My Dear Berryman
Your cards etc reached me, but I had no time to write as I went up to the Regiment on the 11th to try and help in the night show. Well between the 11th and 15th we were pushed about between the firing line and the death traps & in the orchard and Rue du Bois, and then back to do that night show on the 15th. There was a continuous bombardment by our guns for 60 hours without a stop, and you bet the Bosches let us have 0 back.
Bax and Monk both got killed with “Wizz bangs” and Gatherer got one into his dugout but only got slightly damaged. If we had been kept there a few more days we should all have been laid out. Smokes had 19 men laid out with one ‘Crump’ and we lost about 40 to 50 men a day during the bombardment, so you can imagine what we felt like when we were ordered to do this night show.
Smokes’ company was in front with mine just behind the parapit of the fire trench. Smokes got his company out before the attack and lay down in front of the ditch but as soon as he got up to move the Bosches were onto us, and Smokes got a bullet through the ankle and the attack only went about 30 yards, I came over the parapit with my two leading platoons but by the time we reached the ditch everyone was down. Eventually Percy came out and told us to get back.
The Bosches had a searchlight on all the time and brought up machine guns as well. I think it was rather a tall order asking us to do a night show after the 6 days’ hammering we had had by artillery.
Old Smokes was tophole by the way, he carried on all through those 6 bloody of bloody days, & the Perce did very stout working under a heavy fire in front of our fire trench on the night of the 15th.
We have been back here in so called billets since the 17th, but it’s been very wet and we have got the whole battalion into a space that ordinarily would be called tight for a company.
No news yet but I fancy we shall go up again very shortly. We have had several new 80’s join and have done away with one company so have only 3 now.
I went up yesterday morning to old fire trenches of the 2nd Division with etc, and we got shelled the whole time with Jack J etc but fortunately had no one hit, one landed within 5 yards of me, but didn’t take a hit. Anywhere within a mile of the firing line is to be avoided these days.
(Final page missing)