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Narrow Escapes Of Death Ypres (Part 1)

"You can imagine how I lay in the deep mud. Then to my horror I saw one of the Prussian Guards, who are over six feet tall, running at me with his bayonet fixed as I lay helpless. I shall never forget the sensation of the nearness of death.

"A lump came into my throat. The Prussian got to within ten yards of me, when suddenly a shot from one of my comrades toppled the Prussian over like a nine-pin, and he lay dead five yards from me. I don't know who shot that Prussian, but I would like to meet him. Anyhow, we captured the trenches, but we lost a lot of men.

"I had another miraculous escape from death on March 4th. About 7.30 am the Germans startred a terrific bombardment of our trenches, and one of the shells dropped just in front of us, and the men in the trench in front had to retire into our trench.

"Fifteen men men out of 18 men in that trench were killed outright, and I and two others were wounded. The other two died the same day. I was at the right hand side of the trench, and the shrapnel caught my hip. I crawled out and I lay there from 8.30 in the morning until half an hour after midnight, and managed to wrap my leg in my fur coat as I lay in the open field behind the trenches.

"I was in just the same danger then because the shells were dropping all around me. Luckily I was not killed, and later I was carried to the hospital. The other men had been blown to pieces, one man being blown into two halves, and that was a common sight.

"I was subsequently in hospital at Havre, and from there I came to England last week, and have been in a Leeds hospital. I am now on leave, but I can only just get about."

Rifleman Leonard Butcher 

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