The Spike or Victoria University College Review June 1918
Letter from Hubert H. Daniell, 17.4.1917
To the Editor, "Spike."
Dear "Spike,"—Just a line to thank you for your last issue, which I received about a month ago. Shortly after receiving it I had a brief but not uninteresting meeting with the wily Hun, since then I have been in the land of the V.A.D., seemingly as a semi-permanent picture.
Poor old Dan Bowler went West the day I was hit, and Karl Strack about a week before.
They broke my leg rather successfully, so since then I have been out of the game. Previous to that we had a busy time round the battle area, helping to make history and trying to dodge bombs.
Dodging bombs is a thing to which much interest attaches—for in that lies the difference between the quick and the dead. We listen with envy to the tales of fellows back from leave who have acted the gallant hero to fainting maidens and the like. One of our fellows who happens to have one or two bits of ribbon on his coat tells us that he was at a dance when the Gothas came one night. One or two of the Cuthberts suffered from the wind vertical; this chap swears he was quite cool and all the girls in room rushed him for protection. He had to deliver lectures on bombs till the raid was over. This story may be true, but———
Our own method of meeting these attacks is different. If Fritz comes over with bombs in the daylight your dignity stays where it is, while the rest of you takes a flying leap into the nearest or best hole. Bombs have a sound peculiarly of their own—the best place to hear them from, being with your ear to the ground and the rest of you in line. In wet weather one usually stands up for the first shot, but not if it's near.
We were living in tents in this area—this being considered more picturesque—but we had a nice earth-bank all round the sides. The arrival of an aeroplane at night is heralded by three whistles, when every light for miles around goes out, and if he's visiting you, you lie down flat on the floor. Next morning you rise, count the holes in your tent, and then go and swap lies with your neighbors.
Curiosity is a bad thing here. A new arrival got up to look at the planes one night, and we buried him next day.
I have seen only one bomb burst near me—this was not my fault as I was searching for a better 'ole at the time. I heard the next one, but did not see it—having found the hole.
Father Barclay arrived here the other day—I felt as if I hadn't done my Latin when I saw him. I remember he used to be considered a very useful member of society—or at any rate of the Latin class.
By the way, I was in Paris last August—ah! but I forgot "The Spike" is still a family magazine, so I will close with best wishes and a discreet tongue.—Yours sincerely,
Hubert H. Daniell
* * * *