Mr. Norman McIntosh, 4th Battery, 1st Brigade, C.F.A., in writing to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alex McIntosh, from Belgium, April 26th, says:
We are having pretty hard times here now. The fighting is something fierce and our brave Canadian boys have suffered terribly. Some of the Canadian Companies and Battalions have lost half their men and this in a few days. I heard for sure that three or four of our Cobourg boys are either killed or wounded, but I won't mention their names for fear they are only missing, but you will soon hear. It is terrible to think of it. Our Canadians are in the heaviest of the fighting. Scotty Munn, from Cobourg, was wounded pretty badly in both legs and Clarence Hall was slightly wounded. He is also from Cobourg. Hall was hit by flying stones from shells but is around all the time I was talking to a wounded Canadian yesterday; he had just come out of the firing line and was shot in the arm, and he told me he did not think that there would be enough Canadians left to go into action again. He thought they would go to the base and strengthen their companies with the second contingent. We put our guns in action last Thursday at noon and were firing twenty minutes later. We drivers went back about a mile with our horses. Yesterday the Germans started to shell us, and I tell you they are some shots. They put seven or eight shots right among our horses, and all of us were right beside them, but luckily nobody was hurt. They were a high explosive shell and did not burst in the air, but went into the ground about five feet. Our boys dug them out, that is, what was left of them and are keeping parts of them for souvenirs.
Mother, you would not believe what this country is like at night. It is just like battlefields I have seen in pictures. The gunners sent up what they call star lights to locate the Allies' trenches. It shows a very bright light and then you see houses and barns on fire, two or three every night and the roar of the big guns and the rifle fire is great to hear and see. There are hundreds of wounded and killed being taken past us every day. Lots of them are Canadians and others Algerians from Morocco, who are fighting for the French. I saw Fred Merril and Henry Gordon and some other fellows I know going into the trenches last night. Joe Mulhall is back here again after being in the hospital with a bad leg. Yesterday when the Germans shelled us we all hustled behind big trees, from which we could look out and see the shells bursting. A regular cloud of sods and dust would rise about 30 feet in the air from where they struck. It is easy to hear the big ones coming. They make an awful roaring sound and that is the time we duck. Frank Love and Roy Crosgrey are well and fighting like heroes. When our batteries are firing on the Germans it makes our boys sweat, I can tell you. But we do not mind that as long as we get at those Huns.
I was talking to Major Beattie the other day. He is well and told me to remember him to you all when I wrote, I also had a nice letter from Miss Elsie Russell. It was kind of her to write to me. We are now in Belgium, but you could hardly tell it from France.
You remember the other Battery I used to belong to on the Plains. It was the 9th. There were four killed and ten wounded in it the other day. I knew them all well. Our sergeant, whom I knew, had his head blown clean off. Mr. Beattie saw him. Well mother, I think this is all for this time. I hope you are all well.
Address: - British Expeditionary Force, 4th Battery, 1st Brigade, Canadian Contingent, Belgium.