Letter; 14th October, 1914.

Dear Jim,

Just a few lines to let you know I am still in the land of the living. I had a letter from T. Alcorn.

I got it alright though he had No. 2 Field Ambulance instead of No. 3; you might tell him, though all the rest of the address was right. I hope he got my letter though he did not say so.

I see by his letter that Mooney and a lot more had joined the R.A.M.C. Well, I hope they have joined under the same terms as the St. John’s Ambulance men. We have had some of them with us right through from the start. They are getting 4 shillings a day. Their wives are getting the same allowance as ours and we are only getting 1 shilling and six pence per day.

You take my tip and don’t you join; stay where you are if this is modern warfare. Roll on! To be out here and see the sights we have you would think there was no such thing as civilization in the world. Every man out here is a savage for the time being and it is turning some men’s brains. We had one of the Camerons only last week who went mad and we had to guard him for a day and a night before we got him away in a wagon.

Men are losing arms and legs day in and day out. Some of the wounded are maimed for life and some even die before we get near them. We have to wait until it is dark before we get some of them in and some we never get in at all. They lie out there till they die as we would only be shot down if we tried to go out to them.

We have lost a few men already trying to get out to the wounded and they are still lying out there themselves. But we have to do what we are told and if we are told to go out we will do so but they won’t let us at present.

I have not seen any of the rest of the Drillers- Anderson, White or the rest of them. They are not in the same Division as me. I am in the Division with the Black Watch, Camerons, Welsh Regiment, South Wales Borderers and a few more. So if you see anything about the 1st Army corps you will know I am not far off.

You can tell all the Boys I was asking for them. My wife is staying in Greenock again, as with the assistance, she is receiving and my money she will manage to struggle along till I come home which I hope will be not long now.

Germany is not going to be beat in a day. They have the best-equipped army I ever saw. I have seen hundreds of them lying dead and I am using some of their kit myself. It is really good and I will try to send you something if I can possibly manage to get it sent through, though it won’t be easy to do so. A flag off a German lance or something like that. We have tons of German helmets here and things like that; if I get a chance at all I will send one on.

Sorry, I will not manage home in time for Christmas, but I hope to be there for the next one. I also hope to be home in time for the annual drive to Rothesay.

We have not moved out of here from the day we took up this position. This is the battle of the Aisne and we are in a village called Verdun.

We arrived here on that terrible day- the 14th of last month- when we thought the Gates of Hell had been opened on us. We will never forget that day. I was at Mons and all the rest of it but the first two days of this battle wipes all the rest out. I hope I shall never see the same again; I might; though I can never see worse. I think I will live through anything after that day.

We have been shifted from one village to another but it is only to collect wounded; we always come back to the same place.

Letter Continued 22nd October

 

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