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LETTERS FROM THE FRONT

■Looping tho Loop in Mid-air.—-

Corporal Blackmail, of the Rifle Brigade, writes n.s follows :—" While we were in the trenches there occurred a thrilling duel in the air between a Frenchman and a Gorman. The German How over our position, and a Frenchman, who we afterwards heard was Pegoud, went up after him. The sight" that followed w.-fs ;is f:nod as an afternoon at Brooklands. The Frenchman did all sorts of tricks in the air, including looping tho loop, before he got in a favorable- position above tho German. Their manoeuvres looked for all the world like a scrap between a couple of starlings, first one would bo u:i top and then the- other. Revolver shots were exchanged, and the German pilot soon afterwards made off towards the enemy's iines, helped by vollevs from us."

—A Round With Death.— Sergeant Cauglilin. of the 4th Hussars

who comes of a family that- has served King and country for 83 years, writes thus to I;i.s father at Eastbourne:—''lt was nearly nil up with me on October 16. We had to attack it town dismounted, and the Germans were in a wrv strong position. There, was a man with me —Corporal Dnvis—and I was helping him so break open :t door when the firing started. The troop retired at once, and as Davis and niysHf turned from this door he was shot through tho bandolier, and 10 rounds in it exploded. One bullet went in and out of his breast: two others separated the main artery of his left forearm. I

managed to get Davis up against a church .'■" ib lIH'M Could see thai | le - -.vnnUl SOOil bleed to death if something was not dnr.c -Ml 1- '■'•-''l do was (~ hold ,„, to the »),H, ! did , :;!ll ! I. found the. strong! ii ...t my hands giving out. Then ! got ;; bootlace out and put thai on. and a first held dressing. '.[ Jhto «-,■ ,-!ood. with hea.vy.Trring going on all around lis. not knowing what' was going to happen next, until night came ~n. When it' v. as Cjmi-.' dark i managed lo leave the town bv tl:o back way and ff et Davis back to D.e regiment, whir!) I never expound to ■■;'''. i'S'iiii- He !,,.-!. a lo; of Mood, poor 1.-liow. but or was very brave, and stuck K like a hero. He nnlv fainted r,,,f0 the whole time, Ood was good and c;oi, us safely out of ;t, hut 1 shall never forge), that night as long as 1 live." ■ -Soiil,' of the Shrapnel. An officer wdio is sernnd in eomtnand of e British infantry regiment, now in Belgium, lias written a letter in which lie gives a, very realistic description of f'mhting under modern conditions of warfare, I,'o says: " [ did not think I should ever live !o write to you again. There is a most frightful battle raging. Our men are in the trenches, shelled and sniped at all day and attacker! by night; no rest, little food. I am using' a cellar for my office work, as the' house 1 was in was knocked to pieces. The huge guns lire exevy two minutes. They make craters 16ft Sin in the ground and carry whole houses away at a, shot. The suspense a.s you hear them singing towards you and don't know whether they will land yon is very trying. " The shrapnel prance merrily "down the street. Inferno is loose ! If you poke your nose (Hit of a trench a bullet whisks past your cm. ! am very glad to lie in mv cellar. I can't do any good in the trenches, and here at lea-st 1 can arrange for fresh supplies of ammunition mid food and wafer and tea, for the men in the advanced trenches. We have, fought now for seven days and nights on, end, ami there seems to be no finality about it. ] Since .! arrived we have only had three j days not under fire, and then we were j marching all the, time with practically no; sleep. We have just been attached to' another brigade, and ray hope now is for more men, and as many and as soon as possible. If people at home would only realise that the more men we have out here the less loss we shall sustain and the

sooner the war will be brought to ;v .successful close! How the French troops suffered, poor souls, crossing the open! All the dead lie there still. No one caji get up to them, a.s the snipers shoot at anyone who approaches. There may lie wounded among them, but they must be dead by now, as, after a pelting dav, a bitter wind i» blowing. Again I a.m Ig a

house, but all glass and half the roof h&vs gone, and the field outside is covered with' French and English dead." —A Modest V.C. Hero.— A Coldetreamer's modest story of iliaexploit, for which ho has been recommended the V.C, is told in a, letter to hia wife. The man, Private W. Dodson, of Meadow-well, North Shields, says : —"lb is with the greatest pleasure that I write this letter, as it is our wedding anniversary—September 30. 1 only hope- we shall spend the next one together. You will know by the time you receive this lettel that I "have been 'recommended for the V.C.—an honor I never thought would come my way. In fact, I do not yet, realise that it is possible. I only took my chance, and did my duty to swee my comrades. It was really nothing, but 1 shall never forget the congratulations ana, praise I received from our officers, m.t comrades, and onr Brigadier-general, J shall ever remember them. ... I will give you particulars of my little, advent ture. Three of my comrades w«ra sent out on patrol, when they were fired on by Germans. One got back to the trenches, though I was told two had returned. Onts I saw was wounded. I volunteered _ter. save him. T went out. and was fired at. but I had m3-dc jip my uiind to get to him, and you know I very seldom change that. Well, I persevered, and gots to one who was pact Jmms-n aid. I had missed the wouncied one, who was lying nearer the trenches. I came to the trench and reported one. 1 went out again to the wounded man, and, with the help of Corporal .Brown, brought him safely back. Corporal Brown was brave, and nfever showed the lent! fenr. Well, this was all that happened."

—How Cultured Germans Behave.— The following is from the letter of a British officer serving in Flanders: "This is the most disgusting billet wo have been in—simply filthy. These Germans arc perfect swine. This place is, or rather was. a nice farm. Everything has been turned upside, down : all the drawer?, mostly containing wearing apparel, upset) on the floor; everything, food, etc., alj spilt all over the place, and a smell of stale drink everywhere. They brought ! m straw to sleep on. and have upset- the | food and clothes, etc.. all on top of it! i We have had a. party of men working on it. and it is now fairly clean. The dirty plates, dishes, etc., have been removed and the floors cleaned up, and now it is I fnirly prc-entable ; lint it is only hy smoking furiously that we can keen the stale drink smell down. Some houses are infinitely worse, and are. really too disgusting for description. They don't stop at slaughtering a pig in the house and leaving (lie offal and skin in bedrooms. They are devils. Since 1 wrote last they have kept us in reserve, and the British Army has been doing a- wheeling movement. Our division, being not far from the pivot, had not far to advance each day, and we, have not had much hard fighting the last two days, but three days before that two regiments in (be. brigade lost a good many officers wounded. One regiment had 15 hit in three days. To-day the Lincoln.* got. in with (he bayonet, and I hope killed a lot. it was quite n- pretty little, fight. The. Germans were only fighting a rearguard action, and had no guns, and we simply plastered them with shell. They must have lost a lot—at least, I hope so. \V<b were in reserve again, and didn't come into action till afterwards."

-■ Luxury in Frison.— Second-lieutenant J. P. Pearre, of the Essex Regiment, an old Marlburian, who had been reported missing, writes from Crefeld, Germany, to a friend at Woodford Green: ---" 1 got cut off in the early morning with only eight men left alive, and was surroniidcd by 200 Germans. We tired a few rounds more, but my revolver was empty, and we had to give in at the. end. We are. treated very well indeed here : we have good beds and fires in the rooms, three good meals a day, and a. French soldier tor servant, and a splendid hot bath. We have, a largo courtyard to ■walk about in, and a canteen, where we can buy clothes and anything we wantPrison fare is very good--new rolls and coffee and fresh butter. I had a. ver;* decent guard coming up in the train ; ha pot me food, and when a, man tried to get in to attack me he threw him off the train. 1 am in no danger of being shot unless T try to boll. I shot the man who wan carrying their colors, and lift wanted to , have me shot, but luckily no one seemedf to agree with him. The next time I saw him he was bandaged up. He was shob through the shoulder. He dashed op and shoolc my hand, and shouted ' Mem freundt.." i expect lie was glad to be sent back to Germany." —lndian Tactic- in Scientific War.— It.xtracts from letters from Corporal 0. E. Dixon. R.K. :■—"Out. of the Taubes , was flying above our lines yesterday— , looking for any guns, no doubt—when up came one of <uir -cents. The German roso , at once, but our boy—a. very small chap— : was quicker. He caught him up, went over and around him pumpnig lead into him the whole time, until a fatal part was hit. and down the German machine came, and -ma-hed to atom-. 1 saw our airman in the afternoon, and he told me that whi!-t he win .single-handed, with rn. adapted gun and two revolver. s , the German carried two men and had two quickfirers on hoard. PossibK tin's will be, the. experience I f hail remember it .1 get hack : I had gu-c delivered my despatch, and was returning, doing about 16 miles, when I saw a iins'm Ov. r i writ, helter-skelter. m-.- hike hi ;l ditch ' T was in an nwtul funk, and thought I had taken a wrong road. Thru I -aw -omc of otir R.G.A.s laughing awa\ over the- hedge. 1 pulled ■ myself together, straightened my hike, and went over to inve.tie-ate. There, about 20ff away, w- one of oiir huge gun? which had just'-cut one of it- ]2oih shells a vard or iMo over my head. Whither T fell of? my b i- ke with the eouciission or with fright f don't, know, but 1 looked veiw hard'at the next hedges. I can tell you.' The Indian fronps revel in night attacks, and can crawl - or 'waddle' -in the dark on their '{nmaeh.s a- fast as men can walk. Onlv to-night 1 -a w something in fiont. pulled np. and there was a Sikh's bayonet within 2ft of me. . , . We took up a, position a day or two ago. but within four hour= we drop back a feu- mile- Thi- is, it seerm. a vrrv scientific war-, in which it is 'move, or T huff yon.'" - -Feeding the Germans With Lies.— Private W. Maims has written for the 'News of the World' some of the experiences of the 10th Field Ambulance of the Tt.A.M.O He 4 .iy. : "We had the be.-, laugh imaginable, the other night. One poor, dirty, and unshaven German. wh-> nad hi- shoulder shattered by our sbrap ne], and who had a. veyv limited knowledge of F.ngli-h. tried to explain to us the damage our shells had done to them in their trenches. (Jetting hi- head we.il down on his shoulders, and closing his eye s . he. waved one arm about, and said in broken English : 'De shrapeenal come down and de road did come oop, and 1 closed my eye? all day.' Another, who spoke Kngli-.li ver;,' well, said we were, silly to fight on. as 'now the Germans were, in London and had burnt it to the ground, our Xrivy would be no good.' He was in an army that was 'only fighting us to keep us in a, certain area, so that the other army of theirs that was in London could come back and kill us all.' Had he not been so seriously wounded wo shruld hav» bribed and shown him one of our 'News ot the World.' which most of ns have out to u- from Home. lam pleased to say that No. 10 has been praised by the

" Heads' wherever ive have been, and tha i,i'l= nrn -till open to get more praise, a? some of on)' officers have been mentioned in despatches"

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LETTERS FROM THE FRONT, Issue 15696, 9 January 1915

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2,232

LETTERS FROM THE FRONT Issue 15696, 9 January 1915

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