Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/28

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The War and the Future

were outgunned and outnumbered. All are agreed that the enemy brought against that 100,000 not less than six times its strength, and the battle that followed (the first battle of Ypres) lasted for twenty-seven days and nights of continuous and bloody fighting. To this day no soldier can understand why the enemy didn't break through. Our line was so thinly held that in many places there were no supports and no reliefs of any kind, and the men stayed in the trenches till they were killed or wounded. That little and weary army underwent a test such as no other army has had to stand. The enemy shelled our line, with a great concentration of guns, and attacked with a great concentration of men, and broke the line at Gheluvelt, near Ypres. It has been thought by some that the enemy had only to advance to crumple the whole army; and destroy the Allied Cause. And then two men (according to the story) saved the issue. Two English soldiers, named Pugh and Black, gathered up small parties of men, regimental cooks and servants, stretcher bearers, and walking wounded, and held the enemy in check, till what was left of the Worcester Battalion, about four hundred men, could be put in to retake the village. Those four