Until suddenly a shell burst about 30 yards away, and Martin had been there before. When a second shell exploded nearby, he ran towards the only cover which was the trench of the nearest battery. Only the next shell landed much closer and Martin felt a stinging, burning pain in his left shoulder. He broke stride before continuing and dived into the sandbagged enclosure and almost into the lap of a young gunner. He straightened himself and winced with the pain.
"You've been hit," the gunner said.
"I have," Martin replied, and his shoulder hurt really badly.
The shells kept raining down and Martin hoped their trench wasn't targeted. "I'll get the stretcher bearers," the young gunner with the grey eyes said.
"No don't; it's too dangerous."
"Bloody Huns," another gunner grumbled.
"My name's Alec," the young gunner said.
"Pleased to meet you Martin."
"You too Alec."
"And here we have Frank, George, Bill, Jack and Bob."
"Pleased to meet you all."
"Do you know what's going on?" Alec asked.
Martin did of course, but he couldn't say. "I'm here to lay telephone cables to the new lines."
Alec nodded thoughtfully.
"Your turn will come when it's time," Martin said.
"We know this war can't be won without artillery," Alec said.
The shelling had stopped and Alec stood to look over their parapet. He wasn't tall, maybe five foot six, and in his early twenties. Martin pondered that. If it wasn't for his matriculation, Martin's war could have been with an artillery battery like those men, instead of commanding sappers and liaising with GSOs and even the General.
"How's your injury?" Alec asked.
"It hurts," Martin said truthfully.
"It's ruined your uniform."
Indeed it had, with a nasty tear and soaked with blood. But it was only his shoulder and he was mobile. "I'll be fine to walk with this. Do you know where the dressing station is?"
"I can take you."
Alec climbed out of the trench and put his hand down for Martin, who needed help given he was temporarily one-handed. And cradling his left arm to ease the pain, Martin walked across the pock-marked wasteland alongside Alec. They walked in silence for some distance with Martin feeling strangely awkward at being rescued by an enlisted man.
"How long have you been here?" Martin eventually asked.
"A month," Alec said. "And you Martin?'
"Seven months. But we've both been away from home for a long time."
Alec nodded. "Yes, we have."
"The sooner this is over and we can return to where we belong; the better."
Ahead were white tents with camouflaged rooves surrounded by a bustle of activity. "Martin, this is it," Alec said.
"Thanks for bringing me here."
"That's no trouble."
Martin stopped and they shook hands. "Good luck with your war Alec."
"And you too Martin."
Martin watched the gunner turn towards his battery, and then he headed to the largest tent.
Title: One Hundred Days
Author: Mark Morey
Genre: Historical Fiction
In 1917, the mud of Flanders soaked up the blood of a quarter of a million men. If the war continued like that, the Allies would lose. One battle turned that around and was the beginning of a hundred days of advances to victory. This is a story about how that was done.
Two Australian soldiers experience the last two years of the Great War. Martin Ward is a lieutenant working alongside Major-General John Monash, and he sees the transition from slaughter at Passchendaele to breaching the Hindenburg Line. Alec Morey is a gunner severely injured in Flanders, and he returns to Australia to watch on in amazement as the Australian Imperial Force plays the major role in victory.
This is a fictional account of a story not well known; using real events, fictional characters and real-life characters to tell the tale of how the Great War was won.
I am part-time in the workforce and a part-time author, and writing technical documentation and advertising material formed a large part of my career for many decades. Writing a novel didn’t cross my mind until relatively recently, where the combination of too many years writing dry, technical documents and a visit to the local library where I couldn’t find a book that interested me led me consider a new pastime. Write a book. That book may never be published, but I felt my follow-up cross-cultural crime with romance hybrid set in Russia had more potential. So much so that I wrote a sequel that took those characters on a journey to a very dark place.
Once those books were published by Club Lighthouse and garnered good reviews I wrote in a very different place and time. My two novels set in Victorian Britain were published by Wings ePress in July and August of 2014. These have been followed by my story set against the background of Australia’s involvement on the Western Front. Australia’s contribution to the battles on the Western Front and to ultimate victory was well out of proportion to the size of the nation and the size of their force. Once you read this story you will appreciate the great things that our nation achieved.
Mark Morey: http://markmorey.blogspot.com.au/
Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/One-Hundred-Days-Mark-Morey-ebook/dp/B014GNCLZS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1442618757&sr=1-1
Createspace estore: https://www.createspace.com/5727185