The Daily Courier from Connellsville, Pennsylvania on May 30, 1918 · Page 7
Get access to this page with a Free Trial
Click to view larger version
May 30, 1918

The Daily Courier from Connellsville, Pennsylvania · Page 7

Connellsville, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Thursday, May 30, 1918
Page 7
Start Free Trial

Page 7 article text (OCR)

THURSDAY, J-IAT 30,1918. THE DAILY COURIEH, CONNELLSYHXE. PA. PAGE SEVEN. lCUTCNANT ^ LIQUID MACHINES CAPTURED BY AMERICANS IN RAID 3/Liout, Ho. _66-.8quadjgk, £oyttl_FlI*D£_2££E2" A.O'Brlen, E.F.G. (SLR.) Reported aisain^ 17-8-17- Tsrailt. suits Pyjaaae. Shirt. "\7hen the American troops make a, raid into the trenches of the Hun they always carry back trophies of some sort, risking tbeir lives to obtain them. These men.are shewn carrying liquid fire machines which they captured in a. raid. in telling rae abont it, because he was confident he coqld have done n wholo lot mure for Germany if he had been -English army. In spite of hia apparent loynity, however, the man wanted ty tell him that from the wny struggle thnu they would ordinarily experience in a lifetime. It in apparent even to a novice that the loser's fate Is dentil. Of course, the Germans around the didn't seem very enthusiastic over the j of ray captivity t was well enough to hospital were all watching and rooting wnr and frankly admitted one day thut | wriie a brief message to my squad- f o r their comrades, but the English,! the oM political buttles waged In Call- j ron. reporting that T was a prisoner of i f o o i hjul one sympathizer in tbar group t fomia were much more to his liking | war nnd "feeling fino," although, fts a ; v:ho made no effort, to stifle his adrnira- things looked ho would not he wearing his out very soon either. My condition improved during tho next two days, and on the fourth day than the battles he had gone through he/ On second thought he laughed as though it were a good joke, it hi* evidently intended me to infer :bat he liaci taken a keen interest in politics in San.Francisco. "When my "chunnny en Gray" first 'started his conversation" with me, the German doctor in charge reprimanded (:n for talking to me, bnt he paid no tention to the doctor, showing that me real Americanism had soaked ', into his system while he had been In the U. S. A, I asked him one day what he rbonght the German, people would do after the war; if he thought they matter of fact, I was never pressed in my life. I de- realized, however, t h a t if the message readied my comrades U would be relayed to my mother in Momence, II!.. tind I did not want to worry bur more than was absolutely necessary. It wns enough for her to know thut I wtis a prisoner. She did not have to know that I was wounded. I hud hopes thrkt my message would be carried orer the lines nnd dropped by one of Lac German flying officers.. That IH n courtesy which is usually practiced OQ both sides. I recalled how patiently we'had waited in our tion for the hravcry his countrymen veers displaying. * The end came suddenly. Four machines crushed to earth almost simultaneously. It was nn even break--two of theirs and two of ours. The others apparently returned to their respective lines. The wonnd in my'njouth made it impossible for me to spo;ik, but by means of a pencil and paper I requested one of the Gorman officers to find out for me who the English officers were who had been shot down. A littln later be returned nnd handed me a photogrnph taken from the body . 3 Prs. Peats. 3 Pis. CoEMnatlons. . 1 NigSt Sbirt, 9 Towels. 1 Pr. Shorts. 1 Pr. Puttesa . 3 Prs. Breechsss . . 1 Pr. Trousero. , 1 Strap. 1 Suit civilian. clotiiss. 1 Belt. . ' . . . . 1 Tunic. ' ' 1 iitsrican T-jr-io. 1 Pr. Ankle Boots. 1 British. VJaim Coat.. ·. ' 3 ?r. Gocglee. 1 San Brs-nne Belt. 1 Cans. 1 Box Bentrifi.cs. 3 BlanMta. 3/Lleut. t!o. SS Squadron, Royul Flying Corps. Photo0raph of Official Memorandum, Giving - an Inventory of. the Persona Belongings of Lieutenant O'Brien,- Which Were Turned. Over to. Lieu tenant Raney When O'Brien Was Reported, Missing.on August.17, 1917. j would make Germany.a republic, and.; airdrome for news ot our men who had | 0 * one O j the victims. If was a picture · much to my surprise he said very hit- | failed to return, and I could picture j O j p au i nancy of Toronto, and myself, ! tcrly, "If I had my w u y a b o u t It, I j my^squadron speculating on my fate, j taken together! PoorKaney' He was Lieutenant O'Brien in the First Machine He Used in Active Service. With Him U Lieutenant Atkinson. My helmet, which was of soft leather, was split from front to bark by a bullet from n ioarlilne gun, and they examined It with great Interest "When they brought me my uniform T of course, what !:e knew about the Hofbran, nnd he replied, "I was connected with the place a good many years, and I ought to know all abdut it" found ths;t the stnr of my rank which j - After that this German officer and had been on my right .shoulder strap had beec shot off clean. The one -on my left shoulder strap they asked me for as a (souvenir, as also my R..F. C. badges, -which i gavje them. They al* lowed me to keep my "wings," which I wore on my left breast, because they ·were nware that that i* the proudest possession of a British flying officer. I think I am right in saying that the only chivalry In this war on the German side of the trenches has been displayed by the pflicers of the German flying .cor^s, vrliich comprises the pick cf Germany.: They pointed out to me that I ami my comrades were fighting purely for the love of It, whereas they were figirang in defense of-their country, bat jtttl, they said, they admired os for our sportsmanship. I had a notion to asfc them if dropping bombs on London cud Hilling so many Innocent people vrtu in defense of their country, but I waa in no position or condition to pick a .juarrel at that time. That sa'3ie day a German officer was brought into the hospital and put In the bunk next to mine. Of course I casually looked at him, but did not pay particular attention to him at that time. He lay there for three or four tours before I did take a real good lo/ik at him. I was positive that he could not speafc English, and naturally I did not say anything .to him. Once when I looked over in his direction hia eyes were on me, and to my surprise he said, very sarcastically, It--I are you looking at' "What the and then. smlled. At this time I was Just beginning to say few -words, us my wound had prevented me from talking, tut I said enough to Ic't him know I bccone ratlxcr chummy; that la, as far as I could bo chummy with an enemy, and we whiled away a good mnny long hours talking about the days we hod spent In San Francisco, and frequently In the conversation one of us would mention some prominent Californian, or some little incident occurring there, with which we were both familiar. He told rae when war wns declared ,he was, of course, intensely patriotic nnd thought the only thing for him to do wns to go back and aid in the defense of his cduntry. lie found that he could not go directly from San would make her a republic today nmi ! That is one of the saddest things hang the d d kaiser in the bar- j connected with service in the K, F. C. griin." And ^-et he was consklereO a n ] You don't c;ire much what happens to excellent soldier. I concluded, how- j ever, that he must have been a Germ a n socialist, though lie never, told me j so. On one occasion I asked him for his name, bnt he said: that I would probably never see htm ngaln and It didn't mutter whnt his name was. I did not know whether he meant that yon, but the constant cnsunUins among your friends are very depressing. You go out with your "(Ught" nnd get Into n muss. You get scattered, nnd when your formation Is broken np the best friend I had and one of the best uml gitrnest men who ever fought in France. .It was he, I learned long after, who, when I was reported missing, had chocked over all my belongings and sent thorn back to England with a signed memorandum--which is now In you finally wing yonr^way borne iilone. j my possession. Poor fellow, he little ~ " · . - * - * Perhaps you are the first to Innd. Soon another machine shows In the the Germans would starve me ont. or] s ky t then another, find you patiently just what was on his mind, for at that | Ka it for the rest to appear. Within aa time I am sure he did not iigurc on j hour, perhaps, o.II have shown up save j later he would be engaged In his last heroic battle with me a helpless onlooker I Facsimile of the Check Given to Lieutenant O'Brien as a Joke by Lleutenar Dickson When They Were Fellow Prisoners at Courtral. dying. I was in u thought surely same Gen officer he would be up and gone long before I was, but blood poisoning set -in about that time, ami j«pt n, few hours before-l left for Conrtrui he died. ! One of those days, while my wound was still very troublesome, I was given an apple; whether it waft just to i torment me, knowing t h a t I could not eat It, or whether for some other reason, I do not know. But anyway si wondur wbat 1ms happenod-to hlra^ Gas he tost his way? Has he landed at some other airdrome? Pid the Huns get him? When darkness cmnos yon renllM that, at any rate, he won't Ue back that and you hnnc for a telephone is going to rVay in the war, but they evidently came to the conclusion thut America hadn't, taken me very deeply into her confidence, judging from the Information they got, or failed to get. from me. At any rate, they gave'me up as a bad job, and I was ordered to the officers' prison at Courtral, Belgium. a map .for me of the exact spot where Itnney was 'buried in Flan'ders. I guarded It, carefully all through my giibsc-fiuent" adventures and finaU3 T turm'tl it over tf* hfs falhpr ami mother when I visited th»?rn in Torcr^o to per- fcrrn iho hunlost and yadciost duty I £ell eatinp It, so xvhen the officer had #one Francisco, because the water was too ond I Discovered this San Francisco . . . well guarded by the -'English, 'so be i f ellow looking at it rather longingly, · pilots captured or killed by the Huns, boarded a boat for South America, j * Packed it up, intending to toss it and then, for the first time, you know There he obtained a forged passport nnd In the guise oC a Montevldeaa took passage for New York and from there to England. He passe'd through England without any difficulty on hia forgcJ passport, but concluded not to risk going to Holland for fear o' exciting too much suspicion, so wont down hrough the Strait of Gibraltar to Italy, which was neutral" at that time, up to Austria, and thence to f.Sf.'rmany. He said when they put Jn at Gibraltar, after leaving England, tbet 11 were two suspects taken off the ship, men that he wns sure- were neutral subjects, but much to his relief his ov/n passport atld credentials wjre examined and passed O. K. The Hun spoke of his voyage from America to England as being exceptionally pleasant, and said he had a fine time, because he associated with the English passengers on board, nls what I was doing there and how 11 fluent English readily admitting him happened to be there. He evidently had heard my story from some of the others, though, because he said it was too bad I had not broken my necU; that he did not have much sympathy ·with the flyius corps anyway. He asked me what part of America I ranie from,- and I told him "California." After a few more q uesti ons he learned that I hailed froia San Francisco, and then added to my distress by saying, "How won!I"yon like to have a good, juicy steak right "out of the Hofbran?" Naturally I told him It would "hit' the spot," Imt I hardly thought my raoutli was In shape just then to cat it I Immediately .asked. to several spirited arguments on the subject of the war, which he keenly enjoyed. One little Incident ho related revealed the remarkable tact wbich otir enemy displayed In his associations at sea, which no doubt resulted advantageously for him. As he expressed It. he "made n hit" one^evening when the crowd has assembled, for a little music by suggesting that they sing "God Save the King.'' Thereafter his popularity was assured and the desired effect accomplished* for very socn a French officer came up to him and said, "It's too bad that England and oursrlves haven't men in our army like you." It was too bad, he agreed. over to him. But he ?liooi: hjs head and said, "If this \vas Snn Pnmcisco I would -take It, but I cannot take U over the line with his squadron. from you here." I wns never aole to i J was still mqsing over this melnn- understand just why he refused the i choly phase of the scout's life when apple, for he was usually sociable and j an orderly tnld me there wn.3 a benutl- call from him telling of his where- ]invG evcr beeil c^ed npou to execute aboutfl. . -- t o ronftrm to them in person the If die night passes without sicn or| ^1^ of 1JOor p^i's death, wort}, from him, ho 3s reported as rulss-j ^'t 1( , other British pilot w Ing nnd then yon watch for bis casa i so *oa my squadron nn One day, perhaps a month later, a|tmUn. W I hafl'^ve^him u r message is dropped over the line by , myself only a few ours before I start- the German flying corps with a list of cd OD my own disastrous flight. He wns one of the star pilots of our squadron and had been in muny a desperate battle before, but -this time the odds were too great for him. He put up a wonderful fight and he gave as mncb. definitely why it was youi*- comrade failed to return the day he last wont a good fellow to talk to, bnt nppar- 1 l battle gotn^ on In the air, and he , ently he could not forget that I wns ^volunteered to help me outside die his enemy. However, that did not stop one of the orderlies from eating the hospital that I miRht witness it, and [ readily accepted his assistance. That- afternoon I saw one of tho apple. One practice about the hospital 1m- j gamest fights I ever expect to witness. m ^T as b took. 1W arat two days passed without incident tind I was then token to the- intelligence department of the German Hying corps, which was located nbout an hour from the hospital. There I was kept two days, during which time they CHAPTER V. The- Prison Camp at CourtraT. From the intelligence department I was conveyed to the officers' prison camp at Ccurtrc.i in an automobile. It was about an hour's ride,. My escort was one of the most famous flyers in the worM, barring none. He was later action, bxit I'was told by nn English airman who witnessed his last combat, that he fought a game battle and died a hero's death. The prison, which had evidently been a civil prison of some kind before the war, was located right in the heart of Courtral, Tue first building we approached was large and In front of the archway, which formed the main entrance, was a sentry bo?;. Here we were challenged by the sentry, who knocked on the door; the guard turned the key in. the loci: and I was admitted. We passed through the archway and directly Into a courtyard, on which faced nil of we prison buildings, the 1 This cap I managed to "keep with m .but was never allowed to wear It o: the walks we took. I either went bare headed or borrowed a cap from som. other prisoner. t At certain hours each day ttte pri.5 oners were allowed to mingle ra. th "courtyard, and on the first occasion o this kind I found that there were 1 officers Imprisoned there besides roj self.' · - ' ·" '·'· · - ' They had here interpreters -wh- could speak, ail Inng-unges. On o them' was a mere boy who had. beei born in Jersey City, X. J-, and hai spent all his -life in America \intl the beginning of 1914. 'Then he movet with liis folks to Germany, and whei he became of military nge the Hun; forced him into the- army. I think t the truth were known he would mud rather have been fitting ^or AmerlCJ than against her. I found that most of tho prisoner remained o.t Courtral only two. o; three days. From there they ivere In variably taken to prisons in the intc rior of Germany. 'Whether It was because I was ai American or because I was a flyer, : don't know, but this mlti was not fol lowed in my cose. I. remained then two weeks. During this period Court ml was con stantly boraii*:d by our Mirraen. Not c single day or nlsbt pnssi'd without cm p u t There were Eft: of our machines perhaps sixteen Huns. From the typo of the Britsh machLnos I fcnc pressed mo particularly. That wns, j If a 'German soldier did nnt stand ! much chance of recovering snfiiriently .' to take his place again in the wnr, the j that "they might possibly be from my doctors did not exert themselves to seo j owu atrodrorae. Two of our machines that he got well. But It a man had a fairly good chance of recovering and they thought he might be of further use, everything that medical skill could possibly do wns done for him. T don*t know whether this wns done under orders, or whether the doctors just followed their own inclinations in such cases. My teeth had "been badly jarred up hail been apparently picked out by six of the Huns and were bearing 1 the brunt of the fight The contest seemed to me to be so unequal thnt victory for our men was hardly to be thought or, nnd yet at one time they so completely outmnnenvered the Huns tbat I thought their superior skill might save the day for them, despite- the fact that they were so hopelessly outnumbered. thousand and one questions to ·While I was there I turned over to them the message 1 ! had written In tlio hospital and asked them to hnve one of their tlyers drop it on our side of the line, They askcd.we where I would like to have it dropped, thinking perhaps I would give my airdrome away, Imt wbon I smiled and shook my head, they did not insist upon an answer. 'Til drop it over ," declared one of them, naming my airdrome, which revealed to me that their flying corps Is us fficfent as other branches of tho servlc.' in the matter of obtaining valuable information. Patronize those from the shot, and I hoped that I might j One thing 1 was sure of: they would . AQd ri h . ^^'j want to say tlmt ^ have a chance tp have them Used ; never give In. ' when I reached Court ra I, the prison j Of course, It would hnve been a com- where I was to bo taken. So I asked the docttir if it would he possihle for me to have this work done there, but he very curtly told me that, although, there wore several dentists at Cour- tral, they were bnsy enough fixing the teeth of their own men without bothering about mine. He also added that I would not have to worry about my teeth; that I wouldn't lib getting so much food that they would he put cut of commission hy working overtime. I paratlvely simple matter for onr men, when they "saw how things were golas against them, to have turned their noses down, landed behind the German lines and given themselves up as ii prisoners, but that Is not the way of: f the .V.. P. 0. A battle of this, kind seldom lusts intitiy minutes, although every second more J came tv know of the enemy, the more keenly I K'Sd what a difficult task we're going to hiive to lick him. Tn all my subsequent experiences, the fact that there is a heap of fight left in the Huns still wns thoroughly brought home to Wo shall win the war eventually, if we don't slorv \ip too soon, in tbs niisxtiknn iuca that the Huns are ready to He down. The flying 1 officers who questioned seems Illce nn hour to those w-lio par-1 me wwe es .,. enlsl y anxious to Dnd out tlcluato in It, and even onlookers suf-. u l l thcy . conld ttl)oat the pu rt America fer oiore tiirilis In the ctourse of t h e - · · ' windows, of course, being heavily ] barred. After I had given-my pedigree j --my nnm-2, age, address, etc.--I was shown to a. cell with bars on the windows overlooking this courtyard, I was promptly told that at night we were to occupy these rooms, but I had. already surveyed the surroundings, taken account of the number of guards and the locked door outside, and concluded that my chances of getting j away from some other place could bei no worse than in that particular cell. As I had no hot, my helmet beins the , only tiling I had worn over the lines, [ I was compelled either to so bare- j headed or wear Ihe red cap of the j Bavarian whom I had shot down on j that memorable day.^ It can be i m - ' nglned how I looked attired in a Brit-. Ish uniform and a bright red cup.' Wherever I was taken my outfit.' aroused considerable curiopHy ftmong the Belgians' anil Germ:m soldiers. When I arrived nt prison that day It -a-ai'iMmidtV i still wore tills cnp, and ns I was taken i ' WZM ff_V_^^ into the courtyard, my overcoitt cover-! ~ ing my uniform, al! that the British ! officers, w ho happened to be sunning-' themselves in the rourtynrd, could soe was the red cap. They afterwards told , me they wondered who the "bug Hun" ; was with the blindage on Ills mouth. or more air raids. In the two weeki I was there I counted 21 of them. Tht town suffered a great deal of-dftmage Evidently our people w?re aware thai the Germans had a lot of troops coa- rRnirnted in this town-and besides tfit headquarters staff was'Stationed there" The kaiser- himself visited Courtrai while T was in the prison, I was toM ls one of the interpreters, bnt he didn't call on me, nnd for obvious reasons-3 couldn't call on him. TO-BK CONTINUED. aavertisa. leechatB's, liver and putferg and. Mood la sood,orSeir.. S.l« of Aw i» Ox." World. PSTET -- I V/AS OETAJLEB As A TRAFFVC

Get full access with a Free Trial

Start Free Trial

What members have found on this page