Some desperate glory : The world war diary of a British officer 1917.
Edwin Campion Vaughan. 2nd/Lt. Vaughan
Simon & Schuster published 1981.
A candid, day-by-day diary, hidden for fifty years after its author’s death in 1931 and published for the first time in 1982.
It is an easy, though shocking, poignant, even frustrating read that has a huge ring of truth to it: the muddle, confusion, pain, slog, humour, and moments of relief mixed with moments of horror and near misses, showing up kindness and camaraderie, as well as the nastier sides of human nature when it is intransigent or blind. Through it all the array of people and their responses to desperate circumstances is telling. The relationships between men and NCOs, men and their junior officers, the junior officers and their servants, as well as their CO and senior officers, the padre and doctor, the locals too …
All can be read in a long afternoon if you stick with it, which you can with ease as you become increasingly sympathetic to Vaughn’s plight, position and personality. He worries no end about his own fears until they are faced and overcome, he finds relief in whisky and port, but also in confession and mass, about the only routine he brings with him from home.
Rarely before have I read an account of life between rest and a front line trench and no man’s land that you catch a wife of in your nostrils, that you feel in your feet, that your hear and that makes your head hurt. It is all rare claustrophobic too, there is little understanding of what is going on in the wider world and the enemy are rarely more than distant targets or corpses, death and decaying, broken bodies are described with the same detail as a the mess dinner or the vagaries of a billet and in so doing that sense that this works apart had its own familiar artefacts and landscapes takes shape – soon the unusual seems everyday and recurrent, and he has a job to get on with, food, sleep and rest to enjoy as best as he can when he can.
Never before have I felt the words of Wilfred Owen from dolce at decorum Est was more appropriate:
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of Vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues –
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
Vaughan’s diary records eight months in the life of a British second lieutenant in 1917, ending in the killing fields of Passchendaele. Just as a first-hand account of what combat is like, and how men react to its unimaginable. stresses, the book has few equals. pvii
In relation to morale:
Cheerful expectations of the new, today though miserable when leaving Peronne after several months, and even more miserable when he had to leave his Company to take command of another; simply put, the extrinsic reward, duty and promotion could not make up for the intrinsic loss of camaraderie and familiarity he had built up with the men in the Company he had left.
“I had expected that on leaving for France I would be overcome by grief, for I knew that I would not see my home again for many, many months – and possibly not again. But when the moment came excitement of the venture into the dreamed of but in realise land of war, eclipsed the sorrow of parting. 4 January 1917.
Vaughan eventually came to enjoy a close relationship with his men and fellow officers, but not before he had received a public drubbing from his CO for failing to set an example with an attack on a German machine gun (despite his lack of men or promised Lewes guns) and being aloof amongst his fellow officers (several of whom he had taken an early disliking too). Most convincing of all, weren’t the words of the CO, but of fellow officer ‘Pepper’ who said that he should at least respect those officers who, by 1917, had far greater experience that he, and that he should pay closer attention to his men. Vaughan took warnings and advice as fair criticism but also, of far greater value as a learning experience, he figured it out for himself, such ‘constructed’ learning the product of reflection (he keeps a diary), experience, training and his willingness to change.
Over a period of six months Vaughan changed his behaviour and his response to the most testing of combat circumstances becoming both smart and intuitive: for example, when reassuring one of his men who was eager to turn back Vaughan thought fearful of the intense barrage himself, persuades the man to turn back not with threats, but to support his fellows. On another occasion, showing his self-awareness and concerned at his own ‘windyness’, recognising that a particular corpse will trigger a deep fear, that could even lead to ‘hysterics’ or his leaving the battle he takes an oil sheet out with him for the sole purpose of covering up the corpse which to some degree, serves its purpose. With another example, his diary shows on a couple of occasions his concern for a troubled young man called Taylor. He takes it as a minor mission to get to know him and is rewarded when taken into his confidence, this act alone, getting something of his chest, enabling Taylor to develop a more cheerful outlook.
In his early months of experience the most horrific events could have been Vaughan’s undoing. A modern observer might say that through inexperience, naivety and character he was more interested in what he could take out of the situation, rather than give back to it. The very fact that he kept a detailed diary can suggest someone who prefers to observe and record, rather than do. How Vaughan changes over these months is revealing: with experience and having gained new skills as a leader, you could say he even flourished by the time of the climax of his diary, the Battle of Langemark in August 1917 during the Third Battle of Ypres. Given that Vaughan also abruptly stopped keeping a diary at this point suggests also that the he had transitioned from being something of a self-obsessed, over-thinking loner, into selfless, smart thinking leader and team player – and a happier person as a result.
Others were far quicker at adapting, at recognising and embracing the new world they had entered: they would have been more content for it, their morale higher. Pining for home was of less value that fighting for your home. Leave often unsettled a man; on the one hand they craved the rest and escape, but often though found leave stressful as they had little now in common and wouldn’t or couldn’t share the horrors of the war with their nearest and dearest. Perhaps the hope of leave was of more value that ever getting any; it could be rare, delayed or simply taken away.
You hear nothing in these pages of the great events of that spring of 1917: the Battle of Arras, the first Russian Revolution, the French mutinies, or the entry of the United States into the war. Vaughan’s horizon rarely extends beyond his own battalion. But within those limits we see a brief universe taking shape. p.xi. Robert Cowley.
It is a world set apart, that is contrary to the laws of men, set largely within a man’s world, with the day’s activity and rest turned inside out to the degree that a new day would have been easier to have started at midday, rather than midnight. You enter into this world most clearly when Vaughan embraces his lot, preferring dangerous activity over worrisome sitting around or escape into a bottle of whisky, he is at his best leading a series of patrols into No Man’s Land and later when he leads a rapidly diminished Company through the Battle of Langemark.
The Western Front had become as much a state of mind as a physical and historical presence, a separate nation almost. As one officer remarks to Vaughan, “this is the only country where a bloke can feel at ease”. P.xii. Robert Cowley
I paused for a moment in a shell hole; in a few seconds I felt myself sinking, and struggle as I might I was sucked down until I was firmly gripped round the waist and still being dragged in. The leg of a corpse was sticking out of the side, and frantically I grabbed it; it wrenched off, and casting it down I pulled in a couple of rifles and yelled to the troops into gun pit to throw me more. Laying them flat I wriggled over them and dropped half dead, into the wrecked gun position. Edwin Campion Vaughan.
A small masterpiece of extemporaneous prose. P.xvi
4 Jan 1917
5 Jan 1917
It did our hearts good to see the French villagers, soldiers running and nuns running down to the river bank, waving and cheering.
Whilst the local French population understandably welcomed British soldiers from over the Channel into their country, lives and homes and cheered them on; in Mesopotamia the local Arab population hardly considered the British (and Indian) Armies to be freeing them from the Ottoman or Turkish oppressor, as it was self-evident that the British had come for the oil and as a result of what we would now term ‘mission creep’ pressed on too far in the hope of capturing Baghdad. Billeted in a French home a visiting soldier could feel welcome, whilst bivouacked on the sand by the Tigris theft and scrounging was a problem between the men as well as from the Arab locals who who cut a sentry’s throat for their rifle.
Training served many purposes and if done well would satisfy all of them: physical training and route marches kept men busy and fit, exercises which become increasingly sophisticated during the course of the war had men taking part in mock battles and surveying scale models of battlefields. Lectures, in all their variety, rather like sermons, were supposed to inform and motivate. If a lecture were boring, or a route march became routine, problems could arise. (See below 17 Jan 17) Variety helped: a regimental boxing match, cricket or football, even riding competitions.
6 Jan 1917
The days here are spent in training and lectures – chiefly intended to inculcate the offensive spirit.
9 Jan 1917
Miniature battle today: quite a good effort too! There are two opposing trench systems representing the Boche and English lines. p.4
Supercilious fellow officers and a CO who were so offhand, even cold and certain uncommunicative that it put efficiency and possibly morale at risk.
16 Jan 1917
A major – treated me as an acquaintance whom he knew very well but did not like. p.8
17 Jan 1917
Our musketry and PT was carried out on a bleak snow-covered hillside, where we were thoroughly chilled. The men took no interest in the work, and no attempt was made to instil smartness of keenness. p.10
19 Jan 1917
Concert : lewd songs, skits and improv.
20 Jan 1917
Vaughan is intuitive enough, and a suitably good observer of people to recognise that he is on a personal learning journey, that in due course he could be as apathetic as everyone else …
24 Jan 1917
And out of the tangle and confusion of my thoughts and apprehensions, the fact gradually came upper most in my mind that all the empty headed fellows who had been laughing, joking and drinking ever since I have known them, where real soldiers, who after many months in the line where now returning without the slightest sign of perturbation or nervousness. p.13 Edwin Campion Vaughan.
Vaughan writes this with three weeks of joining his Regiment, though it is a good six months before he could be, indeed needed to be as ’empty headed’ to survive, though he soon adapted to the joking and drinking side of things.
Amusements, activities, entertainment … team building, aerobic exercise by default.
25 Jan 1917
Played ice hockey against the officers of the 7th Battalion using walking sticks has clubs. Edwin Campion Vaughan. 2nd/Lt. Vaughan
Vaughan has an innate sense of what to do to lighten the mood and must have known that this would alleviate any tensions. One wonders if people are born leaders and have a cheerful outlook whatever the circumstances. Or rather if Vaughan is simply intelligent, education and aware.
Most people struggled to remain in good spirits; Vaughan soon recognised, when it happened, that inner collapse, fear, weariness and ‘windyness’ could be managed: he kept busy, he found distractions, he took on ever riskier and challenging tasks, and as he learnt his own coping mechanisms he used them to help others.
For whatever criticisms he has to face, and they are unfair, but hard to escape, Vaughan we can see from the first weeks of his experience in France, understand people, he is ‘sympathetic’ to their condition, as in the following instance.
26 Jan 1917
A spell of physical training this morning left the troops very fed up, so Watkins and I took them on a short march, in the course of which we turned them loose on the ice to amuse themselves. They became quite childish then and marched back in a much happier mood.
27 Jan 1917
Issued rum at night, and stayed nearly an hour talking to the troops who were in great form. I am beginning to like them much more than I did at first.p16.
Was Vaughan naturally paternalistic, or was it the experience of someone who has been a house captain, or a prefect in a minor public school, with responsibility for younger boys. It is unfortunate that how he was with his men he could record in his diary, while others who didn’t know his actions could feel he was the opposite – unthinking and aloof when it came to his men, which was far from the case.
28 Jan 1917
Sunday no parade. Spent an hour or so with the lads were busy cleaning up the hearts and their equipment.
We all turned out onto the canal in the afternoon and had a cheery time sliding and playing the fool. The CO was one of the cheeriest of the crowd; I think he is a thorough sport and like him immensely.
The act of keeping a diary is both cathartic and a reassuring habit and comfort to do; greater honesty often the consequence of never seeking or expecting publication. Though in this instance, his liking of the CO would not be reciprocal as with a few weeks Vaughan was receiving a public drubbing.
29 January 1917
Until then, I had hardly realised that we were in the danger zone, but now my imagination got to work, and in a quiet panic I waited for the first destructive crash that would send us coming out into hail of shrapnel.
7 February 1917
Contrary officers from a different battalion.
9 March 1917
Inadequacy and inappropriateness of a training day when he is so fresh from home.
10 March 1917
Hideousness of deaths of men from an observation balloon.
The other value of a diary is that the act and time out taken to write becomes an opportunity to reflect. One cannot help but think that with an instance such as this Vaughan would have been aware to his own susceptibility of ‘getting the wind up’ and that in due course he’d be behaving like this unless he found a way to deal with it.
Vaughan knew when to be firm, how to turn a man back, and how to de-stress.
11 March 1917
Corporal Bennett was in command, and he appeared to have thorough wind up.
When I had spoken a few words to them and was moving in down the trench, he came after me and asked if he could be relieved as he had lost his nerve. He was shaking with fear and I felt very sorry for him, but knowing that he’d have to stick it, that if I showed any clemency the rot would spread, I told him he was to return to his post at once, and set an example to his men, instead of creeping away and asking to be allowed to run away from danger. This steadied him up, and he lost his nervous trembling. Pulling himself together he apologised in a firm voice, saying that he could not understand why he had cracked up then, as he had been in much hotter places without turning a hair. I told him not to worry.
11 March 1917 The ability to make light of developments, to see the funny side and make play of it, even when it is something as serious as the issuing of a new kind of gas-mask. A few months hence, donning the masks for real the ‘lads’ are found to play ‘bears and lions’ with sound effects and improvised actions to match.
22 March 1917
We were all sent along to QM stores to draw a new kind of gas helmet. A rubber face piece with a tube leading to a canister of chemicals; the whole installed in a square satchel to be carried on the chest. The troops are quite annoyed at having ‘another bleeding present for the Christmas tree’. We of HQ have also been dished with new tin hats fitted with a rail and hanging chain protect the eyes. We spent the afternoon putting on the gas masks to make animal noises at each other and saluting to make the helmets client. P63
Returning from an afternoon lecture Vaughan and his fellow junior officers made a point of visiting every mess to have a drink and look out old acquaintances on the return.
1 April 1917
‘not what is expected of an officer in this battalion’ CO to Vaughan.p.77
9 April 1917
Rest counted in hours, but made all the better by the thoughtfulness of a servant and provisions to hand: food, drink and tobacco.
13 April 1917
After clearing out the non-Catholics, we went to confession behind the blanket. Then the padre said mass on a Bully-box covered with an oil sheet, and we went to communion. p91
14 April 1917
Insults hurled at the 10th Manchesters.
Passed through as like a comb …
In a few minutes, two figures staggered back, one with his arm gone, the other shot on the side; one collapsed and died, the other we packed up and sent him back. After that, wounded and unwounded came running, walking, crawling back, all important to spare.
The show had been a ghastly failure, for the Boche had vacated their trench and from positions on thee high ground behind mown down lads with bombs and machine guns as they floundered about in the wire.p92
17 April 1917
Horrific image of a cat chewing at the face of a German corpse so chased it away and covered the body. When the cat returned they shot it.
A grilling, if unjust, could quickly undermine the weaker or more neurotic soul.
23 April 1917
Indignant at the injustice of the remarks made by the CO.
There was nothing I could say so I saluted and walked slowly back to the billet trying to fight down my angry resentment and depression. p101
3 May 1917
The dinner was very loud. The food was excellent and the champagne flowed freely.
4 May 1917
On finding Marshall, a boy of 19, due for leave in a few days lying by the side of the road, Vaughan picked him up and after a few moments when he woke up and started whimpering he was told it would be alright and he would not be court-martialled. p109
Knowing when and how to forgive and cover up.
6 May 1917
Love for Peronne
Our friendship and own closer knowledge of the men had grown there.
Tried to keep things merry but it finally devolved into a ‘shop’ conversation.
Value e em of having to wear a smile ‘for the lads’ brings psychological respite.
9 May 1917
Marching, slogging, cold food … fed up.
Depression upon us but ‘cheery as larks, we found them, and 10 minutes of jollying with them raised our spirits and will be returned it for hearty breakfast, chattering like schoolgirls.
10 March 1917
14 March 1917
Breaking the ice with Radcliffe.
I was so pleased at having broken the ice that I felt quite anxious to get out again with a fighting patrol behind me. p117
15 May 1917: The best antidote to fear is food, so we sat on the mouth of our hole and shared a tin of bully and beans, and I drank port whilst Dunham made tea over a Tommy’s cooker.p119 Better to be active than worrying, best way to learn is on the job and the best way to deal with fear is to embrace that which is feared. Edwin Campion Vaughan. 2nd/Lt. Vaughan.
This little jaunt has left us with our tails well up, and I, for one, am very keen on No Mans Land. I fully appreciate the truth of the maxim that was dinned into us during training – ‘fighting patrols are the finest stiffeners of morale’. p121
Comfort in ‘a whistle’. In harmony such tunes as ‘The Minstrel Boy’ and ‘Marble Halls’.
28 May 1917
There was no excitement as we are familiar with the sector, but I believe my lads are quite pleased to be going back to the wild poppy-covered land of night patrols and daydreams. I know that there is that feeling somewhere in my mind. p136
So easily discombobulated.
1 June 1917 During the morning an order came round that all patrols were to wear soft hats, to avoid the danger of the tin hats rattling against bayonets. We’ve placed so much confidence in this helmets as a protection against fragments, that my patrol rather jibbed at discarding them. To make matters worse I very foolishly turned out in mine this evening, because I had no soft hat with me. The result was that the troops were a bit surly and the patrol was only a half-hearted affair. p141. Edwin Campion Vaughan. 2nd/Lt. Vaughan.
4 June 1917
Giving Ewing a terrible fright by dropping German stick grenades with the fuses removed down a ventilation shaft.
5 June 1917
We were talking about fellows we had known in the 3/8th Battery when a group of Archies burst overhead and a large chunk came whirling and buzzing to land with a smack in the trench between us.
Whilst their remarks should not be taken literally, that this exchange occurred shows how acclimatised they had become to danger and how alive and excited the environment could leave them feeling, just as when Vaughan puts himself forward to lead a series of night patrols into No Man’s land.
‘Oo! Jerry,’ said Pepper, lifting up his leg, ‘Here you are; just in soft part, please.’
‘Would you really like a Blighty?’ I asked, ‘I think it’s much more fun out here.’
‘No, I wouldn’t really,’ he replied. ‘For two reasons: first because I wouldn’t survive another one, and second because this is the own only country where a bloke can feel really at ease.’ p151
Ignorance or slackness.
Had tried to be civil with the other officers, most of whom I disliked,
Only on speaking terms with the officers in my own Company.
Told by fellow officer Pepper
‘You were a damn bad odour through the Battalion. CO had seriously thought of sending you back to England. Officers of the other companies despise you for your arrogant unsociableness …’
You cannot chose your own friends.
They are entitled not to your friendship but to your respect p.151
‘You’ve got to live with them for the rest of the war, and the only fun we can get here is what we make between us. There is no room for personal dislikes; if our social relations are bad, we will never work together and the Battalion will lose the leading position it has always held in the Division’. p.152 Pepper.
6 June 1917. Congratulated by CO. As I rose to go, he checked me and my heart leapt as he congratulated me upon these patrols and their results. ‘Keep on like that and you will do well’, he added and I saluted and walked back to the HQ trench.Edwin Campion Vaughan. 2nd/Lt. Vaughan. p.154
9 June 1917
11 June 1917
Lecture on discipline from Captain Taylor.
He wears a quite superfluous eyeglass, is very supercilious and speaks to no one below his own rank. Having rehashed all the old worn out maxims that are delivered weekly at every training school in the army, he made them even less tolerable by frequently addressing himself to ‘you young officers’. The poor thing! We took great pleasure in increasing his nervousness by exchanging grins and whispers, and we were delighted when a few shrapnel shells burst overheard and caused him to terminate his harangue.
18 June 1917
Despite their incredulity the troops worked with a will until dawn, when we covered the excavation with grass and branches and retired to the trenches for Stand-to.
19 June 1917
Cubby-hole for one so fellow officer Dunham had to sleep with the rank and file.
Breakfast off tinned herrings and sherry.
Patrols, reports and working parties.
21 June 1917
Trench work so good it was the CO’s pride to show off.
22 June 1917
A cheer broke out from the troops.
Climbing a slippery bank.
Blends into …
23 June 1917
Slipping off the bank …
Stopped to see the troops draw their pontoon.
Assumed a superior attitude … only one to see the troops comfortable.
Good rest and clean kit, waking to a sunny day in a flower filled wooded glade.
26 June 1917
Johnny Teague gazette to the Indian Army.
He was very cut up at leaving us and we were all sorry to lose him. He was a great little chap and very plucky. p171
27 June 1917
Cricket in Fremicourt against the Gloucesters.
28 June 1917
Up the line tomorrow so …
Kept up through the night, as if my a spell : the starlit forrest, wondering at life as it closed in on us. p.171
Letters home defy credibility and must certainly be read understanding the considerable self-editing, bias and tone exuded. They are as much a release, even an entertainment, rather like preparing food for someone you care about, this is rarely the place for boring your chosen special reader with soul-searching or to terrify them with the truth of war and your likelihood of returning at all, let alone unscathed.
2 July 1917 Tried to cheer up with a whistle, but instead wrote a cherry letter home. Edwin Campion Vaughan. 2nd/Lt. Vaughan. p.154
4 July 1917
Slept through the warm midday and woke at 5 p.m.
Wandered about the fields playing leap frog and ‘catchers’.
10 July 1917
A day of marching.
Corporal McKay starts a tune, gradually picked up by others until all are singing.
‘The effect was magical for the whole battalion pricked up in tears and after a few shudders and syncopations, shook down to a good stride and curled steadily along the winding roads until we reached charming cluster of trees, through which shone the red roofs of Belles-au-Bois’
Two weeks fattening up ahead of Ypres.
11-25 July 1917
We heard no news of the war nor of our next move and would not give a thought to either. Two weeks rest. p178
Riding instruction – getting nowhere when horses bolted.
July 1917: After a couple of days grill and discipline, we started practising attacks and sectional rushes by companies. We rather like this training but we so organised it but our rushes took us to the fields of potatoes and root crops. The troops were very careful to assume the prone position and lie completely doggo. The vegetable rations during this period were exceptionally good. p178. Edwin Campion Vaughan. 2nd/Lt. Vaughan.
Took one more shot at Taylor, the black sheep of the platoon, to win his confidence: had never been able to get onto the same terms with him. Softened by the wonderful weather and the life of ease. Youth in the charge of a drunken aunt. Spells in prison. A sacred respect for women. Hinged at the impression he would give back in Birmingham if he kept straight, and returned, as he could, with his stripes up. p179.
The hateful McFarlane joined me on the road, and remembering Pepper’s advice, I refrained from being rude to him. p180.
29 July 1917
Fierce fighting and terrible conditions lay ahead.
‘Our little family would sing its way through our spell here until we were sent back … ‘ p183. 29 July 1917 2nd/Lt Vaughan
NB : the difference between a TV weather report and being at sea in a small sailing boat contending with it.
30 July 1917
Visit to a brothel
1-7 August leave p.188
15 August 1917
I could not sleep, but lay awake thinking and wondering about the attack, fancying myself blown to bits, or lying out on the wire with a terrible wind. It was not until dawn but I dozed off and slept fitfully until 9 a.m.
15 August 1917: I also saw that my rosary was sewn into my tunic with the sovereign that Marie had given me for luck, and that my holy medals were firmly attached with my identity discs to my braces. Edwin Campion Vaughan. 2nd/Lt. Vaughan
16 August 1917
A hot meal for the men.
A hearty breakfast of sausages and bacon.
The men were wonderful! p197
No one ducked or ran.
A shell burst at the feet of Corporal Breeze.
We felt that this was the beginning of the break up and we rejoined our troops in deep dejection. p198
It was a very different attack from what I had imagined we would experience: terror and death coming from far away seemed much more ghastly than A hail of fire from people whom we could see and with whom we could come to grips. p199
Sinking back into my mud chair I looked into the face of the body behind me. He had a diamond shaped hole in his forehead through which a little pouch of brains was hanging, and his eyes were hanging down: it was a very horrible but I soon got used to him. p201
18 August 1917
Rajah too shattered to appreciate any cheerfulness from Vaughan.
No sleep since the 15th.
Dwells on happier times, contemplates walking back to Poperinge, and bursts into tears.
It was a temporary madness that had kept me dawdling in the shellfire, a disinclination to return to the reality of a new life out of the line. p212
It was wonderful to have a hot meal and I was grateful for it after my four days of nibbling at filth. No sleep the 15th. p213 18 August 1917. 2nd/Lt Vaughan.
19 August 1917
Eating sausage and bacon in the sun with Jimmy.
23 August 1917
Gas gas gas. I put on my gas mask and went round the tents to find the men wearing theirs and playing at being a lions and bears. p.216
Major Bloomer, was a ripping fellow and so chummy and utterly and unruffled that it was difficult to believe that he had been sitting under Ypres conditions for four days. p.217 23 August 1917. 2nd/Lt. Vaughan.
27 August 1917
In the rations came a gift from general Fanshawe which consisted of a special meat and vegetable meal in a self heating team called ‘auto bouillant’ – they were remarkably good and the troops blessed Fanny for a proper hot meal.
Pepper wrote ’96 pairs of Waterwings. Mark III’ when faced with eater for 30yds at a stretch.
Wood in shock, Vaughan in command of a company he didn’t know.
Kept busy to keep his mind free of fear – he understood his behaviour as a coping mechanism.
Met Pte Lynch and convinced him to return. Safer in gunpits. Know what your duty is. Are you going to let Rogers and Osborne and the rest go forward while you stay here? p222 2nd/Lt. Vaughan. 27 August 1917
Struggling in a shell-hole but saved by creating a platform of rifles.
Taylor absolutely calm.
Ordered to take Springfield Farm.
27 August 1917: Despite all the horrors when the fit are seen they are encouraged by the wounded. Edwin Campion Vaughan. 2nd/Lt. Vaughan p225
Cries of the wounded. p228
Of 90 men, 15 remained. p232
And that was the end of ‘D’ Company.