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LETTERS FROM THE FRONT, Issue 15693, 6 January 1915
LETTERS FROM THE FRONT
From Ur Ludwig Tasker, who is in charge of No. 14 clearing Hospital, with the Fifth Amy Division in France ; —■ For the last fortnight (he states) we have not got to bed until 4 a.m. The majority of our wounded will do well, but there are largo numbers of terribly hopeless one?. We had one poor fellow whose tongue was actually on his neck as the result of having had In's left jaw blown off. Of course he could not speak, and when, at a sign from him, I gave him a sheet- of paper all that ho wrote ou it was that his captain was worthy of the Victoria Gross. ....
Last night we had a wounded German of 18 years of age, who had been out three weeks, and had only 10 weeks’ training; If tho fight was oven in numbers, or even two to one, what would outfellows not do) Tho. Germans have five machine guns in the battalion to our one, and it is the machine guns and shrapnel that do all the slaughter; their infantry will not come to grips with our force. When firing at night the Germans also fire sham Hashes, so that tho position of their actual guns cannot be located, and to guard against unsuspected night attacks they set fire to haystacks or to anything handy. Some of the villages are nothing but masses of ruins. With regard to firing at hosnitals, I scarcely believe tho Germans do it purposely. But a spot which proves siutible for a hospital seems also always suitable for a battery, and when the, Guianans find a battery they may at tho same time hit a hospital. One of our men found a wounded German in a farm. He was ■pualcd how to explain to him how to get upon the ambulance waggon, when the German spoke English like one of our Tommies. “What a splendid spy he would have made if necessary.’ We have no doubt that there are many about tho country. Wo think it a great mistake to let refugees return so soon, for it is difficult to distinguish between refugees and spies. We are covering ground, passed over by the Germans. They have not left, a cupboard or a drawer, alone. We respect all property, and when wc go where the Germans have been wo tidy the things up so that the place looks very much better by the time the people return. Day after day the same thing goes cu here —fighting, fighting, fighting, collecting the wounded, and burying the dead. The news (official) that we get from headquarters is very satisfactory. Only to-day wo were told that our fellows mid captured 700 prisoners and left 1,500 Germans on the field. What a godsend morphia is! Some of our injured suffer from ghastly wounds, but to some of them 1 give morphia and to others cigarettes, and you would be surprised to find how soon the bravo fellows fall into a snoring sleep. They are. cleared by means of motor ambulances, and I am told that they are in England within 12 honrs of leaving here. By the way, the chauffeur of one of our ambulances is an English gentleman, who has an income of £IO,OOO a year. Not being able to fight, ho decided to give his motor car, and here lie is like one of us.
■ —An Officer’s Optimism.—
A letter referring to the gallant part played by tho Cheshire regiment in the recent fighting in. Flanders has come to the Mayor of Chester from his son. Lieutenant T. Lawrence Frost, who writes :
The Germans are beginning to get their tails between, their legs, and they have already started to “ pack up ” again, I think, and wo can feel that they are about fed up. Their position is nothing like what it used to be. The prisoners we capture all have the same tale to tell—not enough food, plenty of stolon wine, and glad that they arc captured. Not only that, but they arc becoming more and more demoralised day bv day. Stories of their foul behaviour ujQe becoming more and more numerous. No woman is safe. This, to my mind, leads to one end. The Germans are “ done,” and as they (the. prisoners) say, they would not go on fighting except for the fact that their officers shoot them if they don’t obey orders.
—A Captain’s Experiences,—
Tho following is an extract from a letter, dated November 4, received at the headquarters of tho London Scottish, from Captain We are'having a rest. We are slowly recovering, but still glad of any rest they may give ns. Now that one collects the various experiences of officers and men, it does not speak very well cf tie Gorman infantry that they alio v.J us to get away. Our people arc very rlei'scd with us, and a?, wo were the stumblingblock in the Kaiser’s personally f.upwvised great effort to break through, th;r> is no doubt but that we did achieve scumthing; not that wo thought so curselvez, as ai the time wo were under the imm fission that we had been badly cut up, cr that only very few escaped”) Xhe (- <rraans came on like a flock of sheep, s;nging and shouting, but evidently because they were made to, and they evinced no keenness for the job. In fact, one man only was sufficient to make them run. They would saunter up to a trencii and stare at you stupidly, and Dion either lie down or tarn and run away, but they wore all shot. We were told it was finmated that there were 35,000 Germans attacking and ourselves, who we-ro no more than 2,000 altogether. Trie thanked us, as they said that if we had not held on as we did they would have lost. Onr fellows were extraordinarily brave, and I think several of them should get the D.C.M. The Kaiser is hero himself, and he ordered that must be taken at once at any cost, and our show was tho beginning of this effort-. It has failed so far. . , , I had two exciting moments; first, when £n a village a shrapnel bullet fell between me and another man; and, secondly, Avhen I was sitting outside tho “ dug-out ” in the trenches with Captain a piece of shell went into u.e ground between ns, lb somehow ii»i not worry me, as there is not time :,o ccv sider everything.
LETTERS FROM THE FRONT, Issue 15693, 6 January 1915
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