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Marcel Caux
Archive number: 502
Date interviewed: 13 June, 2003

Served with:

20th Battalion 1st AIF
Marcel Caux 0502


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You are listening to the interview audio


Tape 01


Marc could you tell us where you were born?
I was born at Marrickville.
And what are some of your earliest memories as a child?
Not very happy.
Why were they not happy?
Well I was


a forgotten child sort of. I was by myself. Self-raised. I had no official supervision.


When you say no official supervision, what do you mean by that?
Oh no one looking after me. No one supervising me. I didn't have any so called parents. I didn't recognise anyone very close as had no one as


(UNCLEAR) of authority over me.
Why was that Marc?
Well my parents were dead yeah and therefore I was always alone.
What had happened to your parents?
Just died. Parents died at my birth and


my father was drowned or something out at sea. Yeah. I have no recognising of them at all.
So what did you do? What were you able to do?
I was able to do anything. I had no supervision and had more or less looked after myself.


How did you do that?
Just managed to supervise that's all. I don't know, had no plan. Just looked after myself.
Did you have any step parents?
Did you have any relatives in Sydney?
Yes I had. I don't know whether I had any relatives


but they supervision… they were people who looked after me if you call it that. It was, you could proudly say that I didn't know them.
So who actually looked after you?


As I say, nobody. I looked after myself.
How did you…. where were you living?
I don't know.
Where were you living at this time?
At Alexandria I think, Alexandria.
Were you living by yourself?
Yeah well more or less. I don't know I was living in a house with people, but I don't know who they were.
And how were these people looking after you?


Well they were just giving me something to eat now and again. I don't know and it didn't make any priority any priority over me at all. I used to look after myself. I used to I remember, I remember my memory,


I remember wearing a man's overcoat man's coat not an overcoat but a coat, ordinary coat and a there was, must have been late at night because it was wintertime and it was dark and I went along; I was walking along the street and I looked, I saw this place,


a hall or a party assembly there. So I got on I got a (UNCLEAR) on the steps and entered and I was hungry I didn't… I don't know when I had anything to eat it was no memory of what eating….. Anyhow the people


got me and started to feed me but I had no I wasn't I wasn't cognizant of any appetite. I ate my full of goodies


they offered me and on my way out I brought it up again and left it there. So I don't know why it was going on, it was like a birthday party or something. A wedding or wedding party or something ,but anyhow I didn't do any good there. I was glad to get rid of it. I was glad to


get rid of it.
Marc, did you go to school at all?
Very seldom.
Which school did you go to?
Ah Erskineville School. Erskineville, yeah.
And what were your favourite subjects there?
I don't think I had any.


Was it a good school?
Was Erskineville School a good school?
A good school?
I think it was.
So how did you spend most of your time?
I just wandered about.


Where did you wander about?
Erskineville Park mostly.
Marc, are you finding these lights too bright?
Ah it's always a bit bright. Light's a bit bright.


Always a bit bright.
I noticed you were keeping your eyes closed. Is that…..
Well I rest them you see. I can't see, so keep them closed to stop seeing things that I can't see.
Right. Okay. Did you have a job before you went to the war?


don't remember. I don't know whether I had a job or not.
So just to clarify Marc, you lived in a house with


some people did you?
Oh sort of.
Sort of.
I lived with them or not, whether I associated with them I don't know 'cause I don't remember being fed or anything like that. I don't remember being fed at all.
Did these people feed you at all?
I don't remember. I don't remember. I


got my own feeding or whatever I don’t remember how. I don't remember how.
That must have been…..
I was a bit…. very wild. Very very wild and woolly at an early age. I don't remember having any hot dinners 'til I joined up.
So how did you learn to read and write?


I studied. I knew I was a bit behind. As soon as I joined up I knew I was lacking something and it was education so I did my best to make up for it.
So where when did you learn to read and write?
'Round about.


When I was in the army. Learnt… every education, every opportunity I had I received it.
Was this after you joined the army?
Yes. Oh yes. Oh yes.
So what were those opportunities that you had to learn to read and write? Could you describe what those opportunities were?


Ah I just… the pieces of paper… that scraps of paper that I read and learned from. Stories that sort of they wrote they wrote…. read


very no no….. I had to take it slowly
Marc at this time how


important was the British Empire to you?
Oh it was just a flag, that was all. Just a flag.
It was just a flag was it?
Yeah. Yeah.
Did you did you feel as if you were an Australian at this time?
Not particularly no, I didn't know


what I was. I didn't claim anything. It was later I became Australian.
And was that during or after the war?
Oh during. Yeah.
So Marc why did you decide to enlist in the war?
To get away from the terrible, tragic life I was leading.


It wasn't living really, it wasn't life. It was just existing.
How much had you heard about the war before you joined up?
Not very much.
What had you heard?
Very good opportunity to


do something, learn to do something, get a job. I thought it'd be a good stop…. to start doing something that was worthwhile but…
And so had you heard about Gallipoli at this time?
The which?
Were you aware of events of the war such as Gallipoli?


Oh I knew it was there. It was.. had no idea what it was of course. I thought it'd be a good adventure. I went away as soon as I could. I was gettin' well fed.
Now when you enlisted can you recall the process that you went through when you actually enlisted


with the army?
Yes. Yes I was conscious of all that.
What happened when you enlisted? Could you describe what happened when you enlisted?
Oh I was given a name and rank


and ah that's about all.
And you were given a name and a rank?
What do you mean by you were given a name?
Well I was known by something.
Did you not have a name before then?
I had a name, yes.


Does this mean that so what do you mean you were given a name when you joined up?
I was Private Caux, I was Private Caux that was all.
Did you have any training before you went overseas?
Ah I had some training yes.


can you tell us about that training?
I was told the differences between rank and (UNCLEAR) and what other people what other people were doing and what other people done and so on and which where they (UNCLEAR) with anybody and everything. Where other people fitted in.


Now what can you remember of travelling overseas for the first time?
Can you tell us about….
When I went on a on a liner to Port Said I think it was


and got off there and stayed a couple of months there I think yeah. Some little time there. Then we went to Egypt and stopped in Egypt a few months and


we got on a ferry and went across to the Mediterranean to Marseilles. Marseilles we disembarked and joined up with a regiment there.


Regiment I think (UNCLEAR) 17th battalion or something there. Yeah they claimed some relation to this 17th battalion (UNCLEAR) was regiment (UNCLEAR) 20th battalion. We had the 20th battalion. We joined up with the 20th


battalion there. Joined, went to the north of France and to a place called (UNCLEAR) where we went into the line, took over the line from Indians. They were holding


the line there and we went into and done the same for while we were there. We were in reserves for a few months and then we went into occupation then we went to holding (UNCLEAR) when they left. After a period they left. They all left the


the portions of the area and went south I think but we went into the line and held it for them while they were away.


to continue your story, can you continue your story from there?
I don't know any story. There's no story much.
You took over from the Indians did you?
You said you took over from some Indians.
Some Indians.
What happened then?
Oh we went to Pozieres from there. I think something happened.


What happened at Pozieres?
You said you went to Pozieres where something happened.
What happened at Pozieres?
Well they had the great big offensive


there. Big offensive. Big offensive. Yes they sorted sixty four thousand of us.


What did you see there at Pozieres?
Mostly death. Mm.
Mostly death?
Mostly death, yeah.


Yeah. Death and horror.
When you say those words what are some of the things that you are thinking of?
Oh big big guns exploding in front of you


and of little incidents that are quite unpleasant. Mm. But more of that back to reality when…. when it happens,


which you did daily.
What sort of incidents are you talking about?
I think what you might call (UNCLEAR)


um drabs of action like short incidents and….
Could you explain to me what you mean by these kinds of incidents?
Yeah display of


violence and action that we experienced. Personal thing which happens.
Could you give an example of one of those personal things?
Oh very difficult to….


people with their machine guns and using them and they used those incidents to wield their might, which they did and use them much but very freely.


people were using the machine guns?
Both sides yeah you know. Both use their…. wield their power as much as possible.
And what were the results of these actions?
Oh mostly death.


Dire and dire and dismay and disorder. New new relations. New actions going on.
Marc, what was your


role in the battle? What were you doing?
I was a recipient, yeah.
Could you explain what you mean by that?
I was coppin' it.
In what way?
Receiving action. I didn't…. action didn't like. I didn't like.


So when you say you were copping it, what do you mean by that?
I was receiving the action of the battle, the experiment of the action.


Bodies of people that were in action against you. You can't explain these things. They just happen.


Happen against you. They happen.
Did you have a rifle in your hands Marc?
Oh yes. Yes.
How often did you use the rifle?
Whenever I could. There's actions, always action going on all the time.


Were you operating from trenches?
Yeah. I was in action using a rifle all the time pretty well.


Are you okay Marc?
Hey? Yes, yeah.
Are you finding this painful to talk about?
Yes. I was very unstable. I don't like (UNCLEAR)
You were very very young. Would you say that you were too young to have seen what you saw?
'Course I was too young. Yeah.


How old were you at this time?
Sixteen, seventeen.
How has this affected you over the years?
Oh it's made me very very bitter about our enemy action. The makes me


very very sad about most things. Mostly a battle action, there's always action. Don't want that. Don't want that.


What is the worst thing about battle action for you?
Mm they were the receivers. The…. oh the battle actions piled up on in front of you. Incredibly stupid.


It's there. It's late come comes against you all the time. You're there just a week even, being receiving stuff.
What did this sound like, this battle action?
Oh it was always someone in pain.


Someone in trouble. They had a battle action in front of them and they were…. and they had to put up with what's going on, what you're getting. There's no there's no way of putting it off


at all.
And could you hear people calling for help could you?
Oh yes. Yes.
How often was that?
Oh pretty well frequently. Yeah.
When you think of battle action what are some of the images that come to your mind?
Oh people being in pain. Being receiving


pain and no hope of relief for some reason. Help is very seldom available, very seldom. Your battle action and your action is very very soft. There's nothing hard about it. No


protection. You gotta receive it. You… it's there it's your action, your help comes in small drabs and help and be slight sections. Very hard to get to put up with.
Marc you said that you


received action yourself. What actually happened to you?
Well I received actions battles of hardship fellowship deprivation. All these things come on top of your


receivings you know you action goes about, just goes before your… it's there, it comes, you gotta put up with it.
Marc, what happened when you were wounded?


I went and just get out of the road as far as far as you can and wait for help to come.
I believe you were wounded three times?
What happened the first time?
Oh I was wounded at Pozieres the first time.


I received a slight wound in the on the leg. Wasn't very severe. I sat out of action just out of action, just slightly out of action that's all.


I was put up with there.
So you were able to return to the front after that were you?
Yes oh yes. Yes.
What happened the second time?
Oh the second time was different. It was the first time we'd ever had an omnibus ride and this time we


were ferried down from north to south somewhere and it was the end of the German March offensive of 1917. They had advanced so far that they… into new country they were there was nothing to


suggest that there'd been a war, ah there was a war. The country was just new like it was just was just come there. The Germans had advanced so far that they could have gone to the front, gone to the west coast if they'd a known


but they didn't know. All day long we saw them coming up for battle we watched them coming up the (UNCLEAR) box four in a row and the four oh four


four deep. Thousands of them. They didn't tell anyone about it wasn't information wasn't information wasn't and we went to the artillery and just went on and in the morning we attacked. It was either they attacked or we


attacked and we attacked first and I was hit in the shoulder, in the arm and my gun pouch was on the side there, on the side where it exploded through.


The first exploding cartridges out of me with the final found me and knocked me head over heels. I could barely get up and (UNCLEAR) bag wounded in the arm elbow and


and if I had been about three or four inches further inland it would have been goodbye for me but anyhow in the elbows and a shot chest and


took it a tumble out of the record book that was the that was the Hangard Wood wound. I don't know whether that's the name of a place or whether it was just a local place but


was flying fields there and that was why it was called Hangard because of the ability of the (UNCLEAR) that was available and whether it was used as a Hangard or not I don't know.
Marc we're going to have to change a tape.
Interviewee: Marcel Caux Archive ID 0502 Tape 02


We're recording again. Ah Marc you were talking about Hangard Wood, which I believe is south of Villers-Bretonneux.
What do you remember about that place?
Well I just remember that the overnight we were, we slept there and when they were amassing


the German troops and we were too, unknown to me, but in the morning their violence broke out and we broke the noise first. We were wakened up, we attacked about as soon as it was daylight and there were as I


say I got clipped in the right shoulder and elbow and chest and after I fell there I waited for a bit of noise to subside and then I got up and started off. Took me back to the


what's a name of that place? The clearing station or the clearing station as it was there. There wouldn't be a clearing station there.
And what happened at the clearing station?


Well they differentiate, they clarify the different races and ranks and see about the people who are entitled to go.
And where were the people sent?
Different hospitals.


And what happened to you after this second wounding?
Well I went to the clearing station and they clear up and ah clear out and went to a the clearing station the clear ah and was….


Were you sent to a hospital after this?
Yeah. Amiens.
Ah, this was a hospital at Amiens was it?


do you remember about the hospital?
Oh there wasn't any clearance that's all. Just a casual place. Very special.
Now I believe you were wounded a third time?
What happened then?
That was at the battle of, what they call the Battle of Amiens.


For the first time the Australian troops were under Australian supervision and it made a big difference. Everything went right. Everything went right. Mm.
What had happened before then?


Well they were just idiots that's all. Before we were the tools of the British, the tools of the British. British toy things.
Could you explain what you mean by that?
Well you work….


any explaining in the asking the people where they were going, who was sending them. We said "We're going down there to the front line where there was a thing happen being the worst and all the action that's where the Australians


What was the attitude of the British toward the Australians?
Oh very hostile. Very hostile. They didn't like them at all. In some cases it was different but mostly the rank and file was hard against Australians.


How did the British treat the Australians on a day-to-day basis?
Very very bitterly. Very nastily, yeah.
Can you give an example?
Oh well any hard work to do they did it. Any hard places to go any difficult places to take they were the ones


they had to take all the (UNCLEAR) 'cause they can. They had to.
Why do you think the British had this attitude towards the Australians?
Oh jealous I think. They were jealous.
In what way were they jealous?
Oh we had


more success than they had in the battlefield.
So in what way did British command of the Australian troops create problems?
Create what?
Well you from you were saying before that once the Australian command took over, things….


Things improved.
Could you say in what way things improved?
We got better treatment and we got better looking after. Better conditions.
Could you describe the conditions under the British?


just…. it was hard to say. It was so slight and perhaps slight, it was hardly worthwhile mentioning but they were, you would heed the….


the lowest conditions possible would be available to the Australians.
What kind of conditions are you talking about?
Oh well ah conditions. Something like….


ah it's very difficult very difficult to explain yeah.
Could you describe your day-to-day living conditions under the British?
Well just as rough as you could possibly get.


Beef, we lived for our beef, for our beans or whatever was available.
What kind of rations were you receiving under the British?
Oh the roughest under British the roughest.


What sort of food did the British feed you?
Ah just the usual stew. That was on day and night.


So the British gave you stew day and night?
Yeah. Once you came under Australian command what sort of food were you receiving then?
I didn't really didn't receive it. I went (UNCLEAR) to continue because I was wounded on the first day.
Sorry could you…..
First day.


You were wounded on the first day?
This is, in other words you came back.
From the second wounding
And then there was another wounding was there?
What was that wounding?
This is the knee. The left knee.
And can you describe how that happened?
We were advancing


we were advancing in a early morning party against the Germans and we had to, we had a sleep and to just come across the German line where the Germans were just about, just about coming up and opening up fire when this bloke come out in front of me


and just started to shoot and I started to shoot at the same time and I got him at the same time as he got me. So I was knocked flat and that was it. That the finish. Under fire later we had to wait for the battle to go on and the bad knee


and the battle to move and had to wait for bearers. After that it was over.
What happened to you after the third wounding?
Oh I was put on a stretcher and taken to hospital.


it seems miraculous that you lived through this. What do you think kept you alive?
I don't know. I can't really blame anyone for keeping me alive.
Do you believe in fate?
No, no.


Oh no, no.
Surely you believe in luck though?
No. I don't believe in anything.
Do you have any religious beliefs?
None whatever. None whatever. A lot of jokes.
So why do you think that you survived?
I just survived that's all.


Why does a tree grow? It was faith and I had faith. I had to live it in the community round the people, the children play there and they believe in the


way, the Christian. Doesn’t matter. Muslim or Christian. They believe in the same god. Love the same god and they're fighting over him. So bloody stupid it's laughable


opinion do you have of the recent war?
Just greed that's all. Greed.
You think greed was behind the…. you think greed was the reason for the recent war?
Yes. Yes.
Could you expand?
Could you explain why you think it's greed?
I can't explain it but the evidence seems to be to me


to be there. Yeah.
Marcel, well just moving back to when you arrived in Marseilles. Can you tell us about Marseilles when you arrived there?
Oh we arrived at a certain, at late afternoon and we shifted the camp under darkness,


built tents, we just stripped and we dug into the made tents, we didn't dig in we didn't dig in at all. We just received them. We just went to there so many to a tent and we settled in. That was all.
Did you


do any training there?
No not there. No, the couple of days we were on the trains and we were on our way up.
And where were you on your way to when you took the trains?
Oh up north. Whatever line was available we were there on our way.


We were amongst the people who were very glad to see us.
What nationality of people were these?
The French?
What can you remember of the reception that they gave you?
Oh just very very welcome. Just welcome.
How did they show their welcome?
Giving us gifts of teas and not tea but


well they didn't have much to give us but they…. coffee and once they could give it, yeah. Oh little shades of, little pieces of pastry perhaps or something of the sort. Not very much. They couldn't give very much, so we didn't expect very much.
Why couldn't they give very much?
Well the reserves were at their end. Yeah.


They were at the end of their reserves were they?
What had happened to bring them to this state?
What had happened to what?
What had happened to them?
They'd been used in the war. They'd been used up in the war. This is 1916. .


I think you went there in 1916 didn't you?
Yeah. By 1916 what had happened to France by 1916 as far as you could see when you arrived there?
Well after (UNCLEAR) was taken as far west as the Somme


and they very very far, very advanced there. It was, a lot of the towns were gone.
And could you describe what you saw in some of those towns?
No I couldn't describe it at all. No, I was about… time


was spent at night time and we went to places, went like it was dead and the ports were dead.
So from what you're saying, I think you're saying that you were moving into areas which had been destroyed.
Yes, more or less.
More or less


Were there smoking ruins of houses?
Yeah. No no. No smoking ruins although in cases they were but by no means evident that there was a war going on.
There was no evidence. What do you mean by that?
Well there was no real damage It was gone but nothing, there was nothing


to show it was there. Not every place was destroyed. Some places were destroyed and some places weren't.
And were these places empty?
Oh yes. No places were occupied, only the line. Always more miles away before they


occupied 'em.
And what can you tell us about your battalion and your company?
Oh just an average lot of Australian men. Lot of Englishmen amongst them. Very very good, very very good soldiers, the British and English, what do you call 'em


that (UNCLEAR). Some of my best friends were British and they were killed at places like Bapame[?]not Bapame but at Pozieres
Do you remember the names of any of those English friends?
Oh god no.


Can you tell me a bit about the character of these of these friends? Can you describe these friends for us?
Very very open minded. Very open, very open scripted people. They you know


they kept open in their hearts and their minds and they accepted everything as it came.
So they were open minded
And they were open spirited.
And the attitude of these English friends I presume was fairly good towards the Australians.
Oh yes, very good. Very good. Yeah.


And did you, you know, have a drink with these guys and….
Oh yes.
Under what circumstances were you able to sit down and just talk and you know, fraternise?
Oh more or less under stress.


Ah just to clarify, these memories of are of men under stress are they?
Could you could you explain a little more about what sort of stress this was?
It was coming under, the strains of war were over us. We had war coming up the next morning. No matter our evenings we all were under


under war's…. people who'd left….
Are you okay to continue Marc?
Are you okay?
Marc I'll just continue the… you know just to continue your memories


of when you first arrived in France. So you arrived there. There were lots of empty villages and towns. Didn't seem to be much there.
No, not empty villages or towns. I didn't say that. They were vacant there. Liberties there. There were open spaces there. I mean their house might be vacant but there was very few of them. Somebody had a few empty houses, that's all.


And what was the climate like? What was the weather like at that time?
Oh the weather was good. We didn't know anything about weather. We didn’t comprehend it. Didn't comprehend it.
So did you arrive there in the in European summer?
No it was a winter or autumn I think. Either a winter or autumn.


Ah we arrived there in May, April-May
No I think it was it was about the August, autumn when we went there.
Now what was your first action? What was the first time you went into action?


What were the things that happened first at Pozieres?
Heavy bombardment. It was sub-machine guns and bombs all around you.
And this was this was when the


battle first began?
Yeah, yeah.
Yeah. Can you describe to us for people that probably won't know, what was the aim of the action at Pozieres?
To disable the enemy.
And so I presume from this, were the enemy in


Pozieres? Did the enemy occupy Pozieres at this time?
So in what way were the Australians and the British intending to disable the enemy?
To disable them. Put them on compartment, on the departments.
And can you describe by


what means you were hoping to disable the enemy?
Kill them.
What kind of weapon did you have yourself?
Had a .303 machine gun. Three or four Mills bombs and a couple of hundred loose ammunition.


And did you carry all these arms with you?
You were personally responsible for carrying this into action were you?
Yeah. Tell me where had you trained in the use of these weapons?
Ah trained in France at the


ah (UNCLEAR). About the place we were mostly trained we did most of it there.
Pardon me. So how long before Pozieres was that was that training?
Mm, oh a couple of months. Couple of months yeah.


The battle kept dragging on and you were either dead or you dragged your bodies, dragged along wearily under a martial art to be usually going on


rations and they're either hoping to die or wishing to die, one of the two. Whether they were dead or whether just put alongside them as


soon as they died we took them off there. This was 1916. Mm.
Marc, you're talking about what happened at Pozieres are you?
At first, when you first went in against the Germans were they showing much signs of retaliation?


Oh yes. They're very very active.
So what…
So what were they firing back at you? What sort of weapons?
Ah mostly bombs and (UNCLEAR) that was the main


means of retaliation on the troops as they are. They were like, have no… there's no rights no no, we had no rights. You had no rights. So it went on. We took 'em out. Took 'em out. Took 'em all out.
You took them out?
What do you mean you took them out?


The rights, the lives of property that you had. You had lump of earth to look after and that was taken from you you were (UNCLEAR).
Just to clarify here, you had a lump of earth to look after? What


do you mean by that? Were you in a trench?
Or were you in a gun emplacement?
You were in a trench were you?
In a trench or on a side of a trench or outside a trench or in a nest where you were put to look after…. you had a


coupon that you had…..
Marc, when you were firing your weapons against the Germans, what was the weapon that you were using the most?
Oh oh the machine gun.


And was this machine gun in a fixed position?
No no it was fixed… moved
It was portable.
You could move it around?
But when you were firing the machine gun did you have a special pit for the machine gun?
Oh perhaps not. Perhaps yes.
Did you have a second person working with you in loading or
If you had a machine gun section you had a special person there.


Light machine guns and heavy machine guns you see. You have big heavy machines that cater for that sort of thing and other little light other things that were like light rifles. It's like the Lewis gun. The Lewis gun was always folding and had to be rectified every now and again.


That fires six hundred rounds a minute but every now and again it went off. It stopped and that'd be redoctored. and went again.
And when we look at the machine gun were you using a heavy


or a light machine gun?
It was a light, I wasn't using it, wasn't a machine gun at all. I was using a rifle.
Ah so you were in you were in a machine gun group you were in a machine gun unit.
No, I just
So your your main own weapon was a .303 rifle.
Right. Okay. Tell me, did you go any on any raids at all?
Any what?
Any raids into enemy territory?


I believe there was
Any raids?
Oh yes. I had a go occasionally.
Could you tell me what going on a raid actually means?
Going no one knows anything about it. It's except those (UNCLEAR). They take care of it. They give it (UNCLEAR)
Sorry Marc I'm not quite understanding
They don't know about it and


the men who went. So
Are you talking about what a raid was?
So what exactly was a raid?
Raid was the invasion of other people's territory with a section. That was a raid.
Did that mean that you would take the territory?
Yes, you could.


And how many people would take part in a raid?
Oh about half a dozen. Four five. Five. Limited. Might be three.
And what would happen during a raid?
Be investigating. We were inviting… every means of invitation


we can get.
So you would be investigating
You would be gathering intelligence.
That's it, that's it. That's it, yeah.
Would you be shooting at the enemy if you saw them?
To cause the enemy anxiety that's all.


So raids in other words were isolated incidents in an overall battle
That's right.
With the intention of shaking the morale of the enemy.
Right. What was the attitude of the Australian soldiers towards raids?
Didn't like them.
Why not?
Well they (UNCLEAR).. it served their hostility.


It was a dangerous proposition going on a raid. You didn't know whether you were coming back or not. Probably mostly probably you were not.
Did you lose any friends on raids?
My word you could, yeah. Yes. Yes very closely


very closely we didn't think raids. The section of a company very close.
And on the occasions on which were you were you shot on any of the raids? Did you
You weren't?
Not on any of the raids, no.
And so just I wasn't quite


sure what you said a moment ago, did you lose any good friends during any of those raids?
Oh yes I lost friends there. Yeah.
What impact did that have on you at the time?
Very sorrowing. In fact you don't bother about friends eventually. You can't bother about friends


after the war. They're too valuable to….
Why can't you bother about friends?
'Cause they don't last long enough.
Are you saying that after awhile you stop trying to make new friends?
Why was that?


It's…. to lose a friends is to lose a friend.
Ah Marc we're going to have to change another tape.
So we'll just take another short break.
Interviewee: Marcel Caux Archive ID 0502 Tape 03


Marc I know that Pozieres is painful for you to talk about but I just wanted to ask you a couple more questions about the place and about the action. Can you describe to me what the region of Pozieres consisted of? Could you describe the place?
You don't have too many memories of the place?
All I remember is


it was at the deep point or the long, long corridor called a called a valley. It was called Sausage Valley and the entry to it was… one entered in the climax to


to Pozieres where all the action was.
And that occurred at the end of the valley did it?
Yeah and where were you positioned in relation to Pozieres itself? Where…. how far away from the township were you?
Mm. Oh way up


ah one was one to be to the place….
When you say "one" what do you actually mean by that?
My commencing to count the place what is a catalogue or one or a


Are you….
Piece or a place or of entry or place of building or
You're trying to describe the place of entry are you?
Yeah, yeah.
Ah the valley goes up with action there because the balloons are always coming down because they're always being fired upon.


They're always contact with the balloons up there.
What were the balloons?
Observation balloons.
And were these German or were they….
Oh English.
English yeah.
English observation balloons?
Oh yeah. We had to take a…. we had a reserve operation there with the reserve balloons,


with the balloons going up all the time for observation.
So they had plenty of reserves with the balloons did they?
So as one would be shot down, I presume another one would be sent up?
Oh yes, that's right. Yes.
Were there any Australians in those observation balloons?
No they were all English. English operation.
And once the balloon was sent up, how would they communicate back with the ground?
Oh radio


or telephone.
And how often were these balloons being shot down?
Oh every now and again.
What would you see when they were shot down?
We'd be set up for reserve but they wouldn't be sent up very often because it was very expensive to send 'em up and bring 'em down again.


It was… people was…. things on the other side were being prepared too. Things were being engaged in they had there.
Now when you first arrived at Pozieres could you describe where you were


first positioned?
Oh it was difficult, was one mass of about another like about another.
Were you… did you have to dig trenches when you arrived?
Did you yourself dig a trench?
How many people would set to work digging trenches?
Oh everybody was there. Everybody…


everyone was there would be digging trenches. Digging shelter.
Digging both trenches and shelters?
And did you did each of you have a digging implement?
Ah had our shovel, that's all.
So everyone had a shovel.
Yeah. How deeply were the trenches dug?


Oh six feet.
And did you then have to
Six feet or more.
Six feet or more. Did you then have to reinforce the trenches?
And then what?
Did you then put in wooden reinforcements for the trenches?
Oh no if it was a soft country or muddy you had to put duck boards in sort of a pattern of three be


one with battens, with with strips not big heavy battens put across them.
Sort of like three be one with about three be one before the…. lay 'em across space you know after half inch quarter, half….


So what was the purpose of these battens?
It was the wet. Wet.
How quickly did the trenches fill with water?
Oh sometimes they filled fully.
What would happen then?
What if your trench filled with water what would you do?
Vacate it.
Could you bail it out?
Gotta bail it out, yes.


Bail out and trenches yeah.
And how long would these trenches run? Would they be running continuously across the landscape?
Or would they would some of them be a short length?
Some…. all depends on the territory. If they follow the country they might only last a long while, a short while and if


they last a long while they might be, might last long
And did you ever suffer a condition called trench foot?
No no no.
How easy was it to get trench foot?
Very easy.
Could you describe what trench foot actually was?


Sores in (UNCLEAR), in your feet to the conditions of the trench.
What was trench….
And the damp the dampness yeah. Like a sort of a… the some people would get easily some people would would never get it.


Why do you think that you never got it?
I didn't have the feet for it.
Can you explain that?
Oh I didn't have any shot feet. I had big, big hard feet.
Oh you had hard feet did you?
So who… what kind of people were more likely to get trench foot?
Oh people who


were careless with their feet and don't wash their feet thoroughly.
Were there many cases of trench foot?
Oh fair few. Yes they treat their feet.
And would they do to treat it?
Oh dry it off, that's all. Dry it off.


do you remember, could you tell us about some of the men in your unit?
Ah no
What about your commanding officer? Can you tell us about him?
Oh oh difficult to…. very difficult to.


He was killed at a place called West Height Bridge [?]. That was up in Belgium. West Height Bridge was a place in Belgium that was being


bombarded and we were there to bombard it and to show our rage on it and our commanding officer, Clement Hosking, was there to see that we were being done properly and he died two feet from me. Died


in me arms eventually.
Ah what had happened to him?
He was shot actually by I think I don't know what it was but he was a…. either a machine gun or a splinter, a fragment or a splinter


or a band of someone had caught the hand and it takes care of it and it comes off the hands ah


ah springs.
Was it….
This was a, a wood grabbed by a


end of a splinter, of a shrapnel splinter.
He was shot, he was hit by a shrapnel splinter was he?
Yeah. When you say he died in your arms
Ah what…
Well he was he was hit you see with these fragments then he then he fell down and I fell down beside him and he died.


He died with his head in my hands.
Do you remember what impact that had on you?
Has he what?
Do you remember how you felt at that time when you saw your commanding officer die?
Yes. Yes he just had this


terrific wound in the side of the head and he unquestionably died from it.
That must have had quite a big impact on you?
Oh never ever got over that. Never got over that. He was a gentleman and a man never to be forgotten.
What was the name of


this commanding officer?
Hosking. Clement Hosking.
Kenneth Hosking?
Clement Hosking.
What was his rank?
And you'd been with him on various battle fronts before this I presume?
No no. That's the first time.
The first time.
And who was your commanding officer when you were at Pozieres?


Ah I don't remember. I don't remember.
Just for a moment returning to Clement Hosking. Was he Australian or British?
British. Not Australian.
Not Australian?
Was Australian.
He was Australian was he?
He was Australian or he was British?
He was Australian.
Come from Wollongong.
Did he?


Sounds like quite a significant loss.
And at Pozieres did you remain in the trenches apart
You remained in the trenches there?
Ah but occasionally I gather you were going out and did you go on any raids at Pozieres?
You did?
Can you remember how approximately how many raids you would have gone on at Pozieres?


wouldn't know.
So you went on several raids by the sounds of it.
Yes several
And apart from that, did you spend all your time in the trenches?
Now obviously you needed to sleep


at times. Did you get any sleep?
Oh yes every night. Yes sleep every night.
Were there sleeping quarters?
Yes. No not sleeping quarters, no.
How would you sleep in that case?
Slept where you could. Slept where you could.
And you slept in the trenches?


where you could. Yeah.
How many hours sleep per night were you were you getting on average?
Oh wouldn't be sleeping at night. Mostly day time. One two three of a night perhaps, you sleep during the day time or three times a day. Three or four times.
You had three or four sleeps during the day?
Yeah, three or four. .


And why were you not getting any sleep at night?
Well the firing going on and other work to do. You had raids to go and there was investigate raids.


You would investigate raids?
Ah what do you mean by that?
What the means of it? What causes it? What's the cause of it?
Oh you would investigate a German raid?
Yeah that's the word for it.


And were you using a bayonet at all?
Was your rifle fixed with a bayonet?
It was. Did you did you ever
No no. No.
You didn't have a bayonet?
No. Never touched a razor. It was always on but I would never use it except we went on a raid you took the bayonet off. You took the bayonet off. You didn't take it with you.
Why was that?


Too heavy. Too cumbersome. Have a revolver more readily handy.
What kind of revolver was it?
Oh a heavy cumbersome thing. Smith and Wesson.
So that if you weren't if you were not going on a raid you would keep the bayonet on would you?
Yes, yes.
Did you ever use the bayonet?
No no no.


No. Ah too imaginative too imaginative.
When you say "too imaginative" what do you mean?
Well bayonet work was defence.
So your position was defensive was it?
You weren't taking the offensive?
You were defending a position?
Well we were offensive but


there was nothing about bayonets that were too fanciful.
So how long did you stay in that defensive position?
We were there all the time.
So Marc before lunch
Before lunch
You were talking


about your experience
At Pozieres
And I wanted to go back over a few things. I wanted you to talk about what you thought about the Germans as an enemy?
Oh. Well they were the same as the British or English.
In what ways were they the same as the British?


Some were so cruel. Some were tender. Some were vicious. Some were cruel. Some were very, very vicious there.
You mentioned that some of the Germans were vicious.
In what ways were they vicious?
Oh well


taunting British soldiers. Wondering what the British were doing. Ah there's another way I can put this but I can't think of it.


What would the Germans say when they taunted the British and the Australian soldiers?
Belittling the British as soldiers. How belittling they are. Yeah.


would the Germans say to belittle the British?
"You can't fight." "You've no guts." "No not worthwhile." Yeah.
Would the Australians….. would you ever shout back
Any retaliation?
They do the


same. They do the same. Ah some were very, very humane, very humane, very civil. Others were very as I say vicious. Don't know how to treat the enemy.


When you say vicious, what would they what would the Germans do to display this viciousness?
Well they say they were not worthwhile as soldiers. They're not worthwhile spending the time on fighting them, until they got caught.


Did you ever take any Germans prisoner?
Yes. No I never treated them like that. I never treated them at all. Very cold ,very talked to them very, very carefully.
How would the German prisoners be treated?


would be harshly treated in a way and others were cared and others cared didn't know didn't receive any treatment. They kept away.
Was there ever any mistreatment of German prisoners?
No never. Oh there was some sometimes


there was, but never Germans and didn't do it purposely. Yeah.
You mentioned that there were some vicious Germans and then there were also some humane and tender Germans.
What examples of that can you remember?
What would they do?


Well you mentioned that here were vicious Germans but that there were also humane and tender Germans
What could you give us an example of when a German was tender or humane towards you?
He would offer his food, mm. Offer you care and comforting under the circumstances.


Care very carefully and they were tender they were tender too. Yes, yeah. Yeah very carefully. Very carefully.
Would there be much dialogue, much talk or interaction with the Germans in the trenches?
Not in the trenches, no.
So where would this
Very seldom.
Where would this


interaction with the Germans occur?
In as prisoners. Only as prisoners. Never ever contacted me outside the trenches. Didn't see them outside the trenches.
So the interaction that you had with the German soldiers
Was when they were captured as prisoners? Is that is that right?


What was that?
The interaction that you had with the Germans was when they were prisoners?
Did you befriend any of the Germans?
Oh yes.
Keep themselves properly they they'd be treated alright.


Can you remember any Germans that you befriended at Pozieres?
Oh no no. I don't remember anybody. I never took their names and addresses or anything like that. I didn't care for it that much. I just befriended them that's all. I showed them, told them to be careful and


look after themselves and they'd be alright.
While you were in the trenches and fighting at Pozieres what were the important…. what were some of the important things to remember if you wanted to stay alive?
What's that?
When you were in the trenches
What was what were some of the important things


to remember in order to stay alive?
Oh just the ordinary courtesies.
Like what?
"How you going?" "How are you?" "How you feeling?"


So this would be talk that would happen amongst the other soldiers?
Yes. Yeah just told them to be, told them to hold your friends and you'll be right.


What else was important to do when you're in the trenches to stay alive while under fire by the Germans?
I don't know what,


how the how the trenches would be I don't know how they'd be otherwise, no upset or friendly. I don't know how friendly ah trouble is.
Marc were you ever subjected to….


were you ever gassed
No no.
By the Germans?
No, no. No I've been in attacks but I was always allowed to cover myself. Not that they avoided me, but they, I was away from it. I was away from the attacks. I could take it to them before


was taken any back to me.
So you're talking about being gassed here?
So were you ever were you ever gassed?
Yes I was gassed, yes. Close to gas not harshly but just just in getting myself prepared for it.


So you were close to being gassed?
Mm. Yeah I was close to gas. Close to being gassed but away. I was just in time.
So you got away just in time before
The gas affected you?
So what precautions would you take when….
Put my mask on.


Put my mask… were always safe.
And once you had your mask on you were safe from the gas?
Yes. Yes it was safe.
Did you see other people that had been gassed?
Yes I've seen them yeah.


What was the effect of the gas on those people?
Oh they were out of breath and that you know. They had a cough. Had a cough, deep cough, you'd be…. cough harshly.


Would they then be sent off to a hospital after they'd been gassed?
Yes if they're badly gassed, yeah. Yes. If they're harshly…. they had to be treated yes.
What about shell shock? Did you


ever suffer from shell shock?
Oh oh pretty often. Pretty shocked yes. Pretty shocked all the time.
You were shell shocked all the time were you?
What would happen to you when you were shell shocked?
Ah you


you'd be shaking.
You'd be shaking?
What else would happen when you were shell shocked?
Mm. I was continually shell shocked at times, yeah. They had a deep


affect on me.
How long did the shell shock last?
Oh for hours. And you got in a quiet section
What were the other effects of being shell shocked on your body?
Very slow


treat it with treatment.
What was that Marc?
Has to be treated like shell shock like with shells. They had to put you under treatment.


What was the treatment?
Oh was a quietness and soft, soft behaviour and no talking no behaviour. No talking, no behaviour. No talking.
So if you were suffering from shell shock they would send you to a


quiet place?
Oh it all depends how bad it is. If it's bad as, take you away but mostly they… most cases it was only. the shell shock was only temporary and they take you, treated like I just said. Tender … behaviour.


What was that Marc?
I say you had to be treated as you were. You'd be badly treated or you were worsely treated. Mm.


Did you see other men affected by shell shock?
Yes, yes. Oh yeah.
Could you describe them when they had shell shock?
Oh they were shaking. Shaking all over. Very nervous. They were very nervous. They had treatment very badly.


It must have been horrific for you to be under constant fire?
Oh yes. Yes. It doesn't do you any good.
For how long were you under constant fire?
Oh never long it was a few days and then off for a few days.


You were never under it continually.
Were you able to fire your weapon properly when you had shell shock?
Was a what?
Were you able to fire your weapon properly when you had shell shock?
Able to what?
Were you able to fire


your weapon properly
When you had shell shock? If you were shaking so much?
Yes. Oh yes you could fire well enough. It's only a second to fire, took you a second to fire a gun.


let's talk a bit more about life in the trenches at Pozieres. Actually we'll go onto that on the next tape because we've just finished a tape.
Interviewee: Marcel Caux Archive ID 0502 Tape 04


So Marc
Can you describe to me what life was like in the trenches?
It was quite nice really. Long as the weather's warm. The weather's fine. Very pleasant. Can be very unpleasant too.


Would you sleep in the trenches?
Oh yes. Oh yes. Oh yes. Quite quite nice. Oh yes. That's all you want. Long as you're warm.


What were you wearing for a uniform?
Just pants and trousers. Flannel shirt. Nothing special.
How did you keep warm in the winter?
Overcoat. An


overcoat. Sometimes we used to just tin cans and drink and burn charcoal. Used to burn without fire. Burn without fire and flame. Very nice flame.


Very nice flame.
What was that Marc?
Burn under cover. Burn under cloak (UNCLEAR)roof. Burn


charcoal under roof.
What was that?
Burn under roof. Burn under a roof. Canvas roof charcoal.
And that would keep you warm?
Mm. Oh yes.
Could you describe the conditions when winter


Very cold that's all. Very cold. More clothes on, that's all. Yeah. I could use usually get warm


in the trenches, clever with charcoal. Nice heat. Nice white heat. Mm.
What other equipment did you carry with you?
What's that which?
What other equipment did you carry with you?
That's all.


Things to keep you warm and clothing and glass and birth things.
What was that?
Blasting birth things you know your clothes, and


Corsican ah petticoats. They'll keep you warm our sections.


Was that petticoats?
Mm. Mm.
Do you mean as in a lady's petticoat?
Mm. No it's any clothing is all five or six don't need a lady's petticoat but plenty of clothes petticoat without ladies.
So whatever clothes you could get your hands


on you'd wear?
Yes (UNCLEAR) things yeah. They were very, very warming and they're readily available too.
Did you ever see men trapped in the mud?
Shot in the mouth?
No. Did you ever


see men trapped in the mud when it was raining in
Oh yes. Oh yes. Some of them the mud was permanent you know it was always there, always permanent.
The mud?
Yes it's always there.


Where the (UNCLEAR) fields where the huts were and you had to bathe through them you know. The water was… well the mud was thick you had to go through them. There were some instances there of mud was


hip deep but you had to get through it.
What would happen to the men that were trapped in the mud?
Oh no one ever got trapped there. They would have died perished of course if they got trapped in the mud they were there permanently. Not much chance of getting out of it.


So you would have to wade through…. often you would have to wade through mud that was waist deep when you were in the trenches?
Yes. Occasionally mm.
Did it ever snow?


now and again. Yeah.
What would what would be the effect of the snow?
Just the ordinary things. Just snow.
It'd melt mud in time.
How did you keep dry?


Oh leather, rubber overcoats and rubber things. Rubber things. Half rubber half dry overcoats.
Marc what happened to you after you left Pozieres?


I went north for a rest and then continued again. Into Belgium for a rest.
What did you do in Belgium?
Whereabouts did you rest?
Over Pozieres ah at Ypres. Ypres. Yes.
Was that a hospital?


a town.
Can you describe the town to me?
Is what is the what?
Describe the town to me.
Well Belgium was very, very loyal to the Union. Even today it sounds the last post at five o'clock every day.


There's no other town in the world does that.
And when you say you rested there,


when you say you rested there in Belgium what did you do?
Just rested. Took in the crows nest didn't go to any…. didn't make any offensives (UNCLEAR) with the enemies or (UNCLEAR).
Were you in a camp there?
I was in


I was in town yeah.
You were in the town were you?
Where did you stay?
Oh in the camp. It was a big hospital, big camp up there yeah.


Did you get to interact with the locals?
Any which?
Did you interact with the locals in Belgium when you were resting?
No. Interrupted. Interrupt them.
You would interrupt them?
No no. We didn't want to interrupt them.
Did you get a chance to speak to any of the Belgian


No. No didn't…. the Belgian girls didn't want to see me.
Why not?
I don't know. Rather not.
Were the Belgians friendly towards the Australians?
Yeah yeah.


were they friendly to the Australians?
Oh just friendly that's all. Friendly.
What did you do for entertainment there?
I don't think we did anything. Didn't need entertainment. They


They made all our own concerts. We'd have our own concerts, have our own sections.
What would happen at these concerts?
Oh just local talent. Sing songs or play piano or violins or something.
What sort of songs


would you sing?
What's the what?
What sort of songs would you sing?
Oh songs local songs.
Can you remember any of them?
Yes. “Will you remember when the rose bloom again.” Lot of English


songs were very popular, records and after shows in England there, England shows, Noah Post yeah. Yes he plays everything like that. “Rose bloom when you”….. yeah oh yeah


yes very clever, very popular songs.
What was your favourite song?
Oh couldn't say. Oh a lot of favourites.
What was one of your favourites?
What was one of your favourites?
Ah “When The Roses Bloom


How does that go?
Ah I can't keep to the tune. I can't keep to the tune.


Could you try for us?
Which one was it?
The song?
Which one was it? Which one was it?
When roses bloom again.
Oh. It's very hard to pick a song out of the air and….
When roses bloom again.


It must have been very important to have this rest time in Belgium?
Yes. Yeah very important.
How important was it


for you to have this rest time in Belgium
Very important.
In what ways was it important?
Well there was no shells going on. There was music, songs, everything was clean and they, everyone looked after us


What was that?
Everyone looks after themselves and took care of themselves.
Could you describe the place where you were staying in Belgium?
Oh I got no idea. Yeah a hospital hut probably.


Hut with a round roof and waterproof sides.
So getting back to those concerts that you used to have.
The which?
Getting back to the concerts
That you used to have at Belgium when you were resting.
What else would happen at the concerts?


Oh sing songs and I don't know exactly what was happening. They sang the songs. I don't remember everything. They ….same again same again. Just


sing the songs that's all. That's all.
Were you able to relax with a beer or two?
Ah very seldom there. Very seldom.
So Marc where did you go after Belgium? What happened next?
Back to France.


Back to France again.
Whereabouts were you this time?
Oh back to France oh back to Fatima


oh church hall there….
What was that Marc?
A restaurant there. Had to share the…. There was always


waiting time. There was always a waiting list.
What was that?
Always a waiting list.
A waiting list for what?
There for the fair.
For the fair?
What sort of fair was that?


A rest. Fair was a (UNCLEAR) waiting on the list, waiting on mainly because of energy and time to go home
So there was a waiting list
There was a waiting list.
To go home?
Always a waiting list.
So you put your name down on the waiting list to go home?
No no no. Can't do that. No. Can't do that. Mm. You can't go home when you want to.
Did you want to go home?
I did,


Why did you want to go home?
I didn't like it. Yeah didn't like it at all.
Did you expect war to be like it was?
No, no.
What did what did you expect war to be


before you left?
Mm. Oh I expected it to be a bit different to that.
What was that Marc?
I expected it to be a little different other than that. Very exceptional. Very, very exceptional.


So war was obviously a lot different to what you expected it to be?
Yes, very different mm.
So getting back to Belgium where you were resting, where did you go after Belgium?
To France first (UNCLEAR) went to (UNCLEAR).


Was that Hangard Wood?
Oh no. Hangard was over. I remember I had to go to… go to yes. Had to


go to hospital there because of the hospital.
This is at Hangard Wood?
Marc, did anything happen to you between Belgium and Hangard Wood?
So what happened when you arrived at Hangard Wood?


Could you describe what you saw when you arrived at Hangard Wood?
I saw a barren place. Hardly a flower in the field. No woman there and no men.


I yeah didn't mean that. There was no women there. There was no more women there. I went to the hospital there but I went to the hospital from there.
What took place at Hangard Wood?
What took part? That was the attack.


An attack.
What happened during that attack?
Mm. Mm. I was wounded.


What was that Marc?
I was wounded I was wounded in the elbow. I told you before.
I was wounded in the elbow.
Yes you did tell us before.
You did I remember now but just so that we can get it clear for the record,


we know that you were wounded at Hangard Wood, but what we want to know now is how that happened?
How did what?
What we want to know now, we know that you were wounded at Hangard Wood, but Graham and I want to know now how that happened? What was the….
The attack. There was an attack there. We were attacking


and they were……..our attack so retaliated and shot us, that's all. It was part of the business.
How long did the attack last for?
I don't know. I was wounded after half an hour or so. Only about an hour in.


As soon as I was wounded I went they lifted me, then up over shattered and the elbow was gone. It did returned to its normal but it took time to do for that.


So when you got wounded who helped you?
Several shock merchants. Merchant shell shockers. Shell shockers.


So could you just could you just say that again Marc. I missed that.
Who helped you when you were wounded?
Shell shockers. Shell shockers. They're all there. They're there all the time.
The shell shockers?
Who were the shell shockers?
Shell shockers. People from hospital to attend the wounds.


And how did how did they help you?
They helped me up. Dressed my wounds and took me away to the field station and we were in the clear. I was in the clear then.
And then I went to the hospital.


How much pain were you in at that point?
Oh there wasn't much pain but the inconvenience.
So what happened next after you went to the hospital?
Nothing happened.


Did you go back to the front line again after you were well again?
Oh after some months. Yeah. After some months, yes. Went back to the big event then.
The big event?
Did you just say the big event?
Yes. Yes.
What was the big event?


The final conditions of the Battle of the Somme.
I know you talked a bit about this with Graham before but we want to go into more detail about what happened to you there at the Battle of the Somme
At where?
Can you describe to us what happened there?
At the Battle of the Somme.
I don't know


what happened there. I was shot in the first few minutes. Mm. I was shot I, was I was finished for forever.


Well we might take a break now. We'll take a break
And then Graham's going to take over on the next tape, okay?
Marc, you said you always liked adventure.
What sort of adventure did you think the war would be?
Yeah. I had no idea. I didn't have no idea.
What did you hope
What did you


hope that the war would be like?
Oh something like the comic books. Riding over the plains shooting off now and again.
Were you
Thought I'd get a horse and join them.
So you thought it would be like cowboys and Indians?
Yes. Yes.
Had you been keen on


comic books when you were young?
No I wasn't very keen on anything thing when I was young, no.
So before you went to France, how much did you know about the Germans?
Nothing. I didn't know anything.
Right and I wanted to ask you one other thing about your journey over there.


Did you stop at Alexandria on your way to France?
What do you remember about Alexandria?
Nothing at all?
I thought nothing I did nothing (UNCLEAR) Alexandria was a


was a looked like a black (UNCLEAR) put up with the hardship across the Mediterranean and that was it.
Right. Okay. Now just moving back to your rest and recreation leave in Belgium, you were staying in the township of Ypres were you?
What can you remember about Ypres?


It was a big village. There was a big pool there and they were mining a hole underneath and they were British were a bit ahead of the Germans and the Germans were a little bit behind


and the British were in front and then one day they let it off and they made a tremendous noise a tremendous hole. Great hole there. A great hole.
Were you there on….
Yeah I was there


I was yes when it happened. Yes.
What was the cause of the big noise?
Mine. Mine were going up. A couple of mines.
This was these were mines that had been planted in the field were they?
Ah right, now this the British I think had planted the mines hadn't they?


what happened to the Germans when they got to the place where the mines were?
They went home.
Was this the occasion when the Germans went and occupied a part of a ridge I think or a hill
When they arrived there the explosions happened.
Yeah. How far away were you when this happened?
I was I was there.


At the mine the I was a passenger there. Close.
You were close?
How close were you to the mines?
Well I don't know. Very close.
The placement, the post where it was


wasn't enough to stop the mine it was) going to go, went off just the same.
And what did you actually see happen?
Through the hole the pole bright red as far as you could look as though you know.
Sorry I can't quite


I can't quite hear that Marc. Could you just could you just explain that again?
I had to wait and see what happens with the hole 'cause that was that was it was, travelling so fast it was travelling fast I forget now what actually happened with travelling hole the


mining was so intense.
Did this happen just after you'd been to Belgium?
So this was the next place you went to?
Yes, yeah. Yeah.
After were you injured at all when the mine went off?
Yes, I was in there.
You were there.
But did you suffer any loss to your hearing as a result of that explosion?
No not at all. Not at all.


Were there ever times where the noise of battle was so loud that you lost your hearing?
No. Just part of hearing. Just today I think it's part of old age I think.
Right and after you'd after you'd seen these mines go off


how many Germans were injured?
How were the what?
What happened after the mines went off? What was the scene afterwards?
I don't know. I don't know what happened after that. I don't know…. Germans mashed underneath and cause a (UNCLEAR) there. Yeah.
How many mines were there?
Well there was two mines. There was


And what was their size?
They just blew it up.
Yeah. Marc, we're going to take another short break
Because we have to change the tape.
Interviewee: Marcel Caux Archive ID 0502 Tape 05


Ah Marc after the mine explosions at Ypres where did you go after that?
We stopped there.
You stopped there did you?
Yeah. I don't know.
For how long did you stop there?
I stopped there for a long while.
Ah was it were you there for many months?
I don't know. Don't remember.


Don't remember. I don't remember. I got no idea.
So where were some of the other places that you went in the next two years? Because there are two years between 1916 and 1918
When you finally left France. What were some of the other places you went to?
Ah went to


Ah, we went to Brest and different places I went to.
So you went, sorry you went to Brest?
And what was


the next place you went to?
That was next
And after Rouen
I went to ah Hangard


Oh yes the Woods that you told us about before?
Yes, Hangard Wood?
And that was that was the site of the second wounding?
Now the site of the third wounding in August 1918
Was was that also in Hangard Wood?
No no that was Villers Bretonneux.
Ah Villers Bretonneux, right.


I'll just I'll just ask you a few questions. When you went to Brest, what happened to you there?
I was in hospital there they put me in one of the ah transports and I came to Rouen.
And at Rouen what happened?
When you
I shouldn’t have been there (UNCLEAR)in Brest


for a time anyway. It's way over the other side of France you know. The other side of France.
How did you travel there?


Was this a regular troop train?
No. . No not a regular troop train, no. Local train.
Once you arrived in Rouen, what happened?
Ah, I was waitin' for a train to some place I forget now. Anyway I went from there I went


to Hangard Wood.
'Cause I went from there to Hangard Wood, yeah. That's right.
And for how long were you at Hangard Wood?
Oh we got there overnight. We tried going down by the omnibus and ah the next morning the attack. We had the attack next morning.


We were only there over overnight that's all. They covered all those troops overnight and away they went. Overnight, yes.
Now when you were in Rouen did you see any action in


No no.
That was just a transit place for you was it?
No action in Rouen. There was no action there.
So in….
On the coast.
That was on the coast, right. So where would you have spent the longest period of time during your time in France? What area or what town were would that have been?
Oh god knows.
Would that have been Hangard Wood?


I was only there overnight.
Yeah. Okay let's talk about Villers Bretonneux. That followed Hangard Wood, didn't it?
What happened to you at Villers Bretonneaux?
The attack. The attack occurred.
Can you tell us about that attack?
Can you tell us about that attack?


only I was attacked, that's all I was put out of action by it.
Oh okay
I was put out of action by it.
This was when the third attack occurred?
The third injury? Right.
Oh so we've got we've got the sequence of events.
Okay. Now at the time that you were wounded for the third time did it seem to you that the war was coming to an end anyway?
No no. I didn't think it was ever


ending. No no.
Why did you think it would never end?
Oh I was the way it dragged on. I was waiting for other people to, other things to happen. Happen to other things all the time. Waiting.
What did you do when you were waiting?


I continued the war. Six months six that's all six, yeah twenty months we was there.
Marc I'm not


sure what you're talking about here. Could you could you
How many months. How many months we were there in (UNCLEAR)
Well okay
Between your injury and the end of the war
Was only about three months.
Yeah, yeah.
Yes the
So it was very very close?


We opened up a second war January. It was out of my distance.
Marc I can't


hear what you're saying here. Could you just explain
What you're trying to say?
I was ready for the for the first war to end when the third war opened up and I couldn't get enough energy enough to ah open up interest in it so I kept on hoping and kept on awaiting there and I was


opened up and so on and I thought at last it was gonna end but it didn't. (UNCLEAR)


So you spent a long time waiting for the war to end?
Yes, yes.
I don't want to any answer any more questions. I've had it. I've had had enough.
Okay. I can see you I can see you're very tired. .
Okay. Alright we'll turn off the camera.


End of tape


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