29 Aust Inf Trg Bn
06th November 1942
By Sgt Henry Dalziel V.C.
In action with a Lewis Gun section, 4th July 1918 was myself, Driver Henry Dalziel. We were harassed by murderous fire from a nearby enemy stronghold. The Australian advance was held up. My gun had cleaned up one nest, but another planted in a different direction opened fire. I dashed at it killing seven Germans with my own revolvers. One German bloodhound wounded me in the hand, but I soon had him on the ground. I lunged at him with my German dagger, catching him right over the heart. His dying cry upset me and I shivered.
At Pear Trench.
The Australians pushed on. Blood was pouring from my wounded hand but I advanced with the others. We passed Pear Trench which had only 23 machine guns and coming to a deep down cement dugout which held half a company of German men. Our No 1 gunner held his Lewis Gun on his hip and fired down the steps of the cement dugout. The poor Huns came up with their hands above their heads calling “Merci Comrade”. They were handing out watches of different makes, gold and silver leaf wrist watches of beautiful designs. I felt like a war lord with my two revolvers pointing at them and one dagger on my belt. We sent them off with their beautiful watches to the “moppers up”. This was a grand experience for me and I relished every minute of it. We found Huns dead in all directions, up in trees, under duck boards, in shell holes …..everywhere.
Our artillery had been doing great work. The smoke screen was a great success, and the creeping barrage kept creeping along. The Americans were with us, a platoon in each company. “Win the War” they used to say and in they would go into our barrage. They never had any instruction at “chalkpit” the previous night, so I was told.
We came to our objective and then I took over the Lewis Gun placing it about twenty paces from where we were digging in with all the equipment at my disposal. I had a good position, filled sandbags I had on my legs and placed them in front of the gun. Then when all was ready, I got behind it and started off in short bursts. I could see the Germans running out of one broken down trench into another much the same at about three hundred yards distance. I trained my gun on the object and it was the best of shooting for quite a while. However my ammunition ran out, so I had to go and look for more.
The tanks had dropped some gun fodder at about 250 yards behind the line so I ran out to find it. “Merci Monsieur” one machine gun dogged me up, only for my vamoose he would have had me. I noticed when he had finished firing, I had two spent bullets stuck in my puttee. A near miss. I had to crawl on my hands and knees over the hill. I had a charmed life and carried on to the ammunition dump. I could see the ammunition in boxes scattered all over the place. The first box I saw I put on my shoulder and made my way back, and then the fun commenced. They were throwing everything at me from the needle to the elephant. One whiz-bang burst behind me. A 5.9 came at me nearly hitting the box. I was going to carry on only I fell into a shell hole full of water. I crawled as I have never crawled before, placing my belt around the box of ammunition. I could see my cold blooded machine gun nest near at hand so I pushed on and almost fell over into it. To my consternation I found that I had brought hand grenades instead of ammunition for my little “Tilly” Lewis machine gun. Those German hearts would feel sore if I did not provide them with more ammunition.
I gave the grenades to the troops digging in, and got going again. I knew the road and I did not take long finding the ammunition. A few stray shells were lobbing around me but they did not concern me. The Germans might have been clearing out, but to my sorrow they were advancing again, coming on in hoards about five hundred yards away from our objective. I got down to my gun again and this time it was real shooting. All along the line our machine guns rattled and our artillery had them in a quandary. The smoke screen from our guns dimmed the German advance. A little German boy tin hat and grey uniform only about 14 or 15 years old came crying to me “Merci Comrade Merci” out in “No Mans Land”. Two burley Yanks came at him with their bayonets fixed. Stop I cried, raising my two empty revolvers. Don’t move or I will blow your bloody heads off I said to them. Take this little German back to the Captain. Possibly, he may get some information from him. they took him back, and after I had fired my last pannier, I went back over the hill.
On passing the dressing station, I saw a German soldier with his foot blown away and the two Yanks and the little Fritz conversing together. One of the Yanks came over to me and said “This German soldier wants to speak to you”. “Comrade, he said to me, you have saved my son”, and without any hocks to it, he shook my hand.
I departed for the ammunition dump.
After crawling and puffing and dodging shells, and falling into shell holes, I managed to get back with another box of ammunition. I had to change my cocking handle over to the left side because my right hand was getting stiff. My feet were sore and my head ached as if there were two or three heads on my shoulders. I got down to my Lewis gun again after filling several magazines. The Germans were slacking off a bit but the sniper fire still kept on popping away. They had several pot shots at me so I climbed a little nearer to the ground and hugged my little Lewis gun. I started to roll about in pain. I got out of my machine gun nest and scrambled back again. I put another magazine on and got into the Bochs again. I felt a pain in my head with blood streaming from the left side of my head near the temple. They had hit me at last. My dispatch overseas to Blighty or my last resting place was over.