Seems I may have been wrong about my identification of Hill 60, reading back through John Dixon’s “Magnificent but Not War.” Actually, I don’t know how I misread that the 2nd KSLI was at Hill 60.
However, it’s entirely possible (likely) that some of my more intense memories of advancing under heavy shell fire may date from the Battle of St. Julien. It’s just a matter of figuring out if I was in one of the two companies from the KSLI sent there.
I do know that a lot of the 2nd KSLI soldiers on the Menin Gate were killed at that battle, based on the distribution of dates. The large number of dead with no known graves fits well with my memory of seeing a number of comrades blown to bits though it leaves me with serious questions about the terrain I saw, which was sandy much like Hill 60.
Also, I’ve had a downright creepy feeling all day that there are memories lurking just below the surface ready to come out any day now. It roils inside me with brief flickers of John’s life and a bit of Phil’s as well, but never enough to zero in on except maybe a vague impression of a French (civilian) police officer from earlier in the 20th century. Even though I feel a distance from those memories I find I’m becoming avoidant of certain songs (ELP’s “Lucky Man,” a song that ends with a man being killed in a war, came up on my playlist and I skipped it deliberately for those reasons).