Wyndham Lewis, in Inferior Religions, writes:
The opposing armies in the early days in Flanders stuck up dummy men on poles for their enemies to pot at, in a spirit of ferocious banter.
I wonder if there is any other evidence for this practice. Lewis, after all, was not there in the very early days of the war. He had been unwell for most of 1915, and did not volunteer until March 1916. He finally reached France in mid-1917. So is he repeating a legend here, or the truth? Did soldiers really go to the trouble of making a dummy, just for the sake of “ferocious banter”? Maybe they occasionally put up a hat on the end of a pole to see if anyone on the other side was paying attention.