Search The Archive

Search form

Collection Search
Date: October 26th 1916
Keith Winterbottom - (brother)
Sydney Winterbottom

France (Souchez area)
Oct. 26, 1916

Dear Keith:

We don't get your letters here but have to wait until we join our battalion up the line. So I haven't read any letter for 2 weeks and will be glad to get one for a change.

To-day I met Art Schriber the little bugler who used to be in the 62nd. He hasn't yet been up the line but has been sick in hospital here for a month. I have also heard about Tommy and Fletcher. They were both sent to the battalion I am to be sent to. I met a fellow who used to sleep with Tommy and he told me that Tommy had been sent to England wounded while Fletcher had been killed. He said he was sure about Tommy but could only get Fletcher's death second hand. Therefore I wouldn't believe that Fletcher was dead until you heard for sure.

Yesterday we went up to our training place and had some bayonet work. We ended up with a bayonet charge over wire, stumps, holes and everything else to make it realistic. At one place you had to dive into a trench four to six feet deep, head first with the bayonet held downwaard. Lots of the fellows get hurt up there. They have a stretcher ready there all the time so you can see it somewhat realistic. It is muddy here now almost the whole time.

I'm feeling fine though and have never been so free from colds, tum aches, etc. I have tried to smoke a pipe lately but sold it to a fellow yesterday as I simply could never smoke if I lived to be 50. I often smoke a cigarette and fairly like them. But I'm hanged if I'll ever smoke simply because I don't like it. I often think of you all at home and wonder if you are all well and happy.

There were a couple of picture shows over at the imperial camp so you can always see a show of an evening. The other evening I saw Mr. Bunny, you remember the fat old gink who died some years ago. He was in an act with his skinny wife and certainly made you laugh.

You hear great yarns here from the fellows from back from the trenches. I heard of one kid whom they found in a trench. He had leant his rifle and bayonet against the trench and had a German down. When they came upon them they found the kid crying while he held on to both the Germans ears and pounded his head on the bottom and bit him on the face. If he only kept his hair on he could have reached for his rifle and stuck the German in his gizzard.

Well old sport, I'll close with love to you all, your loving brother,

P.S. Be sure to get all the shooting in you can. I would if I was home.


[Editor’s note: Transcription provided by collection donor.]