Six Word Saturday: “… just like a broken brick heap …”

A destroyed German observation post at Messines, June 11, 1917.  Photo: On This Day in Military History, Messines Ridge, 1917.

A destroyed German observation post at Messines, June 11, 1917. Photo: On This Day in Military History, Messines Ridge, 1917.

Private Eric Andrew Gray, who was wounded on the first day of the Allied Assault on Messines (7 June, 1917), later wrote in a letter to his sister:

Before we went in we had been shown maps and pictures of the town and each platoon was given its part to clean up but when we got there it was just like a broken brick heap. You couldn’t tell where the streets were or the square or anything.

The day before the assault began, Major General Charles Harington, Chief of Staff of British Second Army, said to correspondents during a press conference:

Gentlemen, I do not know whether or not we shall change history tomorrow but we shall certainly alter geography.
(On This Day in Military History, Messines Ridge, 1917)

Wordless Wednesday: “… A small shell burst in the trench near me …”

ANZAC Field Dressing Station at Battle of Messines, 7, June, 1917. Photo: Queensland State Library via WikiMedia Commons.

Wounded soldiers at an ANZAC Field Dressing Station, Battle of Messines, 7, June, 1917. Photo: Queensland State Library via WikiMedia Commons.

The Big T’s great uncle, Eric Gray, was wounded at Messines on 7 June, 1917, and would have been sent to a dressing station like this one — indeed, perhaps this one.

He wrote to his sister Doris:

.. for an hour or two it fairly rained shells but it wasn’t until about half past three or four o’clock when I got my smack. A small shell burst in the trench near me and the flame of the explosion burnt my neck and a piece went in the back of my right shoulder …