Search The Archive

Search form

Collection Search
Date: July 29th 1917
To
Family
From
Amos William
Letter

July 29th 1st Scottish Hospital O. Ward "Oldmill' Aberdeen My Dear Betty & Kiddies;- Am far enough away from the battlefront now as you perceive. I left Rouen on Wednesday night at 11' clock, & sailed from La- Havre the following evening at 9-30 - arriving in England at 6-30 Friday morning & disembarking & leaving for Aberdeen, Scotland at 5 P.M., we arrived at our destination at 9 am Saturday morning - This is a beautiful place & everyone so kind, as everyone has been ever sence I was wounded. They have a splendid system of handling the sick & wounded just about perfect - fancy not being able to get up sence I was wounded, yet being transported right from the front line to way up here in absolute comfort. I am getting along splendidly & am to have my thighs xrayed again, a piece of shell is in my right thigh still - but I think the left will be all right however rest assured that there is absolutely no cause for worry, & I hope to be arround soon again; I have heard no more about Pryor you will know more than I now; you must tell me how he is. I can just tell you briefly about being wounded for I know you will be interested to know. We had spent 8 days in the supports & just finished 8 days in the front line, just to the South of Lens - The German artillery fire had been steadily growing more fierce, until the Sunday night (17th) when we were relieved, shells of all sizes were coming over in an incessant stream, night & day between our own artillery & Fritzy's the noise & din was beyond all description - We were relieved at 12 midnight & began our journey back to the reserve dugouts, it was dark & raining, but every minute or two Fritz would send up Flares making everything as bright as day & brighter. We were in a single file & Pryor was just behind me & right at the center of the platoon, about 5 minutes after we set out, he began to shell, but we got along alright until about 1 am & were almost back to the support trenches, where we would have been in comparative safety, Fritz then began to drop his shells pretty close & I had just said to Pryor " I believe we're going to get it yet" when one dropped & burst about 10 ft, away. Then I saw fireworks, & felt myself lifted up, & at the same time felt sharp stings in different places; of course everyone scattered when the shell burst, & several other shells followed in quick succession & continued for a long time at intervals (indeed we were under shell fire all the time I was being carried out) when I saw everyone running I got to my feet though I knew I was hit in both legs & arms, & staggered along several yards - I remember hearing shouting "Don't leave us boys, there's some wounded back here" for I could hear Pryor groaning, I had to drop again then & must have fainted when I came too, Roberts (he used to be barman at the "Anglo" Emerson) he turned out a good fellow, well he was taking my equipment off, & calling for some one else to come, after a few minutes the plattoon serg't & Lieut Neale the plattoon commander came along, I heard them say that Pryor was wounded badly & several others slightly, & that they were in a trench about 50 yds away, our] Neale & Roberts, lifted me onto the Sergt's back, & he carried me to the trench, where they laid me by Pryor (all in the mud) we lay head to head I knew enough to know that he had got it bad he was calling out about his leg, & was also wounded in the head, I managed to get hold of his hand, & said "Hello Pryor" have they got you too?" he said " Is that you Mr. Mayse? they've got us at last. We stayed there for about an hour, waiting for stretchers, the pain by this time was pretty bad & my wounds were bleeding a lot, you know when a shell bursts every piece in practically red hot, so you can imagine what it would be like - however I did what I could to comfort Pryor poor fellow, The stretchers came about 2 am they got us on them & began their journey & what a journey - dark & rainy ground full of shell holes, crossing trenches - going through scrub & over embankments all the while shells dropping here & there - they carried us nearly 3 miles to the nearest dressing station, which was on old German Dugout on the Arras & Lens Road & 50 feet underground, it was like getting into Heaven to get there, & I was glad for the men's sake, who had been carrying us - Everyone of them proved himself a hero that night. Do you remember "Brown"? He was a chum of Patterson who was killed at Vimy & well Brown was one who helped to carry me out. I'll never forget them, before they left us at the Dressing Station I told them to share up on the parcels that might come for me. I was expecting one from you, one from Bella - one from Bob & another from Emerson. If ever men went through Hell we went through it & worse, that night, the experience has knocked my nerves to all pieces. They dressed our wounds & injected a serum for prevention of lockjaw into us, & after about half an hour carried us to the light Railway, where they placed us on open trucks drawn by a gasoline locomotive, & took us down to the Casualty Receiving Station, behind the lines about 8 miles. We arrived there about 4.30 am Wednesday. There a Major Doctor examined our wounds - diagnosed & dressed them again, they made me comfortable, gave me hot cocoa & cigarettes, & in about an hour I was on my way to No 22 Casualty Clearing Station at Brewy (I left Pryor at the Receiving Station & have not heard of him sence. They kept me a Brewy for 3 days, & operated on me taking out some of the pieces of shell. From there I was sent to No 8 General Hospital Rouen, a splendid place, it used to be a convent - before the war - I was put under xray here, & pieces were found to be in my right thigh - but they would not operate, as they were sending me to England as soon as I was fit to travel - which did not take me long, for I was away on Wednesday night & here I am, comfortable & getting along fine - I lost everything I had I had except Photo Dairy & Bible & a few of your letters that I happened to have in my pocket. Tell Shirley & Billy that I had their letters in my pocket at the time, & shall send them back to be kept as souvenirs, I am also enclosing one of yours, which you will notice has been hit with a piece of a shell - my clothes were literally cut & torn into ribbons, & they had to cut them away from me. It happened too, just when I had no money, so that I find myself up here without money & the few things that one needs - however I have written to Bella & Bob & they will fix me up in a day or two = If you have received that $ 125.ºº you might send them $ 10.ºº (ten dollars) they have been very, very good to me. You might let me know how & when you got to know about my being wounded. Did Bella send a cable? You had better send my letters to Rose until I get settled again, it will only mean an extra day before I get them. What do the children say about it all? It has been visiting day to day & it makes me feel lonesome = I wish you could drop in with the Kiddies, tell Shirley that I wish she was here to nurse me. I must close now this is a much longer letter than I thought I could write. Remember me to all enquiring friends. Now don't worry dear I'll be arround again in a week or two, One thing now, No one can say that I have not done my bit - I'd far rather go through this than have Miles' reputation, he hasn't made good at all & they will not even have him at the front line. My very best love & kisses 494 [?] 91 & 23. Yours lovingly Will Betty xxxxxxxxxxxx Shirley xxxxxxxxx Billy xxxxxxx P.S. God has certainly answered your prayers for my safety its a miracle that I am alive to day, & then when I see poor fellows arround maimed - crippled & blind I realize how much I have to thank God for. I pray that this awful war may soon end though it seems far off at present however it may come sooner than we dream of. Good night dear & God bless & keep you, Will

Original Scans

Original Scans