Into the Mist
Read time: 4.5 minutes
We were in the Netherlands in slit trenches. It was May, 1945 and late in the day; getting dark. Mist was stealthily creeping in from Lake Markemeer. Our section consisted of three men, and a section leader, Lance Corporal Curley. In front of us was a field about 200 feet wide. We were dug in near the edge of a clump of bushes, with small trees to our rear. Our slit trenches were about 100 feet apart. Chevalier was in the trench on the far right, Deroucher was in the center trench, and I was in the trench on the far left.
It was about time for something to eat. The ache in my gut, not unfamiliar, was speaking to me. The noise of a truck near platoon headquarters, about 400 yards to our rear, gave us hope that food was on the way.
Sure enough, Corporal Curley came and told Chevalier to go and eat. He didn’t have to tell him twice. When he would return, Deroucher would go and when Deroucher returned, then it would be my turn.
However, shortly after Chevalier left, a soldier, without a helmet, popped out of the bushes and pointed at me. “Hadn’t you better go and eat?” he shouted.
Now this was something unusual. When we wanted to communicate with others, it was by way of loud whispering. It was odd to have someone shout. Besides, why did he bypass Deroucher who was next in line? Nevertheless, I grabbed my mess tin and took off in high gear.
Arriving at the chuck wagon, Curley gave me a startled look but said nothing. There was no sign of the soldier who said, “Go and eat!” I was soon eating in high gear.
As half expected, the Germans started shelling. The shout came, “Get to your trenches!” and we all scrambled. I was half way back when I realized I had left my rifle behind. I was careful not to leave my food, but careless in leaving my rifle. I went back and picked it up.
Before making the final dash for my trench, I stopped next to the concrete foundation of a greenhouse and ate. The concrete may have offered some shelter, but being next to a glass building with mortar bombs exploding is not and ideal location. So, I quickly finished, and made for my trench, only to find that it had been demolished by a mortar bomb!
There was nothing to do but get out my shovel and refurbish my domicile. (Building permits were not needed!) I was later joined by Curley who assisted me with my repair job. I told him about the soldier who had told me to go and eat. He was thankful for him, as was I, but also quite mystified. I owed him my life! He had simply disappeared into the mist.
Sometime in 1946, after the war, I took the train to New Glasgow for a job possibility. I was unexpectedly joined by my old section leader, Corporal Curley. We had an eight-cylinder chat about the days gone by. Naturally, we talked of the mysterious soldier without a helmet, who I had never seen again. We both concluded that it could only have been divine intervention; my guardian angel!
Recently I read something from a family member who stated, “I do believe in a “higher power”. Really?! You exist because your great grandfather was saved by a Higher Power. I am thankful every day that my father was saved by “the soldier without a helmet”, who disappeared into the mist.