An’ you're up an’ you’re over

Then of course comes the order. You’re waiting to go. Your company commander puts the whistle in his mouth, he blows it and you’re up and you’re over.

The only way I can think of to describe it to you, going over the top, is you know if you go out on a hot day and then throw yourself into a really cold river? That’s what it feels like. Only it’s not wet it’s dry: dry fear. The tongue just sticks to the roof of your mouth and you know, the NCOs and the officers there, “come on, come on form up” they’re saying and over you go. Now, of course the enemy is jus chucking everything at you, so you’ve got machine-gun fire, shells of all types, high explosive, shrapnel, grenades, all sorts coming right at you. It’s basically like the whole air is just full of bits of metal being chucked straight at you. Of course look at me here, I make myself a right good target don’t I? So this is what we’ve learned is - you go across and basically take your time. Don’t go too fast, don’t go running off saying, “right I’m gonna get that German I am”, because you’ll be head out straight in front of everybody else, you might turn round and find you’ve got yourself completely lost. Keep up with everybody else, don’t go too fast draw attention to yourself. Keep as low as possible, try to protect all the areas that you can turn yourself a bit side on get your head down there and use every cover that you can. See a bit of cover, use it. If fire’s too intense, lie down on the ground and then wait and then get up and move on. These are all things that we’ve learned.