Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size
Login

Military Photos



Category: Archives

War Stories published under this category are as follows:

    123   >



Marines You dragged your ass all the way. With our training using rope and pulling up hills and all that, it sure came in handy there. Christ, it was raining, of course. When didn't it rain in the hills? We climbed up on this hill; well, you couldn't walk up it, it was almost perpendicular. We'd tie the rope to a small tree, boost the guys -- we got over. You can imagine the time involved.
Note: by Ray Bauml, 2nd Raider Battalion  4720 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American New London, Conn., September 12, 1898 The ADJUTANT GENERAL, U. S. ARMY, Washington D. C. Sir: I have the honor to submit the following report upon the service of my battery (F, Second Artillery) during the months of June and July, covering the expedition to, and operations about, Santiago de Cuba: I. The horses, men, personal baggage, and camp equipment of the battery were loaded upon the transport Berkshire, in connection with Battery A, Second Artillery, prior to June 13, 1898, and the transport hauled out into the stream; but the ship came into the slip again and the horses were unloaded and sent up to camp, awaiting the final departure of the expedition. On June 13 the horses were reloaded, and the transport hauled out and proceeded to the lower bay to await the assembling of the fleet. The guns, carriages, caissons, harness, and general battery equipment had all been previously loaded and stowed, in connection with Battery A, Second Artillery, upon the lower afterdeck of the transport Iroquois, it being possible to load and stow without dismounting any of the battery. The ammunition, and also that of Battery A, Second Artillery, was all stowed, under personal supervision, in the forward lower hold of the same transport. It is to be regretted that it was impossible to have loaded the complete battery upon any one transport; but owing to the character and arrangements of these transports, taken as they were where they could be found, such an arrangement was impossible. On the Iroquois there was room available for guns and carriages, but none for the horses. On the Berkshire horses and men could be taken, but there was no room for guns, etc. Hence, the separation of the men and horses from the guns etc., appeared unavoidable, even though undesirable. On June 14, at about 3 p. m., the fleet had got into position and proceeded to sea. The trip at sea was without particular incident of interest. Though somewhat crowded, and, from the construction and nature of the transport, without much accommodation in the way of cooking, the men got along very comfortably. They were allowed to occupy nearly the whole ship by day and sleep anywhere at night. The saloon staterooms were allotted to the noncommissioned officers. There was no sickness, and, so far as the men were concerned, nothing better could have been expected under the circumstances. As to the horses, they stood the confinement and heat of the horse deck much better than had been anticipated. It was to be regretted, however, that the horse deck, being of iron, necessitated a temporary wooden covering upon which to fasten the stanchions for the stalls and the cleats to prevent slipping. This wooden covering and the cleats formed a regular open work grill, into which chaff and manure would pack in spite of all efforts to the contrary. The build of the ship, too, was such that no gangways could be provided in rear of the horses, there being barely room for one gangway at their head; hence the manure was difficult to be got at and removed. All of this made it next to impossible to keep the horse deck as clean as it should have been. As there were but two small scuppers - one on each side - on this deck, and as the deck was said not to be tight and the hold beneath was full of cargo, no cleaning by flushing out with hose was permissible. The ventilation was defective, but through the fault of no one, being the best possible from the construction of the ship. Fresh air was admitted through two large wind sails in the forward hatches, and also through the deadlights upon each side of the ship. The side ports, one forward and one aft on each side of the ship, were so constructed that they could not be opened generally with safety; hence there was no proper exit for the foul and heated air, or any chance to cause a strong draft throughout the horse deck. The small side ports, or deadlights, were quite numerous , and could generally be kept open. They were fitted with extemporized hoods of tin, made by the battery blacksmith, and, with these hoods, admitted a good deal of fresh air while the ship was under way. By shifting the horses about continuously in a regular order, so as to bring them all in turn into the cooler and fresher part or the deck, they were kept in fair condition, with but one or two exceptions. One horse became sick and exhausted, and died; another was about gone when we were ready to unload, and died before reaching the shore, and another was overheated, and drowned from spasms while swimming ashore. With these exceptions, the horses were landed in very fair condition.It is to be understood that no criticism or fault-finding is intended by the above report as to the horse deck. It is well known and understood that transports had to be taken as they could be found and the best possible use be made of them. It is not to be supposed that a vessel built for a horse transports were to be had, and it is fully conceded that the best possible arrangements were made to convert the Berkshire into a transport upon which horses could be sent with but small risk of disaster. The same is to be said as to the limited arrangements for cooking and messing for the men. The Berkshire, from her build and previous trade in the merchant service, had simply a forward galley of size commensurate for her limited crew, and aft a small pantry for a limited number of passengers; hence nothing better could have been provided. As the men had travel rations, the main thing was to provide coffee. This was arranged for by the provision of some large barrels with a steam coil within, in which barrels the coffee could be made by steam heat. By amicable arrangements with the ships cook and captain I obtained the use of the cooks galley when not in use for the crew, and by cooking at night was thus enabled to give the men extra food above the travel ration from stores brought along for the purpose. Taken all in all, the trip by sea was by no means a great hardship; the men were cheerful and contented; there was no sickness, and nothing happened to in any way mar the success of the expedition. After arriving at the coast of Cuba the artillery was not landed for a day or two after the infantry had about all landed. Finally the order was received, and the Berkshire moved in and anchored within about 400 to 500 yards of the beach. Contrary to the teachings of the books, the horses would not swim ashore unaided. At first they were sent overboard loosely, expecting that they would swim ashore; but this was at once found to be an impracticable method, for they would swim back to the ship, or to sea - anywhere but ashore. Consequently the ships boats had to be used to tow the horses ashore, or to the edge of the surf, and then to drive them ashore, or keep them from swimming to sea. But two horses could be taken at a time, and this made many trips; especially tiresome because of rough water, and because even then, when turned loose, some of the horses refused to go ashore and had to be caught up and again brought back.The ship's crew was but limited in number, and could not manage the boats all day. They were assisted as best possible by detail of men from the batteries. But soldiers are not necessarily sailors, or, as a general rule, taught a sailorıs duty, even in rowing a boat; hence the men available for boats' crews were but few in number, greatly handicapping us in this work. We did the best we could, everyone working faithfully and zealously to get done with a long , tedious, and hard job. As it was my fortune to be one of the last to unload my horses, I could profit from observation. I therefore sent a trumpeter and a heavy detail of men ashore, some of whom were fearless swimmers. By this means I got my horses ashore without much trouble. After they were turned loose from the boats the trumpeter would sound some familiar call and the men would rush in to catch up some horse about to turn back, frightened by the surf. The trumpet appeared to attract their attention and give them confidence, and, a bunch of horses being purposely kept in sight on the beach, the most of them would come through the surf to the trumpet to join those in sight. Unfortunately , as I began unloading late in the afternoon, darkness prevented its full accomplishment that day, and it had to be finished the next morning; but the last horse was unloaded and all in camp at the picket line before 8 a. m. After the horses were all on shore one-half of the battery was sent on shore under the orders received to care for them, the rest being held on board to be available for unloading the battery whenever this became possible. On June 25 a boat came alongside to take the men to the Iroquois for this purpose. I went in charge of my men and unloading was begun at once. Everything had to be hoisted up through the hatches and lowered onto the barge alongside. This was successfully accomplished by my battery in exactly one hour and three-quarters. On this barge was Battery A, Second Artillery, as well as my own, and everything belonging to the battery equipment, except the ammunition, was unloaded on June 25. There was no room for this ammunition after the two batteries were unloaded, and, furthermore, a tug came along to take the barge to the dock just as the loading of the harness was completed, and would not have waited for any further loading; hence the ammunition was not touched. It is to be remarked that all of this unloading by my battery was with my own men, assisted by the first and second mates of the ship, and wholly unassisted by any stevedores. By daylight on June 26 a detail was sent to the Iroquois to break out and begin loading the ammunition on the barge to send ashore. This barge had been sent back to the Iroquois some time during the night, after the batteries had been unloaded from it to the shore. It was long after dark before I finished unloading my battery to the shore, as I was prevented from working except when the track was clear from its then use in unloading small-arms ammunition from small boats. The officer in charge of this work permitted me to unload so long as such unloading did not stop his work; hence there were times when I had to wait and do nothing, waiting for the one track and only road to be clear to permit me to run a gun or a caisson on shore. This is only mentioned as a sample of the difficulties under which we worked. On June 26, while one detail was at work unloading ammunition from the Iroquois, the rest of the men on the Berkshire were hard at work stowing away and arranging the property to be left back and packing up their own kits and rations preparatory to going ashore. While so engaged, a steam launch came alongside and General Shafter in person ordered everybody and everything on board said launch to go on shore. It is not the place here to mention what transpired before we got on shore; that can be made the subject of a special report if necessary. Suffice it to say that finally the ammunition came on shore, and everyone went zealously to work to load up the battery with ammunition, draw rations and forage, and get in shape to move to the front. The battery was in shape and pulled out by 3 p.m., June 26, and marched to within a short distance of Siboney, and there bivouacked for the night. On June 27 we were again on march shortly after daylight, passed by Siboney, and thence on to the front, camping near General Wheeler’s headquarters beyond Sevilla. June 28, 29, and 30 were passed in this camp. On June 29, in the evening, orders were received to be ready to move at a momentıs notice in the morning. At daylight, July 1, we were therefore harnessed up and ready to move. At about 7 a. m. orders were received to proceed to and report at General Shafter’s headquarters at the front. This order was complied with, and my battery, in company with Battery K, First Artillery (Captain Best’s), was parked just off the road near these headquarters, and were here held in reserve for some hours, the exact time not taken. Finally, about noon, orders were received to move to the front. We then proceeded to and took position upon the hill near El Poso. From this position we could see San Juan Hill, and we were given it as our objective. Captain Best’s battery, on my right, followed by my battery, opened upon the entrenchments and so-called blockhouse upon the extremity of the hill, all clearly to be seen from our position. At this time our line of infantry was clearly to be seen lying down near the foot of San Juan Hill, and the enemy’s fire was plainly seen with field glasses coming from the entrenchments and blockhouse. My first shot was fired with a range of 2,450 yards, and was plainly seen to land in the enemyıs entrenchments; following this with another shot, at 2,475 yards, the shell again landed beyond the first, but in the entrenchments; the next shot, at 2,500 yards range, hit the blockhouse, and my last shot, at the same range, also hit the blockhouse. This firing was slow and deliberate, to be sure of the right range, and every shot was carefully watched to see it land; hence the knowledge as to just what each shot did. In the meantime captain Best’s battery also landed four shell in the entrenchments. I had obtained the range at which he intended to fire and purposely increased it so as to shoot and hit in some place beyond. These eight shots were all that were known to have been fired, as Captain Grimes's battery, on the right of Captain Best’s, was busy in refilling ammunition chests at the time, and was not firing. After my fourth shot I received the order to cease firing, and running out of the smoke again to get a clear view, I saw with my glasses, and also with the unaided eye, that our infantry had rushed upon and captured the position , and were swarming about the blockhouse. As I had stepped back into the smoke to reload after the fourth shot, and was busy reloading, I did not see the enemy abandon the position, nor our infantry when they made the charge up the hill. But it was all apparently done in but the few moments required for me to superintend the loading for the second round, the signal “cease firing” being given within but a moment or two after my last shot. Our infantry having captured the extremity of the hill and the blockhouse, there was no further firing possible at this objective. Orders were at first received to prepare for camp in this position upon El Paso Hill, and they were made accordingly. The guns were put in better position, the caissons parked under the protection of the hill, and a picket line was being prepared for the horses. Before this was finished, however, orders were received to move up to the front and take position with Captain Bestıs battery, which had been previously moved to the front, and had gone into action from the top of San Juan Hill. The battery was at once moved to the front, but before arriving there word was received to take another road, leading us finally to a ridge in rear of San Juan Hill. Here Captain Best’s battery was found upon this ridge, and my battery went into position on his left. The name of this ridge is unknown. It had evidently been the scene of an engagement earlier in the day, as dead bodies and spent shells were found upon it. Upon the crest to the right was a house, and near my position were two large iron cauldrons with a pipe line leading thereto. Under the hill was another house, in which were some of our killed and wounded, and behind it a small clearing in the woods, within which our horses and caissons were located. From this ridge it was impossible for our guns to be of any service. San Juan Hill was higher and but a short distance in our front, and completely hid the enemy. Consequently nothing could be done from this position. The battery remained in this position until shortly after midnight, and was then moved forward to the crest of San Juan Hill at its right-hand end, and there took position in company with Battery A, Second Artillery, on my right, and Battery K, First Artillery, on my left. Infantry rifle pits had been dug upon the crest of this ridge, and we were ordered to dig gun pits and be ready to bombard Santiago by daylight. These gun pits were dug, and the guns were in position according to orders long before daylight. As daylight opened and it was just about light enough to distinguish Santiago in the distance, the enemy opened fire upon us in our front, and the batteries replied with a fire of canister as long as it lasted, and then in my battery with shrapnel cut to zero. It was perfectly evident that the enemy had advanced, during the night or early dawn, under cover of the undergrowth and jungle that covered the Santiago side of San Juan Hill, and from this cover was pouring in a tornado of lead. Within a very short time after the opening of this fire I was twice wounded, and after the second wound, which broke my arm, was taken to a dressing station under the hill. After having my arm dressed, and being unable to go back to the battery, I remained at the dressing station until the firing was over. From my position I could and did watch the burst of shrapnel from the enemyıs guns. This shrapnel fire was all, or nearly all, too high, and with fuses cut too long, as it all burst beyond the crest of the hill where the batteries were placed. The bursts were about on a line with the dressing station; hence the fragments all passed beyond, and no fragments were heard to strike anywhere near us. Their only effect was to make the road from the rear dangerous to those advancing. After the firing was over I proceeded to the rear to the division hospital, had my arm dressed, and from there was sent to Siboney. At Siboney, finding the hospital crowded, I was sent on board the Iroquois with a party of officers and men able to travel, and proceeded to Key West, and from Key West to Port Tampa, and thence home upon leave of absence. Hence, I am unable to give anything further as to the operations of my battery. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, C. D. Parkhurst Captain, Second Artillery, Light Battery F.
  3260 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Dear Captain Gunyon: Replying to your first series of questions, concerning the 76th. Brigade of Royal Field Artillery: The 76th Brigade was supporting the Canadian Infantry which was holding the line in front of Vimy. The brigade consisted of four batteries of 18 pounders (field guns) and one battery of 4.5 inch Howitzers. The cover of the guns, while poor was, I suppose, as good as that usually occupied by field guns in position only a few days, and the quarters of the gun crews were in cellars near the guns, but the shells thrown at us were eight inch, and armour piercing. At least the artillery men said that they were armour piercing, and after viewing the effects of their explosions I was in no position to argue with them. After several dugouts had been blown in, some of the uninjured personnel set to work digging out the injured while the bombardment was in progress and it was this rescue work which was carried out under scanty or no cover. The bombardment lasted from 1 p.m. until 10 p.m., with a few periods of lull, and was apparently counter battery work on the part of the enemy. Our guns were not in action. As you surmise, the gun crews had taken refuge in cellars, not anticipating a bombardment of such intensity with heavy stuff. Gas shells and high explosion were intermingled. My work consisted in dressing the wounded, checking hemorrhage, giving a hypo of morphine when necessary and seeing that the injured were evacuated to the rear. The gas used that day was the deadly sweetish smelling phosgene. It was my first experience with gas in warfare and I wore a mask part of the time and instructed the men to do so whenever there was a dangerous concentration. You ask about my own reaction: It was of course very disconcerting to endeavor to dress wounded while shells were showering debris about[,] and the possibility of being in the next few seconds in the same plight as the terribly wounded men I was dressing, occurred to me every now and then. The whole thing seemed rather unreal, particularly when it occurred to me, busy as I was, that the killing was being done deliberately and systematically. I felt particularly sorry for the young artillery men, (and many of them were about 19) who were being subjected to the ordeal. I remember one man who had a ghastly wound which would obviously prove fatal in a short time, pleading with me, amidst the turmoil of the explosions, to shoot him. I heard that same request several times later while serving with the infantry. Every soldier who has seen action since knows that it requires the highest type of stamina and bravery for troops to lie in a trench and take a heavy shelling without being demoralized and panic stricken, therefore I shall always remember the orderly rescue work carried on by the officers and men of the artillery in the face of the concentrated shelling that occurred that afternoon. You ask about the work of the artillery officers. They very bravely and ably directed the men in the work of rescue and tried to keep gun crews intact as nearly as possible, in order to fire at any time, should orders to do so, be received. During the trench tours in front of Lens, I usually had a deserted gun pit or cellar communicating with the support trench as a dressing station. The actions about the G[um] Crossin and La Coulotte, though attended by heavy casualties, were more in the nature of raids or diverting attacks, than holding attacks, therefore, I did not accompany the attacking parties. During a trench tour I stuck close to the dressing station if the enemy was active, in order to look after the injured, if things were quiet I visited the different headquarters of the platoons and companies holding the line. Going into the line was sometimes the most disagreeable part of the tour, because of the darkness, danger of getting lost, the mud, and the shelling of the roads just behind the line. The Passchendaele Campaign was carried on in a sea of mud. I have never seen a drearier sight than the salient in front of Ypres--churned up mud with mucky shell holes and never a tree as far as the eye could reach. It was necessary to march single file on duck walk because of the mud for a distance of five or six miles when going in for a tour. We were machine- gunned and bombed from the air and subjected to a terrific shelling on the way in and nothing like a real trench system was possible, the line being held by a series of posts in shell holes. My dressing station was located beside a concrete "pill box", an old German strong point. Captain Dunlap, medical officer of the 102nd Battalion, who was later killed, shared the dressing station with me. I had never met Dunlap before and when he appeared at our rendevous, with four days growth of black beard on his face, a torn tunic and string like remnants of puttees, he looked so much like a stage hobo that I burst out laughing in his face. He was a fine chap and we became good friends. The stretcher bearers had a very difficult time. The whole area was subjected to continuous shelling by the enemy. The pill box afforded shelter on one side for the dressing station and sheets of camouflage and canvas formed the roof. When no wounded were coming in Dunlap and I would crawl into the pill box for greater security. We kept no enlisted personnel with us as there was literally no place where they could stand without sinking to their knees in mud and the number of wounded men was not so great but that the two medical officers could do all that could be done. When we were relieved by the medical officer of the English unit that took over[;] Dunlap, and I, with Captain A.A. Gray, adjutant of the 75th, started back towards Ypres, over the duckwalk. The different platoons of our battalion had trickled back as they were relieved. The two way duckwalk was, as usual, shelled heavily. We were passing the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders coming when a shell got a direct hit among them about 200 feet ahead of us. Their dead and wounded, lying in grotesque attitudes, were being cleared away by their comrades with feverish haste as we dog trotted past the smoking shell hole. We did not stop because their own medical unit was on the job, they had plenty of help and each unit was supposed to take care of its own casualties. Regarding the citation for the Military Cross: "The open ground" mentioned consisted of the wheat fields and other flat unwooded ground through which we passed between Beaucourt and Le Quesnel on the immediate left of the Amiens-Roye road. As we advanced we were frequently under direct observation by enemy balloons directing artillery fire. When one shell landed half a dozen others were pretty sure to land in a very short time within a radius of 50 yards or so of where the first one did, consequently when the first few caused casualties they had to be attended in a shower of debris caused by the explosion of succeeding shells. It was necessary to pass through the streets of Le Quesnel several times during the barrage in order to find the wounded who were scattered throughout the town. I supervised their collection, during lulls in the shelling in a cellar I used as a dressing station. The platoons furnished stretcher bearers. My medical section, consisting of a sergeant, corporal and two privates were with me part of the time, or were in the dressing station when I was out, or they themselves were engaged in looking for wounded. As the 4th C.M.R. and tanks pushed through the village the shelling again became intense. The Germans were about 240 yds. outside the village. As Corporal Adnitt, and Private Marigold and myself were attending to some wounded in a d[inur]y near a street corner that was being heavily shelled, a company of the 4th C.M.R. went by. As the hind of the company reached the street corner about a hundred feet away a shell landed in their midst. About six men went down. As they were going into an attack they could not stop to take care of their wounded. Adnitt, Marigold and I ran to them. The Company Commander lay on his face with the back of his head sheared off. I recall that he had the rank and name of "Captain MacDonald" written on some of his equipment. Three other men were killed and lay beside him. The Company Sergeant Major had his leg blown off just above the knee and several men had less severe injuries. We put hurried dressings on the wounded and got them off the corner, which was a very hot spot, into shelter as quickly as possible. One of the men who had been killed was evidently carrying phosphorous smoke bombs. These set his clothing on fire. We tried to extinguish the fire, but his clothing and body seemed shot through with the phosphorous and it was impossible to put it out. The nature of his wound made it evident that he had been instantly killed and as shells were falling about at a lively rate, we left him. Later in the day when the enemy had been pushed back and things had quieted down I saw his body again. He was almost incinerated. I dressed very few enemy wounded in Le Quesnel, as they had evidently been able to evacuate them before we took the village. A day or so later we came across a temporary tent hospital of the Germans full of wounded. These my men and I dressed until they could be evacuated as a matter of ordinary humanity. I might add that they were very grateful. I am attaching a very rough sketch of the Sept. 2nd attack. The Germans did not use very much gas that day in our sector. I do not think they used the bayonet much either, though I was not in a position to know. I kept no copy of the notes that I sent you and do not know what details concerning Sept 2nd. I gave to you. My medical detail and I worked along the crest attending to the wounded when the battalion was held up short of its objective. The rifle, machine gun and artillery fire was intense. We got to the wounded by crawling or running in a stooping position and when the fire became too hot flattened out on the ground like limpets on a rock. My Sergeant, Harry Munnell received the D.C.M. and my Corporal, George Adnitt received the M.S.M. for work done that day. I cannot speak too highly of their gallantry and devotion to duty. Concerning Capt. Dunlop (who by the way, is to be distinguished from Capt. Dunlap the M.O. of the 102nd Battalion previously mentioned): He was first hit in the abdomen by a rifle bullet, as he led his company over the crest. He had advanced in the face of a [wither]ing fire, swinging his walk- ing stick nonchalantly. There wasn't much chance for conversation as I dressed him but he did ask if we were having many casualties. Twenty or thirty minutes later when I was near him again he told me that he had been hit in the thigh as he lay there. We put him in a shell hole. His first wound being in the abdomen it was advisable to get him back to the C.C.S. for opera- tion as soon as possible, so Sergeant Munnell and I stopped three or four German prisoners to press them into service as stretcher bearers. An enemy field gun about a mile away, ahead and to our right, began firing at us and the first or second shell landed among us, or so it seemed to me, I was knocked into the shell hole with one of the Germans on top of me; Munnell was knocked to the ground, a wounded man who was lying near had his ear nearly taken off and the other two Germans, wounded and shrieking, ran toward our lines. As I struggled out from under the German, he was groaning and crying, and I spoke to him sharply to get him to remove his weight from me. Dunlop said "He's badly hit Doc. Look at his face." I looked, and the face was gray. At the same time I saw a wound in his thigh with the blood spurting from a severed femoral. As I put a tourniquet above the wound he moved a little and I saw that the whole side of his chest was torn out. He expired in less than a minute. Meanwhile the field gun continued to fire at us, about every 10 or 15 seconds, I should say, landing its shells usually within 15 or 30 yards. As the four of us, Munnell, Dunlop, another wounded man and myself lay in the shell hole the din was terrific, with machine gun and rifle fire ahead, our low flying planes swooping to within 50 feet of the ground and firing at the enemy and shell explosions all about. Someone remarked that it was no place to sit and read the paper and another observed that there would be an awful mess if Fritz ever got a direct hit on our shell hole. In a short time the enemy fell back and the fire abated, and we were able to get Dunlop and the other casualties scattered along the crest, back a couple of hundred yards or so, to a trench in which we were collecting our wounded. You ask regarding the circumstances under which aid was rendered to the Sergeant mentioned in the V.C. citation: He was Sergeant McCullogh of the bat- talion scouts. As I recall it, at the time mentioned I was lying on the ground near our colonel, who was of course directing the attack, the adjutant, McCullogh and several others. The firing just ahead had subsided to desultory machine gun and rifle fire and McCullogh was dispatched by the Colonel, to find out I believe, what progress was being made by the right flank. Things were quieter and it seemed that the enemy was falling back. He stooped and ran forward and to the right about 200 feet, when there was a single shot fol- lowed by a burst of machine gun fire, and he fell. The enemy was, I estimate 100 to 300 yards ahead in the sunken road. I ran to him and dressed his wound, which was a dangerous one through the pelvis. I do not recall our con- versation and do not remember if he was placed in a shell hole. With slight undulations in the terrain one was sometime fairly well [protected] if one lay very flat on the ground. I lay beside him for 5 or 10 minutes, then crawled away and went about my other duties. We got him back a short time later. I am attaching an extract from "a History of the 75th Battalion", which describes briefly the battalion movements from Sept. 2 till the Armistice. As there stated, I was on leave during the action of September 27th to October 4th when our casualties were terrific. I did not want to go on leave at this time as I was endeavoring to get my leave postponed until I could get off at the same time as my brother, who was a lieutenant in the infantry of the American Rainbow Division. It was just as well, probably, that my leave came through when it did. In compiling these notes I have dwelt rather lightly upon my experiences from a purely medical standpoint. You have a copy of an address which I delivered dealing to some extent with this phase of my service. Like most regimental medical officers I was at great pains in endeavoring to be just to the men in assigning them duty or in sending [them] into the line if they professed to be sick or disabled. I was never wounded. On Sept 2 1918 I was knocked to my knees when a machine gun, or rifle bullet, deeply scored my steel helmet. In November 1917 as we were going up to Passchendaele a fragment of shell from a high velocity gun knocked me down as we were marching past the Cloth Hall in Ypres and the back of my rain coat and tunic were torn out, but I sustained no injury other than a severe contusion. You ask concerning my motives for joining the Canadian army: They were rather mixed. In the first place, I was in great sympathy with the Allied cause, secondly I am chiefly of English descent: my great grandfather served under Lord Nelson and lost an eye in the battle of Trafalgar and my paternal grandfather came to the U.S. from England in the 1840's and was Captain and adjutant on a New York regiment during the Civil War. The third factor was the desire for surgical experience and adventure which I felt war service would afford. Please do not quote me in your narrative. I feel sure that I can rely upon you to give no highly colored version of events I have related. Concerning my reference to the Encyclopedia Brittanica which you state that you were unable to trace: The reference is to pages 952 to 959 in Volume III of "The Three New Supplementary Volumes, Constituting with the Volumes of the Latest Standard Edition the Thirteenth Edition". Copyright 1926. You will find in those pages a very accurate and detailed account of the actions of Aug 8th and Sept. 2 1918. There are also two very good maps.
  3333 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American “Naturally the destination of the expedition had not been made known to the command. So, as we sat in groups under the ship’s awning, or strolled around deck, gazing at the ships ahead and to the rear of us, we were free to suggest ports we might be headed for and to discuss the advantages and defects of each. There were three of these ports that had their champions in this irresponsible discussion; namely, Havana, San Juan, or some other port on Porto Rico, and Santiago. As the fleet only moved from five to seven knots an hour there was ample time for these and endless other discussions concerning our great adventure. For the first day or two there were only four or five gun boats to guard the fleet, and we wondered what would be the result should a daring Spanish torpedo boat charge in on us; but in a day or two other naval crafts joined the convoy and we concluded that an attempt on the fleet might give us some relief from the monotony that was beginning to pall on us. We trusted our convoy. The ALAMO, on which we were billeted, had a number of pontoon boats on deck; therefore we reasoned that we would be among the first to disembark and have a go at the Spaniards. I little dreamed the that these same pontoons were to be used to keep the bare feet of Garcia’s ragged soldiers from getting wet embarking for the battlefield, and that they would be instrumental in my being among the very last to get ashore. On the 15th we turned east through the Nicholas Channel and we knew we were not going to Havana. On the 19th we rounded Cape Maysi, ending all uncertainty as to our destination. On the 20th we arrived in front of Santiago, just two months from the day we left our station. (Fort Reno, Oklahoma) From one of my letters, dated June 20, 8 o’clock, P.M. I take the following: “We are lying in front of Santiago. The Headquarters ship Sehuranca, with General Shafter aboard, visited the American fleet in front of Santiago Bay about 10 o’clock, A.M. to consult with Admiral Sampson, and has not yet returned. In the meantime, the transports have been lying off shore all day rolling about in the heavy swell of the Caribbean sea.” Again on June 21st, “We have done nothing all day but float about in front of Santiago, just within sight of land. You can imagine the growling and complaining and restlessness on board.” Then June 23rd, “Still floundering on the Caribbean swells; never the less, it has been a day of exciting incidents. I went on deck about 5 o’clock A.M. and found we were near land. Between us and the coast were several gunboats and cruisers. We soon reached the general rendezvous and all ships began to move shore – ward toward a small mining village with no harbor, but with a steel dock leading out to ore chutes for loading iron ore into steamers. The name of the village is Daiquiri (pronounced Di – ki – ree).” The disembarkation commenced at once; the men being discharged into ship’s boats, to be towed in strings of half a dozen or so by steam launches. We hoped to be among the first to land, but were disappointed.”
Note: by Lt. Eli Al. Helmick.  2897 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American On board the steamer Orizaba June 14th 1898 Today at 9 o’clock, our boat left her moorings at the dock (at Tampa) and cast anchor at the mouth of the bay till 3:30, when she weighed anchor as our fleet of 32 transports carrying 2,300 men were ready to start on our long and perilous journey of 900 miles to Santiago de Cuba. It was a magnificent sight to see the fleet as it put to sea. The transports were arranged in columns of fours at 400 yards interval flanked on either side with the small gunboats and the deadly torpedo boats while the heavy gunboats took up the advance guard. Our boat is one of the largest and fastest in the fleet. Being six hundred tons lading it carries immense stores of dynamite and gun cotton for Sampsons’ fleet. The evening of the 15th we sighted a lighthouse of Dry Tortugas Island. Half an hour later, we are joined by the battleship, Indiania and the firing of the necessary salutes at this hour of the night brings everybody on deck expecting to see a naval engagement. It was also rumored on board that it was a Spanish man o war and the dispatch boat Hornet passed us giving the Captain orders to go full speed for 8 knots then await orders. It was generally believed the the rumor was true and much excitement prevailed for the next hour. When all retired for the night in the hold when some fellow had an attack of the night mare. He jumped from his bunk yelling at the top of his voice "We are lost, lost, lost!" Men jumped from their bunks with rifle in hand and a general stampede for the hatchway followed, but it was soon learned that it was a false alarm and the men again retired after much growling at the poor fellow. The time has passed until now without any incident worth notice. The sea has been very calm. It is amusing to see so many strange fish. Among them are the flying fish, which rise at the boat’s bow like birds on land. At the approach of an intruder we have also seen several man-eating sharks. Our course is south through the Gulf of Mexico to Dry Tortugas, east from there through the Florida straights to the great Bahama Channel, thence south through the windward passage east of Cuba in the Atlantic Ocean then westward through the Carribean Sea to Santiago. Today June 17 we sight land for the first time since we left the U.S. It being a small island on the north of Cuba, we are now between the Isle of Cuba and the Bahama Islands. Friday the 18th, we are now in the windward passage, the sea is very rough and many a poor fellow is hanging his head over the rail looking seaward. At 2 o’clock the Indiania sighted two Spanish boats headed for us and a race for life ensued but as they were light boats they pulled into shallow water and our vessels were unable to follow. Struck through: Sunday 19th nothing of any importance. Monday 20th our boat is now headed westward on the south of Cuba and we are nearing our journeys end. We are now possibly 5 miles from the Island and a great mountain system is to be seen rising majestically above the water with peaks pointing heavenward. It has been a marvelous trip throughout. Could we realize the danger we are in, any wave could conceal a torpedo boat which would shoot a deadly torpedo under us and hurl us into eternity without a moments notice, but no one gives it a single thought. We are crowded very closely in the boat not unlike sardines and some of our officers treat us very mean, especially those who joined the regiment lately from West Point and have never seen service before. One in particular mentioning that enlisted men were like a pack of curs and any place was good enough for them. We occupy less than half of the vessel and the few officers occupy the rest We also feed very poorly and it is wonderful that men can keep up asthey do on such poor diet and crowed so closely in the hold of the vessel, but there is very little sickness except sea sickness. Today the 22nd and we land in an hour. On the evening of the 20th we saw our first sea action. It was our batteries along the shore. It was a magnificent sight to see. The cannon belching forth long streams of fire every tick of the watch. Struck through: Yesterday 21st there was a battle The mouth of the bay is not more than 100 feet wide and just back of it is very large mountains with peaks towering high above the clouds and 14 miles away up this bay is Santiago. Just back of these mountains a fierce fight took place yesterday, 150 Spaniards were killed, 18 captured and 6 of our Marines were lost. Many of our men cried when they learned of the fight that they could not take part. Our boat is the second to land. Well, we ready to Disembark and I will mail this on the boat. Good bye and Regards to all Your son and Brother, Morg
Note: by Morgan James Lewis.  4105 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Somewhere in France Dear Mother; Just a line to let you know that I am still alive and well, hoping that this will find you in good health. Well mother, I told you last time about wining the Military Medal. Since then I have been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Not so bad for a Foxbrook lad, what do you think? Why don't you write oftener? I must have written five letters and no answer. Well, I must close, hoping to hear from you soon, love to all George.
  2412 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Hut 11, Frensham Military Hosp., Nr. Farnham, Surrey, England September 15, 1916 Dear Lallie:- You will see by the above address that I am back again in England and in hospital. But am thankful to say I have no open wounds. Just a severely sprained back and my nerves are badly shaken up. I was buried in the trenches, and you may be sure I thought my last moment had come. My chum next to me was killed - instantly killed. Something seemed to tell me the day before that I was going to get it. I have been in the hospital two weeks now, counting the time I was in the Australian Hospital before I came to England. Yesterday was the first time I was out of bed for an hour or two. I am to shaky to walk yet, but am getting along nicely. On Wednesday who should visit me but Johnnie. I was so pleased to see him. He is near us at Whitley. We are 31 miles past London-rather a long way from home. I told dear Ettie not to come so far, as I may soon be moved to a Canadian hospital. The doctor in France also saw my toe, and he said I should not have been passed. One overlaps the other, the same as Johnnie got his discharge for. The doctor there was going to operate on them, but they won't allow him to. So I do not think I will have to go back to France. We were in the same place as Harold got his arm off. It was awful. Perhaps you read the report in the paper-the bombardment of Sunday the 3rd. I thank God he spared me to dear Ettie. This morning I had a letter from Harold, also one from Johnnie. Harold writes very good indeed with his left hand, and he is getting along fine, waiting for his new arm. Now Lallie, I hope you are quite well, and I think you had better come back to England and be with us all here. You know there is always a home waiting here for you with dear Ettie and I. Well, I have no news. When you write to me send it to Ettie and she will forward it on to me, unless I am home by then. Remember me to Mrs. Booty, also, Mrs. Northgraves when you see them. Take every care of your dear self. Heaps of love. God bless you. Your Loving Brother Fred
  2411 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American "The WINSLOW arrived off Cardenas from Matanza at 9 a.m. on the 11th, having left her station on the blockade to obtain an additional supply of coal, the amount of fuel in her bunkers being reduced to 5 tons. I was directed to apply to Captain Todd, commanding the U.S.S. WILMINGTON, for necessary supplies. On boarding the U.S.S. WILMINGTON I was informed by her commanding officer of his intention to enter Cardenas Harbor on the afternoon of that day. I was directed to receive on board a Cuban pilot, Santos, to take with me the revenue cutter HUDSON to sound this channel, and, in company with the HUDSON, to sweep the channel for torpedoes. This work I completed by noon, except for sweeping the channel which could not be done on account of the grounding of the HUDSON. That vessel touched lightly but managed to work off without injury. The WINSLOW, therefore, dragged the channel with grapnels and returned to the WILMINGTON, reporting to captain Todd upon the practicality of the entrance. The entrance was begun at 12.30, high tide, the HUDSON on the starboard side and the WINSLOW on the port side of the WILMINGTON. As it was thought possible that gunboats might attempt to escape, the HUDSON was sent along the western side and the WINSLOW along the eastern side of the bay to intercept them in event of such movement. Not finding them the three vessels met off the town at a distance of about 3,500 yards. When in this position the WINSLOW was signaled to approach the WILMINGTON within hail and I was directed by Captain Todd to go in and investigate a small gunboat then observed for the first time, painted gray with black smokestack, apparently not under steam and moored to a wharf, to the left of which arose a compact mass of buildings close to the water front. Torpedoes were set for surface runs, the fans upon the war-noses were run up so as to provide for explosion at short range for use alongside the gunboat, and all preparations were made for immediate action. At a distance of about 1,500 yards, at which time the WINSLOW was advancing at about 12 knots, which seems her maximum speed in quiet shoal water, the first gun of the engagement was fired from the bow of the Spanish gunboat, marked by a clear puff of white smoke. This shot, which passed over the WINSLOW, was at once replied to by that ship and was the signal for the commencement from the beach of a rapidly sustained fire, characterized primarily by a total absence of smoke. At the commencement of this firing I received a flesh wound in the left thigh. As the action advanced a cloud of haze collected on shore at the location of this battery and when closer I detected one or two gun flashes from among the buildings but at no time could I detect the exact position of the guns. My uncertainty as to the position of the enemy was attested to by the commanding officer of the HUDSON and by officers commanding gun divisions on the WILMINGTON who inquired of me shortly after the action what I made out to be the enemy's exact position. At this time the wind was blowing from the ships toward the shore. The first shot that pierced the WINSLOW rendered her steam and hand-steering gear inoperative and damaged them beyond repair. Efforts to work the hand-steering gear from aft were frustrated by the wrecking of that mechanism and the rupture of both wheel ropes; relieving tackles failed to operate the rudder. For a short time the vessel was held on her bows in position by use of her propellers. She then swung broadside to the enemy. A shell now pierced her engine room rendering one engine inoperative. I directed my attention to maintaining fire from her 1-pounder guns, to keep the vessel constantly in movement, so as to reduce the chances of her being hit, to endeavoring to withdraw from short range, and to keeping clear of the line of fire of the WILMINGTON and HUDSON. The use of the remaining engine, had the effect of throwing her stern toward the enemy upon backing, while going ahead, threw her bow in the same direction. Under the heavy fire of the WILMINGTON, the fire of the enemy slackened. The Spanish gunboat was silenced and put out of action early in the engagement. The WINSLOW now being practically disabled, I signaled to the HUDSON to tow us out of action. She very gallantly approached us, and we succeeded in getting a line to her. Previous to this, the alternate rapid backing and steaming ahead of the WINSLOW had had the effect of working her out from under the enemy's batteries, and in this way a distance of about 300 yards was gained. Finding that we were working our way out in this manner, I directed Ensign Bagley to concentrate his attention upon the movement of the ship, watching the vessel so as to keep her out of the WILMINGTON's way, and to direct the movements of the man at the reversing gear, mechanical communication from deck to engine room being impracticable. This necessitated Mr. Bagley making repeated short trips from the deck to the foot of the engine room ladder while directing the vessel's course, and at the moment of being on deck he stood abreast the starboard gun close to a group of men who had been stationed below, but who had been sent on deck from the disabled machinery. A shell hitting, I believe, a hose reel, exploded instantly, killing Ensign Bagley and two others and mortally wounding two. This accident, which occurred at the close of the action, was virtually its end; the enemy fired a few more shots, but was soon completely silenced by the heavy fire of the WILMINGTON. The conduct of Ensign Bagley and the men with him, as well as that of the crew who survived the fight, is beyond commendation. After seeing the dead and wounded removed from the WINSLOW and conveyed on board the WILMINGTON, I turned over the command of the ship to Gunner's Mate G. P. Brady, my own injury preventing me from performing active duty for the time being."
Note: by Lt. J. B. Bernadou, Commander, USS WINSLOW.  3638 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American "On June 15, 1898, the dynamite cruiser VESUVIUS, of which so much had been expected, was at last tested, with what result it remained for the Spaniards cooped up in Santiago harbor to report. The swift craft crept unobserved to within 600 yards of the mouth of the harbor, and, after discharging 1,500 pounds of ammunition at the Spanish ships and the fortification within, escaped unharmed. A Cuban pilot and Ensign L. C. Palmer, who had made the trip ashore and were acquainted with the location of the ships of Admiral Cervera's squadron and the batteries, went aboard the vessel, and she was ordered to the mouth of the harbor. The last order issued to her from the flagship was to be very deliberate. The VESUVIUS took up her position and fired three shots in as many minutes, one from each of her aerial dynamite tubes. The report was a peculiar one, sounding like a cough. There was no recoil perceptible. The first shot struck near the ridge of the hills, and exploded with a tremendous roar, not unlike the thunder of a shell. There was, however, very little flame. The light emitted was rather in the nature of a glow. An immense volume of red earth was blown straight up into the air to a height of 200 feet. The effect of the second shot, which struck higher up on the cliff, was similar to that of the first. The third shot went over the hill, and probably reached the supposed location of the torpedo boats in the harbor. Only two shots were fired in answer by the forts, and these were apparently delivered at random. The VESUVIUS backed out at a high rate of speed, although she was moving with her engines reversed. She swept by the lighthouse tender that was lying to seaward, which was getting away from the fire of the forts, passing her as though she was lying at anchor. The men on the VESUVIUS were delighted with their work and anxious to try their guns again. They expected and were eager to go straight into the harbor, but the effect of the shots were not such as justified an attempt to pass the lower batteries, and VESUVIUS did not repeat her attack."
Note: by General Marcus J. Wright.  3724 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I September 6, 1916 Dear Miss Dorothy:- Taking certain liberties and presuming much, I address you as an old friend, altho' I regret to say I have never had the unquestionable pleasure of meeting you. My reason for writing is to compliment you on your excellent work in compiling the "News from Home" or "News Summary" which are perused with much gusto in this "Never to be forgotten" part of the world. Basing my opinion on the several editions of yours which I have read, I must say that excellent judgement is used in the selection of articles. Personally, and I think I express the general opinion when I say that articles most in demand are "General News from Home", "Humurous sections and Cartoons." "Sporting Pages and anything that portrays the bright side of life. We have enough drama out here to satisfy all. Thanking you for the pleasure you have afforded me in my spare moments, I am. Sincerely Yours, R. C. McKELLAR 487262, P. P. C. L.-I., No.1 Co'y., France September 6, 1916
  3293 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American "A regiment of the Second Brigade was jamming itself through the trail, and then came some of the Sixteenth Infantry's bandsmen. In battle, bandsmen followed a regiment and carried off the wounded. The band leader and the drum major were swearing earnestly. A soldier stumbled and dropped. His rifle fell from his hand. On the instant a bandsman darted forward, throwing his tenor horn into the brush. He grabbed the rifle and unbuckled the dead man's cartridge belt. It was this sort of thing that the drum major was swearing about - half the bandsmen had discarded their instruments and picked up rifles and cartridge belts. 'You hear me, pick up that goddamn horn! You hear me!' The bandsman paid no attention. 'You pick up that goddamn horn!' shrilled the drum major. ' An' that's an order!' The bandsman looked at him. 'Not by a goodamsite, Dan' he said. 'You think I'm agoin to get shot at an' not shoot back!' 'Goddam!' ejaculated the drum major. He darted at another bandsman, who was unbuckling a cartridge belt from a soldier who had been wounded - and who was helping him do it. The band had few instrumens left; but for every missing horn or fife there was a Krag rifle and a belt of cartridges. A fortnight later I saw some of those instruments; they had bullet holes in them, they were dented and battered and roughly straightened out."
Note: by Private Charles Johnson Post.  2852 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Nov 28/1915 My Dear Wife, Just a few lines to let you know that i am still alive and kicking and am keeping quite well, hoping this will find you and our dear chidren enjoying the best of health and strength also your dear mother and all at home. Well dear Wife the General in charge of our camp has just picked out 4 Battalions to form the first Brigade for the front, and the 44th Battalion is one of them. But i don't think we are going to the front for awhile yet as we have quite alot of training and shooting practice to go through yet. Well it is Sunday today and instead of having a church parade we had to move ourlodgings about 1 mile further to the west side of the camp, and you never saw such fun in your life as we had flitting with all our beds and pots & pans, kit bags and hand bags as alot of the boys have small hand bags like mine, and didn't we just have a laugh. Well you can just imagine 1000 men carrying all their beds and belongings, well some fell by the wayside,others kept dropping their pots & pans, and the road was completley littered with all kinds of things you would have thought a shell had burst and blown everything to bits. Well dear wife we are about all settled down again now, so me and my pal Pte. T Charman retired to the Y.M.C.A. writing room out of all the comotion and noise to write letters. My pal is writing to his mother in England and i am writing this letter to you dear wife (the dearest of all my companions.) well i must close for now as i haven't much news to tell you this time so ta-ta my love. My dearest love & wishes to my own darling wife & children from your ever fond loving husband Till death, Arthur
  3424 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Bramshott 2/7/16 Dear Folks-- Received your letter OK on Friday & was glad to hear from you, also to get the picture of Norine. She is getting to be a big girl now, isn't she. You didn't say who the other girl in the picture was; were you afraid I might write to her? Well, we didn't get tangled with any Hun subs on the way over. Of course, we were pretty well protected. A battleship came with us until we were within 2 days of land & then 2 submarine destroyers came out to meet us & escorted us into Liverpool. They are some little boats, only about 200 ft long but they can certainly travel--about 50 miles an hour & they can turn around in about their own length. We are having some good weather now, a little rainy but not so bad as it was a couple of weeks ago. We are celebrating the 1st of July here today, all kinds of sports. I expect there will be some crowd here this p.m. The King was down near here yesterday inspecting the troops. It was about 8 miles from here so I didn't go. Our Battalion is all broke up now. We sent 750 men to France on the 8th of June & then about 150 to another Batt. here in camp. They kept nearly all the Headquarter staff here & we are still here & they have made the 51st Batt a base Batt & are filling it up with all the medically unfits in the camp. We have some here from about a dozen different outfits. It is certainly some outfit. We have some here from the 71st. I think some of them were in Stratford last winter. I don't know what they will do with us, but I expect we will stay here for some time. The Pioneers have an easy time now. We have done nothing since 2 weeks ago. Our boys that went to France were put in the front line of trenches about 24 hours after they landed & had a charge to make about midnight. We have not heard the official casualties yet but there are 8 killed that we know of & about 30 wounded. I suppose the list will swell when we hear the official. I only hope it is reduced though, for we certainly had a good bunch of fellows, & good soldiers. They made a record at the ranges, they beat all the troops that have been there including the imperials (British). They seem to be putting the Canadians in the toughest places & saving the Englishmen. I was up to London for 5 days & had a good time. It is quite a city. There are a lot of historical places there, but as a city it is years behind Canadian cities. It is very dark there at nights. Nearly all the lights are out & those that are burning are painted black on top so as to throw the light down. They have about a dozen search lights playing over the city every night looking for zepps. I didn't get any souvenirs, but I am going up again in a short time & will send you some then. I will also send you a 51st badge. I intended sending one before but forgot about it. I got a letter from one of our fellows in France & he said it was certainly hell over there & I guess from all reports it is, but it looks to be going in our favor now. I think they must intend making a drive at Verdun soon, as they are sending troops over there by the thousand. I don't care how soon it ends, as I am fed up with this country. Of course I am having a good enough time but I don't like these damned blokes. They are a poor bunch. Canada is good enough for me & as soon as I get free I will be back there in a hurry. Got a letter from Jack Hassard last week. He has been sick again but is getting better now. I hear from Lottie & Herb regular. Lottie is going to Edmonton for a month in holidays. I just got a letter from Mrs. Cranston where I boarded in Edmonton today, so it keeps me busy writing letters, but it is good pasttime. Well, I guess I will close & go out to the sports. Be sure & write soon. Love to all, Alex.
  2226 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I From somewhere in Belgium December 25th, 1915 Dear Sister & All: I now write you a few lines to let you know I am well and hope you all are this small. Well Mable this is Christmas Day and it is nearly over now and I have been thinking of you all to-day so I though I would drop you a line on my new pad. We were given a wallett yesterday with a pencial and this little pad and several post cards we were allso given a box of tobacco and a box of candy so I think they used us pretty well. I have not received any of the parcels that was sent me for Christmas only the box of candies Jeff sent me. I do not know what has become of them I suppose I will get them all at once now after Christmas is all over. We all got a present from Mrs. Capt Eve of Montreal I got a book and it is a good one to we allso had a can of plum pudding given to each one from Mrs. Major Gualt instead of having turkey as I had a year ago. I had Irish Stew and plum duff for dinner. I had the pleasure of attending church this morning they took us down in motor Lorries it was the English church and we had sacrement we have made it as bright a Christmas as possible but it is much different then last year. Last night Xmas Eve I was out on a working party and the bullets were falling around us and I was just thinking what I was doing last year I remember we done our delivering on sleighs and Xmas Eve I was in the store, never thought I would be over here now, but you never can tell. We have been out on working party three times now and each time have been under fire. The first time was the worst we were going through a town which has been shelled to pieces and we have not marched through this town very long when the huns dropped a shell and tore the corner out of a building and we had a lively time for a while. You can hear them big shells leave the guns and then you hear them come through the air and then there is a big bang and you get under cover for the pieces of sharpnel drop all over however you can hear them coming but a rifle bullet you can't hear it until it drops beside you. We were in tents first but changed to dugout yesterday. The camp we left were like Salisbury for mud it was kneedeep some places. I was certainly glad when this is ended and we can get home again. The soldiers that are in Canada this winter are lucky. I met several boys from home here this week and had a good talk with them they were out of the trenches on there six days rest. They do six days in and six out. They are looking well. I hope you have all had a good and enjoyable Christmas this year and I was surely thinking of you. I guess you are about having your dinner now and I have just had my tea and am putting in the time writing. I hope all the children are well and that Santa Claus was good to them. Well dear sister I wil close with love to all and remember me to anybody I know and the children I send my best love. As ever your brother Archie PS Tell Miss Taylor I am well and I send my best regards to her.
  2704 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I January 21, 1917: Dear Sister: Just a few lines in answer to your letter of Dec. 5th which I received a short time ago & was glad to hear from you & that you are all well. I was in hospital & rest camp here from December 28th to January 7th with a touch of Grippe but am feeling fine again now, that is as well as can be expected under the circumstances. The weather is a little bad on the front where we are, quite a bit of snow & rain so it makes the trenches bad. But I guess we must expect that this time of year. I was lucky last Tuesday, they sent me away on a machine gun course & expect to be away till a week from tomorrow, so I will miss a trip into the trenches. It is fine here at the school. We have a Y.M. & a church Hut, both fine places. Also a good canteen where we can buy anything we want. We sleep in tents but have plenty of blankets & sleep close together so we are quite comfortable. Of course the weather is not so very cold here. It freezes at nights but is not too bad in the days. Do you know a man in Stratford, Mr. Lowe. I think he used to run a drug store. He is a Lieut. in the 46th--was in command of the Co. that I am in. He is certainly a fine man & all the boys think a lot of him. He is away from us now, though. He was operated on for appendicitis, & I think went back to England. I may have his name spelled wrong, but it is something like that. I had a letter from Selina a short time ago. Things seem about the same as ever in Brantford. I hear from Herb & Lottie regular. Also from Cranstons whom I used to live with in Edmonton. I expect a bunch of mail when I get back to the battalion after this course. How is Wayman getting along, still punching the dough? I would like to be back there for a few weeks to help him. It would be a rest for me, but I don't think it will be so very long before we will be able to beat it back. Only a few months I think, but we are liable to have some hard work before the finish. Well, I must close, be sure & write soon & I will try to drop you a letter or field card often. It is sometimes hard for us to get mail written especially when we are in the line. So long. Alex #437536 I Co 46 Can. BEF Army PO London.
  2448 Reads  Printer-friendly page

    123   >

Military History
Forum Posts

Military Polls

Is the use of antidepressant medications in combat zones a proper response to the stress of combat?

[ Results | Polls ]

Votes: 192

This Day in History
1587: In France, Huguenot Henri de Navarre routs Duke de Joyeuses larger Catholic force at Coutras.

1709: Marlborough and Eugene of Savoy take Mons in the Netherlands.

1805: Austrian general Karl Mac surrenders to Napoleons army at the battle of Ulm.

1870: The Summer Palace in Beijing, China, is burnt to the ground by a Franco-British expeditionary force.

1940: German troops reach the approaches to Moscow.

1944: After advancing island by island across the Pacific Ocean, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur wades ashore onto the Philippine island of Leyte, fulfilling his promise to return to the area he was forced to flee in 1942.

1950: In the first airborne operation of the war, 2,860 paratroopers of the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team jumped between Sukchon and Sunchon, 25 miles north of Pyongyang. Far East Air Force C-119s and C-47s transported the assault force and F-80 and F-51 fighters provided air cover.

1952: The destroyer escort Lewis was hit by shore fire off the West Coast of Korea. Seven sailors were killed and one wounded.

1964: Relations between Cambodia, South Vietnam, and the United States reach a low point as Cambodia becomes a sanctuary for Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces.

480: Greeks defeat the Persians in a naval battle at Salamis.