Skip to content

Experiences of the Great War

First sight of battle

Mairi Chisholm and the Flying Ambulance Corps had arrived in Belgium as the Germans were threatening to overwhelm the country. Mairi and her companion Elsie Knocker survived a few early scares.

At this early stage in the First World War, before both sides had become bogged down in the stalemate of trench warfare, the front lines were still in a state of flux, and on one occasion Mairi and Elsie wandered down a road and found themselves in the German lines.

Bayonet charges

On two other occasions, the women were caught up in bayonet charges. In her 1976 interview, Mairi describes the horror of the bayonet charge:

'The result … of a bayonet charge was very disagreeable — very, very nasty. And then at the battle of Dixmude … just north of Ypres … we were in another bayonet charge, just hiding alongside it. I think that is quite one of the most disagreeable forms of wounding.'

— Extract quoted by permission of the Imperial War Museum.