The Road to the Ellen

Theodore W. Sery

Company C, 329th Engineer Battalion

February 25, 1945. We had to go out at 12 o'clock tonight again. Oh! wouldn't they ever let us rest? I was weary. We went forward to Arnoldsweiler. The infantry had just shoved off from this town to take the town of Ellen two miles forward. 0rders were to check the road for mines and to use the two-man saw I was given remove trees the Jerries had felled across the road. We didn't get back until 6 a. and boy, what a night it was! I know there were no antipersonnel mines in the vicinity because we walked, ran and ducked all over those two miles to Ellen, both on t road and in the fields to the sides. There also wasn't a single tree to be found along that

We were held up at first, but proceeded behind a company of infantrymen who were going to reinforce those at Ellen. Reports were that our men at Ellen ran out ammo. Well, we could only check the road by observation as it was impossible to use the mine detector over such a great distance in so short a time before daylight. The air was continually filled with the din of our big guns. The Jerries weren't throwing much back, but they had planes up and I lost track of the number of times the bombed that road and other spots nearby. On this night I really gained a fear bombs.

Our Sgt. Kamrowski with Miller, Ponzevic, Siauski, Lubello and I were following the infantry but it was not easy to see them up ahead in the dark. So we did not take a left fork in the road and kept going along, thinking that they were still in front us. We came to within about fifty yards of some burning trees in front of Ellen wh a Jerry machine gun opened fire on us. A Panzer tank on the side of a house near the trees opened up on us too. We hit the dirt. Wow! they had real low grazing fire. Then a German soldier stood up and brazenly showed himself about twenty yards away and yelled to us "comrade come here, comrade come here." He was perfect silhouetted by the burning trees behind him. He repeated his call to us trying make us reveal our position. That tank only needed to know exactly where we were The English and German words sound exactly the same for "come here", but the Jerry, if he thought he could fool us with "comrade", was totally off base. I pray( that the tank still couldn't see us. Oh! that grazing fire of their machin gunner was perfect. It was really low.

As it was I had crawled into a shell hole and managed to get Karnrowski and Miller in with me. Kamrowski told us not to shoot unless he gave the word. We had the German with his ankle length overcoat in our sights and we could have killed him easy, but we didn't. Kamy got each of us to crawl back one by one until all six were far enough back and then we took off running.

We got out of it OK, but about four hundred yards back we found a couple of wounded GIs. One had been hit in his belly by that machine gun and the other, medic, in the arm. Livingston was there caring for them, but sadly, the GI shot in  the stomach didn't make it. In our own group we were fortunate, the only thing the we lost was the two-man saw.

Me and the ME-262

George Lombardi

Battery B, 387th Field Artillery Battalion

This one happened at the coal mine located just east of the town of Weisweiler One bright sunny afternoon, we were standing by our guns as usual. I am getting ahead of the story, let me backtrack a bit. Every time we moved to a new position the 5th Section would come and place a 50 cal. machine gun on our left flank. just the gun, but no one to man it. Back to the sunny afternoon. Suddenly we hear strange sound coming from towards the town. We all turn around and we see the German plane flying at rooftop level that turned out to be an ME-262. It was ti first jet plane we ever saw. It passed the town and started -to make a wide sweeping right turn
and when it got even with the Battery, we knew he was going to attack because it made another right turn and came in at right angles to our guns.

Everybody dove for cover, but 1, trying to play the hero ran to the 50. As he w coming, I knew that his guns were blazing because I could see his 20s kicking up mu from the ground. I waited until he was in range before I fired, I knew that I couldn't miss as he was coming head on and about 50 feet altitude. I squeezed the trigger an it only fired one shot. I then knew I had a defective gun, so I rammed in another shell by hand and fired again and did the same thing with the third shell. Later t gun was inspected, and it was found the long recoil spring was missing. Just as fired a 20 MM shell slammed into the dirt one inch from my right foot. I saw the and said "To hell with this hero stuff" and dived for cover also. But, that was n necessary because he made a sharp left turn and headed for the German lines.

I like to believe I hit him at least once because of the fact that he did break off t attack and never got past the first gun. Everyone was laughing at my heroics, little did they know that I possibly saved some lives that day. I sent down a rifle clean through the shell hole and found that it lay about two feet below the surface. I dug up that 20 MM and found that it was an Armor Piercing variety. He meant to do lot of damage to our guns and he could not have missed, as the Battery was in a straight line. So much for being a hero.                                       

G Company's First Assigned Front Line Duty

Bob Bilinsky

Company G, 414th Infantry Regiment

We were standing on the outskirts of one of those seemingly nameless little farm hamlets that dot the Belgium/Holland countryside. Although our immediate surroundings seemed peaceful enough, an occasional artillery explosion off in the distance contributed to a bit of uneasiness among us. The overcast sky didn't help matters much either since it seemed to further increase the concern of what may lie ahead for G Company. Yes, a feeling of uneasiness prevailed and for good reason ... we were preparing to move into our first-ever front-line positions. None of us knew exactly what to expect. Were the 'front-lines' something like the trench-warfare of WWI, or would it be more like the 'gung-ho' warfare depicted by the John Wayne movies. We
would soon know since the 104th Inf. Division Hqs had directed us to replace a Scottish unit that had been holding front-line positions for an extended period of time. As we prepared to move into those positions we tried our best to hide those uneasy feelings. Ammunition was checked and re-checked and so was the M-1 rifle, grenades and backpacks. As a rifleman in the 2nd platoon of G Company I was acutely aware of an enormous change in the prevailing attitude of our platoon. Conversation was hushed, efforts were made to avoid noise. Even the order to move out was given in an uncharacteristic "o.k. let's move our men." The command, if it could be called that, was given in a hushed manner and completely counter to what the 2nd platoon had become accustomed to back in Camp Carson. Circling around a peaceful looking farmhouse, G Company moved onto a dirt lane and then out into an open area which seemed to stretch forever towards what we assumed to be the German positions. Yes, we expected gunfire to erupt at any minute but thus far, German guns remained silent. Each member of the Scottish unit was glad to see us and eagerly hopped out of their foxholes. As each Scot abandoned a foxhole, G Company riflemen, like squirrels sensing danger, quickly scampered to
its safety. From our hunkered down positions we watched, with a certain amount of envy, the departing Scottish unit assemble in that dirt lane. Some of us were amazed at the complete disdain they seemed to have for the fact that they presented an easy target for German gunfire! Suddenly it happened! The silence was shattered! Not by gunfire but by the loud strains of the Scottish bagpiper as the unit marched away in a swaying but perfect cadence to the pulsating beat of the music. And, at that moment the thoughts of war, and perhaps imminent enemy gunfire, diminished as we listened to the delightful bagpipe sounds that echoed about us. More than a few of us smiled in appreciation of the moment. Today, when thinking back to our initial introduction to front line duty, the members of G Company perhaps owe that bagpiper a "Thank You" for helping us lose just a little of the nervous edge we has built up on our first assignment to front line duty. It Was Almost by Jess (Doc) Rogers Co. A, 1st Battalion 413th Medics The columns of war experiences and a recent letter have recalled to my mind a harrowing incident which I will never forget. It was an almost. Fr. Doyle, our chaplain recalled the event in a recent letter. He wrote, "I always thank the good Lord when we reflect how close we were in being numbered among the missing. God is good." The incident occurred during our drive, that is the First Battalion's from Aachen to the Inden River, in a courtyard of a farm house near the town of Durwis. The First Battalion suffered its greatest casualties of the war in this area. This is where I met Fr. Doyle. He was picking up dead bodies and I was assisting the wounded. While we so
employed suddenly all hell broke loose. Mortar shells began dropping around us. Assuredly we sought the nearest shelter ... fortunately an old tool shed with a rock foundation was near by and into it we scrambled. We huddled on the floor in a corner and listened as the mortar shells and the shrapnel fell all around us. If one mortar shell had found its way inside that sheltering tool shed this little war experience would not be written. I was praying that Fr. Doyle would use
his good name and deeds and get me into heaven with him. After seemingly an eternity, actually about fifteen minutes, the shelling stopped. Composure took time but thankfully we waited. After a restful and thanks again and again to the good Lord we resumed our tasks, Fr. Doyle and his work of mercy, and mine, the wounded. When I first met Fr. Doyle later at a reunion recalling the incident and our closeness to oblivion I said to him, you might forget many of the soldiers, but that he would not forget me ... he said, "How true!"


Carl Alette

Hq Company, 2nd Bn, 414th Infantry Regiment

The following letter was sent to Carl Alette's wife who, in turn gave it to a Knoxville, Tennessee newspaper which published it in 1945.

The evening I received the package looked as though it would be a pleasant one. Our outfit had gone into a certain town, (Thirland) picked up some good houses and settled down for a good nights sleep. Mail was distributed and we were in good spirits as we posted our guard and lay
down on sofas, beds and mattresses to sleep. A few hours before dawn, (April 16,'45) though, the picture changed radically; we were awakened by our guards in a big hurry. Shooting was going on all over the small village. There was not only rifle and machine gun fire, but also bazooka fire which made some heavy explosions and sent many many fragments of glowing hot metal far up into the air. Most terrifying, however, was the sound of German voices shouting out orders, yelling for their medics, and giving the locations of Americans. It was what I often thought about and feared; a real and close tangle with the Germans at night, with the Germans attacking. Fortunately, our platoon was in a house on the other end of town from the end which was attacked first, so we had time to get a man at every window and door and to man our light machine gun. Until dawn we just fired at gun Hashes about 150 to 200 yards away and at what
dim shadows running in the dark and yelling in German. Near the beginning it became apparent that we were surrounded on three sides, and some of us made an experimental attempt to get through and out of town on the fourth side, only to meet machine gun fire. That, plus report
that American tanks would come to rescue us at dawn, made us hold as long as possible. Just before dawn the firing subsided almost entirely. I had a pair of German field glasses, so I went from window to window and cautiously scanned the scene to see what I could to tell me who had the mastery of the village. I saw quite a few German soldiers but not a single American. Furthermore, the Germans were walking about from place to place in a way that told us they had possession of the town -they weren't hiding or ducking at every sound. At that time we could have shot a lot of Germans, but we kept quiet for fear that in case we had to surrender they might shoot us out of anger. We decided to keep quiet and wait for our tanks and infantry to retake the town. But the Germans came to clean out our house first. It was certainly a tense interval as they came toward us. Some more belligerent men in our platoon wanted to shoot, but we quieted them down. It probably would have meant death to all of us to fight it out, surrounded with no grenades and no bazooka. Besides, the Germans had captured an American tank that could have easily have blasted the house down. We could hear them backing it up and
maneuvering the tank all over the place. Since I could speak some German I yelled from the house, "We surrender!" As an answer a grenade exploded in one room of the house. I yelled again as loud as I could, but more grenades came in. Finally, I poked my head out the door and waved a white flag. In a couple seconds a German soldier came running around the corner of the house and pointed his gun at me. I've never felt quite like I did then. The fact that they had thrown grenades into the house even after my shouting we surrender made all of us uncertain whether they would take prisoners or just shoot us all. They were hardly in a position to take prisoners. Their attack was in the nature of a suicidal raid to gain time, and they never could have taken us to their rear. In poking my head out and waving a white cloth I was acting as sort of a guinea pig for the platoon to find out whether or not the Germans would take prisoners. Well, they were willing to take us, which is one reason you still have a husband. The German, with his gun pointed at me, told me to get the rest of the men out of the house. We lined up in front of the house, were searched briefly and quickly, and marched through town with our hands up ... just as we had so often seen and marched German prisoners. On the whole they treated us well. They were regular army troops, not SS, very young and rather fed up with the war. They took us to a cellar when American shells began coming in. There we sat, cramped up all day long, while American shells pounded the town and American troops attacked. They had nothing to feed us, but they did bring us water and milk. One of the soldiers guarding us said that when the Americans came back he'd give us his gun and become our prisoner. All day long we sat cramped in the cellar being pounded by our own shells and listening to machine gun fights in the town. And it all sounded sweet to us, for it meant deliverance. What we hated were the silent periods when the machine guns would stop and the town would still be in German hands. Finally, night was near, and we knew the Germans would try to march us to the rear unless the Americans would take the town soon. I began to give up hope and resign myself to the fate of a prisoner; little food, much marching day and night, continual discomfort, etc. But the thoughts disappeared as I fell asleep. It was about 9 a.m. and it took me some time to realize that we were free; that American soldiers had won the town. What a feeling that was; to be free after such an experience and after giving up hope. That night the outfit that took the town used us as outposts, as they expected another attack by the Germans. It was strange, but I hardly minded that risky business after a day as a prisoner. The next morning I returned to the house where we had been captured and tried to get my weapon, helmet, pistol, etc. Much to my surprise, I found everything just as I had left it. The Germans had looted nothing - not even the choice contents of your package which I had opened the night of the attack. There was one exception; my German
field glasses. However, I didn't mind that loss especially when I found in the town a good pistol and a Tommy gun, a very lethal weapon, instead of the carbine. It fires automatically like a machine gun. Before we prisoners of war left town I witnessed a little retribution against an erring civilian. The civilians had attacked foolishly during and after the attack. Not only did they cheer their soldiers and praise them as they brought us in as prisoners, but they made the fatal error of participating in the fight and giving the location of Americans to their soldiers. Because of this participation by civilians, one of our colonels said he'd burn the town down with artillery. A good part of it did burn down. One fire, however, was not caused by artillery. This was the house of the burgomeister which was burned down by a man from my company. The burgomeister had assisted the German troops to the extent of giving them weapons he had hidden, pointing out where Americans were, and fighting with revolver and hand grenades. So this one soldier, who had been ousted from a cellar by the burgomeister burned down his house.
Then he found the burgomeister and shot him down right beside the burning house. The shooting was rather a cold-blooded affair, and I would have hated to do it, but it was just penalty for a civilian who had fought without putting on a uniform, using the protection of civilian clothing in such a treacherous way. I'm sure other civilians won't try acts of violence against American soldiers after what happened to their mayor. Such was the story of a town I won't forget - an ugly, burned out town that I think of with something of a shudder. Only a handful of German soldiers got out of that town alive and went back to their own lines. An interesting sequel to all this was recently our battalion captured some prisoners and among them was a young blond
German whom I recognized as I marched them back to battalion headquarters. He was one of the Germans who had captured and guarded us at this town I've been telling you about. I spoke to him for awhile about how the tables were turned. It all seemed like something out of a story, but it was real.

One Woman's Bravery

Ralph M. Wheat

Company A, 413th Infantry Regiment

Early in November, 1944, the 104th Division was attached to the Canadian First Army, British Second Corps. I was in command of C Co., 413th Infantry, 3rd Platoon. We were engaged in the action to reach the Maas Estuary and had stopped at a farm house to use as a command post until we received orders to proceed. One of my sergeants was proficient in several of the languages in that area and in conversation with the inhabitants of the house was told about the Germans having laid a mine field across the area that we would be taking when we left. There was a young lady living there (as I remember it, she was probably in her mid twenties) and she volunteered the information that she had seen the Germans when they put the mines down and she would lead us across the field. I told her I appreciated her offer but since I did not know
whether she was sincere or perhaps. a Nazi sympathizer, that I would leave one of my sergeants there with instructions to kill all her family if I had not sent a man back to get him within the allotted time. Even with that threat, she agreed. That evening when it was time to leave, she was at the head of the column. As we crossed the field, we came under some small arms fire and she dropped to the ground as quickly as my men and we crossed without any injuries. I did not get her name but have thought many times of her brave action.

Problems In Command

George Lombardi

Battery B, 387th Field Artillery Battalion

General Boudenot, commander of the task force to which our Battalion was, attached, ordered the infantry to attack the Mulde River and an island in mid afternoon without any support from the Air Force, artillery or mortars to be. the attack. Because this plan was completely unethical and would mean the slaughter of our men, the company commanders refused to move their men at the appointed time. General Boudenot came to 2nd Bn headquarters of the 414th and threatened court- martial the entire battalion. Major Mehlhop pointed out to the general that his order violated all infantry tactics, that artillery had not arrived, that the were no mortars for support, and planes available to bomb the area before at during the attack. The general stormed out of the Bn CP in a rage. About an hour later I telephoned Major Mehlhop to come to his CP and on his arrival there the general offered him a cigarette and asked how he would attack across the river. Later that afternoon a squadron of planes strafed and bombed the island across the canal. In the meantime, some large mortars began to give us some support. At 2200 hours they laid down a barrage on the island and our infantrymen began their crossing. By mid-day the following day it was secured by our men. Because of the preliminary bombing and mortar barrages most of the enemy had already withdrawn. Everything worked out according to Major Mehlhop plan; the general was happy as well as the GI's who had thought they would have had to make a delight attack without support or to have been court-martialed.

Baptism Without Fire!

Fred Bell

Company D, 414th Infantry

One night in late November 1944, 1st Bn., 414th Infantry had occupied Inden. Word came down to get ready for the attack on Pier the next day. Dan Massaria came over to our building where we had our guns set up and told me there were two replacements back at the C.P. and being that I was the new squad leader, I should go get them. I walked across this German footbridge and made my way back to the C.P Waiting there were two guys looking scared to death. Believe me, they were in good company, as that made three of us. One fellow by the name of Halloran, from Chicago, age about 39 and was, T-3. The other one was a young kid about 18-19 and I don't remember his name As we start back to the location of my squad
we arrived at the foot bridge, With the night being extremely dark, I took the kids right hand and put it on the right handrail, and instructed him to do the same for Halloran. Just being a new squad leader, I probably should have sent him across and waited for Halloran to see that he was able to cross. I made it across the footbridge, the kid was right behind me, and then there was this huge splash in the Inde River. Looking down, there is Halloran standing shoulder deep in the
water. God only knows how it happened, but since I was in charge, I got in and got him out. Although the Inde River was not extremely deep or wide, it was extremely cold. Halloran said that his "Baptism without fire" occurred just three weeks to the day since he left home in Chicago.

Captured Across The Mark River

George Roxandich

Company B, 415th Infantry Regiment

This is my remembrance of the crossing of the Mark River on the 29th of October 1944. After our company had moved and dug our foxholes a couple of times on the 28th, we were marching to a new position. While marching, we were given a number of a boat and were told that this would be our boat. Since we could not see any water around, naturally, this caused quite a lot of confusion in the ranks. We finally did arrived at a field that had a lot of large row boats laying on both sides of the field. We picked up our numbered boat and started walking with it. About
eight to a boat. It wasn't until we started to get sniper fire that we realized we were going to make a river crossing under fire. We crossed the river without too much fire. The company held up a short time on the bank of the river, and then we went up over the road toward a farm house that was at the side of a road that was perpendicular to the road we crossed. I went past the house and dug a foxhole across the ditch. I was in the ditch a short time later relieving myself, when a couple of shells starting hitting around my position. Leaning against the side of
the ditch, I was able to see that a German tank drove up to 50 or 70 yards of our position and was shelling us. One of the shots hit in back of me on the other side of the ditch, and the concusion of that knocked me out. I do not know how long I was out, but it could not have been too long. I jumped back into my foxhole. I had three rifle grenades. I lobbed the grenades and hit him with one of them. Since it hit him in the front, it did not do much to him. The only thing it did was to keep him back. He backed up to between the two farm houses and shelled us
from there. This was at least 100 hundred yards away. I could see men running across the area. I kept firing at them. I did see one man climb on the tank and he must have been talking to the men inside. I fired a shot at him. It happened to be a tracer bullet. It went right between him and the tank. I kept firing at them until I ran out of shells. The only ammo, I had left were three hand grenades. It got sort of quiet after a while. The tank did not fire at us any more. After it got dark, I just stayed in my foxhole and waited to see what was happening. I was not in touch with anyone at this time. I don't know how much later it was, but I heard rumbling to the rear. In the silhouette I saw three tanks and some infantry. Naturally, I thought they were GIs. I was going
to say that there was a tank up front until I heard them talking. I realized they were not talking in English. I just, got down in my foxhole and hoped they would pass. Instead, they parked right next to me. They were only about 15 feet away from me. I just kept down and waited. They were talking in a couple of groups. One group was in front of the tanks another was between the tanks and two of them were beside the tank right low across the ditch from my hole. They were talking and did not seem to notice my hole at first. They stopped talking and one of them looked over my way and got up on his toes to get a better look. The only thing I thought of to do was pull the pin on one of the grenades and toss it at them. When the handle let go I heard one of them say "Was is das." It landed right in front of them and exploded. I don't know what happened to them, because I pulled the pin of the other two grenades and tossed them at the other two groups and started running. I was hit by a piece of shrapnel as I was running. I don't know if it was my own or the artillery that had been coming in the area. When I started running, I realized that two other GIs were coming from the side of me. The one did not have a rifle. We came together and started running for the rear. We ran into two German infantry. The Germans had encircled the division. One of them said "Hands up." The three of us were now in a
group an arms length apart. Since I was out of ammo and the other guy had no rifle, there wasn't much we could do. The other guy with us said "No" and shot one of them in the stomach. He went down screaming but the other German shot the GI and he just dropped. The German held the gun on us while he bent down at his buddy. He  just kept screaming "Hans, Hans." After a while, others came along and took us back to their headquarters. I was in a field hospital for a while where they operated on my arm. They cut away the loose skin and flesh without any
anesthetic. From there I was sent to a hospital. Later I was sent to a prison camp.

A War Story

Gerald C. Waterman

Company A, 415th Infantry Regiment

In late February, 1945, my outfit, A Company 415th Regiment, crossed the Roer River, I must admit my memory is hazy, but on one morning soon after the crossing I was involved in checking
out houses for any German troops that might or might not still be fighting. For some reason I was virtually alone except for one other fellow; it was either Bob Anderson or Dick Koster, more likely Koster. Since Koster was in Second Platoon and I was in the First it seems unusual that we would be together, but that's how I remember it. We had run across a fairly recent replacement non-com who, when we asked what he was doing, said "killing Germans, what are you doing?" We thought that an excellent response and pursued the question no further. Awhile
later, after checking out several houses, we arrived at one that, for some reason I can't recall, was suspicious looking. The entrance to the house was a door at street level, right on the main street. We agreed that I would open the door, throw in a grenade, shut the door and then
yank it open as soon as the grenade went off. My partner would then leap through the door and catch any remaining Germans by surprise. We proceeded according to plan. After the grenade,,exploded, my partner hurled himself through the door with his M I ready to fire.
Unfortunately the door opened onto a basement stairway entry and the grenade explosion had apparently blown the stairway down. In any event the stairway ended up in a pile on the basement floor and my partner ended up down there on top of it. Getting him out of the basement took a lot longer than any of our other tasks that day. He was uninjured despite the drop of some ten feet or more. A tribute to his training or his youth.

Roadblock In Holland

Douglas M. Miller

Company C, 329th Engineer Battalion

On a road north somewhere in Holland, we encountered a prepared roadblock There were two staggered concrete blocks about four or five feet high and six feet thick. The road went through the narrowed opening between the blocks, about eight to ten feet wide. Across the road
chains, bolted into the concrete blocks, passed through tetrahedrons formed by steel rails, On one side of the road block, two craters about eight feet deep and twenty feet in diameter had been blown. We easily removed the chains and tetrahedrons and we were sent to fill the trucks
with rubble to fill the crater. We simply drove up beside gutted houses and pushed the walls over into the trucks. When we came back with the loaded truck we found that a corporal, another G.I. and John Reiter had been killed by a wooden box mine detonated under the former location of the tetrahedrons. I can see all three of the fellows in my mind's eye but can remember only Reiter's name. He and I were pretty good buddies because we were the battalion piggy-back racing champs back in the states during competitive calisthenics. His home was in North or South Dakota. It seems that the first load of rubble had arrived and the Corporal was guiding the truck while walking backwards to dump into the Crater. It was said that the Corporal was a fairly heavy man who walked heavily. Apparently he stepped on the cobblestone directly above the box mine and sheared the pencil-thick wooden safety pin. The mine exploded with the force of about 12 pounds of T.N.T. Reiter and Rowe were leaning nearby and were killed instantly. It was near darkness, so we pulled back for the night. The next day we went back and it was decided that we had better see if there were more mines adjacent to the exploded mine. Sgt. Krehbile and me used our bayonets to scrape out the sand and a thin layer of asphalt which was under the cobblestones. The sand was perhaps six inches thick and that was about the depth of the box mine. We found two more box mines about three feet each side of the mine which exploded. We couldn't understand why the other mines didn't explode in a "sympathy" detonation. Particularly disturbing was a pool of partly coagulated blood. I suppose that is part of the reason I will always remember the task. At about the time that Sgt. Krehbile and me finished our job a stray small terrier had been sniffing at a pile of dirt and a
schu mine detonated. The headless dog was blown several feet into the air. Strangely enough we had pulled aside, prior to the killing explosion, to allow a full battalion of the British 49th "Polar Bear" division plus two or three small armored vehicles ("weasles") to pass over the three box mines, go down into the crater, out and on their way. That they had no explosion seems miraculous, Some of us thought that the tread of their feet gradually wore nearly through the wooden safety pin and the corporal just finished the job.

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