Volume:4, Issue: 3

Dec. 15, 2012

Articles by #getArticle.ind_name#
Reading History: Hedgehogs and Foxes
Roden, William J. [about]
Hughie said our WWI American Doughboys arrived in France carrying broomsticks. I was nine or ten and he – an Irish veteran of the Great War. He fought in a decorated British unit, the Royal Irish Rifles, a regiment with a history going back several hundred years and still in action abroad. Born in Ireland in 1896, Hughie was a welder who worked on the construction of the Lusitania and witnessed Harry Houdini being locked in a sealed container and dropped over a bridge in his hometown of Belfast. As an infantryman, young Hugh saw the German war ace, nicknamed the Red Baron, in his bright red, tri-winged fighter plane with his Flying Circus while Hugh hid under a shattered tank. He said he always knew when a soldier was dying when he asked for a cigarette. I grew up with a somewhat skewed view of this small part of history. There was no discussion about general or global causes of the War, just Hughie’s resentment that the Americans arrived two years too late with substandard weapons. His unit had been up to their knees in mud in France since 1914. We did not get there until two years later.

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