Monday, September 2, 2013

1 April 1916 Somewhere in Flanders

Dear father,
Received your long and very interesting letter sometime ago but I have not had time to get it answered for we have been head over heels in work the last three day three weeks. I had not finished reading your letter - which came to hand on March 26 - when I was ordered to pack my kit and get ready to move up to our advanced dressing station. We have been extremely busy up there during the 11 days of my stay and as we were in dugouts as dark as our cellar and a very limited supply of candles. Outdoors when it was not raining water, it was raining shells or bullets. You can easily imagine then that the environment was not conducive to great literary efforts. I am not going to attempt to answer all the mail that I have received lately as I have only time for a very short letter just to let you know I am well and to expect a letter soon. We have had the hardest two weeks work up here that we have had since coming here and there they there is some satisfaction in being at some real work after all the inaction of the winter. We handled 60 wounded one day and transported them on stretchers to the cars - a 6 mile round-trip under enemy observation practically all the way. I worked for over 40 hours with only one and a half hours sleep and then a snatch of grub when I had a minute to spare. Some of us did four roundtrips to the cars carrying a patient each time but one from dark till daylight of one night. All our wounded must be evacuated at night and as it was dull weather and rainy, the darkness was so thick we could only feel our way. We had two men wounded slightly and three sent back suffering from shell shock. I have been very busy since coming back to camp looking after one of the wards but will try and find time to answer your letter fully at the first opportunity. I hope everyone is relieved. I feel "Jake" myself.
Your loving son, Harold Skilling

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