Sunday June 11th.
Dear Ma, -
I must get a letter to you for now after this affair you will be very anxious till you get word. I wrote a letter to Mr. Reid the day after I arrived here and told him to cable you I was all right. Later the same day I got one of the fellows who works in the office here to send a cable for me. This one would be dated the 8th and the one from Mr. Reid the 10th or 11th. Luckily before going to the trenches this last time I wrote Mr. Reid to send me 50 francs in French money and I received this before leaving camp just after coming from the trenches.
The 2nd day in the trenches about 8.30 a.m. the Germans started bombarding and kept it up till 1.30 p.m. Then made an attack coming over in bunches. The bombardment was a terrible one and many were killed and wounded around me.
Our company was in supports and before we knew it while we were shooting at the Huns coming down the hill in front of us 300 yds away, they broke through on the right and came down the sides of the trenches bombing our fellow out and hiding behind the trees. We were cheered on by our sergeant major for a time but he was killed. Major Galt was wounded close to us and was carried down the trench. We remained in our bay firing till the Huns through a bomb which knocked a couple down off the firing step then retired a bay each time one of those bombs got too close to us. I watched one of them throwing bombs till he got in view and then fired, perhaps I got him. Wilf Wilson & I were together for a while bringing up the rear firing all the time. We rounded a corner and there the fellows were gathered behind a fallen tree firing away at the Huns coming on in front. The way the front line runs in that sort the Huns came from three sides so we were kept busy watching.
We were forced to retire a little beyond that fallen tree. I wont tell you of the terrible feeling when I recognized the fellows as we passed along the trench. Poor fellows they died like heroes everyone. They were game till the last.
Now we made a stand Turner & I were standing up firing down the trench we had retired from I was firing at two who came with in 37 yds. of us, Turner was hit above the eye and said to me "Jim I'm gone..." I wont tell you the rest because he is still living. He is in another Hosp. in this place or perhaps has gone to England. I heard he has lost the sight of one eye and may lose it in the other too. Some one bandaged up Beck Turner and I think Wilf. Wilson started out with him but Wilf was wounded, a bullet thru the shoulder. They both got out for I asked at the receiving hospital were I started from and they both had gone thru there.
I fired at those two and one was firing at me. I think I was the quicker for he disappeared suddenly and I didn't see him again, also the other [?] officer. Our bombers
tell Mrs. Hunter that belt she gave me saved me from what might have been a serious wound. A shrapnel shell burst above us and a piece came down and hit me in the centre of the back knocking me over. I felt a hole thru my tunic and then the buckle of the belt was broken. The piece had struck it and glanced off. The belt was turned around. We had a laugh then. I slipt the end of the belt through the loop as the buckle was broken and lost it coming out.
Your last letters are dated May 8 & 15, Pa's of May 12.
I forgot to scratch out "I'm being sent to the base" on the service card. If you have sent a parcel [?] and the other boys will have it for they can't forward parcels. My letters will be kept till I write them where to send them.
My birthday in seven days. I should be in England and able to move around.
The English papers say that the bombardment at Ypres this last time was heavier than the other two battles. I don't know yet how it is we came out alive the few that did.
Had a letter dated May 27th from Dan MacDonald haven't heard of him since. I don't know how the Regina boys in other battalions are doing. I hope they are not losing many.
Major McCana was over to see me at camp but I was out. He was coming over again but I left.
Jean Martin is in No. 4 Gen Can Hosp not here. I knew McCusker with this unit but he has gone back to Canada to finish his course in Medicine.
Well I must stop now. Will write soon. Much love to each one.
Your loving son
I don't think you will but don't show this letter around it is such a muddle of words. It is only what took part in a small part of the line.