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Personal stories from Poole’s men

The local paper, East Dorset Herald, published many articles about World War 1 and the men who played their part in it.

On 1 October 1914 it published the following article about a Poole man’s experiences on the front line.

Private G Allen served with the 1st Dorsets in the British Expeditionary Force at Mons and Cambrai.

Private G Allen lived at 3 Bay Hog Lane, Poole. The newspaper account as follows:

'Private Allen returned home on Friday evening having been seriously wounded at the last mentioned place on August 26th. He was called up on reserve on Wednesday, August 5th, and proceeded with the 1st Dorsets to Belfast, whence the Regiment went to the front on the 14th. He was engaged in some severe fighting, and at Mons, on the 23rd, a rifle bullet passed right through the thigh, though he was not actually aware of the fact until about two or three days later, when he was seriously wounded, receiving a shrapnel bullet through the left lung. He was invalided home and admitted, under date September 2nd, to the Second Eastern General Hospital, Brighton, where he made good progress. Private Allen, when interviewed, was very reluctant to talk about his achievements, but he acknowledged that the 1st Dorsets had played a very trying part in the conflict, and stated that on one occasion a small body of the men were cut off and encircled by Germans. God only knew how they escaped total annihilation, for bullets were flying all around them. In common with other soldiers from the front he has a very poor opinion of the enemy’s infantry shooting, but he speaks in terms of the highest praise of the treatment accorded the British soldiers in France and Belgium, and also bears testimony to the kindness shown at Brighton to the wounded, who were taken out for daily ‘spins’ in private motor cars and entertained to tea. Prior to re-joining the colours Private Allen was employed at Doulton’s Clay Works, Hamworthy.'

On 14 January 1915 the East Dorset Herald published the following article of a Poole Man’s Christmas at the Front. 

Private Horace V Sartin, of the RAMC Field Ambulance.

Private Horace V Sartin lived in Demark Road, Poole. His letter was sent to Mrs W L Miller of High Street, Poole (wife of his former employer) thanking her for a parcel of ‘good things’. He wrote:

 'I am still getting on A1 and have just finished celebrating Christmas Day, am exceedingly cheerful. The morning broke with the ground covered with a white frost, and the roads hard and slippery. A typical Christmas Day! Quite a pleasing change to the wet and dismal weather we have been getting. After going for a nice walk through the country lanes and getting an appetite for dinner, I sat down with thirteen others to a most excellent spread. Everything possible had been done for us, and a real good time we had. Plenty of everything and before the last course arrived I was (as they say in the boxing world) in and out. The cooks did their duty well and everything was tres bon. My walk after dinner was cut short owing to it freezing hard and a little too cold for walking. Tea-time was a repetition of dinner and we carried out that old quotation ‘Eat, drink, and be merry’. After tea we had a sing song and a little bridge. You will see by this brief description that my Christmas was a jolly one and glad I was that it was so. Some poor fellows had a poor time of it I know. This is the time of the year when even the stoney-hearted thinks of home and his loved ones. I have thought of home a lot today and wished that I was there instead of being in this French town, far away from all my friends and relatives. Never mind, the New Year may bring brightness and gladness to not only our country but also to our allies. Let us hope so. I do not wish to appear pessimistic but I cannot see that this terrible war can conclude for months, perhaps years.'

* *  We believe Private Horace V Sartin survived the war  * *

 
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