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LETTERS FROM THE FRONT

—The Man Who Came Back.— Life with the London Scottish in the trenches- is described in the following letter from Private N. L. M'Lennavi, whose home is at Sanderstead, Surrey : The poor old regiment looked pathetically small staring off. When I got to the front line I violently pushed a major into a ditch just as a hurst of shrapnel came over. I thoroughly enjoyed pushing an officer over. Then a terrific shell fire came, and I \v<is blown up by a " coal box"' I hit the ground very violently, and every separate article of equipment dug into me. I think several people must have seen this incident, because when we crot back several came up to me and said: "Hullo, old chap ! I thought you were killed." Finally, an officer called to me that he thought ho could mako room for me in tho trench, so I bundled in. This was about 1 o'clock midday, and we sat in that little ditch with our knees up to our chins until dusk, with shrapnel and " coal-boxes" at _ the rate- of about- three per minute, sometimes more. We dug little holer, to put our he-ads in, and T was so tired that every time a hurst of shell came over 1 put my head into my little cave and solemnly went to sleep My next trouble was an awful attack of cramp in the legs, owing to the weird knots I was tied up in, in order to occupy as small a space as possible. It got so bad finally that I Paid to myself '"'Oh, the shells!" and stood up. Suddenly bullets began to arrive from behind uc." as well as in front! Cheerful, w .-isn't if We could hear the little beggars going "Phew-u! Phew-u-u !" as Piper Latham put it, exactly as if they were whispering "Cheero! cheero!" in our ears. Out of the darkness about a dozen men appeared, and one of them shouted. " Don't fire, we're the Indians " ; but I caught- sight of a spike on top of the " Indian's " helmet, so I shot him. Then we. got orders to Efttire, and we bundled out into the road about 100 yds back. An officer wanted to find out if the Germans had actually occupied tho trench we had loft, so poor little me, being a ecout, accordingly set off and crept, with my knees knocking together, near enough to tho trench to hear them talking. Ihey were talking German, so I beat a dignified, if somewhat rapid, retreat. —No Mass for the Irish.— Corporal S. R. Toah Royal Irifh Fusiliers, writing to his mother at Cork, says : The thins that we mind more, than anything else is not being able to get to Mass, and "if the Germans'" were the Christians thev claim to be they would surely give us a chance of looking after our souls, whatever they may do to our bodies. Time, and again have we wanted to go, if only to say a." couple of prayers for the souls of our comrades killed 'by the barbarians. One officer —he's a Protestant himself—told us it was very hard lines on us, for the Germans seemed always to know when we were setting out "for chapel and began nghtimrto stop us. I fancy they must- think we fight better after we have been to Mass.""and as they have had some experience of our fighting without the consolation of being to the priest beforehand, it's verv likelv they have come to the conclusion that it 'would be, better for them if we- didn't get. a chance of attending Mass. We are hopeful of being home in time to drown our shamrocks on next St. Patrick's Day. --'•Good,. Old Devonf."— Graphic, descriptions of the work of tho Devons against tremendous odds are supplied hy "an officer of the Ist Battalion, who writes : The Devons were perfectly wonderful ; not a man loft his trench. 'All day long the battle laged. and you never saw such an inferno. By night the place was a muss of fire, smoke,'dead, and dying. All night thev attacked us. Sometimes they got right up to our trenches, only to be hurled back bv the Devons' bayonets. Dawn broke with the same struggle still going on. and it continued all day and night, and all through the next day. We never slept a wink, and by night we were absolutely done. When. eventually, we marched back into billets all the troops cheered us frantically. General SmithDornon sent a v ire. congratulating us on our splendid fight. Wo heard officially from Divisional" Headquarters that there were 1.500 dead Germans in front- of our trenches. The whole place, was littered with their dead. We lost four officers killed, four wounded, and 150 men killed and wounded. One shell pitched in my company's trench, killing and wounding two officers and 35 men. Every man Germain" has is out, and every man dead is a man lost- to her army. We have made a tremendous name here, and everywhere one goes all ranks pass tho word. " Hood old Devons '." —A True Samaritan.■—■ "At one place on the Aisne were two Germans who had been pur out of anion, and were unable to save themselves. One of them was dying slowly. The German privates are, after all, poor, deluded fellows who are the pawns of their officers, and those men might- have wives and children. Those thoughts prompted me to gn back to the farms, while shots Mere still flying about, and to take the occupants away. 1 simply tied a. halter round their bodies and dragged them along the ground for 30vds. so that they should be out ot the wav of flying shrapnel and the blazing barns. I don't like to think of these helpless Germans being roasted alive, or being blown to bits ; but there's no doubt that would have been (heir fate had I not gone to their aid. What they imagined I was going to <lo with them a.s I dragged them over the ground I don't know, but when deposited out of the danger zone they uttered their gratitude."—From Private W. Perry, 3rd Battalion of Coldstreams.

'" From November 5 to 24 Yprc-s has lveen shelled by the enemy so often that there is really nothing left. Tt is no exaggeration to say that there, is scarcely a building standing erect. Most of the destruction, however, has been caused by a series of incendiary shells, which were, projected into Ypres on the evening of November 10. That evening the whole of the sky was illuminated by a binze. of light, from the burning town. I had to pick my way along streets rendered almost impassable by fallen ruins, every here and there a building flaring up sky-high and fire spreading rapidly on all sides. At one tuna it was thought that it would be necessary to blow up several buildings to prevent the fire from spreading."—From CoTporal Raggett to bis mother at Newcastle.

" The Germans seem to have a pretty good system of spies everywhere. It has been discovered that the number of the Indian troops here has been wired to Germany through England. Two days ago one spy was caught in our camp. He was dressed in French uniform, and had the interpreter's badge on his arm. He had 50 yards of light telephone cable bound round him under his coat, end a telephone instrument. So there's not much doubt about him, and 1 'hope he gets shot."— British officer with the Indian force. "life in the Army is the finest a man can have. The danger and peril one is in never enters one's head. We only feel a lu6fc and a great longing to go on and on, and a burning desire for vengeance when we see our boys on the stretchers." —Transport Driver J. W. Lowe to a friend at Battersea Park " The Germans don't play the game when they catch any of our fellows. Only vesterdav three of our divisional cyclists were returning to their headquarters when they got cut off from their comrades, and a patrol of Uhlans got hold of them. They kiUed two of them, bat the other _

rot away wounded ; but when we came* up to the two we found they had put paper up their nostrils and battered them to death. One of thorn had no k-ss thaST 17 wounds on his body.''—Private W, Bradley, Ist East Laiius'liu* Regiments " One- night la,st week I. io.de w- "

wooded hill round which were encarrrpeti thp, most extraordinary medley of troops you could imagine—Fiench ctiirassieTS with their glistening breastplates and lances, the London Scottish, .in English howitzer battery, a battalion of Sikhs, a. squadron of African Spahis with lon* led robes and turbans, all sitting,' round their camp fires chattering, singing, smoking. Very striking it was to see the remnant* of an English line battalion marching bark from tho trenches through t hose merry warriors, a Jimping column of bearded, muddy, torn fkurcs slouching with fatigue, with woo! caps instead of helmets, sombre-looking in their khaki, but able to stand the cold, the strain, the awful losses, the inevitable inability to reply to the shell fire which is what other nations can't do. It's going to be a- long, long war."—An officer of the transport service-. " We used to go to a nice place at La Sateau, kept by two ladies, where it displayed 'Five o'clock tea.. English spoken.' and have a 'tuck in"; but I don't know whether English is spoken there yet, as they were two spies, and I bop©, their next-of-kin may find that they had their wills and affairs in proper order. The French hate the Germans as only true Christians know how to hate each other. I remember a- Gorman officer who was captured by our fellowe, and when' Iwing brought, through ihe street to ovr hcadquarters he was attacked by a French Territorial with the bayonet, and we. had to hold him back just in the very ilick of time. That- German afterwards said : ' Thank God., the, English have got mo, and not those- French.'"—H. C. Jeffries ILE. telegraphist. "General Sir Philip C'hetwode is one of the finest officers alive. ] have watched him ealnilv smoking a cigarette when sheik have been dropping ail over the place. He is always smoking a cigarette, and he lights one from another. I think that if all the German army were firing at him he would carry on as usual. This makes a, lot of di here nee to the men. Thev all snv thev would follow him anywhere. '-—Se'igeanf A. Powler, sth Signal Troop, R.E. . "the Indians have just teen playing a grim sort of joke on the unsuspecting Germans. The men in one of the trench/.* suddenly left and retired. The Germans immediately occupied the vacant trench, but, uivloiiunateVy [or them, the sappers had laid a mine in it. »"d the result was surprising to the Germans, and . completely .satisfactory from our point of view " 1 hear that trainloads of dead a.m be"inp- sent awav fiom th? German lines, the wind was blowing from their direction yesterday, and the smell was awfuL \n oiKcer at the front. "Just fancy, I have had no change of shirt since 1 left home. 1 could do with burning everything I nave on Ido not know what ihey are gomg to do with this rewivmt. We are of nn strengtn. I tbmk it is awful, day after day in the front line. There are 23 wounded men here now and we can do nothmg for them. 'Think of me when it rains. _ Just fancy how it rattles against th- windows, and me in a trereh or or. » indd lying Hi it, mv over-oat -nv bed. 1 am up to my kncfi ir- mud. and 1 don't know now J keep mv eves oper. night after iii.sht watching the enemy."—A. soldier to hia rroile at Iladingden "Men must be'wanted badly tor me to be Seized on so nuickly. Tiiey are at theij v ■;{«' end for drivers and other men. It is a di-=Vaceful state of things to tmnV ihat there are so many thousands of fellows about who can drive, and yet they Kive the job to old ones like my wit. Xeariv all mv squad are married men, and mo.Uy w'th big families. 1 feel so .ava-e that mv Mood bods, fl-nd I don t think I .-hall be able to b, civil to .the .shirkers when I come back Surely it I can leave mv busings, and all my comfort*.' and give up everything Hi ordM to do mv duty at my time of li», .no vouni: mat. can find an excuse for Wking ■ out .-_A motor driver ot the A.M.-., nearly 50 yen is of ace. .. [' ~,-;,< « e ni with a message, to Head-orarte-'a' for support, when a piece of che'l Ibf me a wallop on the head. It sent mo on to my hire into a ditch ; hire T W . )K coon r ,p .-irrain, not so badly hurt as everybody thought. It was a good thing , u -,' =,.r" because it punched my ticke. for' home."—Private T. Mount, Scottish RifLs. to his wde at Lancaster. "We rdl f'-'d that the Censorship is a ]rt!o too -trier in s-me ways. One regiment the otlK-r- day. m ;,r here, lost 16 officers ard 6CO mm m fere hours, and never -r.vc .an inch away : but there was not a ~ word in th* papers'—From nil other's letter. Hi.nd-to-li.-nd fiehrir,;- mo,i.ly appeals U the P,-.,rkhis. ■>« is shown by the Storv ol r,iv.i!.- Gnrris. of Ik- It Xorioiks. One afternoon," he said, "the Ourkhas chared the Orman !™rh.-* tw.ee. They ol« hard to Vf..-'' iiirhtim' be-.-t. aid they threw down .heir rifles am! bayonets and arm-d themselves wbh kr.Kes. They, sorted c-awlii'.r a'ore-' and ihni nt a given signal thev all gave a. wild yell and rushM at tbe enemy.' Thev don't. l.ko shells and bombs verv'mueh. bin t he Germans>?<> a great dislike t<> iW nun wil. r( . v ,. r ftr ,p when ihoy ai- about. \,, .-,-1, .; ~f ill'-- bs -'- sirKimrd by tile. Geiman's "in th- fichtin? at Yprw ™, aiv.-n hv knn :-r--poral \\ iliiam Parker, of the 'Worc-ft--'!-?. ere of the crack printers <"-f the Rrhhd. Army. " The German' b'-ot-e t'-imirdi in a thud-: mist in the. d-ad'of niffht," ho rarrated. "and hav.ng Parsed our f-enehes ihey showered u| wiGi bourl- an-l <lv~.p.-H. whieh played !pvf: „ n ™<:>-„->, tlie W--<t. -r-ters. But- we o-k,ti ourselves and having mado ", 5-V. r /li-l .---artrc for' see<-ral bouts, we mowed' them down like grass. We alw brought a couple- of Maxim? into play, and before the m-inins our regiment, which had badlv thinned out, accounted for at least a thousand of the enemy."

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LETTERS FROM THE FRONT, Evening Star, Issue 15706, 21 January 1915

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2,474

LETTERS FROM THE FRONT Evening Star, Issue 15706, 21 January 1915

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