News from the Firing Line
The following are a few extracts taken from a letter written to a Uno Park friend by Mr. Charlie Snazelle, a former Temiskaming boy, who is now a member of a British troop on the firing line in France, Mr. Snazelle having joined the troops in England:
"Well, I expect you are wondering what sort of time we are having out here, it is no picnic, I can tell you. It is serious work. We left England about the middle of April, and joined the regiment at the front about the time the Canadians made their gallant charge. I spoke to a lot of wounded soldiers, but could find no news of the boys from New Ontario. We have spent three spells in the trenches, first five days in reserve trenches, where we were safe from rifle fire but subject to a heavy shell fire. One night we got orders to turn out for the front trenches and left at 3 o'clock next morning, traveling in motor bus for three or four hours, when we got to a little village a few miles back from the firing line. Here we rested all day, and at night went into the trenches, where we put in seven days in the front line trenches, with the German trenches only a few hundred yards distant. We did considerable repair work during the day and at night some of us went back for food and water. Sometimes the Germans would shell the roads, but we were pretty lucky and things generally went off all right. During the seven days I neither washed nor shaved, so you can guess what I looked like. . . . . . The Germans started to put their gas over our lines, it was rather serious this time. . . . . . our losses were small considering the work we had to do. . . . . .We are a very lucky regiment. . . . . .We are nor resting quite a distance from the trenches, and it is certainly a treat after the noise.
"The Canadians have done splendidly out here. Everybody admires them, and at time they were cut up - well, I guess the Germans will remember them for a little time. We want all the men we can get out here to end this war. . . . . .People at home cannot realize what it is like out here. Villages nothing but a heap of ruins; dead horses and cattle all over the place; great big holes in the roads. I have seen holes twenty feet across caused by a German shell. The City of Ypres, is nothing but ruins, not a sound house left. The Germans shell the place night and day, but they might as well save their shells for all the good it does them."
Mr. Snazelle closes by wishing to be remembered to all his Temiskaming friends.