The following letter, received by Mr., J.J. McDonald, Lakefield, from his son, Roy, will be found to be of more than usual general interest.
France, March 5th, 1915
This should stir the hearts of some of our Home Guard, as I am writing whilst in the trenches, with bullets whistling overhead or glancing off our parapets, and the shells of both armies shrieking overhead, and even at that things are a bit quiet to-day, some of the boys improving the time by washing clothes.
We, that is six privates and one sergeant, are in a detached post on the firing line and have no communication with the others except at night, We don't mind it, the fact is we rather like it, At our dinner to-day I was warming some 'Bully Beef when a rifle ball hit the parapet, knocking some dirt into the grub, No excitement, just a 'Darn you Fritz, you might let us have dinner in peace,' Incidents like the foregoing are so common here that they cause little or no comment. At first it was really laughable, Fritz is an unknown German sniper whom we have not seen, but we have in our little redoubt a real live London cockney and his comments are, well, you may judge the rest the foregoing was one of them, Here are a few more: 'Hold on, Fritz, but you were too high that time; aim lower and don't waste ammunition,' 'Here old top, that'll do, I've just sent a wireless to the battery to give you a dose of snap'l (Shrapnel).' His London accent makes the expression sound peculiar, but he is the limit for devilment.
We have been fortunate in our movements having but four casualties in our Company; (250 men), one killed and three wounded, neither of the three being seriously hurt.
The most dangerous time is either when entering or leaving the trenches, and you should see us when we hear the zip, zip, buzz, buzz, which means that a machine gun is turned our way. Down we drop, regardless of mud, water, briars, etc" When on maneuvers on Salisbury Plains our officers used to tell us that we did not get down quick enough - they cannot say the same thing now.
As for Grahame and MacHeard I can say nothing, not having seen them for about three weeks, Grahame is in the machine gun section and Mac is in the No. 16 Platoon.
Well, 1 must close now, 11 a.m and I have had but nine hours sleep out of the past 84, so here goes for the 'booby house',