel Memorial Belgium.

we were shooting a mills bomb from the end of the rifle and you had your trigger up and down. You had two, there

Gueudecourt Memorial France.

would be two of you there, one would put the bomb in and so on. And this little fella (inaudible) got his head all blown completely off. I was looking straight at him. I don’t know

Dury Memorial France.

yet what hit him. I had pieces of his flesh around my tunic. Gosh, we hadn’t gone three or four steps. I know I was

Monchy Memorial France

going down the Ridge before I noticed all, most of our casualties. In fact, I got stuck in a shell hole. I went clean up to my neck. I couldn’t see the shell hole on account

Passchendaele Memorial Belgium.

of the snow, well like the brim on the shell hole and it was just a new one. And the most of these shell holes were half full of water you see, from the snow melt before. Anybody got wounded on the side of a shell hole and they started to bleed,

Masnières memorial France.

well you’d see some of those shell holes were just red. But it wasn’t all blood you know it was a bit of a seepage that just seeped in. But actually you might as well say there

Bourion Wood Memorial France.

was practically no trench system left. It was all blown. There was one little blessing when this barrage come down we were just far enough ahead that it was missing.

Courcelette Memorial France.

The barrage was trained on where our front line would have been. You couldn’t tell where it was. I noticed these shells, when they started to bust behind you, quite a little ways behind us. Oh, you were following your own barrage you see.

Beaumont-Hamel Memorial France.

Your own barrage started, played for five minutes, then you moved. I think it was fifty yards that we moved, and then when you moved the barrage lifted you see. Give us that fifty yards. Some fellas get, once in a

St. Julien Memorial Belgium.

while some barrage shell fell short, you know. What I mean, they weren’t all so nicely on target.

Canadian National Vimy Memorial France.

But I was very lucky. I never got a scratch from Vimy.

Mr. MacLeod describes the more specific details of his personal experience at Vimy; the sudden death of his partner while he remained unscathed through the assault.

James Neil MacLeod

James Neil MacLeod was born on November 12, 1899. Left school to enlist in Sherbrooke, Quebec, on December 10, 1915. Mr. MacLeod was a member of the 117th Battalion in Canada and England, joining the 24th Battalion for his tour of duty in Europe. He participated in many major battles: Arras, Vimy, Amiens, Somme and Michael Offensive. He was wounded in the elbow August 27, 1918. After his discharge, Mr. MacLeod lived in Quebec, moved to New York state to work for the New York Central Railroad. Married Mae R. Mulvaney in 1927. Mr. MacLeod died June 8, 1981.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
James Neil MacLeod
War, Conflict or Mission:
First World War
117th Battalion

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce


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