Wednesday, February 26, 2014

William Laurie Field's War - Part 12

“Monday, June 28th. … We had rather a long and weary march back from the trenches last night (Sunday), and on my return I got the parcel which was jolly nice. … It rained very heavily whilst we were going to the trenches, so when we got there found the water over our boot-tops and I got thoroughly wet-footed, and I believe that accounted for the blisters which came on my heels. I did not fall out though, as as I have never given in during any march yet, in all my five years, soldiering, and I don’t mean to if I can help it. I saw the doctor this morning as I can only walk on my toes, and he gave me some tablets to use for bathing them, and I hope they will soon be better. … I am glad you sent the stuff for the insect bites. I had a mosquito bite on my leg and it was jolly uncomfortable while it lasted. Next time you send will you please include a tin case just large enough to take one box of matches. The thin boxes soon get crushed when we have to sleep in our tunics. … The trenches we were in were all chalk and we amused ourselves by carving. Some soldiers who were in the night before us, had carved out quite a little village with a church, houses, etc. Of course, hundreds of “crosses” were about, dedicated to the “Kiser.” I made one myself and took it for a souvenir to some French friends of mine. I know quite a number of families round here now, and when we go near enough and I am able to look them up, they are always glad to see me again. … I saw my old friend Gregory, with the Oxford and Bucks Regiment, last week. He is still well and has not been wounded. He brought in a wounded Wolverton fellow during the last attack, and probably saved his life. Of course hundreds of acts like this go unnoticed, so I don’t suppose he will get any award. … A short time ago we were billeted quite near a church which had escaped shelling except quite a little. The English notice inside took my fancy and was not at all bad, I thought. This is how it ran; “Nothing to the things of this church has been stolen since the beginning of the war. Every one is requested to respect the Sanctuary and to use the Organs when it is necessary only. By Order, The Mayor, 18th May.” … Speaking of marching, the R.A.M.C. people don’t carry a pack, but route marching in England is very different to ours out here, nobody can realise what it is like to be under shell fire unless they have been in a bombardment, you have a sort of feeling that the next minute you may have been blown off the face of the earth. … The rotten part is that you may hear them coming sometimes ten or fifteen seconds before they burst.”

“June 29th … Just while I think of it you did not enclose any health salt in the parcel. This is so useful and takes the place of tea in the trenches, and I find it very convenient. … I sent home a parcel today. … The clip of German cartridges is of the latest pattern, given to me by a French soldier from Lourette. … The top of the shell is by no means from a large shell but is interesting. The pieces fly about with some force when the shell explodes and would give one a nasty knock. The copper bullets are French and I send them for you to compare with the length of our own. The German bullets are the shortest, than ours and the longest are French. Now I must go to bed, at least lie down on the boards and try and think I am in a nice comfortable bed. - Guess I wish I was.” Wolverton Express 1915 July 9th

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