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Date: June 16th 1916
Beulah Bahnsen (wife)
Ralph Watson

16 June, ’16.

My dearest Lal, —

I left off, I believe, where I was to be inoculated. I had plans of “swinging the lead” and sneaking down to the Y for a long talk with you, a nice quiet read, and altogether a nice easy old day all to myself. Well, “the best laid schemes.” The inoculation part was all O.K., done with “neatness and despatch”; but next day, instead of coming down here and having a nice easy time, I was so “all in” I just couldn’t get out of bed.... It took every one the same way, which for some reason comforts me a little. There’s another one coming in ten days.

Well — you “compray” the date of this letter.

I suppose your papers are working overtime to get issues out — once again the Canucks have had it at Ypres....

And say, Lal, the third battle of Ypres — an old story when you get this — was not — is not, as it’s on now — like the first or the second. An artillery fellow told me he couldn’t hear his gun fire because of the bursting shells sent over by Fritz — not just for a minute, mind, but for forty-eight hours. How anything lived in the front line, I dunno: but the Canucks got back all they lost, and more to it besides. Gee, it’s amazing! If you could see and hear what I do, you wouldn’t believe. They’ve shelled Ypres town again, and bust the Cloth Hall for fair, this time.

The general opinion seems to be that the troops against them in this scrap are nothing like those in the battle last year — lots of young kids, and many with no heart. The officers are as good, though. One German officer, captured by a fellow I carried, killed or wounded four Canuck officers before getting knocked out and captured himself. Of course our men would have killed him, but didn’t have an opportunity. Only when things are very quiet or very very busy are prisoners taken.

There’s a man, an Englishman, works here. He was taken prisoner by the Germans. When captured, he had a tin of bully and some biscuits on him. Fritz first ate these, cutting the biscuits into very thin slices and making sandwiches with the bully beef, enjoying the feed — he told me — with the greatest satisfaction. Afterwards, they took every single stitch of clothing off him and turned him loose. When about fifty to one hundred yards away, they all took pot shots at him with their rifles; but he got off with only a few slight wounds, wandered three days and three nights till he fell in with one of our working parties. He’s been no use ever since.... They did the same thing to a large party of a certain Scotch regiment, killing many. That regiment has taken no prisoners since. This is perfectly true.

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