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Date: February 22nd 1915

Netley Hospital

Feb 22/15

My Dear Mother -

At last I have got a decent chance to drop you a line. Now I'll tell you what has happened to me during the past four weeks. in fact it is the only thing I can tell you. First as you know by my other letter I was hit with 2 others getting into the trenches. The bullet hit me just over the left ear and travelled upward for about 2 ½ inches. Luckly it didn't hit me square for I had my head turned, evidently, so instead of going through into the brain it just made a fracture of the skull. The have an X-Ray photo of the skull showing the crack in the skull as the whole thing as plainly as if it was a flower pot standing out into front of you. Well to continue. A piece of the skull bone was broken in and this pressed upon the nerve inside causing the paralysis of the right arm and partial paralysis of the right leg. Well, of course when I was hit I dropped like a log never knew what hit me, right into the mud of the field we were in. And believe me it was some mud, nearly to the knees actually. All the country here is low, what as you probably have read of as the Low Countries. The man with me, he himself since wounded I see by the papers dragged me through this mud for 50 yards to safety, he himself unable of course to get on his feet for fear of getting one from the same place. I came back to semi-conciousness while here and he tied my head up with my emergency bandage which we all carry at all times. The thing was I couldn't tell him where I was hit and of course it was pitch dark so we just had to feel where the blood was coming from. I kept my head partially until he and another got me back to the field hospital over half a mile back from the firing line. Here I was dressed and put into an ambulance for the examination hospital about 3 ½ miles back. During the ride, in a motor of course I dropped asleep again and woke up in the hospital under treatment. They then decided to ship me right back to a town called "Ballevil" which you will find on the map, to be operated on. My that was an awful 10 or 12 miles. However they had a good surgeon and nurses at this hospital and soon fixed me up. I remember nothing excepting being taken into the operating room. Well I staid here for 9 days and was treated pretty well. Got fairly good feeding and all that. Then they shipped me to Boulogne and was kept in hospital there for 18 days. Here it was fine, they had chances here to have things fixed up right. During this time my leg came all right and arm was getting stronger ever day. I had the attendance here of the cleverest surgeon in the army, a man named Major Shea from India, where most of the British Army are in peace times. The reason he kept me so long was of course to make sure my arm coming out all right. The arm was the thing that bothered them but I'm thankful to say its' all better now, except a numbness which is getting better and which they say will be all right. Well, on Friday I left Bolougne on a hospital ship and arrived here at the largest military hospital in England on Sunday. When I got here I had the luck to be put into the Welsh Hospital that is an annex maintained by the Welsh people the beds and fixing being subscribed by Wealthy Welshmen and Welsh towns. This is the best section of the whole hospital and the food is everything to be desired. Believe me it goes fine after the biscuits and bully beef we had to live on in France and Belgium. Now right here let me say don't worry a mite. The sore itself of course will leave a scar and will force me to part my hair in the centre or on the right side, but is now practically healed up. All I need now is rest and time when I'll be as good as ever. Now I'll tell you where I got it, but will trust to your good sense not to mention any of the places to anyone as this letter is not censored and might easily get me into trouble. If you see a map of the firing line you will find a big horse-shoe in Belgium just south of "Ypres." We were just in the centre of this between Ypres and "Witiebusch" [?] to which place I was first taken to be dressed.

Now just a word to the war. It is absolutely worse than the people ever imagine. The weather is not as cold as Canada of course but it rains or sleet every day nearly. Raw and miserable and the trenches are a terror. Actually water over the knees have I stood in for 2 days and nights and kept my back humped up and my head down below the trenches all the time. And then when we come out had to cut my boots off my feet. they were so swollen. This is what the papers don't tell and are not allowed to tell, so don't show this letter around. And Belgium, village after village, and they are only a matter of a few miles apart here absolutely blown to pieces. And the people where they are, goodness only knows. And France isn't much better a country of old, young and cripples If people only realized what a war such as this meant to the country, where it was waged it would mean that the world would turn to socialism in no time.

Thank goodness you live in North America. However don't despair about the progress of the war, its only a question of the weather when we will shift them out of the trenches. You've know idea what the mud is like over there. The whole trouble was, the Germans get ready before they declared war and before the French and English were sure that it meant war sure, the "Boshes" were half way across France and nearly to Paris.. However, I'm cheerful as a lark these past few days again and when they send me back the weather will be better. Of course I expect to get a week or two off to myself before I go back, so I guess I'll go to London again. Now drop Roy & Hulu a card when you get this and tell them I'll write In a few days when my arm gets stronger. This has taken me 5 hours to write. Now then I have'nt had a letter since January 12th from anywhere, so expect one of your letters is travelling around France. Now as soon (the day) you get this write me because I may not be here and put "(Return if not delivered in 5 days" on the outside of envelope with your address.

With best love to you all from your son "Harry 1753"

This is the address "G" Ward
Welsh Hospital
Netley, England

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