Search The Archive

Search form

Collection Search
Date: April 22nd 1917

A. Coy. 19th Reserve Batt. C.E.F.
Bramshott. Hants. Eng.

Sun. April 22nd 1917.

Dear Father:-

Well I’m still living, & not doing too badly at all, in spite of being in quarantine. If I really want anything down town I can always manage to get down, but I haven’t bothered very much about it. I’ve only been down three times in three weeks and I expect to go once next week, so that won’t be a bad record, I guess the best I ever made. Really though there is nothing much to go down town for, every place around here is so small and uninteresting. The country beats the towns everyway. It really worth while going for a walk around here. There are houses everywhere that very few on Wellington Crescent can beat, and trees everywhere & very very little broken land. Its no wonder England is starving with land going to waste like it is around here. Of course though it is awfully pretty in a way. Then too there are splendid roads for marching on, never muddy and yet very seldom dry. They beat Wpg. streets all hollow. They would think quite a while in Wpg. before they would let big steam engines travel around at 6 or 8 miles an hr. the way they do on these roads.

I guess the big push is on at last, with 35000 prisoners taken in 13 days. It looks like it too the way they are taking the drafts over. We sent one Wed. & yesterday and I think one is going tomorrow. Then there will be another going as soon as we can get the men for it.

We have managed to get up quite a little dispute here as to which is the soldiers best friend, his rifle or his pocket full of No. 5. mills Hand Grenades. The musketing instructor of course says the rifle is & then we tell him that the bombing instructor, a returned lieut., says the bomb is & then of course the musketing instructor goes to work & proves that the rifle is – and when we are taking bombing, why it’s just vice versa. I guess its about the truth when we say that for open country fighting the rifle takes the prize and for trench warfare, the bomb. One returned boy said that in six months in the trenches he never fired a shot. There was nearly an accident here the other day when some of the fellows were throwing live bombs. There is a lever on the bomb which is held down with a pin & when you take the pin out you have to hold the lever down with your fingers & then when you throw the bomb the lever flies up & sets the fuse going & in 5 seconds, the bomb explodes. Well one of the boys was going to throw one & took the pin out & then got scared, I guess, & stood there. The lieut. told him to throw it but he continued to stand there. He told him again & this time he let go the lever, but still didn’t throw the bomb. The lieut. tried to get him to throw it but couldn’t and then he tried to take it out of his hand but couldn’t do that so he hit him a couple of times & finally managed to knock it out of his hand & just pulled him & himself around a corner of the trench when the bomb went off. It seems to me that a person who would lose his head like that should never go to France but I guess he has gone just the same, in spite of what I think.

You may have had pretty cold weather this last winter, but I just bet it wasn’t anything like as disagreeable as the 32° rainy weather that we have had. I would a lot sooner have 30 below dry weather than rainy or snowy weather with the thermometer just hovering around freezing, and I think you would too. I’ve been colder this winter than I’ve ever been before and I’ve had more clothes on.

I’m glad in a way that have managed to stay in England for the winter, even though all my old friends have beat me over. A lot of our fellows have been up in the front line for quite a while now, about two months. Five have been killed that I know of and quite a few wounded, but I only knew one of the latter.

I received your letter of March 18th about a week ago. I should have answered it sooner, of course, but I’ve been getting hold of so many good books lately that as soon as I got started one I stayed with it until I finished it & then I would find another one I thought would be good and I would want to start at it right away, and that’s the way it has gone all week. I’ve read six of Ralph Connors books in the last couple of weeks and Laddie & Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter. They are awfully good books, I think, but perhaps you would think they were a little too sentimental in places. Still I think you would enjoy Laddie if you haven’t already read it.

I’ll have to quit now. I’ve got about ten more letters I ought to write but I guess if I manage two I’ll be doing pretty good.


Original Scans

Original Scans