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Harrison Commanding Officer

Blunden's Commanding Officer, Col. G Hyde Harrison

Blunden's War - Part 10: Big Game Hunting

07/08/2016

Now in late July, Blunden has a gem of a scene when he first meets his new Commanding Officer, Col. G Hyde Harrison (1878 - 1964). Back in their old trenches east of Festubert, Blunden - for something to do - resolves to cross over to 'the Islands' just before no man's land, to see if they could be reached in daylight. Despite the real dangers he manages it, taking chloride of lime and news. He returns with old rifles, helmets and unexploded German bombs.

"Our colonel, Harrison, who followed me in the daylight route to the Islands, met me after such an occasion, frightening me greatly. He looked at my collection and asked: 'been big game hunting?' but I was tongue-tied as I had been once in Richebourg village where he, notebook in hand in the heat of both the sun and my apprehension, stopped me as I led my platoon out and asked which post I had been holding. Port Arthur would not come; I stood striving for speech; he smiled, and I ruefully asked my nearest man."

Harrison clearly saw something special in this young second lieutenant; both he, the battalion and Blunden were due imminently to go 'South' - to the Somme - and steel helmets had been issued to all. "If we were doomed to go, we thought' we were, and we pressed no further. No one seemed to have any mental sight or smell of that vast battle; and it was undoubtedly better so."





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