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The Wartime Memories Project - The Great War

Pte. Harry Barnett British Army 4th Dragoons Guards

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Pte. Harry Barnett

British Army 4th Dragoons Guards


Harry Barnett enlisted Swansea 30 April 1913. 8091 Private 7th dragoon guards. He went to France with BEF, now he's with the 4th dragoons guard m.g.c 51358 dragoons of the line. I have a couple of pages of his experience of modern war fare. He told me a few things, he was gassed but put a sock in a puddle then held over mouth. His best friend was shot in the head by a sniper, he died right by his side. He once was out in no mans land, he pretended to be dead, and lay still for hours before creeping back to the line. His first action was a shell exploding in yard where horses and men were. He helped pick up pieces of horses and limbs of men. Harry had seen terrible things, men burned and laying dead.I n one village, the mayor was caught giving positions of troops to Germans, he was shot. His only war wound was a black toe nail, his horse stood on his big toe. Other things you do not hear about, the Germans left diseased women in towns and villages, so troops were warned not to touch. I can not tell all, it needs an expert to work out where he went, in one paragraph he mentions a coal box, I later found out it was a German shell. Harry survived the war and lived to 89. He only once mentioned firing his machine gun, he said the officer said looking through field glasses, "There's Gerry let them have it", and holding his hands up holding the gun he gestured firing. He gave the impression what a grim and awful waist of life, it all was and never felt comfortable talking about it. His medals look like they have not seen the light of day for years, his Mons star ribbon is still on the card.

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