Friday, July 1, 2016

25 June 1916 Flanders

Dear Folks,

This is Sunday evening and I am back at the headquarters. We were sent back from the A.D.S. last Friday which made it a week exactly since we had gone up. None of us wanted to come back as all the boys are far more contented up there than back at headquarters. However we all have to take our turn and we will get ours again soon no doubt.Just got word a few minutes ago that one of our ambulance drivers had been hit. He was on his way to one of our A.D.S.s and got a nice cushy wound in the shoulder.

We had a pretty quiet time up the pike but a week ago today we had a little excitement. Fritz seems to favour Sunday to do his strafing and the last Sunday he sure lived up to his regular form. he lashed up over a hundred heavies into the town close by our dressing station and we were very fortunate in getting off as luckily as we did for a whole Battalion was billeted in the town and only 2 or 3 were killed and about half a dozen wounded. i helped carry one of the seriously wounded down to the surgery but he died shortly after reaching there. There were about 40 or 50 men eating their supper in a house when a shell burst right in the place. Most of the casualties occurred here. I can hardly see how any of them came out alive.

There has been no Canadian mail in for a long time and I have no letter to answer this week yet. I have had one from Bill (Skilling)  though and he is haveing a pretty fair time. He was becoming anxious about me as three of my letters had gone astray and it was about 5 weeks since he had heard from me. After the heavy fighting at Ypres, he thought i must have cashed in.

It seems funny up around our A.D.S. to see all the gardens growing behind the wrecked houses. The civilians have all been ordered out and only come back occasionally to look after their gardens etc. Once in a while a .... roots a few potatoes but they have to take a chance on that. Some of the fields around the fighting are plugged full of duds (that is what shells are called that do not explode on striking the ground but just bury themselves). sometimes just a slight jar will detonate them and they are not disturbed at all as too many lives were lost at the beginning of the war by trying to dig them up. There will be some of these Belgians blown up after the war when they begin ploughing those fields.

The weather here is just typical June weather and is great for fighting. Apparently, the Russians are having similar weather for they are showing up the Austrian and German armies over on that (Eastern) front. Opinion over here seems to that the next month or two will see the climax of the war. We ought to make a good showing for we are about as well prepared as we can expect to be and are able to give Fritz as much or a little more than we get from him.

Well, I'll write again when I get your letter to answer. I am real well and hope everyone at home is the same. Hope Norma makes our o.k. in her exams and also Orville in his case with the lawyer.


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