I believe this happened at Ypres, around April 1915. I remember a man in a French uniform running toward our line shouting “Mon ami! Mon ami!” but that was all he said, and it sounded a bit odd when he said it.
The sergeant gave the order to the Lewis Gunner to take him down, and the man fell only a few feet from our trench.
We discovered a gold signet ring on his hand. Seems it had Gothic text on it but I don’t know what it said. I believe it was something unrelated to the military but recognizably German. That text is how we confirmed the sergeant’s suspicions that this was a German soldier in disguise.
I feel strangely numb about this memory, more than I would expect to seeing a man cut down by machine gun fire like that. The only reason I can think of that I feel nothing about this incident is that I was completely uninvolved in this man’s death except as a witness, I didn’t know him, and it was expected that we would shoot an enemy soldier coming straight at our lines anyway.
I get a strange feeling from memories like these because I don’t know whether to believe them or not. I can’t wait till they upload the 2 KSLI regimental diaries, since that’s the sort of incident you’d expect to be noted somewhere. It was a bit surprising though since it seems like such a desperate tactic. I didn’t think the Germans were that frantic to break the stalemate (we were doing much worse than they were at breaking it, considering they pierced our lines several times and we lost about a quarter mile of the Ypres Salient). Maybe he was a defector? I don’t recall seeing a gun in his hands.