Thomas Herdman writes from France to his brother, Mr. Wm. Herdman, of this city, his letter being dated May 13, as follows:
"I guess it is about time I wrote to you, so I will try and see what I can do now. In the first place I have been just down to see the pay master and have arranged to have my insurance settled. Well, how is everything going on now. I think I already told you I had reverted to the ranks and left my company. I am now in the machine gun section. It is very interesting work, and if I don't get potted by some German sniper I may make good and win my stripes in this outfit by the time the war is over. I guess you are wondering if I am still alive. I am very much so, if you could see me at times. We are resting now after our big fight up at Ypres and we are expecting every minute to be moved back to do a little more work. I may add there are none of us very anxious to go through the same thing again; although it doesn't do to let the public know all our sentiments, but this "all front bravado" don't go with myself and many more out here. We are game and ready to do anything we are told to. At the same time, on one occasion while we were in the midst of the late fighting, myself and about six others were ordered to go out from our trench and take some barbed wire a few hundred yards back to some engineers, we had no sleep for three days then, and very little food, naturally we didn't care what happened to us, however, we made up our minds that we were to do our last trip on this earth as the rifle and shell fire was just sweeping across the fields we had to go over like rain, however, we started out and I had only gone about one hundred yards when I fell head over heels, my chums thought I was shot but my language gave the show away. It was a snag I hit. We continued our way with shells falling as close as ten yards, it seems I am exaggerating but it is true all the same. Many of them did not burst luckily for us, but one lydite shell went between the two men in front of me, almost singing out hair, and bursting ten yards off, it upset us three nearest and covered us in mud and dirt; we got up again and beat it as fast as we could with this bundle of wire which was none too light, the rifle bullets and machine gun bullets were whizzing past our heads like rain too. I know it seems hard to realize that is the reason I don't write and tell you everything that happened to us in that battle because I can't realize it all myself, and to think I am still untouched. While we were carrying that wire I saw two British guns put out of action one hundred yards away from us and horses and waggons blown to pieces. The only base hit the Allenands got on me was in the bayonet charge on the 22nd, they put my rifle out of action, a bullet passed between my legs and smashed my bolt, so I was left to use my bayonet only until I got hold of a dead comrade's rifle. Well I must close now, with love to Harry and yourself."
P.S.- Kindest regards to all the boys at the store, and V.H.W., also Bert."