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An American with the British forces in France during the First World War recounts his experiences and how his exploits won him the Distinguished Conduct Medal.
Alexander McClintock did not have any literary pretensions when he started out to write his autobiography, knowing that there were others would might write of the frontline better; however he was certain that they “sort of missed the essentials and lacked the spirit of the “ditches””. The Author in his own broad American style recalls how he decided to join the Canadian Army on the basis of the mistreatment of Belgium by the invading German hordes, a decision he took purely by chance after a meeting with some Canadians in the Knickerbocker Bar in New York! He enlisted and found himself in the famous Canadian Grenadier Guards, and after an uncomfortable journey cramped aboard the steamer the Empress of India, arrived in France.
Things were rough and ready in France with his training far shorter than pre-war leading his training sergeant to exclaim that “when I see you handle your rifles I feel like falling on my knees and thanking God that we’ve got a navy”. However ill-trained in theory nothing could prepare them for the brutality of the trenches; the author recounts the shot, shell and gas that he and his comrades suffered under before he was wounded and invalided to England. There in hospital he was visited by the King himself and awarded the D.C.M. for his part in the attacks on the German trenches on the Somme.