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Date: July 27th 1917
Beulah Bahnsen (wife)
Ralph Watson

27 July, ’17.

I feel utterly dispirited to-day. We moved to a different town again, one that’s deserted and shelled pretty bad, like the rest around here. Yesterday afternoon I spent with young V.R. and in the evening went up into the front line on a working party. On the way back a shell dropped amongst the bunch and got eighteen. The work, the confusion, all in the dark and everything, was awful for awhile, one boy dying awfully hard with a wound in the stomach — had to be held down for fear of tearing off his dressings. I was called over to see if it had slipped, felt down; but it hadn’t, so I went away and they got him off to the station. This morning — as young V didn’t come over to see me as usual, I went to hunt him up — to find it was him who had the stomach wound, and he was dead. I went over to the ruined house where the dead were and sure enough it was him, poor kid! He just looked asleep. If only I’d known it was him, when I was called over, I could have given my other cases to other men, and stayed with him till he died. But in the darkness and hurry I never recognized him. The other stretcher bearer that dressed him told me at the time the man couldn’t live. I remember I asked him if he knew him; but he said he didn’t. And only last Saturday we were going to walk over to the nearby town — H., K. and I to have our photographs taken together; but left it too late. A brighter, cleaner, steadier young boy never came to France. I think he told me he was an only child. I will get his mother’s address, and have you write. I cannot. By you get this, I’ll have been through — or otherwise — the biggest battle of the war, I guess. If I’m to get it, I shall, I suppose. Well, what is there to say? Nothing. It’s my fate alone that can show. Every second of these coming weeks, my heart will be reaching out to you. I love you, dear Lal — am yours — now — and forever. You have been always — are the one perfect thing in my life.

Original Scans

Original Scans