April. 3rd 1916
Dear Mr Irwin:- Yours of March 13th reached me to day (Ap. 3rd) and I am trying to write these few lines to you, during the breathing time in the battle that going on just here. Say it something awfull one continuous roar of the big Krups of [?] and the Howitzers of our boys. This has been going steady day & night for over a week, since the mine went up under the Germans on the 27th. How Human flesh can stand it I don’t know. We are next to the brave British tommies that’s holding the crater, last night we improved our position by taking another portion of the line, and taking 80 prisoners. Well I have had my first look at the Huns. 180 of them passing through our trenches en route for the camp. To me they seemed a mixed crowd young & old. Huskies and punny looking. Tall (some quite a bit over 6ft) and others 4 ft nothing. They appeared to be Happy and I think glad to be out of it. This last month we have seen the horrors of War – taking a minor part in the taking of the International Trench and the Bluff. Sorry to hear of the Epidemic that has swept your vicinity – hoping that it will be passed over by this time. Had pleasant surprise this week while touring the front line when a lad came up and introduced himself and imagine my surprise when he said he came from Norwood. Murphy is his name and lives in Queen St. he came to the 21st in a draft from another Battalion. The weather here is splendid. almost too hot in the day, but turns cool at nights. All the Boys a fine and standing the Moral effect of Frils shells ground. The only thing we are suffering from is Not sufficient sleep. Having to STAND to practically Night and Day. we hope to catch up in rest after tomorrow when we go to Rest-camp for a few days. In a way I envy the Kharki Boys in Norwood, they certainly are having “Some time” thanks to the Friends in Town, but I am having a good time here to only under different conditions. 3 of the Scouts had a marvelous escape yesterday when a Shell completely wrecked the dug-out in which they were sleeping, and not one of them even had a scratch. They were buried of course, and we dug them out, and one of them was still sleeping after we took the earth away. we woke him up and he was surprised to find the state he was in.-
April 13th 1916. I am going to finish this letter to you to night. – we are in the Rest Camp far behind the firing line. – we have been in action for the last 21 days. The British success of the 27th was lost and the 21st last Sun- & Monday retook the lost ground – I came through the ordeal without a scratch.
Billy Pond was struck by a piece of Shrapnel in the centre of the back- just as he was entering into action very serious I think His back may be broken. I have not heard any news from him since he was taken to the dressing station. He may be in England by this time. The scenes of the last few days has been horrible. Ghastly, it has just been like HELL let loose. The Germans using all the deadliest means possible, Big Krumps, weeping Shells, and Flaming Shells. – Bombs. But never the Bayonnet. Prisoners taken was glad to get out of it. One saying “Canadians too much fight” I am feeling fine myself and after a few days rest well be ready for action again. Will conclude for this time with Kind Regards to all. Remember me [?] the folks.