Ont. Mil. Hosp.
Dear Pa, -
The Huns used the liquid fire while bombing us out of the support trench. I didn't know what it was at first. Thought it was some kind of incendiary bomb that set everything burning that the pieces touched. It surely puts your wind-up. We could see the fellows carrying the tins of this stuff on their backs. One Hun who had a can on his back was hit also the can and he caught on fire from it and was rolling around yelling with the pain. It makes a great deal of smoke. This happened 200 yds in front of us.
The sky certainly became dulled by the smoke from the explosion of shells and the smell is sickening. In the part I underlined - that is exaggerated, it wasn't so dark as all that . There were two officers with our company Lt. Feife & Lt. De Bay. Fife was killed during the bombardment and De Boy badly wounded and was left in our dug-out when the Germans came down. The Huns were in this part from June 2 to they were driven out on the 13th. Maj. General Mercer & Brigadier Gen. Williams were on our right in C.M.Rs. trench.
That first couple of days we wondered what had happened our artillery. They seemed to have done good work lately tho.
We have been in the Hooge trenches to the trenches in front of Sanctuary wood, never as far right as Hill 60 so we know the line pretty well [hand drawn map depicting the different sections of the line that he is describing] This will show position of the copse & S. wood. It would S. Lake some time to attempt all the support & communication trenches. We have been on the Mennon Road several times. It is shelled a great deal & swept with machine gun fire.
The fellow in 2nd Cot to me 1st C.M.P. was in no man's land for friday - sat. & sunday night he got into a trench found dug out with bread and a tin of jam & cigarettes so tired he slept there till 8 a.m. Monday stayed all day and at night came out and faced a big german in advance post - fired at him & got him, then beat it down the trench and jumped into the centre of a bunch of 43rds who were greatly startled. He was later taken at the point of a revolver to prove his identity which he was luckily able to do.
We were behind the loop in sanctuary wood.
The Huns when they came over didn't seem to hurry very much. Our fellows were saying they must be doped. They got thru on our right and down all thru maple copse as far as the X I made just north of Tillebeke. If they hadn't been driven back we would have been practically surrounded & cut-off, which we thought we were for a few hours. Our company was in support to No. 1. Co and they had to retire overland to our trench. They lost the most men only 30 left.
The gap between the R.C.[?] and No. 2. Co. was about 250 yds. not 50.
I don't know if you will understand what I have made a poor attempt at explaining. The papers seem to put in thrilling parts that may be true but may be imaginary.
It is a nice warm day. The strawberries are a little later this year tho there are some now. As soon as I get out I'm going to get a good feed.
Much love to each one.