Title: The Listening Post, 21 May 1917
Author:
Source: Archives of Manitoba, P305, Charles Ross Francis
Page 1 of 1

Transcription

THE LISTENING POST
PRINTED BY KIND PERMISSION
OF
LT-COL. W. F. GILSON.
EDITOR MAJOR D. PHILPOT.
CENSORED BY CHIEF CENSOR
NEWS EDITOR.
Sgt. J. W. CAMPBELL
No 25 BRITISH EX. FORCE, FRANCE, MAY 21 1917 Price 1d.
THE LATEST CRAZE
NEW SPRING PASTIME FASCINATING GAME OF "OVER THE TOP".
With the return of Spring the exciting sport of
"Over the Top" seems about to attain a universal
vogue. At latest advices it appears to be catching
on even in America to the exclusion of other pur-
suits. To see it at its best one must travel to the nor-
thern part of France. A brief description of the
method of play is roughly as follows:
Large parties of men are concealed in ditches on
either side of a stretch of country of varying width.
The space is called "no-man’s-land." One side
wears a costume of "khaki" reinforced in some
cases with sand-bags. The other side is dressed in
"field-gray". Both alike are called "heroes" by
the populace of their respective countries, and
"troops" or "canon-fodder" by their leaders.
When the date of the match has been decided
on by those who direct the sport, a mountainous
quantity of material is collected which it is impos-
sible to describe in detail although the three most
necessary items are war correspondents, embalm-
med grub and medical supplies.
When the kick-off comes the khaki’s throw large
amounts of hardware at the field-gray’s and then
at a given signal begin to walk towards them. The
field-gray’s then throw as much metal back as
possible, throw their hands up and shout : "Ka-
merad!" (Note here : It is very desirable that the
field-gray’s should shout "Kamerad!" as soon, as
often and in as large numbers as possible. Other-
wise it delays the game). They are then considered
off-side and are out of the game for good.
The khaki’s then continue going forward until
they reach the goal when they disperse to look for
souvenirs with the exception of certain of their
number who run about with pots of white paint
and brushes and mark "CAPTURED BY THE –
BATTALION OF THE – " on any object of high
value.
The khaki war correspondents then sit down
with large note books and long pencils and throw
hysterics about "the amazing valour of the troops
…the utterly unprecedented uproar of the guns…
the silken shiver of the shells", etc., so that the
khaki stay-at-homes who are not in khaki may vi-
cariously taste the joys of the game, and may, by
proxy, sniff the atmosphere of the contest as they
munch their diminished supply of toasted war bread
and margarine at breakfast.
Several miles away the field-gray war corres-
pondents are doing precisely the same thing in
exactly the same way. They also have won the
game. It is a habit with them. They never do any-
thing else. They praise ecstatically the masterly
strategy of the Chief Figure in field-gray in
withdrawing hastily his cannon-fodder from the
region of the contest ; and laud enthusiastically
the wonderful acuteness which has left in the
hands of the khaki’s the necessity of providing
food for the many thousands of field-gray’s. Oh ,
the cunning of it!
Showers of iron crosses are thrown over the sur-
viving cannon-fodder, the bells of Berlin those of
them which have not been melted down for the
purposes of the game are rung and rung, the
school children are allowed to work for the Go-
vernment from dawn till dusk planting spuds ins-
tead of burying their emaciated noses in the text-
books of Kultur ; and all field-gray adults who
are not in field-gray are permitted to offer two
ounces of their already attenuated bread ration
towards the maintenance of this charming sport.
The medical students and budding surgeons on
both sides get excellent and abundant practice, and
everybody’s happy!
OURS .. OR THEIRS ?
Oh ! fast the shells were flying,
And the night was bright with flares.
In a deep hole I was lying
Lest they catch me unawares.
I thought of the daisy flowers :
I thought of the Golden Stairs ;
For some of the shells were "ours "
And some – worse luck – were "theirs ".
And now, O Gods of the Battle,
Give ear to a Sapper’s prayers!
When the loud-mouthed cannon rattle
And they send over dozens of "theirs"
I shall face them, calm and steady,
But the soul within me cowers
When the "60’s" come to the "ready"
And send over showers of "ours".

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