May 25th 1915

We have further news from Lieut. Jack Smyth (15th Sikhs), who has been in the thick of it at Ypres. It is remarkable to hear that he is the only officer in his regiment to have come through the war unscathed.

23/5/15. “We are in some support trenches now behind the firing line and I am writing this in a ruined farm, behind Jack Smythwhich we have made our headquarters; there are only six of us left and 190 men, so we don’t take up much room… 

We had the most extraordinary luck as a regiment up till the end of April, as, although we had had several officers wounded, we had not one killed, but during the last three weeks we have had six hit and out of these five were killed, which is real bad luck. Losing five officers makes an awful gap in a small community like ours, where we all mess together…

We struck the German 41 cm gun at Ypres for the first time. It makes a noise going through the air like an express train going through a station, and if it pitches anywhere within half-a-mile, you feel the end of the world has come. The situation there was perfectly extraordinary, as we were holding what they called the horse-shoe to protect Ypres (for sentimental reasons more than anything else) and so were shelled from all sides. It was a most extraordinary sight at night from our trench, as the German flares came from every side. We have just been in a very nasty bit of trench which was captured from the Huns, and we and the Huns were in the same trench with a barrier of earth in between. Most unpleasant!

A Corporal of the Shires made a grand remark the other day when the regiment was ordered to attack, ‘Now then No 3 Company, fall in for the thinning out parade.’

I am now the only one in the regiment who has been right through the show without being either wounded or invalided sick; the Quartermaster, who was the only other one, went down with measles last week!

We had dreadful bad luck with the weather last week, as the Huns did seem to be on the run, but then down came the rain and the ground became a swamp again and stopped the whole thing. I got out of my depth in a trench three days ago and had to swim!

I was most awfully sorry to hear of Ronnie Poulton’s death…

Well I must end up now, the best of luck to the OPS.”




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