August 9th 1915

Leslie Eastwood was one of the first members of the OPS staff to leave us for service in the Army. Now a 2nd Lieutenant with the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, he has been serving in Gallipoli.

We have just received a letter from him, informing us he has been wounded:

Leslie Eastwood

2nd Lieut. Leslie Eastwood

2/8/15. “I hope you will get this letter before you hear from any other source that I am wounded. I have two wounds, one in the arm, quite slight, and one in the leg which may, perhaps, have done some damage to the knee. The bullet is still in and the Doctor has not yet made a thorough examination; it gives me practically no pain now and I don’t think it can be at all bad. I am on a new Hospital Ship which had just come out here.”

It is good of him to write to us so promptly and we all hope that he will make a speedy recovery.

July 29th 1915

In addition to the 8 killed, we will be listing in the next edition of our magazine, the names of 26 Old Dragons who have been wounded in action.

One of these is Captain Douglas Rose (Ox & Bucks Light Infantry), who has sent us the following description:

DM Rose

Capt. DM Rose

“The new C.O. is coming up at 5.30 to see what sort of sniping post we can get out in front of the edge of the wood, a good place for using the new telescopic sights he has brought out from home; I must decide what places I will suggest…

Working my way along the line, I point out various things to be cleared up and attended to. I come to the first place I want another look at… seems about the best bit of ground just forward. The trees and undergrowth are thick enough to screen me from the German lines, about 120 yds. in front, and it will be quite all right if I do not go right to the edge. Anyhow, I must get a more definite idea as to what sort of field of fire and cover there is.

I go forward a few paces, then a few more; some bullets about, stray ones I suppose – anyhow nothing unusual… I crouch down with eyes close to ground to get the lie, then have another look, bending fairly low.

‘Great Scott!’ I suddenly collapse into a sort of sitting posture. Slowly and with amazement I realize that I have been hit. I am reclining now on my right side, a burning feeling in my left thigh, my hand which instinctively feels for the damage comes back all over blood; I am really shot then! Enemy’s sniper away to the left must have spotted me and got me sideways. Better get help as I may ‘go off.’

Calls to the breastwork bring four or five to my assistance. I warn them off, don’t want any more casualties, rotten as it is. Second Captain comes up. He is in command now.

‘Get these fellows back,’ I say, ‘and tell the stretcher bearers to be careful. Pretty certain the fellow who got me knows I am lying here.’

Stretcher bearers creep up and give me some very warm water to drink; I feel all right, rather excited and getting stiff and numb in the lower parts of the body. Corporal says he must cut my breeches, but will try to keep to seam.

I ask if bullet is out. No, he says, it is not.

Iodine makes things smart. They begin to open stretcher.

No, I cannot get on the thing and you cannot carry me without exposing yourselves.

All right, I think I can crawl on my elbows, anyhow let’s try. Yes! I can get to the breastwork; you crawl behind and push my legs along.

I am a trifle tired when I get to safety.

Would I like to wait there a bit? I can feel my breeches very wet, seem full of blood so think best go on. Rather a job getting on the stretcher, find lying on my stomach best.”

From there Douglas was conveyed to safety.

* * * * * * *

Over 20 Old Dragons are serving with the OBLI and we are aware of the following promotions:

Lieut. CWH Bailie (2nd Bat) – from 2nd Lieut; 2nd Lieut. MC Cooper (4th Reserve) – from Private; 2nd Lieut. JCB Gamlen (3rd/4th Bat); Lieut. CSW Marcon (4th Bat) – from 2nd Lieut; Capt. GK Rose (1st/4th Bat) – from Lieut; 2nd Lieut. HEF Smyth (4th Bat) – from RMC Sandhurst; 2nd Lieut. RF Symonds (Bucks Bat); 2nd Lieut. WJL Wallace (3rd/4th Bat).

June 3rd 1915

Lieut. Treffry Thompson (RAMC), having been looking after the wounded in the Ypres ‘horseshoe’ with the 18th Hussars, has now himself been wounded, although thankfully not seriously. The circumstances of his injury are most distressing however, and he was extremely lucky not to have been killed.

24/5/15. “At 2 .30 a.m. we were awakened by one of the subalterns who was blue and coughing madly, dashing into Teffrey Thompsonthe cellar shouting ‘Gas! Gas!’ We nipped up and shoved on our respirators and put on our kit. The captain of one of the squadrons came down with his respirator on, looking very bad and said the men were retiring. The colonel immediately sent a telephone message along the trenches to say that they were not to retire, with what result I do not know.

We all went outside and immediately got our first impressions of gas; even through the respirator there was a sense of fearful choking suffocation…

The gas was awful and gave one a feeling of absolute terror and helplessness. We went outside the chateau ruins and, just as I got beyond the wall, there was a loud crash just in front of me and I thought my arm had gone and had to look down to see that it was still there.

The whole place was a hell of shrapnel and rifle and machine-gun fire. I got in a blue funk and bolted, still however holding on to my mackintosh with my left hand. I fell into various ditches and lines of trenches, got tied up in the wire, fell again into the trenches where the Territorials were and was promptly kicked out on the farther side.

Beyond this was a long open slope, swept by shrapnel fire and thick with gas. I fell into a shallow ditch and fainted. Somebody came and pulled me out by my wounded arm, which brought me to my senses. I made for the dug-outs down by the stream; there some men tied up my arm and I became less of a raving lunatic.

When the shelling quietened down a bit, four of them put me on a stretcher and carried me down to the Menin Road, where we failed to find the dressing station; so they carried me along the road towards Halte. Just before we got there, some reinforcements were coming up and the Germans, spotting these, began to make Halte a hell of shell-fire. I made the men put me down and we took shelter in the ditch under the embankment on the south side of the road. The road itself, just over our heads, soon became plastered with ‘fizz-bangs.’  

The reinforcements went up the ditch safely where we were and about 30 or 40 wounded collected there. We stayed there for about two hours. K______, the new machine-gun officer, was lying beside me dying from gas. He was a ghastly sight, turning from white to blue and back again. He had been caught asleep in his dug-out by the gas without a respirator on.

The Germans started to shell the south side, so we cleared off into the GHQ line of trenches, which were already packed with reserves. There, some brilliant fellow gave me a drop of water and, after recovering my breath for about half-an-hour, I looked at my watch expecting it to be p.m. and found it was 8 a.m.

We then heard that the infantry on the left of the Menin road were all retiring and, as it looked as though the GHQ line was going to become the fighting-line, I thought this was no place for me and made off towards west of Ypres. Avoiding the railway cutting, which was buzzing with shells, I crossed the Zillebeke road and, taking a separate course through the corn-fields, got on to the railway south of Ypres.

There I found a battery and asked for a drink. While drinking some red wine, which made me sicker than I ever hope to be again, a ‘crump’ fell beside one of the guns and killed two men. I again thought it was no place for me and went along the railway towards the Lille gate. I was staggering along when a subaltern in charge of a working party saw my condition and helped me along to his medical officer, who made me lie down and finally packed me off in a motor ambulance to the dressing-station.”