Beatrice Bowman

Complete transcript

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Faithly yours
Sgt Morris SWB

Dear Sister Beatrice

I am here relating a few of my experiences during this terrible struggle which has been forced upon old England and her Allies it was on the 4th of august when I had notice to report myself at my Depot for the purpose of getting fitted out for the fray which was done in A cool and deliberate manner I was then dispatched to Borden to rejoin my regiment which left for france on the 12th of august but having the misfortune to slightly sprain my ankle I was left in Hospital thereby missing the famous retreat but I was dispatched out to France to rejoin them again on the 6th of September with the first batch of reinforcements well at a place called Landrices we came in action and captured a position from the

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overlooking the village which we held for A month losing A great many men killed and wounded from there we proceeded to Lachells for A hard earned rest. after A weeks rest we went to Cassel in Belgium where we came into the thick of it again taking A strongly entrenched position form the enemy and also inflicting awful punnishment upon them the next scene of opperations was at Langemark where we lost A great number of officers NCO and men through shell fire which consisted of Jack Johnsons and heavey shrapnel from there we went to ypres better known as the gate to Callais on account of it having A big railway junction with branch lines to Callais ostend and Dunkirk from there we had orders to proceed to La Basse to retake the trenches which had been lost A couple of days previously and which we done in fine style and held them but again loseing A great number of officers and me

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it was at this place I got shot through the left hand with an explovise bullet but thanks to the Doctors and nursing staff of the A.W.W. H. I have now recovered. And I. Sincerely thank Sister Beatrice for the Kindness and Sympathy she has bestowed upon me during my stay in the above Hospital

I am sincerly yours
Sgt. Morris

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16 Feb 15

Sister Beatrice
You ask me for a war story – or incident that may have occurred during my 6 months sojourne on the Continent
Well I’ve had many queer experiences but one which stands out perhaps more prominently than the rest is the following:-
During operations in the Le Basse district, our Battallion -“The London Scottish” was ordered to take a small village –
This was accordingly done & does not concern my story to any great extent.
To the said village – I was ordered in the evening – in charge of the Transport, with food for the men who had gone on to the trenches – We arrived at the deserted village – disposed of our food – made horses snug & comfortable - & viewed with pleasure the prospect of about six hours rest. All my chaps tumbled down in various odd corners & I took a walk to the first floor –
The only room at all habitable was covered in straw with a bedstead, mattress & pillow, complete in one corner.
Transport Sergeants are proverbially lucky, so concluded I was no exception & proceeded to rest on my not over clean newly found treasure – Such an occasion I thought would be very opportune for enjoying a solitary cigar I had left in my pack – Done – I lay & enjoyed my cigar, by the light of a small piece of candle, thinking of home & a thousand other things – till the slight warmth at my finger tips told me

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my cigar was done - & time for me to sleep-
I then carelessly dropped my lighted cigar - & was preparing to turn over when I just as carefully thought that I ought to have put it out owing to the straw.
Well I cocked my head over the side of the bed to see that it was alright when to my amazement – I saw a hand come from under the bed & put out the lighted end. I wasn’t scared I was simply perplexed – Being fully dressed my first impulse was to spring out of bed & collar my unwelcome companion who I knew to be a German by the red cuff of his coat. On second thoughts I considered it best to lie back quietly & work out a plan of campaign – To my intense disgust I realized I’d been guilty of the assinine trick of leaving my revolver in my holster on my saddle. The chances that my companion was armed were certain –
So I lay quietly for I suppose 10 minutes – it seemed like 10 years then rose calmly lit a cigarette by the candle & proceeded leisurely to the stairs – I just whispered a word of warning to the boys below but told them I didn’t need their assistance only the loan of a rifle with bayonet attached. Up the stairs I went – full of excitement nevertheless calm – walked to the bed – and have one vigourous jab underneath – That did the trick He started the old cry of “Camarade” “Camarade” – I’d heard enough of that 2 months before elsewhere & gave another one for talking

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My boys sprung up the stairs - & how gently they got him down. – Altogether Wallop!!! He didn’t feel it – they threw him in the back room & in the morning buried him with a lot more of his own sort in a hole conveniently made by a shell during the taking of the village – I only hope the next village the “Scottish” clear they’ll do it properly & let the Transport Sergeant have a few hours sleep when the opportunity does occur.

I collard the rifle of the German & its now one of my most cherished souvenirs –
HW Fairlie
Transport Sergeant
“London Scottish”

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Edward . N. Pay A.B.
H.M.A.S. “Jellicoe”
Royal Navy
Feb 18th
A short diary of the experiences of a “Naval Armoured Train”, written for the benifit of our American
Sailors Brothers, not out of any disrespect but to show them that the British Jack Tars fight as well on land as on the sea. We were a little band of 72 Offficers and men told off from the Royal Naval Barracks Chatham and left Sheerness on H.M.S. Engadine for Ostend, where we arrived after an exciting chase across the North Sea, on Oct 1st & proceeded straight to Antwerp by special train. Here our armoured train was waiting so aboard we go, & manned the guns 4 inch 4.7 inch & 6 inch. We left the following morning for Wasslros where we heard the Germans were, and I guess we let them have it completely checking them for a while, they were dumb-founded to know where they were coming from as they knew the Germans had no heavy guns this far from Antwerp (20 miles) so it was the greatest surprise they had had since war was declared. They sent up a war balloon to find out who & what we were, so we had a pop at it, our first shot 8000 went short, our 2nd at 9000 went over, but our 3rd at 8600 went right through it and down it came but they had seen us & I guess we had it hot, so we just slipped back and came up on a branch line & let em have it again, they found us again so we went on another line, & by dodging about like this although we only had 9 huns against their 56 we were able to keep them back for 5 days after which we were obliged to fall back to Ghent, and here we checked them again for 2 days then fell back for our final stand at Ypres Here we had a very hot engagement lasting 15 days. But with the assistance of our army artillery we were success in putting the whole of the German bat out of action, we then slipped round to Le Basse and after 14 days we did the same

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20 Feb Cpl G. Saunders
2nd Royal Sussed Reg

Leaving England
14 Aug 1914 we disembarked at Le. Harve the next morning and proceeded to the rest camp for a day or two and then went up country and stopped at a place for  4 days and then went up to Mons but we did not get into action as we had to retire the next morning and well we knew it by the time we had finished nothing else but diging trenches and marching night and day  it will give the reader some idea what it was like they had not got time to issue rations” whilst we were halted but gave them to us when we were on the march we were nearly trapped aa time or two but managed to get out of it all right in the end and then

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one Sunday morning I have forgot the Date and place we got the order to advance and there was some cheering as we knew it was the end of the retirement and we was not sorry it was on the 10 of Sept 1914 when we first got into action and well we knew it as we marched nearly into the German lines before we knew where we where and we got it hot and strong for about 2 hours but we managed to drive them off but not before we had lost a lot of men and then we got on the Asine we were there about a month and then we got a shift to as we had several engg engagements there a lost a lot of men we left Ypres in Nov and came back to Halyebrook for a rest we was there for 18 days getting made up to fighting strength we went to Amenteers and there we        another rough time of it not with Germans but with the water which was up our waist not very plesant so cold as it was and a few German bombs flying about to help things on we was not their long before we were sent on the right of Le Basse in the brichfields another worm show we lost a lot of men but still held the trenches till we went back to Bethane for a rest but we had not finished our rest before we was called back again as some regiment had lost the trenches and we were ordered to take them well we had a try but we did not get them but managed to did dig some more close to the others but we had another go on Friday the 29 of Jan that was when I got wounded but the trenches was all retaken and some more besides well I am nearly well now thanks to the Doctors and Sisters and I am very grateful to them all for the kindness they have shown since I have been in the A.W.W.H  I remain

Cpl G. Saunders

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Frozen Feet Please
Tingle, tingle, little toes
Those who’ve had it, only knows
Nothing pleasant, nothing sweet
Just a pair of frozen feet
Standing in trenches wet & cold
Is what its through, so I’ve been told
It pains all night & pains all day
But is cured by friends from U.S.A.
Who work all day & work all night
And do their best to get chaps right
From bed to bed they make their treks
And I give them all my best respects.
Cpl.  R Bramhall   Kings Own Regt

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I was wounded on the 7th Feb and when I arrived in England at the American Women War Hospital Sister Beatrice asked me to put some of my experiences in writing into this  b book so I will describe to you my first experience of shell fire.  On or      about the 12 of Nov we went into Belgium a  place called Neworegles and was billelted for the night in a ruined town which was destroyed previous to our arrived,  next day we was shelled out of our billets in the night we marched 5 miles and took over trenches which was occupied by French troops we was shelled the whole of the way going in and we had only been in ½ an hour when the Germans attacked us I was rather excited at first but when I saw my comrades being put out I again found my self control and we drove them off, but they attacked us again we drove them off, nothing only shells were sent at us all next day and luckily we had very few casualties  night came and another attack was 

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made with the same result (driven off). We was relieved about midnight that night and returned to the billets and took our well earned sleep and rest for 2 days
Pte J James
Middlesex Regt

Sister “B,” you asked me to put a few lines in your book,
So I’ll try and tell no lie how misfortune me overtook,
The Germans did peg me in the leg.
The bullet it quite made me lame,
So I stayed there looking out for Snipers,
Waiting till the Stretcher came.

Drummer J. Phelps

Drummer J Phelps
S.W. Borderers. 28-2-15

To the owner of the book.
I will try to relate some of my experiences whilst at the front:-
I arrived in France on the 13th Aug 1914 (an unlucky day for me) My first engagement was at “Mons,” where my Regiment lost nearly all hands; I was also on the famous Retreat, which lasted 8 days. My next engagement was at the “Marne,” and the “Aisne.” I entrained for Belgium there I received 3 German bullets which laid me Hors-de- Combat; I laid on the field for 3 days, during which I experienced tortures of Hell, eventually I was picked up by some Belgiums. I arrived at the A.W.W.H 21st Dec 1916 and am now practically well, thanks to the kind attention of the Doctor and Sisters of Munsey Ward.
Yours truly
The Boy in Blue

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3/3/15 F Gore R.B.

Sister Beatrice,
You asked me to relate some of my experiences of my time at the front. I was in India at the outbreak of war. We did not leave India before October the 16th. We arrived at Winchester the following month. We finally left England for France in December the 20th. We arrived at La Havre the following day, from there we went up country to a place called Blaringhem not far from Hazebrouck. We stayed there for about a fortnight. Our time here was occupied by trench digging, a splendid pastime for the soldiers, who very much adore it especially in wet weather. My first visit to the fire trenches was about January 3rd. A French Division was relieved by my division, these trenches in places was well over your knees in mud and water. We occupied these trenches for a month and then we had to made a move to our left and in trenches we did not much care for. The place was full of dead soldiers not a nice site. My first visit to these trenches was my last for a time. I was wounded in the left side. On Feb 3rd from the firing line I was sent to Rouen where I stayed till the 13th of Feb. I finally arrived at the American Women’s War Hospital on the 14th February where I received every attention thanks to the care of both Doctors and Sisters I am quite well again. 
Your H S

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Time here was occupied by trench digging a splendid pastime for the soldiers he very much adore it especially in hot weather. The first visit to the fire trenches was about January 3rd. A French Division was relieved by my division, the trenches in places was well over your knees in …… and water. We occupied these trenches for a month and then we had to made a move to our left and in trenches we did not much care for. The place was full of dead soldiers not a very nice site. My first visit to these trenches was my last for a time. I was wounded in the left side on Feb3rd from the firing line I was sent to Rouen where I stayed till the 13th of Feb. I finally arrived at the American Women’s War Hospital where I received every attention Thanks to the care of both Doctors and Sisters I am quite well again
Your H S

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Sister Beatrice
I will endeavour to relate a few experiences whilst serving at the front with a Field Ambulance of the RAMC (rob all my comrades) a nice titel, don’t you think so? But my experience of my comrades is that you would first have to put something in their pockets before you could rob them. Well we landed at Le Havre about the 13th of August and from there proceeded to Mons where we had plenty of work to do giving first aid to the wounded and carrying them to a place of safety from the line of fire. Then came the retreat. I had some experience of fighting in S Africa but it was only childs play compared with the fighting that took place during that retreat. Sometimes we would get the wounded to some houses in a village when the Germans would start shelling the place and in many cases they were buried midst the ruins before we could get them out. I was in Ypres during the bombardment and I can assure you we had a very lively time. The worst part of Field Ambulance work is visiting the trenches every night to collect the wounded and bring them to the Field Dressing Station. There you are, creeping along in the dark trying to avoid the holes and deep mud, and the snipers busy with their rifles to remind you to be careful to keep out of their way, and your patient cursing you in three different languages because you are jolting him. It is not a picnic by any means.
W. Molam RAMC

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… a letter sent home in a trench
Where the raindrops continually drench
Theres a dugout behind where if tired you can
Catch such a beautiful cold.
Underneath in place of a flood,
We have sacks of wet mud and some straw.
And the Jack Johnsons there, through the rain swollen mis
Oe’r my little wet home in the trench.

You can find mud wherever you go
And frostbitten feet by the score
You’r up to your knees, and its not good to freeze
We’re here for the germans to tease
Whale oil we have rubbed in before
And of Rain we have had an encore.
And a bath we shall get, for its still raining yet.
In my little wet home in the trench

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Your rations you draw every night.
When the Germans are down out of sight.
For the way may be long, you soon nip away.
You forget you were weary before.
When the limelights go up for yo down.
If you dont you’s not worth half a crown.
With the scuff on your hands.
You like stalkers …..hands,
To your little wet home in the trench.

There are snipers who keep on the go
So you have to keep your napper low
For those star shells at night, gives a beautiful light
Which causes sweet language to flow
Then bully and ……… we chew
For its days since we tasted a stew
And the boys are all there
There’s no place can compare
With our little wet home in the trench.
3 K.O.H
3rd Kings Own Hussars

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8/5/15 1913 Prte R.A Morrell
3rd London Regt. Royal Fusil.
Dear Sister Beatrice,
I think I hav… letter start from when we were called up to go to camp for two weeks. We were going to Wareham but never got as far. We were called back at Southampton being West and went to London to be mobilised for Foreign Service & were sent to Quatre. After being ……5 months we were to Valencie for France, and were sent

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to France arriving at Marseilles on Jan 8th. From there we went across country to a Rest Camp called Etaples. After being there 2 weeks we went to Sangausse and were Billeted. From there we done a long march and advanced our new ….. Fields to attack hills. We were digging trenches when officers noted my complaint. I also had Rheumatism. They sent me to St …. Where I was for 2 weeks. From there I was sent to ….., then I was sent to England arriving at the A.W.W.H where I have received every attention. The Doctors and Nurses have been very kind to me, and I thank them all very much and wish them every success in their undertakings.

From Your Gratfully
Richard Morrell
3 Lon Ba Royal Fusiliers

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Sergeant K W. Hardy
2nd Cameronians Scottish Rifles
A little experience from the Front.

We were told overnight that were to advance at 8.a.m the following morning and take from the Germans three lines of trenches and capture a village called NEUVE-CHAPPELLE. The following morning the 10th March 1915 about 7.30 our artillery started off with a terrible shell fire into the enemy’s first lines of trenches as we had 500 British and French guns at the back of hour position so they shelled the first lines for half an hour, Then it was time for us to go forward as it was just 8.5 am. when we took the first trench, Our Regiment started off 1500, … and were shooting them down as they were retreating, one German was just ready to make a bolt for it when I brought him down with my rifle and he fell back into the trench dead. We took this trench with little loss, but we lost heavily taking the second. it was taking this that I sent another Hun into the next world for he had only another 5 or 10 yards then he would have been safe but a good aim from me brought him down. Now for the Third trench the worst one of all for trying to take this we lost the remainder of our Battalion for there was a move…. Seen in our front which accounted for a good lot of our boys anyway at last we took the Gun I was just going to get ready to rush for the last trench when a German officer with a sword in his right hand and a revolver in his left not a yards away from me, when I saw that it was pointed at me Just a moment more and I would have been where hundreds of my comrades were but by sheer luck I gripped the revolver and forced it above my head when it went off through my fingers I took away the weapon from him and shot him in the shoulder when he fell into the trench I got down after him and in my madness I lunged

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with my Rifle and Bayonet catching him under the chin the point coming out at the top of his head so he died immediately. I then thought of the best way back I got over the trench when the retreating Germans started a terrible fire over my head so I laid down for about an hour, afterwards I rolled toward head-quarters after I had been doing this for about 10 minutes I came and a chum who had been shot through the shoulder and could not get along so I told him to hang to my legs with his arm that was not hurt well I dragged him to safety going through two ditches and covered with mud I did not care as long as I knew we were safe again, I have got the revolver as a momento and also a Helmet Badge of the Prussian Guard that was opposed to us, or Battn came out with one Lieutenant and about 80 men I did not know that they took the village until I bought a paper in the train that was taking me to Hospital and I am glad that we done so well but sorry to know that our Battn was lost, but dead Germans everywhere I should say about 5,000 besides about a 1000 we took as prisoners we kept he ground taken and the Germans made two ……. – attacks to get them back but they were repulsed with heavy loses to the enemy I am mostly well now thanks to the Doctors and Sisters of the American Women’s War Hospital I am very grateful to them all for the kindness shown me since I have been in Hospital

I remain
Sergeant F. W. Hardy
Scottish Rifles

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37 Walcot Street

Dear Sister Beatrice
Just a line to let you know that I arrived safe and found everyone well hoping this will find you and all the Sisters O.K. I shall always remember the kind-ness and attention received while

Private James Cooper
1st Black Watch
Munsey ward

Left England 12th Aug. 1914, arrived Le Havre 13th. We then entrained for a village called “Boue” where we lay 5 days waiting for our Artillary to join us, afterwards proceeding to Belgium. Was present at the battle of Mons, though I did not see much fighting there, and then we started the never to be forgotten retreat where we had plenty of hard fighting and marching. After we started to advance again you should have seen the mess the roads were in, broken motors, cycles, clothing, dead horses, etc, showing the hurry the enemy were in to get away from us. I was also at the battle of the “Marne” before we started the advance. The enemy then entrenched themselves in at the “Aisne” and we were there

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37 Walcot Street

Dear Sister Beatrice
Just a line to let you know that I arrived safe and found everyone well hoping this will find you and all the Sisters O.K. I shall always remember the kind-ness and attention received while a patient in the A.W.W.H if I should have to go to the front again and get another wound I shall wish for no other hospital but the above thanking one and all

Allow me
To remain
Yours respectfully
An old Munsey patient

Private James Cooper
1st Black Watch
Munsey ward
Left England 12th Aug. 1914, arrived Le Havre 13th. We then entrained for a village called “Boue” where we lay 5 days waiting for our Artillary to join us, afterwards proceeding to Belgium. Was present at the battle of Mons, though I did not see much fighting there, and then we started the never to be forgotten retreat where we had plenty of hard fighting and marching. After we started to advance again you should have seen the mess the roads were in, broken motors, cycles, clothing, dead horses, etc, showing the hurry the enemy were in to get away from us. I was also at the battle of the “Marne” before we started the advance. The enemy then entrenched themselves in at the “Aisne” and we were there

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About a month, but we could not make any more headway. The French then relieved us and we once more proceeded to Belgium, where (at Ypres) I was wounded in both legs (both fractured) and was eventually sent to Boulogne where I was in hospital for 8 weeks before being sent home. Arrived in old “Munsey” A.W.W.H. on the 21st December 1914 where thanks to the kind attention of the Doctors and Sisters I am now getting on grand. Thanking the Sisters one and all for their kindness to me while in good old “Munsey”,

I am,

Yours Gratefully,

J. Cooper

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Royal Flying Corps
Aeroplane Squd.
You ask me to relate to you one of the little incidents which occurred to me during the great war.
I will endeavour to do so by relating to you the great air raid

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On one of Germanys air stations at Oux Laven.
The weather was very dull, annoying sort of foggy weather. When we started to scout the way for the main body of machines which were following behind us at a slower speed

Presently we gained the Belgium frontiere and crossed safely got as near wxhaven as possible, near midday we knew the sun would cover our retreat.

Our first machine opened fire first with 2 large high explosive bombs on a large

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airship shed.

But the most unfortunate part was the shed was empty, stiff and cold we felt, but we resolved to drop every bomb we brought with us and we did so. The damage we did was enormous many thousand pounds it was estimated at.

We did not escape untouched the aeroplane guns paled around us, and we had to retire but not untill we had dropped every bomb we brought

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There were seven aeroplanes in all. And Britton should be proud of her Ariel fleet who are rulers of the air.

I have been unfortunate to get wounded at a battle for Armentiers but thanks to the kind treatment I received at the various hospitals I have been at, includinh the Americam Womens War Hospital. The Sisters and medical officers I must thank sincerely. Remaining yours

Air mechanic HJH (Henry)

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A warm half hour

The incident I am about to relate happened soon after my arrival at the firing line.

One night we were sent to support the first line, as the German’s had attacked them. The night was very dark, and we had to feel our way, creeping and crawling at times through thick mud. At last after what seemed to me an endless journey a halt was called, so we laid down and waited. When it became light enough to see, we were ordered to move ahead about 100 yards to our right and get behind

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some old ruined houses. We managed to get to the ruins and were thinking of making ourselves comfortable when things happened. I cannot describe the next half hour. Shell after shell came crashing round us. Stones, bricks and mud flew in all directions & I thought my time had come. The din was awful. A cloud of thick black smoke enveloped us and made it almost impossible to see the man next you. A few paces from me lay our Officer, a young fellow but a good brave soldier. He asked me if I was alright and as I turned to answer him a shell burst between us. I felt

Myself being carried though space and landed about 10 paces away. I was dazed for a few seconds and but for a few scratches, unhurt. O looked round for the officer. he lay near where the shell burst, and poor fellow was badly battered but alive. A Private lay near him with half his leg blown away. We did our best for both of them, and when the shelling stopped had them taken to the Dressing Station. How we lived through that terrible time God only knows & for weeks after the very sound of a gun firing made me tremble.

Sanderson Sgt

1st Bn R ….Regt

Munsey Ward


21st March 1915

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22/3/15 3rd Bn Royal Fusiliers
My first Introduction to the Enemy
My first experience of the war was rather an exciting one as the following will show.

About 6.30pm of the 5/2/15 we were ordered to get ready in Marching Order & ready to move off in ten minutes. Where we were bound for, only the officers knew, but that it was nearer the firing line we guessed. We were soon convinced that something was going to happen by the fact that on reaching YPRES (that shell battered & desolate town) we took the packs off our backs & in a few minutes we were marching silently to the trench. We halted some distance from the danger zone & were then told that we were going to re-take a trench that was lost earlier in the day.

We then lined the wood that was in front of our objective, & then with bayonets fixed waited until it was light. Just after dawn our Artillery bombarded the Germans for about 15 minutes & then we charged acrossed the intervening space amid a terrible shower of bullets. On reaching the trench we jumped in & soon got to our terrible work with the bayonet & in a few minutes the trench was running with blood. Some of the Germans made off, but most of them were very plucky & only gave in when they saw it was hopeless. The sight was awful & the cries of those in agony was terrible. Well we won the trench back &got relieved the night of the 6th. We lost several killed & wounded, but luckily I got off with only a few scratches. I shall never forget this incident, as it was my first experience of war, & previous to it I did not think it was so bad.

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You wish for me to give you a little of my experience whilst serving with the Expeditionary Force in France. 


I think it was about the 12th of Nov 14 when our Division was around LA-BRASSEE district fighting near GIVENCHY when our Brigade made a severe attack on the German Trenches and drove them from it, my Transport officer thinking it was advisable to advance with the Transport, which we decided to billet the Horses and drivers on a farm near GIVENCHY, but we found out later that it was much too close to the Trenches. We remained in this farm quite peacefully for 2 days, living almost on chicken, Ducks, & Geese. In fact, we was living well. The 3rd day about 6AM the first shell whistled over (better known as Jack Johnson) and it bursted just 15 yds

From where I was sleeping in an out house where 8 men were, killing 2 and wounded 5. The other a Drummer got away very lucky. I knowing that men where sleeping there, I made for it as soon as I got my boots on, but on arrival and to my surprise I found one a Sergeant, with a hole clean in his back he leaves a widow with 7 children. The other was almost cut to pieces, while I was attending to this another shell bursted where the horses were tied up killing 5 and wounded 8. They remained shelling us the whole of the morning but very little damage afterwards. Towards evening we decided to retire to another village which we though we were quite safe but the next day about 1 o/c over came jack Johnson fired several shells but did no damage, again we had to retire to another village, mile further back we were quite safe at this place

Wishing you the best of luck

I must say AWWH is the best hosp I have been in a jolly good staff

My best wishes for the future

……………………………..Sgt DEVONS

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The First Night

We left our billets at Laventil about 5.30 & set out for the trenches. We all felt very cheerful & somebody started to sing but was immediately stopped by the officer.

We marched for about 2½ miles & then turned into a field. All cigarettes & pipes were put out & silence ordered. We walked through a small stream about a foot deep & then into mud

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right over our knees. Mud mud & still more mud, & of course progress was very slow. Presently a flare went up & we got down on the ground very quickly, starting forward again after a minute or so. All the way along we had heard the big guns & away on our right it was evident that an artillery duel was in progress. After a time we were ordered to halt. We were

In front of what looked like a stone wall & we could see coal pails every few yards or so. Then we were able to distinguish that we were behind a long barricade of sandbags.

Two of us went on look-out duty immediately & went on every hour. Things were very quiet & only a few shots came over until early morning when they started in real earnest. We were not sorry to get back to billets at the end of 3 days.

H M Tobin 2276

13th Kensingtons 24/3/15

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Munsey ward

Sister Beatrice,

I will now tell you about the only turn I did at the trenches. The period was four days & if it had not rained so hard during that time it would not have been so bad, but the trenches were nearly full of water & came up well over our knees. The first night a Sgt & myself & 15 men were detailed to a trench which necessitated us going over open ground for about 100 yds, but owing to it being a pitch black night we got over quite safely with no casualties. The first afternoon, the Middlesex who were on our right was attacked by the Germans & sent to us to re-enforce them, but only having 15 men, we could not spare any, so we opened rapid fire to the trenches in our front to keep their heads down. The attack was repulsed but we had run short of ammu- nition & it was absolutely necessary for someone to go to Coy Hdqrs for some. It was then about 3pm & it was a risky job in daylight. I went & no sooner had I slipped out of the trench when the Germans saw me &opened fire, but dodging from cover to cover such as tree stumps etc I managed to get over & back with the ammunition quite safe but a bullet went right through the butt of my rifle that I was carrying.

The party that releived us that night came away without any rations & surplus ammunition, so the Coy officer said it must go over & I again went over by myself for reasons UI will not state here & did this journey 4 times, but coming back the last time I must have lost my way for it was pouring in torrents & the Germans were not sending up their rockets so often & I kept wandering until I came to some wire entanglements & then I knew I had nearly walked into the enemy’s trench. I lay down flat in the mud & I was nearly exhausted, not knowing what to do I decided to lay there till morning, but then I knew if the Germans saw me in the morning they would riddle me. I simply rolled over & over in the mud towards our own trenches, & shouted to know if the Fusiliers were there & after a time got an answer asking me who I was. I told them to stop firing a minute while I jumped over the parapet & they were quite surprised & of course wanted to know how I got there. I had to be helped into a dug-out & then I must have fainted  for whn I came to the Coy Officer was trying to make me swallow some rum. H ethanked me for volunteering so many times & said he would forward my actions on to higher authorities, & sent me in a day beforehand with instructions to dry my clothes & have a good sleep, for he said I had done more than my share. I got a frost bitten foot over it & now thanks to the good attention of the doctors and Sisters of the ASmericamn Womens War Hospital I am getting quite alright again & hope to be out again soon.

No 1. Coy. Cpl LW 3 R/F

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Whate’er The Ways
But whatsoe’er the ways may be
Wherin a man has walked, if he
Lay down his life or risk it, so
To save his fellows, then I know
He who was faint on Calvary’s hill
Yet neighboured death of his free will
Will scarce forget him unto God
Whate’er the ways that man has trod

A G Herbertson

Hubert M Tobin No 2276
13th kensigton Battn. 24/3/15

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Munsey Ward
March 24th

I went to France just before Xmas and in due course my Company was moved up to the line, and billeted near a village called Dickebusch in Belgium. While there we were engaged digging trenches in the rear of the line and it was here that I first got my baptism of shell fire for we were working just in front of some Batteries which were splendidly concealed and causing the Germans a considerable amount of trouble, and they would send over their aeroplanes to search for the position, and while the machines hovered overhead we took cover, and watched proceedings.

It generally happened that one or two British aeroplanes soon appeared (no doubt telephoned for from the Batteries concerned) and drove

The “Alleman” away, and directly he had turned his back the guns would commence again and it was most exciting to watch the puffs of white smoke that appeared as the shells burst all around him.

Soon after the German guns would open fire on the various positions that the Aeroplane observer ‘thought’ he had discovered and as the shells went all over the place, hitting every spot but the right one, but very often falling uncomfortably close to us.

After about a fortnight of this work we moved into Dickebusch and took on a system of night work in the trenches, and we were generally kept very busy as the trenches around St. Evi. were very bad and the Germans delighted in continually knocking them about, the monotony of this tren

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warfare was sometimes releived by an attack from our own or the other side and the remains iof these ghastly affairs was always in evidence, bodies were laying about in all directions and in all conditions, no-one daring to venture from the doubtful security of the trench to bury or remove them, and night after night we journeyed to these trenches, slipping and sliding in the horrible slime and it was on March 7th the first night that I went up after a 6 days “rest” at Reningelst that I partially stopped the bullet which caused my appearance and detention here, where thanks to the care & kindness  of everyone I am almost well.

H M Scott LceCpl
1st Wessex R.E.
27th Division
March 24th

9914 2nd Devon Regt.

Dear Sister Beatrice

I can tell you it gives me great pleasure to write in your Book. I am afraid you wont find mind mine a very interesting piece.

I left Dawlish on 14/12/14 and sailed from Southampton the same day. We reached France the next morning and proceeded to the Base

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I left the Base and went to join the 2nd Devons and went into the trenches on Christmas Eve. On Christmas day we had a truce with the Enemy and the day went off allright. Those Germans who were with us appeared to be a decent lot of chaps.

We did not have many casualties in our Regt. Whilst I was there. Once when we were in our Billets we were shelled and had to go to the underground trenches.

I was wounded one night when going to relieve another Regt., and was taken to Etretat. After three weeks I came to England. I arrived at the A.W.W.H. at Paignton. And thanks to the Sisters and Doctors of the American Red Cross. I hope to soon be well. And I shall allways a grateful patient, and in debt to the above.

E.J. Beer.

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Cpl H Day
1st Royal Berks
a.W W H

I arrived at Rowen France on the 12 Aug. We entrained for A place I forgot the name of We the (then?) Marched to Belium (Belgium?) where we took part in the battle of Mons I was on the famous Retreat when we had some very hard marching and fighting Was at the battle of the Marne Aisne and Ypres I was wounded on the lower part of the body on the 15 Nov 1914 by A sniper at A place called Zonnebeke When getting some water for a wounded Comrade But I was able to get back to the trench and for my little act of Kindness I was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal I had A Operation at Hazebrack then Then I was sent back to Boulogne to No 2 Stationary Hospital where I stoped for 32 days them was sent to England to A W W H Paignton on the 21 Dec 1914 Where I am glad to say I am going on alright thanks to the Doctors & Sisters Thanking Sister Beatrice for hear (her) Kindness to me

I Remain

Yours Respectfully

Cpl H Day

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Cpl. W. Pike
1st Bn The Welch Regt
Paignton 30/3/15

I arrived at Le Harve on the 18th January from there went to a place called Hazebrouck where my Regt stayed for about a week doing Route Marches etc: before going into the trenches. Left Hazebrouck on the 28/1/15 for the trenches. I might mention that this journey was done in motor buses from London and all along the journey to Ypres we got a good reception from the French and Belgians Well I went into the trenches on four different occasions and had some rough times but glad to say I got off scot free We were then sent back to a place a few miles from Ypres name forgotten for six days rest but being lucky only got two being called out at 3.30 am on Sunday 15/2/15 to reinforce the 85th Brigade who had had a rough time , but owing to the few that was left they were able to hold out until night-fall when my Brigade 84th relieved them It was here my trouble began in the

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trenches 48 hrs I got that well known sickness frost-bite and being to bad to walk had to be carried to Field Hospital at Ypres where I stayed one day then sent to no:4 General Hosp: at Versailles where I stayed a fortnight, from here I was sent to England to A.W.W.H. Paignton on the 3rd of March where I am pleased to say I am getting on fine thanks to the Doctors and  sisters of the above Hospital to whom I am very grateful for their kindness.

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No 7182 Pte Hird
1st Lincoln Regt
Dear Sister Beatrice

It gives me great pleasure to write in your book I have not got a big lot to say as I have not been out as long at front as long as some of the boys but still I was out there plenty long enough I can tell you I got through mons allright and the Asine it was when I got to Bethune 21st Oct where I got into trouble I was on observation Post in the trenches when Bang went a shell and down I went with a bump I can tell you away I was carried to nearest Hospital But thanks to the Sisters and Doctors I am getting allright know

Your Sincere
J.H. Hird

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Pte J H Bugler
2nd Yorks Regt
a.W.W.H Paignton


Sister Beatrice

We started the big advance at Neuve Chapelle on the 10/3/15 at 7-30 Am when about 500 of our guns went of at once and the germans did not know what was the matter after we had shelled them for an half hour we got the order to advance and it was simply fine to see out fellows go forward singing they had to walk all the way as we could not run as we over the boot tops in mud We had not gone far when the germans threw down there arms and were taken prisoners and then we started for the 2nd line here we met with a stronger force and had to fight hard and they kept knocking us down like sheep but it dit not stop our fellows they all seemed cheerful and went for the 3rd line and  then we went for Neuve Chapelle and this was a living hell we got there before dinner but had to come back then at night we went right through it and we went about 400 yrd past Neuve Chapelle and entrenched for the night and this where I got my wound and then I went to the field hospital and the next day went to Boulogne and stayed there all night the next day we entrained for Le Harvre and then we arrived in good old Munsey Ward and thanks to the Doctors and Sisters of the a.W.W.H I am getting on fine.

Yours Sincere

Pte J H Bugler

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Pte W m Riddoch

1st Gordon Highs


Dear Sister

I just write this few lines on a little experience which I had on the 14th Dec : 1914, we had lain in the trench all the day and at about 12 oclock at night we were told we had to take the German trench in front the officer told us all that we had only old retearns to contend with, So at seven oclock on the monday morning the Big Guns started and I may say it was terrible fancy 150 Guns all going at once for 1 hour then the order “charge” we jumbed up on top of the trench & rushed at the Germans but lost a lot of men so had to lay down then we tryed again but it was usless as the German michne Guns Played on us all the while we were only 500 strong & we lost 280, we could not retire that day and had to lay out under Fire all the day untill dark then we got Back to the trenches very down Harted, But the officer told us we had done our Best, we have had worse times than this but I have not time to write more I am home with a best chest the effects of a Blow with either a Bullet or shrapnel I have to thank all the red cross People for their Kindness to me

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Pte H. G. Legg

1st Battn Hon. Artill:Corp

30. March 1915.

I have only reached this hospital today, and have no such interesting reminiscences to relate as the foregoing : for the last three months I have simply been doing the steady trench work day after day which has been rendered necessary by the weather conditions. The last letter is of special interest to me, as our battalion had for some weeks to man the trenches commanding the scene of the charge referred to . i.e. the Maedelsteed Spur near Wytschaefe. On the slope up to the German trenches on the night are still lying the bodies of many a good Scot side by side with his brave enemy. Not 30 yards from our trench lay one of the Gordons, seemingly asleep, with his head comfortably resting on his pack, evidently so placed when wounded and left there by first-aid men who had subsequently to retire. Just beyond him is a German with his spiked helmet just rolled off his head. Still the charge had the good result of capturing an important trench running at right angles to ours, which is still held and manned by the Wiltshire Regt. The last few days at Kemmel before I was hit, were the days when our batteries were preparing for the general attacks along the line from Ypres to La Barsee which culminated in the actions round Neuve Chapelle about March 10th- the bombardments by our guns over our trenches were terrific. At one time “Granny” the 15 inch howitzer of the locality used to come over regularly every 10 minutes. The explosion of this gun was terrific.  Although the effect was forward the debris + splinters used to come back the 100 yards into our trenches. I think the American Red Cross doctors are clever, and the sisters charming.

H Gordon Legg.

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In Belgium we were fighting for our King and Country too

And it was so cold at times that we hardly knew what to do

The snow was falling thickly and it was freezing cold

And as we stood there in the trench

Our rifles we could hardly hold


Five days and nights we stayed there

Under heavy shot and shell

And the day before we got relieved

Twas like a second Hell


Then from trenches into billets we went

Where things were a little lighter

And before we had been there very long

We began to look much brighter


Then from there to Hospital I went one day

With frost bite in my feet

Then an operation came they put me fast asleep

The Heather it was awful of which I had a dose

And when I came around again

I found that I had lost my toes

Took frost bite at Nouveglease in Belgium on 28th December 1914 taken to Versaille No 4 General Hospital where I underwent an Operation with my feet, from there I came to Paignton at the A.W.W.H where thanks to the Doctors and sisters of Munsey Ward I am getting on quite well.

6825 Pte F W Croydon

Devonshire Regt

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This article was printed in the Paignton Daily paper – after the Queens visit to the American Womens War Hospital.

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The Queen and the Paignton American Women’s Hospt.

Sir- In your very excellent article yesterday on the visit of her Majesty the Queen to this Hospital Thursday last, there were one or two omissions which I feel sure in fairness to myself, you would like to make good in the part dealing with the very minute inspection of the various wards.

I, myself, the Commandant of the Hospital, had the honour in company with the Senior Surgeon (not the principal medical officer as stated) Dr. Beale, of personally conducting her Majesty.

This part of your report entirely omits my name. Also Mr. Paris Singer and myself were the only two representatives of the Hospital who were ordered to and met her Majesty at the station.

The Senior Surgeon (Dr.Beale) and the matron (Miss Fletcher) received her Majesty on arrival, at the Hospt. and of course, also accompanied her around the wards. The only ladies privileged to meet her Majesty at the station were Mrs. and the Misses Singer, my wife Mrs. Gunning, and the wives of the Medical Staff: Mesdames Lawrence Bennett, Adams, Frampton, Stubbs and Carner, Mrs. Fuller (vicar’s wife) and Dr. Murial Morris, of the Red Cross Hospital. You omitted several of the ladies names, and they naturally feel it.

My wife and daughter, Miss Sarline Gunning, who had the honour of presenting her Majesty with the beautiful bouquet of Tiger and St. John’s lilies, with maidenhair fern and Madagascar creeper, tied with green and red streamers

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On her Majesty’s departure, both Mr. Singer and myself accompanied her to the station, and her Majesty personally thanked me, and after shaking hands, expressed in neatly chosen words her entire approval of everything she saw at the hospital, and spoke of the comfort and happiness of the patients in such beautiful surroundings. As I very naturally feel the honour done me very much, I should not like a wrong impression of the visit circulated.

R. C. Gunning,

Lieut. Col. Commandant.

P.S. I forgot to mention that the bouquet was the gift of the ladies of the medical staff.

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Experiences in brief of six months of the vilest methods of warfare adopted by the modern Mephistopheles and his Patriots.

On a bright and sunny morning I departed with the Regiment for Woking Station (Surrey) to entrain for Southampton en-route for the front. We had a rousing send-off, and I recollect quite well an old woman shouting from the roadway “You’ll bring us back a German Helmet! Wont you ? “ Having arrived at our “tub” very little time was wasted in embarkation. The anchor was weighed at midnight, and after three hearty cheers had been given for “Merry England” and another three for “His Majesty King George” we commenced to settle down for the night. We had barely proceeded ¼ mile up the “Roads” when our “tub” rammed a Collier. Very little delay was caused, and the only damage done was to the bow of the Collier. The journey across was splendid. On arrival at Le Harve it seemed as though all France had turned out to welcome us. I noticed the change of climate immediately I reached the Continent. It was oppressively hot, and the 91/4 miles that we had to walk to reach the Concentration Camp fatigued us all. After two days rest we railed to “Esqueheries” (St Quentin) and waited there six days for our guns to arrive. Our first action was at Mons. It was both a wonderful and impressive sight. Our Brigade was held in support and we nearly all got annihilated. A very touching and pitiful sight at Mons was to see the poor refugees being driven in front of the devils with ghastly expression on their faces “not knowing to where they were going “but caring greatly “ from whither they had flown “ and fully realising “ who were behind them” Many of these poor people were witnesses with us at their homes being in flames, and one could almost hear the yells of the drunken demons

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in the distance devastating house and home. We now had to retreat, and the demons were hot on the scent, until we took up the offensive 81/4 miles from Paris. The Retreat was most severe, the heat being so oppressive, and very little chance of rest. On more than one occasion the doctors had to stop the marching until sunset. In consequence certain regiments were detailed to fight a rear-guard action to check the advance of the demons. My regiment did this and we lost heavily.  We eventually brought the devils to bay on the Aisne, and the battle was continuous for 29 days.   Thousands of shells were poured into us and over us.  I was subject to 91/2 hours shell fire in a trench,  and when absolutely battered in they attacked our line.  Needless to say it was “Loves labour lost.”  For this F.H.Sir John French congratulated our regiment in person for “hugging that precious piece of ground.”  We now railed to Belgium in defence of Ypres.  The actions in this district were by far the worst of my experience.  Shells fell around here by  hundreds of thousands.  The famous Prussian Guards came against us in vain, but how few ”went back.”   It was here that I had a narrow escape of capture.  I acted as Despatch Runner to Headquarters, and in one of my return journeys I mistook the Devils for my own Company, but luckily just managed to avert a very serious blunder.  After severe fighting for five weeks here I joined with the others in a 28 days rest (first one in the campaign from August 12th until December 2nd) On December 23rd we had to support the Indians at Armentieres.  The Devils gave us a great reception.   We had Bombs for breakfeast, bombs for dinner, an attack of every kind for tea, Star-shells for supper, and plenty of time during the night to digest the whole fare.   We then had to march and take up a position in the La Bassee district, and the fighting in this area was of the most determined nature.  The centre

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of the position was a brickfield. Daily trenches were being taken and lost.  It was on the 29th January that I was hit in the right thigh during a very hot attack of the Demons.  By a stroke of good fortune I managed to get sent to England as early as on the 3rd February.   On February 11th I had recovered sufficiently to go to my own home on Convalescent leave.  I owe my quick recovery to being most carefully nursed and attended to by the doctors, and nurses of the American Women’s War Hospital Paignton, who are doing admirable work to alleviate the sufferings of Thomas Atkins.

Yours Sincerely.

(signed) Stafford Ward.

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7408 Serge.

A” Company.

3rd Battn Royal Sussex Regt.

Connaught Barracks

Dover 22.3.15

Dear Sister Beatrice.

In answer to your letter dated 19.2.15. it gives me the greatest pleasure to forward you herewith a typewritten copy of my experiences in brief. Will you kindly excuse me for the delay in sending the same. So pleased to hear the sweets reached you all in a good condition. Yes I am still keeping nice and fit, and expect to return to the front within another fortnight. Hoping you are quite well. With kind remembrance to the Doctors/Staff of Munsey Ward.

Yours sincerely


Stafford Ward

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