LETTER FROM GUNNER CLIMO (FROM FRANCE)
Mrs. H.P. Climo has received the following letter from Gunner Cecil Climo, one of our well known Cobourg boys who has gone overseas to bravely do his bit for the Empire:
Battlefield, France, August 29th, 1916.
Well, here 1 am at the front at last and it is some place. It is not quite as quiet and pleasant as at Horsham but it is better than I thought it would be. I arrived at the railhead yesterday afternoon and started to march about ten miles with all my kit on and through about three inches of lovely mud. We got to where the old trenches were and spread our rubber sheets and one blanket on the roadside. I pulled my overcoat over me and went to sleep. When I woke up about 5.00 a.m., it was raining, so you see how pleasant it was. However, 1 did not mind it and it never hurt me a bit. At night I could hear the guns and see a red glare all along the skyline. This morning we get up and had a cup of tea and marched the rest of the way and got to the Battery about eight o'clock. When we left the base in France to come up the line we had to march seven miles through teeming rain and then sleep in our wet clothes. But we went along singing all the songs we knew.
George Page was one of the first I met and he was asking for you. Our Battery is one of the best on the British front. I am living in one of those big German dugouts that you hear as much about and it is all true about them. Ben Whitehead is in the same one. It is in the side of a hill and you go in about ten feet and there is a room with a kind of table in it. Off one side of this room is a little place about 6 x 4 x 3 and that is were I sleep. Then you go down about ten feet and there are more bunks with springs in them; then go down about ten feet more and there is a tunnel running under the hill to the other dugouts, so you see what a strong position the Germans had. Don't worry about me. Our Battery has not been shelled for about two weeks now, and when they do, we go into the dugouts. It certainly is wonderful how we have driven the Germans back here seven or eight miles, and as we advance we straighten up the country. Some of the villages here are simply blown away and not a wall standing. The woods are just full of trenches and wire and dead men and the trees are all shattered. Art. Hopper is very near to us and I may see him anytime. I met Bill Butterfield at the base.
The meals we get up here are very good considering the state of affairs. Believe me, you have got to give the Infantry credit. They certainly have had a hard time of it. Do you remember that loud thunder the night I came home from Canton. Well, it is just like that here only it is steadier and louder. However, it does not bother me much. I see hundreds of aeroplanes and I have seen two or three battles in the air already. I just got three letters from Canada and it is nice to get mail the first day out here. The towns in France struck me as being very dirty and I would not live here for anything. I am going to be Lieut Lean's orderly out here so I won't have too bad a time.
After kind family remembrances, Gunner Climo adds:
Well, I guess I must ring off this time, but will write soon.
Gr. Cecil Climo,
* 314737, 97 Canadian Siege Battery, Army Post Office, London, England.