July 6th, 1917
I feel that a few words from me will be appreciated but not to the extent that a letter from Jack or Major would be. I am in hopes that they will have one the same mail, which is very likely.
Well, the boys and I went into action on the twenty fourth of April and had it very nice for two or three days. Very quiet I mean. But things couldn’t last forever, so Fritz gave us a strafe. Our first baptism and I don’t think we’ll ever forget it. We’ve had worse since but that was our first. Poor Angus Morrison, (one of our old boys) was killed that night by a shell.
On the night of May 2nd I was going up the communication trench following up in rear of the platoon when one of the Fritz’s shells struck the parapet blowing it in and burying the three of us. I was top and managed to scratch my way out and with aid of a shovel that was lying handy, managed to get the others out. Both of them were wounded. One died in the hospital and the other is back in the line once more.
Just after I got them clear and the stretcher bearer patching them up I stooped sown to look for my tin hat and another struck the parapet and buried me in a second time. I don’t know who dug me out, but my next recollection was that of being borne very gently into the medical dug out. There they discovered that I had a piece of shrapnel-in back next to the right shoulder blade-it was lodged next to my right lung, one of my ribs was squashed. I was sent to the hospital at ____________ and was there for a few weeks. Later I went back up the line and saw the boys again. I arrived here a few days ago, am feeling as well as could be expected.
Since arriving I spent 14 days “sick leave” in Bonny Scotland and had an excellent time. I was to Glasgow and Edinburgh. The people up there used me fine. A young lady from the Highlands is going to send me some “heather” and if you’d like a sprig I’ll send you some.
We expect that the war will be “finis” this summer. This seems to be the general opinion of the people over here.
I leave here in a few days time for Bexhill on Sea to take a course at the O.T.S. Bexhill is a great summer resort, on the south coast of England and they say it’s a great place. I hope so at least.
Remember me to your Mother and the rest of the family, Mr. MacMahon and all the rest of my friends.
As soon as I finish my course I shall be going back to France but that’s about two months away.
If there is anything I can do for the ‘boys’ while I’m here, if so let me know of it. For I shall only be too glad to render you and them my services.
My address: -
222770 Sgt. Hector MacNeil (85th)
Nova Scotia Regtl. Depot