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The Somme Was A Killing Ground

Heroes Remember

The Somme Was A Killing Ground

The German was a good fighter. When he put his wire up, he put the weak places on what we call the knife wire which was a moveable section like two crossbars or two sets of crossbars with wire that could be lifted and opened up. They were easily lifted out but the troops started, were there, that's where was the killing ground. He uses it simply as a killing ground and just mowed them down. Bravery doesn't mean anything. Machine guns, Haig made the statement one time, “The machine gun is highly over-rated.” For weeks afterwards, you could see the bare bones of the Highland Regiments laying on the wire with the kilts. We went down to the Somme, it was hot, I was getting hot and the dead had been laying on the wire for about four days. Whoosh! They laid on it until they rotted.

Mr. Henley describes how the Germans set their barbed wire in such a way that Allied soldiers were lured towards enemy machine gun positions, and describes the resulting carnage.

Roy Henley

Roy Henley was born in London, Ontario on September 29, 1898. After enlisting in Toronto in 1916 with the 166th Queens Own Rifles, he was discharged with suspected tuberculosis. Mr. Henley re-enlisted, sailed to England aboard the horse transport SS Welshman, and joined the Quebec Regiment. Mr. Henley's recollections are detailed, sometimes graphic and occasionally humorous. His experiences spanned many battles; the Somme, Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, Cambrai and Arras.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Roy Henley
War, Conflict or Mission:
First World War

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