Sunday, March 2, 2014
William Laurie Field's War - Part 15
Sept. 20th. “First of all, this letter must be short as I have very little time. I was jolly glad to receive your letter, but was very sorry for Mr. Gregory. I will do my best to have a look in the G------ little graveyard, for his son’s grave, if it is there. I might say the graves are kept so very nicely. It will be difficult, but I will do my best, however. I can’t tell when it will be. It will not be possible to send a photograph (even if I came across it) as all cameras have been sent home by special army order, long since. If it is where you think (and I feel sure it must be there as I have found out he was killed there), the graveyard is not a mile from the Germans, so it may be difficult to get permission, even if we are near. However, I will do my best, and as soon as I can. … I expect writing will be very difficult for some little time now, but I will send F.S. Post Cards just to let you know I am still well. … Please in future don’t tell me any home news. It is absolutely disheartening and we get all the news now, and discuss things at home; also the Zep raids. I always look for your letters to cheer me up and encourage me to stick things. We hate to read about these wretched unpatriotic strikes. I believe it discourages the soldiers out here more than anything - to think of all they are going through for their families and people at home, and those who have a nice easy job are striking for another extra shilling or two, we shall never win unless the people at home realize that we are at war. I wish the leaders could be put into the trenches during the cold weather and be in a bombardment, they might wish then that they had never been born, and I am sure would be glad enough to go back for half their salary. … Just where we are now I have my best friends in France, very nice people, I believe refugees from La Bassee, but of a better class, and their relations who live here. … My little Marie Therise and her brother Omer. … they have just put on their “nighties” for bed, and I guess you would love to see them, such nice little kids they are, but can’t understand my watch shining in the dark.”
“The enclosed verses were found in a trench we occupied a short time ago, evidently scribbled down by someone to pass the time.
“Dear Wife, while all my comrades sleep
And I, my two hours lonely vigil keep.
I think of you, and all across the foam.
Glad of no scenes like this at home.
Here Desolation reigns as King,
Where many happy homes have been:
And dotted round me where I stand
Some hero’s resting-place marks the land.
Just here the village school once stood,
The scene of childhood’s happy days;
But now, alas, all that remains
Is crumbling ruins, and sad Decay.
As through an orchard now I stray
I pass, what once had been the farm:
No Human Vengeance can repay
Vile Huns, who first raised War’s Alarm.
While slowly pacing to and fro
And silence reigns supreme:
What’s that? The star-shells’ brilliant glow:
The flash - the deadly sniper’s rifle gleams.
Perchance to find its bullet true,
The hissing bullet sped.
And crouching low, in front of you.
Your chum remarks, “It’s just gone overhead.
While Dawn arises in the East.
The fact on me is thricefold bourne
No truer words were ever said:-
“Man’s Inhumanity to Man, makes countless thousands mourn.
But when we lay ourselves to rest:
A smoke, a yarn, and we’re complete
We think of our dear ones at home.
Most sure of “Kaiser Bill’s” Defeat.
(Scribbled while on guard at 11p.m., “somewhere in France.”) Wolverton Express 1915 Oct. 8th