[Published in the newspaper The Ladysmith Chronicle, February 2, 1915. The letter was written by Day to the local section (Ladysmith) of the United Mine Workers of America.]
LETTER FROM THE TRENCHES
The following letter from Mr. Thomas Day, who left Ladysmith early last autumn to rejoin his regment, will be read with interest. It was addressed to the secretary of the local U.M.W. of A.:
9941 Pte T. Day,
No. 1. Company, 1st Manchester Reg., Expeditionary Force,
MY DEAR FRIENDS AND BROS –
It is now Christmas Eve, and I am writing you a few lines to let you know I am still alive and thinking of the boys at Ladysmith. I cannot help thinking of the difference between last Christmas and this. Last Christmas we were all fighting for OUR cause, now I am fighting for our Mother Country. I am sure you will all agree with me, that if the Germans were to win this war, things in general would be worse, and no true-hearted Briton will see England go down.
I will try and tell you a little of my experience in this last battle, I am lucky to be alive to tell the tale. It was like this: On the 20th December the 1st Manchesters were called on to save a situation that the Gurkhas had lost. Well, we all did a charge on a village where the Germans were located. Of course they saw us coming, and then the bullets began to fly. The first bit of cover we came to, which was a bit of a ditch, we got into, and got our wind. There one of the boys rolled in wounded in the foot. I stopped and bound him up and then dashed on after my company. We soon got into the village and set the Germans on the run. We shot some and others we took prisoners. We dashed forward and got into their trenches, and then darkness came on. That night it was warm for us. The German artillery got to work on us, and also their maxims, and simply mowed our boys down. The trench where I was led into the German trenches, and we walked into them in the dark. I was the first man, and of course when I did not answer in German they let fly. A bullet just passed my left cheek, but I don’t think that German will ever fire again, for I ran my bayonet right through him. But there were too many for us, so we retired down the trench and remained there all night. The big guns and rifles were throwing iron foundries at us all night, but we held the position until the next day, and then we got the order to retire, which we did, but came back again and stopped there under a heavy fire until help came and relieved us. Then we went back tired, hungry, wet and all over mud, but I can tell you I lay down as I was and went to sleep. You can bet I said my prayers that night.
(The rest of Mr. Day’s letter refers to private matters.)