Rev. A Mansell Irwin.
Here we are again, still alive & kicking, at least we fellows are here, & trust you folks across the water are too.
Hope you received my last letter wrote on the 15th August. In it I promised you a descriptive letter, so I guess I will start right away.
Here is an incident in the war-life of a bomb-thrower. As you know I belong to that bunch of fellows known as the “Suicide Club.” The name is given because the boys consider it the most dangerous business there is to do out here.
In an attack us fellows always go first, in a retreat, we have to cover the boys, so you see we do manage to get a good share of the excitement.
On this occasion we were in the trenches at “Plugstreet” known over here in normal times as Ploegsteert. While there we were bothered by a german patrol who came up to our listening posts. They were detected & one was hit but they managed to get away.
One night I set out with two of my boys to get news (commonly known as a reconnoitering party) we crawled out about a hundred yards under mazes of barbed wire & lay & listened- nothing doing, we went about 50 yards further & crawled along a ditch. Suddenly some dead limbs in the ditch cracked, evidently something doing, then two rifles cracked too, & the bullets just going between us. Jumping up, I threw a bomb (each of us being armed with two bombs & a revolver in our belt.) then a scramble, & figures began to beat it down the ditch with our bomb following them. Our supply being temporarily exausted we could not follow them up. We lay about an hour longer & nothing occurred but the rats (the biggest I have ever seen) running round. Then getting what particulars we needed we beat it back to our trenches amid a hail of machine gun bullets mingled with the pat-pat of rifles. That is just an every night occurrence along the line. It is very tiring, but we manage to have quite a large amount of fun between times. At present we are out having a rest & I have a class of fellows receiving instruction in the gentle act of bombthrowing. Will try & send you some souvenirs this week. As soon as this class is over, will see the O.C. about being able to send.
We are having some very wet weather here at present & have plenty of mud. We have tea & mud for breakfast, skilly & mud for dinner, & tea & mud for supper. Who wouldn’t be a soldier.
You & your boys had a gay old time at the lakes, wish I had been with you.
Must close now with kind regards to you all.
From Corp. W.T. Robus
PS. Another letter later.