Somme Memories 2

Tommy Jordan, born 20th May,1898- 36th (Ulster) Division
“I remember we were running up the trenches, and on the way here’s this fellow lying at his machine gun, tired looking. As I looked at this gunner I recognised him. I used to carry the goods home for my mother at the weekends, and Mr O’Hagan,who owned the grocer’s shop where my mother dealt in, had this display, a biscuit cabinet. And Mr O’Hagan used to say to this bloke “Austin, tidy up those broken biscuits, please.” So when I was running past him I shouted ” Austin, tidy up those broken biscuits, please.” He shouted “Who said that!” We had to move on but it was rather funny, with everyone asking me what it was I said to him. When I met him going to work years later, he says, “Do you know I thought I was going crackers then.”
I remember too we were in a village close to the men of the 16th (Irish) Division, and a lot of Australians. This Australian, a great fella, but very overbearing…anyway, something happened and there was a row between some of our people and these Australians. How the Irish Brigade got word of it nobody knew, but they came down and beat up the Australians. Now I saw fellas, fellas arm in arm afterwards, fellas of the 11th Inniskillings with their orange and purple patches, and the other fellas with their great big green patch on their arms…

John Spencer tells this story: There was a halt in the marching, and he was hanging over this gatewaywhen down comes a nun. John says,”Bonjour Madamoiselle”, and she replies ” What are you blethering about?”. I think she was from Kilkenny, but what on earth she was doing there we couldn’t imagine. She was a lovely girl and John talked about it with great gusto. Oh yes, it was his pet story.

There were lots of funny things as well as terrible things. Yes, some things do distress me. Now when you first came to interview me, Dr Adamson, things kept poppin’ up on me, I couldn’t sleep for weeks, things just came back. People ask me how I remember the names of all those villages, but I can’t forget it.. I belong to the Methodist Church, the little church in Ballynafeigh. I lay the wreath on Armistice Day. I think there were eighteen names on that hall table there: I knew every one, and when it comes up it bothers me. I just hate that time of year, it brings things up.”

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