GEORGE BARASS MET MANY NANAIMO BOYS
In a Letter to Mr. Welsh He Comments on the Terrific Noise Made by Bombardment.
Flanders, Sept. 2, 1916.
Dear Friend,- I was just thinking of Nanaimo and I thought you would like to know how we are getting along in this part of the world. Well, Mr. Welsh, we have certainly seen life since leaving B.C. We have seen nearly every stage in the fighting from heavy gun work to gas. A man can't realise the power of modern artillery and high explosive shells. About the only way I can describe a bombardment to you is for you to imagine the powder works going up about 30 or 40 times a minute for 12 hours.
There are quite a few Nanaimo boys in this vicinity. Albert Baker is near me and I saw Rex Bryant and Jack McMillan a few nights ago and they both looked well despite the heavy fighting they have both gone through. It is good to meet someone from our city. The meeting is sometimes a peculiar one too. I met a man while under fire on my first trip to the trenches. Fritz was busy "straffing" us and while dodging shrapnel a man near me asked me if our battalion came from the west. I looked at the man and I thought that I had seen him somewhere. He said he was in our town for a while. His name was Brennen. Known as Red Brennen, the man that fought two matches with Lee Manson in the Athletic Club about 1911.
All the boys are cheerful and it is surprising the coolness of some men. Most men smoke when Fritz starts his coughing. One fellow continued reading a magazine till our guns started replying and then he threw the magazine down and said: "How the h-l can a man read in this noise." Every shell has a name and it is easy to learn the size by its song. Our band went into the trenches to gain trench experience, and we are not at the base and play nearly every night, and work around the camp during the day. We are well fed, but of course no luxuries, and sometimes when thinking of home and sugar, etc., it makes a man long for B.C. again. A piece of chocolate is a God send out here and I expect a parcel from Aggie soon. Write and let me know how things are with you and tell the boys that Nanaimo boys are making a name for themselves. I am not allowed to put my address in this letter but Aggie will give it to you.
From your friend,