LANCELOT WARN WRITES FROM FRONT
Corporal Lance Warn, of Nanaimo, writes from the trenches in Belgium to F. L. Randall, as follows:
My Dear Lee,- Just out of the trenches, after being in them for three days, darn hard fighting around this place. Our No. 2 company from the 80th Battalion, came over first and joined the 16th Battalion Canadian, who were badly knocked about after the famous charge, so now I believe we have to put on kilts to look like the others, so you can just sit down and imagine me in them. Col. Leckie is in command and Holmes and Ccudamore got knocked out, and Godson Godson is badly wounded. We had a tough six days considering we were I nthe trenches 24 hours after leaving England and six of our fellows got knocked out with the German coal boxes which make such an awful big hole in the ground, poor fellows, a couple of trenches from us got killed so very close to home The Germans on Sunday used gas, but thank God the wind was a little too strong, so the boys held their own and took another trench, the gas looks like a huge cloud on the ground, a bit yellow, and it is certainly hell to get a whiff of it, and your eyes water and sting. Six of our fellows got knocked out but my section is intact, but an awful bunch on both sides are getting killed. So far I have dug myself in six times, so do not know yet if I am a rabbit or a barn rat as we are living in a barn at present. I can tell you very truthfully I was not a bit sorry to get a spell after the six days, the big gun fire on both sides is terrible although we seem to do the best shooting. Some of the Germans fighting around here are only boys not more than 16 years of age.
Well, old chap, I must tell you how I felt, I had my twelve men to look after and keeping them all together forgot about the shells, although they were flying all over the place, but at night after we had dug our trenches and I got some straw from an old barn and made myself comfortable, after putting a man on guard, I began to think, and every time one of the shells dropped near us I began to wonder if they would every hit any trench. Although I did not hide myself, as most people say you do, at night times when I had to go and get our supplies for the section, the bullets would whiz round but after two nights I forgot all about them, although you would always bob your head when it was too late. Regarding the Ross rifle, I hear many complaints from the 16th Battalion, and most of them have thrown them away and picked up the English rifle. I am giving mine a fair chance before I do away with it so far it has worked all right, although the cut off is no good. We feel very well but have to be very careful about having a pipe on account of the flying machines. After we left the trenches we walked 18 miles with all our equipment on including 200 rounds of ammunition, and at the end of the journey I was all in. Plenty fell out, but I stayed on thinking of the long rest I would have when I got to the barn. There are lots of things I would like to tell you but cannot on account of the censor, but if I am lucky I hope some day to tell you all about it. The last trench we dug I had a nice little hole in the sand, one night it caved in on me. It seems a great shame to see these Germans destroying the churches here. We watched them finish off the Cloth Hall, a splendid building. When I put a postscript at the end, read the first letter of each line and that is the place where we are. Well, old man, remember me to all the boys because it is very hard to write, so you might let them know the news. Two Germans walked in yesterday and gave themselves up. I wish many hundred more would come in and save us a lot of trouble. I guess they were sick of it. War is hell, all right, and it is very hard to imagine what it is like unless you have been here. The allies are holding their own although it is tough work, this gas business is bad, but no pity now, everyone goes, and you cannot blame us. To see the poor Belgium people walking to the next town, the poor devils have lost home and everything; the Germans as the retire shell all the farm houses, and nothing but wreck and ruin, and this is such a fine country. Well I am only supposed to write two pages. With love to all, your sincere friend
LANCELOT R. WARN
You remember Godson Godson,
Please God he gets better, he fought
Remarkably well, but wounded bad,
Eats nothing on account of his wound,
Soldier every inch of him.