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FRANCE'S FIGHTING SPIRIT
SELF-SACRIFICE AND S03RIETY.
C\rr liden George is ?back in his home at Manly, on sick leave after several months' active ? service as motor ambu luncc driver with the French forces on
the western front;? Mr George had much to; concerning our gallant ally, and the magnificent war the is waging "against Germany. "I went over to England'," said Mr George, "determined to get to the front, bitt the Englisli military authori ties''refused in every way to guarantee that I would reach the fighting line, as I was considerably, over age, so I offer ed my seryices to the French authori -lies, in an honorary capacity, of along with a six-cylinder 30 horse-power 'motor..-car, which I agreed to' 'have fitted up as an ambulance car, accord ing to their reqirements, and at my own expense. I also offered to drive it from London to Paris free of cost, iind also give my services as driver a-t the front without remuneration. My ofl'er was accepted by the French au thorities, and I brought any car over from England safely. On being passed by tho doctor, I was sent for-a month's , training to Versailes, which is the base' of the motor traffic for the front -70,000 MOTOR VEHICLES. "At Versailles alf the motor ve hicles of any character working at the front are registered, the drivers trained ' in convoy work, and „ made conversant with the military roads £t the front. One great "the Boulevard do Paris, is entirely devoted to tho btabling" of the vehicles. The motors are drilled dike soldiers in their move ments, and every, wheel* is in line. They started with the inumibdr one, 'and. have now reached 70,000. This auam moth gathering does not include motor cycles. My number,was 55,694. It is most interesting for. any traveller to-go to Versailles to see this wonderful aigltt i'.lonc, which"enabTes him to realise the of the.war operations. "I was stationed at , Conipeigne,/' continued Mr Edou George. "It is I'iither a fine.city, and- can only 'be reached by the Germans , with their largest shells. - While I was 'there, one landed on a large building, and simply blew it into fragments' Ooinpeigne contains the greatest hospital at the front. -It is mainly- for urgent opera i tioiio, and. holds upwards of ~1000 beds. The French have "a-.large number of 1 smaller hospitals in' different 'parts to ?which sick or 'wounded,, men 'arc hur riedly taken from the trenches. It is tho duty of each section of ambulanco drivers to see 'that every one of' these hospitals is visited every day, in order to clear any men that can be taken a\Miy and sent home. Wo have to get them out of the'war zone. Our ambu lances are generally, stationed irnder some trees within sheTlfire, and we have lo constantly shift our quarters, when our positions found "??out by the German Taubes. ? _ The;section' I was en gaged on had a front of about 20 miles-
Tlie whole ainbulanee arrangements are carried out with , clocklike precision, and no time is lost. ' When, a despatch arrives, the ambulance in the front? niyht or day must; be away.' in "at le.ist two. minutes. ) Jii the case oL a' lioavy battle the driver inuist.'work on until Xatuio gives way. In"the Cham pagne "battle; 1 had 30.hours -without i'ood or drink. "_ Fifty thousand French men i'ell in" eight hours. It was a ter rible time. "The French have , no breakfast, only two meals a day, at 11 a.m. and G p-ni." Consequently an Englishman,', accustom-, ed to his "broakfast," is "violently hungry at 11. At five minutes to 111-havo' ceived a call, and."it would have been a serious offence to have waited that five minutes for my food .while a man was lying wounded. 9 So I. of ton suffer ed a good deal in this direction. ,Tbvs lot of the drivers, is made additionally hard by the condition of tho roads, which, through the 'heavy traffic in guns, munitions, and provisions become very slippery and muddy. The traffic at the ' front is mostly done at night, which adds to"tho drivers , troubles. They have to handle - their vehicles with great care. " ' ' SAD, J3UT DETERjMINBD. ?, "France," says Mr George, "is suf fering severely, and feeling very sad, through every family having someone to mourn for. ""But they all—men' and women—show a grim determination to fight on until 1 victory over the enemy is complete. There is no dancing, no music in the - cafes; -there is sadness everywhere, tout underlying it alljthoro is no mistaking this grim de.terminnton to succeed. Franco offers a glorious example to her Allies in the mag nificent self-sacrifico of her sons and daughter's, ihor wonderful l organisation in every detail of and her wisdom and forosight in husbanding her natural , , and- financial resources. There is absolutely no waste of any kind-in the country. Tho French have displayed a genius for thoroughness in all their organisation, equalling, if not surpassing -that of their Gorman ene mies. '-The dnnger of inefficiency from drink has been wiped out in Franco. All 'liquor, excepting light beer and wines, arc prohibited, and the military restrictions are very drastic, but they a to religiously obeyed. No man, not even a general, may- enter a cafe until f> in the nfternoon ovon for a cup of c-olYeCj ' The penalty for a soldier be ing found in a enfo during the* pro hibited hours falls on " tlie proprietor, who, x without a trial, at once loses" his license. Over 400 cafes have already
been closed in this way. . During my whole connection with the French ariny I never saw a drunken' French soldier! One can only love and adinire our gal lant Allies. They arc not only fight ing for absolute national existence, <but they are fighting to avenge the war of 1870." TRIBUTE TO THE RED GROSS. Mr Eden George pays a high tribute to the great and solid work of the British Red Cross and St. John Ambu lance which are now a united body in England. "All the leading officers," he says, "are devoting much time to the direction of its affairs in an honor ary capacity. Every wounded or sick soldier lias occasion to be grateful for the perfect arrangements for hie com fort .at'the front.' The money sub- \the. public is religiously ' ap plied to procuring the best medical at ?tenition" andi personal comforts for the sick and wounded, and no. officer of the Red Cross is iblamed for a little :'extra expenditure in that direction, al though strict economy is practised ?Their thoroughness on behalf of the soldiers will 'be appreciated by one in stance that came under my notice. A wounded Englishman was flying in a hospital in> my division, and. he was breaking his heart to be. sent to Lon don, wliere his people were. .' I told the- Red Cross officers, who immediate ly sent him in a car to Boulogne, a dis tance of. 150 kilometres, and in two dfiys from expressing his- wisli he was at home with his family ? in London. The car's return journey made up 300 kilometres, so you will see to what trouble they will go to bring comfort to one British soldier.'' FIRST IMPRfESSIONS UNDER FIRE. Asked about his first impressions of the -battlefield, Mr George answered: "The first week your whole body trem bles. The rattl'e of artillery, the great frhclls , .-and mines exploding continually night and day completely unnerve you* It is like one perpetual earthquake. After a. week or so, however you get so used to it that it is like the rattling of. chains over your ca-bin in a ship that you practically don't hear or take any"~notice of., "- -"The 'first sight of the wounded also makes a paralysing impression, to see a number of. men wrapped up in blan'kets on stretchers, with Wood all about them.. Knowing that it is the work of fellow human beings causes yon to halt and think, till the officer taps you on the shoulder and makes you lealise that the wounded men are there to shift. After a. time one be ,comes callous, almost indifferent. it is', a common thing to foe chatting with one day and placing Slim in his grave the next! '"Although vbhe ; discipline of ,the French soldier is strict, the comradeship 'of .the whole French army is delightful 'in the extreme. No French officer or soldier will ever enter a room or cafe where other soldiers or officers- ars without"- saluting. Throughout the > whole "of France, and oven at the" 'front?Itself.,, the salute from soldier'to officer and officer, to. soldier is most '"zealously guarded and performed , . The I solute, is recognised as, a masonic bro therly sign amongst themselves. I have seen a French general put his hand to his cap ibefore thesoldiers had a 'chance to salute- The salute is a simple sign which com'ents together the hearts of the French soldiers who .are all sacri ficing themselves in the one groat cause." '_- -, .' OBSOLETE: TRAINING. " , "From what I have seen," said JVIr George", "my view-'is that a big mis i;ikc,is being made in .the too Qieavy and strict .training of our "recruits on the old "forms of boldiering. ' To spend hours on parade drills which are. totally unnecessary and unused at the front is imposing unwarranted hardships on the men. It is no use in -war. The French have only one drill at the front, The; men fall in and count as in cavalry drill; than they wEeel round into fours and march. "The bayonet is becoming a thing oi" the past,' owing to the conditions of trench warfare, and the most effective training would be for the mon to havo extensive pliysical culture, a correct knowledge of hand grenade throwing, and the use of the rifle-" ?Mr Eden Goorge worked at tlie front tiH he - caught pleurisy and was com pletely broken down- through long stretches of work in wet weather and v/ct clothes. lie was taken from the front in an ambulance. When he re covers ho is going back to his comrades in Franqe. Ho was, before leaving, handed a letter signed by the'command ing ': officer, congratulating him on' 'his -services, which "had given great satis faction to the military authorities," and hoping that lie. would Ibe able;to 'come back.