A Lucky Presentiment
By G.A. Mitchell
(D Company, 78th Battlalion, C.E.F.)
Undoubtedly there are many who do not believe in presentiment, but a large number of soldiers, especially those of the First World War, were firm believers in it and I for one can vouch for this from actual experience.
It was June 18th, 1917. The 78th Winnipeg Grenadiers to which I belonged were in reserve in some German dugouts on the far side of Vimy Ridge, a short distance from Givenchy. We had been doing working parties occasionally and were due to go out on rest the following day. We had been lying around the dugouts all forenoon and were looking forward to going out for a rest and were hoping that there would be nothing to do that night. But no such luck. About two o’clock in the afternoon we were warned for working party for that evening.
All afternoon I had the feeling that I was going to get hit that night. I could actually see myself being struck by a shell but not killed, only wounded.
We fell in about 9:30 p.m. and in the dark I missed my two pals with whom I usually lined up. We marched up to the front line in single file, but before we reached our objective I joined my pals up ahead of me. We filed into the front line trench in this order and our job was to dig jumping-off trenches in front of Avion.
The Germans were sending over a large number of trench mortar shells that night and some of them were landing much too close for comfort. I was certain that one of these would find its target before very long. After we had been working about an hour or more a “pineapple” made a direct hit on our trench. A chap named Miller whom I had been next to before I decided to move up ahead to my pals, was instantly killed and five men, including myself, were wounded.
So you see my premonition came true, and if I had not had the intuition to move up alongside my pals before going in I would not be here to tell this story.