Dear Mr. Irwin
I received your very welcome letter today at noon & many thanks for it. Since writing you last, we have lost Arthur Peters, he was killed while on a message. I never saw him myself but the boys told me. “It was in the Battle of St. Julian, the biggest battle in record, we had quite a lively old time I assure you and a large bunch went under. We had 640 casualties in our battalion-,- nearly wiped out. It was simply grand to watch the boys driving the germans back in broad daylight and just one battery supported us for a whole day. Not a man hesitated and germans went over like nine pins. We gained the object we were after, and completely routed the huns. The huns used gases on us and a lot died with them, it was awful for awhile-three days- shells bursting all around and in the area in which we fought there is not 10 yards square that is clean of Jack Johnson holes. We taught the huns how Canadians can fight.
Behind us in Ypres the 17 inch howitzer shells were pouring in, killing a bunch of men with one shell & digging their graves at the same time. I got some souvenirs, a helmet, mauser rifle & some equipment from the germans, but we all dropped our finds, having quite enough to do to look after ourselves and wounded comrades. It is out here that you find what true comradeship is and you find out the qualities of every man. The boys acted like old soldiers and men and could not have done better, we had heavy odds against us too.
We are having a rest now and forming up again. have had some new men sent out. #What could you think of men, that bayonetted helpless wounded soldiers? That is what the germans did to our own Canadian boys. Would any lad in Canada hold from enlisting if he knew that? I guess not.
#Never mind we have a debt to pay to the brutes, and some of us will pay it in full in the next fight.
Sorry to hear some have been ill, but trust all is well by the time…
We acted as supports in the Neuve Chapel battle, but it was calm to this last one. We used bombs in the fight the bomb-throwers go ahead of everybody and throw bombs in places where there is lots of men and cause consternation in the enemys trenches & we also use them to ward off attacks & they are very effective too (more about this later.)
I will get you some souvenirs next time I go in if possible, & will post them, sorry I can’t send you a helmet for it is too big for the post never mind will bring one home to Norwood after the war.
Capt. Birdsall came through alright I’m glad to say. My chum got wounded badly, think possibly too bad to come back again.
Could you send me a Register once and again please, just to read the news. Your letters are very welcome to me & cheer a fellow up, for we are away from home and like to have a line.
#The weather is grand and bright just now. Was in one of the finest churches in France a few day ago. I always go and inspect them if I have a chance.
We are all in good health and happy as larks could not be better, & are looking forward to our return back to Canada.
Trust you and yours are well, with kind regards to all I remain
P.S. Many thanks for Card.
Have had good news a [triple chevron: sergeant] told me that Peters might be in +
Hope its true.