S.W. SLOPE of HILL 60.
1st August 1915: Howitzers shelled Hill 60 with good effect. Our 50 lbs Trench Mortar fired twice at Hill 60 & was damaged when firing the second bout, was repaired regimentally and in action again. Enemy fired 2 trench mortar shells at 37 trench without doing damage. Reserve dugouts in the Wood shelled. At 12.30 pm one of our own shells burst on parapet 35 trench, at 1.30 pm another of our own shells struck 35 Support parados. Belgians only gunners firing at the time. Enemy working party dispersed by our shrapnel. Wind S.W.
Whizbang Dugout (1). 9th Sunday after Trinity. Aug. 1st/ 15.
My Dear Mother & Father,
You were quite right Mummy, I am a bad writer & I ramble on anything.
I really do not know how to begin this letter, for one reason the last two parcels you sent us so close together were splendid. Sydney & I enjoyed a ripping tea yesterday (Sat). I made a full mess tin of half the tea you sent us both. I did relish the currant bread which was in excellent condition again, plenty o’ currants eh! – & the pineapple was very cooling & refreshing.
Well I have a limited amount of note paper & have had to borrow this off Sydney – so please forgive me not saying all that I could say about the fine parcels if I had the paper. I must thank Basil for the delicious choc. & the cakes & hazel nuts were very good Mother. I do thank you for the useful bit more cash.
Now on Friday I was thinking of you, all the time I was on sentry at night & when Sydney passed me on his rounds we had a chat about you being all in bed.
Yesterday I had another look at the photos of us all at Abergele. Ida still smiling (I do hope she is keeping comfortable at home all on her ‘ony own’). I had a peep at Dodger with Sydney & myself in that tent.
Dodger! will he go bathing before breakfast as he loved to do at Abergele? Yes for a good number of years the holidays have kept an unbroken record.
My thoughts go back to Uffington (2)
days when we had jerseys & Dodger the little scamp, deserving of his nick-name, let out the pigs & chased them through the rose garden. I hope he will have a jolly time at Whitby to rest his ‘weary brain’ after the ‘rotten’ exam.
Think of us both when you go on Goathland Moor (3) & have a turf-cake & tea (4) there won’t you?
Dear Mother, those at Ashton won’t so enjoy a nice holiday – I do hope that Jack Wade* will turn up safely (5). ‘They’ do say the Turks are going to be turn coats (6).
– I will pop a little chocolate in me mouth & conclude –
Ida, I dare say, has told you all about the mistake in the Field PC. I cannot tell you in detail, but Cope*, Harrison*, myself & another were down to go for a Rest. Harrison has gone & we are going but I do not know when. I got to know after I made the mistake, how queer wasn’t it? & the very day you told me in the letter – with the parcel of tomatoes. I did like the mixed fruit by the by.
Well I hope you are having fine weather this Sunday. Jolly hot here & I have been on fatigue most of the time. Not had time yet to read the Lessons for the day (7).
Best love to you all & Harold & Miss Bore*.
I will write to Harold soon.
Yours affec. Bertie.
PS I read Basil’s mile long letter & was greatly interested in it indeed I was. I will write him soon. I looked at the Intercession Service Paper (8). I have got it in my case Mother.
(1) Whizbang: small high-velocity shell making whizzing sound in flight and a bang when it hit. (2) Uffington: a village near Stamford, then in Rutland. Home of Uncle Tom & Hibbett cousins.
(3) Goathland Moor: spa village near Scarborough (North York Moors National Park). Church of St Mary. (Station / steam trains used in TV Heartbeat, film Harry Potter).
(4) Turf Cake: (‘Fat Rascal’) traditional Yorkshire recipe for scone/rock cake: made with left-over pastry /currants. (5) Jack Wade* missing on Eastern Front. The Campaign in Gallipoli (peninsular to west of Dardenelles) began in April 1915, in an attempt to attack Germany ‘by the back door of Europe’. It was a disaster: landings (often in wrong places), mountainous terrain, heat exhaustion, disease, lack of food & supplies, caused deaths of thousands. Many missing with no known grave.
(6) Ottoman Empire had entered War on side of Germany in August 1914. It declared war on all Christians except those of its allies. Genocide of Turkey’s Armenians (Christians since 4th cent) began on April 24th and was increasing in August 1915. Useful website :<http://wwwjewishvirtualhistory.org>. Turncoat: one who changes allegiance.
(7) Lessons for 9th Sunday of Trinity. Book of Common Prayer, 1662. Mattins: 1 Kings 10 v1- 25. Evensong: 1st Lesson: I Kings 11 v1-15; 2nd Lesson: I Kings 11, v 26f. (Stories of Queen of Sheba & Wisdom of Solomon).
(8) Intercession Service Paper. A United Service of Intercession was held each Wednesday during WW1. (nationwide?) (According to Walsall Observer & South Stafford Chronicle, West Midlands).
NEXT POST: 2nd AUGUST 1915: ‘The trees are only trunks now’.