Four Days Without Food and Water
Staff Signaller A. .H Skidmore of the Duke of Connaughts Own Rifles, 7th Battalion, 2nd Brigade, and now in hospital at Eastbourne, writes to his brother, Bugler Skidmore, 127 Lansdowne avenue, of the 79th Cameron Highlanders:
"I got through that Ypres scrap with a couple of scratches, one on my left hip and one on my right thumb, a piece of shrapnel burst my thumb nail and stuck in my thumb.
"I didn't leave the trenches until three days after my battalion had been relieved and you can guess what I looked like. I hadn't washed or shaved for about two weeks and hadn't had anything to eat or drink for 4 days. Believe me I was a picture. My lips were cracked and black for want of drink, and my face was splashed with mud and discolored by shell smoke, the green lint around my gills finished the picture. I certainly was a sight for sore eyes. You should have been at Ypres with us, it was a picnic, but talk about a fight, it was fast and furious if ever there was one.
There they were coming at us about 20 deep, thousands of them. and as fast as we shot them down or bayoneted them others took their places. It seems to me that we killed more Germans in one afternoon when the scrapping was going strong than Britain ever had for a complete army.
Caught Germans in a House
"We caught 25 Germans in a house behind the lines the day after the big attack, and after what we had seen you may be sure we enjoyed ourselves. There was only 9 of us, but they all went the same way home. We put what was left of them in one of their own shell holes. On our return journey about 20 minutes later we found an officer and a German private sniping [?] [?] the same house, well you can guess what happened 'Birds of a Feather get Curied together.'
"I still feel the effects of the gas, but expect to be all right and back in dear old Ypres or Hill 60 by the time you receive this letter. I think we would have wiped out the German army out last week had the French [?] left them through. They got almost behind us. What a tough time we had scrapping Germans on our front and our flank and in our rear. but the roughest part was after we had chased Von Hindenburg's picked army back and re-established the French line the French let them through again. Every battalion in the contingent got badly cut up, but in my opinion the Germans got more than we did in spite of their poisonous gases. I don't know myself how I cam through, as I had four bullet holes through my greatcoat, one through my hat and 2 through my canteen."