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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.
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Tuesday, 22 December 2015
Today I heard firing at sea which seemed to be like a battle, and not like firing practice. The first time i have had this impression since the war began, though we have heard firing scores of times.
This is the most gruesome item I have seen in any newspaper. It is from an account of life in Brussels in the Daily Telegraph date 15/12/1914. I wonder if it is true?
Since the fatal attacks on Ypres and Yser a new recreation has been created for the Bruxellois, namely the trains of the dead. These pass through the suburb of Laeken, and go by way of Louvain and Liege to Germany, to be burnt in the blast furnaces. The dead are stripped, tied together like bunches of asparagus, and stacked upright on their feet, sometimes bound together with cords, but for the most part with iron wire. two to three thousand pass with each train, sometimes in closed meat trucks, sometimes in open trucks, just as it happens. The mighty organisation will not suffer a truck to go back empty; a dead man has no further interest for them.
I am sceptical as to the veracity of this account. It seems to me more likely that this is part of a programme of propaganda aimed to make the general public hate Germany and all things German. In spite of my scepticism, it is not without its effect!
General Heath told me that he thought of having a proclamation printed in German for the benefit of invading Germans, warning them that if they did certain things certain punishments would without fail ultimately follow. Rather good. Pointless but rather good.