excerpt from 'Untitled: Walter J.E. Elliott memoir' pp. 49 (267 words)

excerpt from 'Untitled: Walter J.E. Elliott memoir' pp. 49 (267 words)

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Untitled: Walter J.E. Elliott memoir

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[Walter Elliot devotes half of his memoir to memories of World War I where he was a Sapper, performing a variety of engineering roles, 1915 – 1918. The hymn text by Isaac Watts, ‘O God, Our Help in Ages Past’, is recalled second-hand in its revised wording by John Wesley]


Once when the lights went up, one of the Devons jumped about with his arms in the air shouting ‘Kaiser Willie give me a Blighty one’. The machine gun opened up and Sapper Tassell was shot through his shoulder. I was glad when we finished, I hated war. My next story concerns number 2 Section, I was not there to witness it, but I fully believe all that a Sapper told me, because he was there when Sapper Bishop was wounded. It was at night, the wounded man was carried back a distance from a fire trench to have dressings applied. His comrades saw at once that it was a fatal wound and Sapper Bishop, fully conscious, seemed to realise the fact for he said ‘Sing a hymn’. There was a pause, then someone started singing


Oh God our help in ages past

Our hope for years to come

Out shelter from the stormy blast

And our eternal home


The singing stopped, there was a pause,-- Sapper Bishop said ‘Sing the next verse’, no one knew any of the other verses and the kneeling Corporal told him so. The dying Sapper said ‘Sing the same verse again’.  After a long pause they sang the same verse again, as the singing ceased the Corporal stood up and said ‘He is gone’.

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excerpt from 'Untitled: Walter J.E. Elliott memoir' pp. 49 (267 words)


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