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Date: December 4th 1915
Mr. Irwin
W.J. Stares

No. 59907

Dec. 4th 1915

Dear Mr. Irwin.

Your letter dated Nov 17th to hand to day was pleased to hear from you. My nerves so far are good but I had a very sudden awakening last Wed. when a Shell burst 10 yds from the Dug-out. I need not say that I dressed in a hurry. I did not stop even to lace my Boots up. but just got there. It still continues to rain, and Flanders is practically nothing but an inland lake and the best swimmers will be the only survivors

I think I mentioned in my last regarding Leui Keslick I shall certainly hunt Pte H. Kifl of the 20th. They always releive us in the trenches and we releive them, so it will not be a hard matter.

Glad to hear of the success in the Hunting expedition we are also doing splendid work hunting out Snipers. Our bigest bag being 5 one day. – Christmas will soon be here and by the looks of things we shall all be killed with Kindness.

There is steady flow of parcles coming in all the time, we have a system of each man sharing his parcle amongst the rest of the Boys, as one or the other receives one each day. we are constantly eating good things, and those who do not get so many do not notice the difference Regarding poor Stanly[?], he practically gave his life away. One of our Snipers was busy, and the German sniper had caught on to his position and was making things hot for him, and at the same time the Germans was Shelling our Reserve trenches. Stanly[?] happened to come along and was interested in the shells going over and bursting, to do this he had to raise his head to see the effect, not thinking it would show over the parapet, the saddest part is he happened to stop where our sniper was. A bullet skimmed the sandbag and entered into the back of the poor Boys head. Killing him instantly. All the Norwood Boys are feeling fit and happy. Geo Martin I meet occasionally when in the Rest camp he is still in the Mining section, I intended to go and take a trip through the underground passages, but my work could not give me that privilege at the time, I have had rather an easy time lately at Headquarters doing my special work. I am trying to figure out where I shall be at Christmas – In the trenches. Reserve trenches or the Rest camp. Rumours says there may be a posibility of being home. for a few days. Brother Charley has practically recovered from his injuries and looking forward to fill the ranke again. The wet weather is telling on the Boys, the chief complaint being Trench feet, anyone getting this is sent home at once. the effects of this complaint is very painful, serious cases means amputation. The ground is so satuated with deadly germs that a slight scratch often has fatal results. Nothing very exciting along this section of the line, the same dodging bullets & shells every day, now & again an air fight to liven things up. the same wading waist high through mud, the same running across open fields, and how we do run, the same German bullet missing us, but making us run all the faster, the same old soldiers trick of falling full length, pretending we have been hit, and then all of a sudden, springing up and making the dash 20 or 30 yds to safty the same story to tell of how close the bullet came and what the feeling was like. These are everyday occurrences. At night on Listening Post the same nerve trying experiences, every rustling of a twig, or grass, makes us grip our rifles tighter, and we seem to be all Ears and Eyes, waiting for a dark object to appear out of the darkness. Many changes are taking place in Norwood, I see in the various occupations of Life. Remember me to all the Kind friends. Kind regards to all. I take this opportunity of wishing you all a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year in which all the Boys join. Will close for this time.

Yours Sincerely.

W.J. Stares.

Original Scans

Original Scans

Stares, William James. Letter December 4th 1915 Stares, William James. Letter December 4th 1915 Stares, William James. Letter December 4th 1915 Stares, William James. Letter December 4th 1915 Stares, William James. Envelope December 4th 1915 Stares, William James. Envelope December 4th 1915