Balloch - Scot
Nov 16th, - 1918
My Dear Father & Mother:
Well here I am & the war is over - I can hardly believe it that there will be no more Fritz whiz-bangs when I go back to France. I left the line last Friday (8th) & our guns were outflanking Mons then & going to it like blazes but an armistice was the last thing that we thought of.
This is a lovely place here & Mrs. Morton is a lovely old lady - she cannot do enough for me - they have a fine home here right close to Loch Lomond.
After I left the line on Friday I got a truck which took me down to a town called (?) - not far from (?) - from there I got an empty supply train which took me to Arras - I stayed in Arras all that night & at eleven next morning I got another train which landed me in Calais at 8 P.M. stayed there the night & then caught a leave boat at 2 P.M. Sunday which landed me in Dover at 3:30 from there right on to the train which got us to Victoria Station at 6 P.M. when we got there all the Can. were put in a bus & taken up to the Maple Leaf Club for the night - there we got a clean change - bath & everything - including our money.
Next day (Monday) at 11 A.M. word came that the Arm. had been signed - well it was worth a good deal to be in London then - people went mad - absolutly buggs all munitions workers quite - girls in stores & restaraunts beat it - everything was closed up all the soldiers were climbing up on officers cabs (on the roof) with girls - Oh gee I never had such a good time in my life. Things cooled off a bit about 10 P.M. as it started to rain but Tuesday was worse than ever & it was a lovely day. About ten P.M Tuesday a lot of us Canadians started a big bonfire at the base of Nelson's Monument, soon we were joined by some Australians & we had a fire on all four sides of Nelson - believe me it was some night. Trafalgar Square - Strand & Piccadilly was one big dance hall till about 2 in the morning. I left London Wednesday night and came up here.
Well now Papa I suppose you would like to hear a few details of this summers fighting - of course you know a good deal more about the general advance than I do, as we very seldom got a paper this summer - & all I know is little things that happened to our own Corps.
Before the second battle of Amiens the Can Corps was holding the line south of Arras from
(?) - Vitasse - we were at (?), - towards the last of July a lot of Imperial troop seemed to be coming in & we thought we were in for something but suddenly on the evening of the 30th word came to pull out; well at midnight we were moving out of the line & headed of Aubigny - we entrained there on the night of 31st night & were bombed by Fritz & only one casualty & we arrived at (?) (south of Amiens) on this night of the 1st of August.
August 2nd - rained all day we did nothing
" 3rd - cleaned harness
" 4th - cleaned harness
" 5th - started to haul am. up to Battery position - all our guns were silent & very carefully hidden - one battery the the 53rd was in a wheat field 800 yds from the German front line - we hauled am. to all our batteries till they had about 400 rounds per gun.
August 7th. Did nothing - lots of our Infantry went into the line & hundreds of Tanks (?) in to close supports last night.
August 8th. - (?) time 3 A.M. the barrage opened on Hangard Wood & Domart - it just started with one deep rumble & the very earth seemed to shake - we had our wagon lines ahead of the heavies & the concussion of those big monsters was "hellish". The infantry made the (?) with the barrage & followed it up. I was on a firing battery battery wagon detailed to go over with the guns of the 53rd Bat. There were six wagons for this battery from the D.G.P. about 2 A.M. we took up our position with the guns & by 5.30 the guns were out of range - other batteries went over with the Inf. - so that there would be no brak in the barrage - well at 5.30 we moved up through Domart on to a ridge east of the town - gee I will never forget the nights in that town _____________ from the top of this ridge there is a flat plains running clear to (?) with small woods dotting its surface our battery went into action there with open sights - we could see the long waves of Infantry moving on ahead of us - well we dumped our amunition there & went back for more after that we could not keep up the guns the amm. - went up in Lorries & the cavalry got going believe me it was a glorious day - one I will never forget. Fritz ran so fast he was leaving everything - throwing away his boots even - as we came up next day all over the plains could be seen German soldiers with lance wounds in the back.
Well I will not write any more but in a day or two I will write you & tell you about Cambrai.
With love from Bill.