from the magazine
TP’s Journal
Great Deeds of the Great War

OCTOBER 31, 1914



The Very Children have the Spirit

The children, too, have the spirit. A little farm lad, Gustave Chatain, aged fifteen, went through several battles in France. His youth could not conquer his determination to fight for the Fatherland. "I'm big and strong for my age," he said, "and I wanted to fight the 'Boches', so one morning I sneaked off toward Senlis, where I heard the sound of fighting. On the way I came upon some Chasseurs Alpins and followed them, offering to do their errands for them. Then I asked them for a rifle. At first they laughed, but finally they gave me one. Then the captain saw: me and sent me away. He said I was only a child. I walked on again, and came up with another company, who let me march with them, when I promised to be good and keep out of sight. At last we saw the Boches, and fighting began. I picked up the first rifle I saw and fired away. Nobody paid any attention to me, and I advanced till I found myself quite alone. I had lost my company. Then I came upon another regiment of the line, whose soldiers allowed me to slip into their ranks. That brought us to the battle of the Marne. You can imagine that I enjoyed myself. When things warmed up I used to advance with the others."

The Boy in a Bayonet Charge

This amazing child, who should have been in the schoolroom, has been through events that test strong men.

"I've been in a bayonet charge. In the charges we hold a bundle of hay in front of us. It is a good way of getting near the Boches. I've been in their trenches, too. They sham dead. It is one of their tricks. I used to give them a little kick to see whether they were shamming," and he wound up his adventures by capturing seven Germans. "I had been with the advance posts for two days when it occurred to me to get up into a loft, to see where the Boches were. I found the door of the house closed, and looked through a crack in it. Inside I saw German haversacks and cartridges on the floor. I got a piece of wood and broke in the door. I had first loaded my rifle and fixed my bayonet. When I got inside there was nobody on the ground floor. I went up into the loft, and found seven Boches sleeping on the floor. They woke up when I came in, and when they saw my fixed bayonet they did not even attempt to resist, but held up their hands. 'Come down,' said I, and they came down, quite pleased to have a chance of surrendering. I handed them over to my regiment."


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