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Peter Weiss had been awarded his Iron Cross in October 1915 after hard fighting in the Priesterwald area, at the time he was a member of the Infantry Regiment 364. Due to his civilian occupation on the railways he transferred from the I.R.364 to the Feldbahnbetriebs-Abteilung of the 26. R.D. where he served as a locomotive driver on the narrow gauge field railways ... bringing ammunition and supplies to the front lines on the Somme.


Lieutenant Jocelyn Buxton of the Rifle Brigade described the barrages from the British lines in fromt of Thiepval. This was the sector where Weiss drove his engine, it may very well have been the barrage that killed him.

"One guesses that it is all going to be very huge and hideous- this great effort- one knows in a vague way too, the still more unfathomably terrible meaning of it afterwards to countless waiting and watching homes on our side - and theirs.....

For 10 minutes all possible guns hurled shells on to the place that could be seen among the trees about 3000 yards away across an intervening dip. It was not long before it was swathed in brown and yellow smoke. Meanwhile our innumerable trench mortars had been doing persistent work on the German front line and wire. They have unlimited reserves of ammunition and from the rapid firing 11 pounders they range to huge 200 pound sort of aerial torpedoes; Their apparent effort was terrific. On this day the German retaliation was more marked but it came in rapid bursts and not continuously like ours. There were still long intervals when no answer came from them. It is obvious that they are anxious about their supply of ammunition and are waiting to guage the magnitude of our intent and for the opening of the attack. One can imagine the German generals opposite are having to think furiously....

From here I could see the maze of lines extending to both sides, following the rise and fall of the downs. On the left the opposing trenches bent back and then rose up to a crest and disappeared.... it was a hazy evening and I was only able to trace out the lines by the thick murky smoke which everywhere sputed up in spouts of yellow, or grey, or brown (according to the light or explosive) and then spread away into wide smudges. all the while at different points the air above was spattered with multitudinous white whisps of shrapnel. It was indeed an immense and terrible sight and it seemed especially so when I turned round, to the beautiful contrast behind me. Long green ridges, thick with cornfields along their lower slopes...This was a view far more wonderful and dear in its beauty and peace and it seemed that with all that wilful crashing and panting of guns it would remain for a long veiled vision to us, in its full meaning and message of smiling peace, because it was all so insecure while the passions and ambitions on men continued to find vent in mutual slaughter..."


A letter from the war ministry...

"Berlin, 19 August 1916
According to the records we have, Pioneer (Locomotive driver) Peter Weiss, Field railway 26. Reserve Division, born on the 30th of October 1884 in Neunkirchen, Ottweiler, was killed by artillery fire on the 28th of June 1916."


 
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