SOLDIERS' LETTERS. (FROM FRANCE)
Lieut. LYNN DUDLEY Describes Recent Heavy Fighting.
Lieut. Lynn Dudley, son of Major and Mrs. H. W. Dudley, Newcastle, and a nephew of Mr. Sam Dudley, Liberal nominee for Northumberland County, writes to his mother from 'Some where in France, ' as follows:
'Received your letter and papers just before I left for the line, also another bunch of papers last night when we moved back. Well, I have had my first experience up the line. It is a little different from what I expected it to be, but no person can imagine what it is really like until he sees it for himself. It is no picnic, believe me. No doubt you have seen in the papers what the Canadians did last week. Well, we were in that, and right in too. (Censored.) The papers have given us great praise and it was hard earned at that.'
Again the censor interfered with the thread of the story, but Lieut. Dudley goes on to tell of a working party that was detailed to carry material up the line. He says
'We had to go through a trench part of the way that was filled with dead Germans, right up to a salient, This was my first night up and believe me I could not see any pleasure in it that night, When we were going out again, Heiney started a nice little bombardment and the shells were dropping around us like hail. We were going overland at the time so had to make for the nearest trench we could find. The trench was about eight feet deep and we went head over heels. I had just picked myself up when another chap came tumbling in and knocked me down again, then we were both sitting in the bottom looking at each other, After a while he let up and we got back to our lines again. This happened after the battalion had left the front line and was back in supports.
A couple of nights after this we were just going to sleep when Fritz started another nice bombardment. At first the shells were hitting about 100 yards from us, and then when one came about twenty feet away we thought it was about time to move and that we did in quick time, Our dugout was right on top of the ground it was good policy to get out, For five days and nights; it was nothing but one continuous bombardment all the time. Between our own guns firing and Heiney's shells bursting, it was enough to drive any person 'bug-house', No doubt you have heard of the rum that is issued to the boys in the trenches. Well, if it was not for it the whole of us would certainly be 'bug-house,' No doubt the old girls and the temperance cranks think it is disgraceful. They should just spend a week under fire, then they would be glad to get a shot of it, It is strong stuff but warms you all over, also makes you feel you could trim the whole German army. Always before the boys go over the trench they are given a good big shot, then you should see them fight.
Just before we go over the top we are all standing in the trench just waiting for the minute to come. Just think what a strain this is. Every person's nerves are right up; when over we go.
This is one of the most successful attacks the Canadians ever pulled off, even more so than VIMY (Censored) but the Huns must have lost thousands. The whole place was nothing but piles of their dead. They were all in confusion, running allover and our boys mowed them down like rats. They always put their best men against the Canadians. We get this from their prisoners. One of their officers whom we captured said that we were too much for them and that they never knew that we were going to do it. The Germans admit themselves that they would rather be against any of the troops than the Canadians. If there is a place that they want taken they always call on us, for they know that if it can be got, we will get it. The French people use us fine. They could not be nicer. When we are out at rest, we are billeted at their homes, but they give us nice beds and even lots of champagne. They make us as comfortable as they possibly can.
We have a fine band with us and every night it gives a little concert in the town, On the whole we have a fine time when we are out at rest, but in the line, well, the only and best way to describe it is, that it is 'hell'. When in the line we live upon bully-beef and biscuit, but when we are out we have all the very best that can be got. All the officers do not eat together, those of each company have their own mess.
This morning I went over to see Eric Coulson (of Newcastle) but when I enquired at the orderly room they told me he was killed in action on the 15th. That was the morning of the big scrap. Now I have some particulars about him but have some more things I want to find out, such as if they got him buried and how he really was killed. You tell Mr. Coulson that I will find out all I can and write him within the next few days. He was with the - Brigade Machine Gun Company when killed. He was just attached to them. It is to their head- quarters that I will have to go to get the particulars. CHARLIE WHITE Port Hope of our battalion was also killed. Father will remember him. He was a good officer and had all kinds of nerve. When Heiney started his barrage on the morning of the 15th, Charlie was in a shell hole and got a piece of shrapnel in the head. It struck him in the forehead. He lived for a while, but was unconscious all the time. He was buried in a nice little graveyard along with two other subs of ours.
1 saw JIM SNETSINGER Colborne and BILL SARGEANT son of Dr. Sargeant, Colborne to-day. Jim was just going up to the line and Bill was on his way to Paris on ten day's leave. Well, I will have to close with love to all.