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War Stories: World War I

War Stories published under this topic are as follows:

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World War I 6th May, 1916, signed the enlistment papers after having been previously rejected in 1915. 20th June, left Byron Bay by train to Lismore for the medical examination. This time, Dr Bignell passed me, without even examining me, because he could see that I was eager to enlist and men were badly needed.
Note: by Private Verdi George Schwinghammer  18430 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War I September 13, 1916 Dear Wife:- Just a line in answer to your most welcome letter. I should have liked to have written before but I have not had the time. We have been on the go night and day, and you can't write letters under a hell a of fire like we have had this last two weeks,but we are resting for a couple of days now so I am writing to you the first chance that I have had. Well dear how are you going on, alright I hope. And how are the little ones? I can't say I am too well myself. I am getting stiffened up like an old man, and no wonder as it is very wet here now and we have to sleep in it night and day, so you can bet what it's like. So you have got a new sidewalk. Well I wish I was walking on it now for this is some place. I got a parcel from you yesterday, but it was broken up pretty badly so if I were you I would not send very much cake. I have not told you before but all the cakes you have sent have been smashed up so I would not send much of it if I were you. I have not received the plums yet that you sent but I hope to. Are you getting any letters from my people? I have had letters from them and they all say they have written to you. It's funny you don't get them. Well old mate, I have some very bad news for poor Mrs. Richardson. Poor Charlie was killed on the 9th of Sept. I was by his side when he was killed and I don't know yet how I escaped the same fate, but one thing, he didn't suffer as he was killed instantly. A big shell called a nine point, weighing over one hundred pounds hit him so you can see he didn't stand any chance. But it's a great blow for me, for we were always together ever since he came out here, and I can tell you I miss him very much. There are no St. Mary's men in my Platoon now, and I am all on my own again. But never mind, don't you worry over me. I am alright up till now, but if anything happens to me, keep your little house together for I don't think you would like England. It's not much of a place now, but this place, is a thousand times worse. There is some talk out her of the war not lasting any longer than Xmas. Let's hope it is true, for I think everybody has had enough of it. The Germans are beaten and they know it, but we have got to get to Germany before they will give in, and that means some rough fighting. I suppose you know where I am now, I saw in the Canadian papers where we are an we are in the thick of it too. There isn't a day passes without us taking prisoners and trenches. The French do the same so I don't think it will last much longer, but at any rate keep on living and believing. I don't think I can say anymore now so will conclude this short letter. Wishing you and the children the very best of health. I remain, Your Loving Husband, FRANK France September 13, 1916
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World War I February 15, 1918 -- Left guns at 12 noon for wagon lines. Got a change of tunic and pants.

February 16, 1918 -- Started away on leave from Neun Le Mines. Fritz was shelling station. Had to beat it to Bethune Road down in boxcars and caught the leave train. Arrived in Balounge about nine p.m. Slept in the fish market all night.
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World War I I will endeavor to give you a fuller account of our experiences whilst landing. I dare say long ere this reaches you, you will have read all about it in the papers, but here is the part I saw and took part in. It was on Sunday, April 25th at 3 a.m., we disembarked from our transport ship, the "Galeka," our kit consisted of an extra change of clothing, 200 rounds of ammunition, as well as plenty of tobacco, the entire lot weighing just on 90 lbs., and with that weight we had to climb down over the side of the ship - per Jacob's ladder, which by the way, is made of rope, - into rowing boats, 50 men in each. We were towed by naval pinnaces as near as possible to the shore, being under very heavy fire made it a very difficult task.
Note: by Pte. H. J. Lynch writing from Victoria Hospital, Alexandria.  7177 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War I Turmoil and confusion are everywhere. Troops, baggage, and all the litter of war, lumbers up every available space. R.T. Officers are here, there, and everywhere. They sort us out, guide, and lead us to our trains. We file in. Where are we going? No one knows. Where's the 8th? Where's the 7th? Where's the 6th? Where is any regiment?
Note: by Private Alfred Grosch, 8th London  8021 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War I Sun Nov 8th 1914 , Blantyre St.,Bishopmill Dear Annie, Just a few lines to let you know that I am always in the land of living & keeping well hoping this will find you all the same at home I got up here friday & going back Tuesday not much time but better than nothing.
Note: letters by James Kay, Regimental Sergeant-Major, No 4 Company of the 16th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force, 3rd Brigade, First Canadian Division.   6380 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
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World War I June 20, 1918 Fine day, we were pulled out from pier by tug at 8:30 this morning. Steamed slowly out of harbor. We are in a convoy of twelve transports and one battle cruiser "Montana." Ships keep about one half mile apart. All are very much camouflaged. Very crowded boat. Gun crew moved into deck house and I moved to saloon with crew. Good place. Jolly bunch. Four guns mounted on this ship. We were accompanied all day by several destroyers. They turned back at dark.
Note: by Sgt. Norvel P. Clotfelter, 344th MG. Batt; 90th Div.  13025 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War I July 19th, 1916 Dear Mr. Lofft:- I have been notified that "The Men of South Perth," through you, have contributed $1000 dollars towards a Lewis Machine Gun for the use of this Battalion. This is a splendid and useful gift, and on behalf of the Officers, N. C. O's and men of the 71st Overseas Battalion I desire to heartily thank the Men of South Perth for thus helping to make this Battalion as efficient as possible for it's work at the Front. J. C. MASSIE, Lt.-Col., O. C. 71st Res. B'n., Can. Inf. Oxney Camp, Bordon, Hants, England July 19th, 1916
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World War I Somewhere in France, July 23, 1918
Dear Father and Mother:
I have just finished sewing on my first service stripe, the meaning of which, as you probably know, is six months in foreign service. That number "23" still clings to the Twenty-third Engineers, and is a regular epoch marker.
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World War I 20. 1. 1916
Troopship Runic embarked at 6.15 a.m. put out into mid-stream at 9 a.m. had dinner was paid one pound and afterwards went on deck. Mother and Rose with Doris was out in the launch to see me weigh anchor at 20 min to 4 o’clock. Cleared the heads at 4 p.m. Last of dear old Manly for a while. All’s well everything O.K.
Note: No. 3769, 19th Battalion, AIF  6511 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War I On April 30, 1918 I was drafted in the service of the U. S. Army and sent to Camp Dix N. J. For further use. We had a fine trip passing over the Erie R.R. To Binghamton (NY) where I saw Mrs. Oxford and Helen who were the last people I saw who I was any way acquainted with for nearly a year. From Binghamton to Stroudsburg (PA) over the DL & W RR stopping for half an hour at Scranton (PA) where we replenished our stock of joy water we stopped only for perhaps fifteen minutes at Stroudsburg where we owned the town during that stay.
Note: by Pvt. Robert L. Dwight, 148th Infantry, 37th Division.  8255 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War I I remember the first occasion when I was called upon to go over the top. It was during the Somme "do," where our battalion had already been in some nasty business near the Briqueterie and Trones Wood. I heard about the Third Company's experiences in Trones Wood during my recovery from an overdose of rum, and I was new enough a soldier to feel the strain on my heart-strings when I realized that rum stupor had saved me from participation.
Note: by Fred Ball  7549 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War I I will try and tell you a little about us taking Turkey. We landed all right, but got a warm reception and a good general salute from their shrapnel and machine guns. The 3rd brigade were the first to land, at 2 a.m. They landed under a splendid covering force from our warships; the Turks all the time pouring in shrapnel and machine-gun fire.
Writing from Malta, under date of 4th May, Private H. G. Clarke, of Footscray, a member of the Scottish Regiment at the front.
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World War I "Tomorrow we shall march on Paris!" Thus we expressed ourselves to the commander of the Third Battalion of the French line Infantry Regiment No. 2, which, driven to the Marne by our briskly attacking grenadiers, was forced to surrender, 800 men strong, on the evening of May 30th.
Note: by Kurt Hesse, fighting grenadier regiment No. 5, 36th Infantry Division  8756 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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