LETTERS FROM MEN AT THE FRONT.(IN FRANCE)
A member of The World staff has received the following letter from, Pte. George Dawe, No.4. Co., 21st Battalion B.E.F., France. Pte Dawe went overseas with the 39th.
January 8th, 1916.
I suppose you think I have forgotten you as it has been so long since I wrote last. We are kept so busy we do not have very much time for writing. I have just come back from a course in wiring and I have the afternoon off, so I thought I would drop you a few lines.
We are out in billets at present for a six day rest. Our time is up to-morrow (Sunday) and we go in again for eighteen days of mud and water and dodging whiz- bangs. Sorry, I can't tell you where we are, as it is against the rules to say where our position is. Anyway Fritz keeps us moving pretty lively at times. We get fatigue parties every night, and get great practice flopping in the mud when a star shell goes up.
Sometimes in the day time when on fatigue we are out in the open in full view of the German trenches. Then Fritz gets busy and shells us and it is to the small timber for us.
We had a pretty good Christmas dinner, plumb pudding, candles and nuts to finish off our old standby, (stew). I was over to a little town at night and had a good time for a couple of hours. We got back to the dugout sometime the next morning, soaking wet and covered with mud, as I lost my way in the darkness and rain. I saw Major Beattie the last time I was going into the trenches, but did not have time to speak to him. Alben (my brother) is fine and has a headquarters job with one of the staff-officers. Lieut. Morrison is looking fine. I saw him to-day. Bill Manley is with us now, but has been in hospital for nearly two weeks. He is back on duty again.
I must tell you about a little experience I had. One night I was out with a working party burying a telephone wire and did not get finished, so had to go back the next day. It was a little foggy, but the snipers spotted us and made it pretty warm for us. They kept us lying in a ditch for nearly an hour. We could not move or we would get it in the head. We waited until they cooled down then beat it, but one at a time. There is nothing that can make a fellow dangle faster than a sniper pumping lead after him.
All the Cobourg boys had a present from the Daughters of the Empire and appreciate it very much.
I get the papers you send me. They have been going to the 39th Battalion, but they forward them on to me. Hope to hear from you soon. I remain as ever,