Dear Friends of Norwood:- In my last I spoke of my first trip in the Somme, the taking of the [censored] and a few incidents of the Battle, of our circular trip, finally landing at [censored], reinforced, reorganized, for our second group with the Huns.-
We rested after hours on the [censored] before marching to [censored] for the night. – This was necessary as the Huns was shelling [censored] and vicinity every night, and the [censored] was allways cleared of troops before he started.- After a night rest we moved to B[censored] and made ourselves comfortable for a few days rest. The Woods or rather Corpes 1/2 acre in all show signs of the heavy fighting [censored] The roar of the guns was terrific, close to us was a battery of 15 inch Howitzers which made the earth tremble. Our rest however came to a sudden end as word had come that the Huns had retired during the night, and no trace of them could be found, and up the Line we went with the Best of Luck and Tommy Ticklers Jam.- Here was a real opportunity for Scout work. And put our training into force. Our way led us over the Battlefield [censored] the ground was nothing but shell-holes. No an inch which had not been touched. – here and there a half buried body, here a limb, here a broken down tank. [censored] looked fairly safe, with its high bank, but the Huns had a nasty habit of dropping shells into the pit. I at once started to dig in the bank, the more Frits shelled the more I dug until I was 30ft below the top of the bank. Here I spent 3 days & nights under a constant bombardment, for I believe he put everything he had into the pit, except the guns Causillies[?] of course were fairly large, and many a Boy was killed, buried, and cross put up. (made out of a Bully Beef box, with his name in pencil) all within half an hour- We lost [censored] the second day, and made it hard for the rest of us (being short handed) at night, when we would go out reconoitering – During the day I kept or tried to keep Observation, but between ducking shells, and digging did not get very much information, At last our relief came, and I dreaded taking another walk up the [censored] . But! What a change. Our minister (The Rev. Mr. Kiss) under constant shellfire, along with a stretcher bearer, had buried all the bodies, putting up a cross over each grave, doing fine work, He after words won the Military Cross. And he earned it. Once again we are in [censored] where a splendid Hot meal was awaiting us and we needed it as we had nothing but Bully & Hard Tack for our Menu during our trip in – The water was fetched up in Petrol tank, and every drink we took we were half gassed, and our breath would run an Automobile – The boys were fair done in, plastered from head to foot in a mixture of Mud & Chalk.- but happy - Again we were dissappointed and felt it hard, as we were ordered the next day to go into the line. This time in front [censored] we guided the Battalion into position, and it was quite a job as the line had not been connected up and it could be easy for a company to go through the gaps (200 yds in length) and find themselves in the German lines before knowing it. – The new trench had been dug 400 yds in advance of an old German line (A good policy) and the Huns did not even know we were there, not a shell came near us, although he was constantly shelling his old line which he knew was there. After spending a night and day in this trench I was sent back [censored] a good mile walk) waiting until twilight before venturing overland.- I had only gone 200 yds when the Huns opened up with Machine Guns and Artillery.- Here I was between two foes. The bullets cutting the grass above my head (for I had dropped full length into a shell – hole, ½ filled with water) and a barrage the back of me. 2 shells landed 10 yds away but they were duds and did not explode.- After laying half an hour.- Things quieted down, and I made a dash for it running 50 yds – laying in a shell hole, and so on untill I reach [censored] and a deep dug-out to tell the Boys of my experience. The next day we were relieved and one again were in [censored] so finishing my second & third trip in the Somme.
Many brave deed was done, the most fresh in my mind was the Rev. Mr. Kidd,- the stretcher bearers played a great part bringing out wounded, regardless of shells and not one got hit, Scout Roberts (who was afterwards killed) crawled 200 yards in full view of the Huns to an outpost, held by 3 men in advance of our original front line, delivered a message and crawled back. All these received the Military Medal for their services.