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Category Archives: Major Young

20 December 1914 – Ted to Ben

Dec 20th

Dear Ben

Thanks most awfully for the parcel of mitts etc; they are lovely, and much appreciated and quickly found takers. That’s the best of those small parcels, you can dispose of them easily and they are most frightfully useful to fill up losses and things which have got torn or worn out-

Nothing much doing at present. The weather is fairly miserable, very damp and raw, & it keeps on raining on and off. However, tap wood, the men are keeping wonderfully fit, & they’ve certainly got enough clothes on. Bobby Reed went in to officiate for poor Young – I told you he had died of his wounds, did’nt I? – for a day or two at Brigade H.Q., and while there managed to get his parcel of uniform, & now sides about in it! He says it’s so much nicer than this thin stuff, as being warm, you dont have to wear such tons of stuff underneath.

Poor Young you know was just standing on the road by our 1st Bn Head qrs, behind the trenches about 1/4 mile or so, & a bullet came along & hit him. It’s the same road that Nobby has to come up every night with our rations, & it is very unsafe altogether, a lot of chance shots, which miss the trenches & come over & some aimed shots too, as I’m sure they can see the road in places. Was’nt it rotten luck, & we are all most awfully sorry, as I’m sure you will be.

My dear “Torchers” won’t work, so I am sending him in tonight to Major Stewart to see if he can do anything as I can find nothing very wrong. We have had disturbed nights these last 2 nights, a devil of a lot of firing & searchlights all over the place. My dear Guy Mainwaring has got mumps! and has I hear gone home, but whether the latter part is true or not I don’t know. Archie is doing Adjutant now. Stewart has got brigade major in Young’s place.

A fearful heavy fire suddenly broken out down on our right now, but all seems fairly quiet in front of us at present, & I trust it will remain so; heavy guns & shrapnel going off too, a most awful din! Thank goodness I’m in the dugout! Last night there was a lot of artillery fire to the north of us, & the whole sky was continually lighted up by flashes of the guns, & bursting shells, but it was a long way off, as the sound took a long time to reach us. Two of our aeroplanes have been very busy today; it was quite a clear morning, blue sky & all, & there mono planes looked gorgeous; the Germans fired one or two shrapnel at them too, which looks awfully pretty, little puffs of smoke against the blue sky. I’m frightfully keen on flying now. I hear Mac is going into the flying corps, lucky devil.

Tons of love Ted

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16 December 1914 – Ted to Gertrude

Dec 17

Dear Mother Very many thanks for your letter of the 13th, arrived today, but as this won’t be posted till tomorrow I have put 17th on it. Your letter was full of ripping news, especially the old war being over by the New Year! The story of guessing the amount in the purse is truly convincing. Of course the Stock Exchange betting is on the war being over by Christmas, so we hear, & they generally know what’s going on, quite apart from military point of view. I still say by Easter, but it’s of course useless speculating- Anyhow I hope they hurry up now & send out K’s [Kitchener?] army & push things along a bit on this front; I’m fed up with sitting in trenches. From your letters you seem to think I was in that recapturing trench show, when Derwan Sing got the V.C., but alas! I was’nt. Well I can say is that we were supposed to be there, but in the muddle of war couId’nt be found at the time.

We went in a day later, & even then the situation was fairly exciting. There has been a bit more rifle & machine gun fire here these last 2 days, I dunno why, & it’s not very safe exposing yourself too much, at all in fact, above ground. I’m rapidly turning into a mole! Thanks awfully for sending on the cakes, I hope they arrive all right; I have sent Dryden a secret code whereby I hope to ensure the safe arrival of cakes etc. I should like some cigarettes occasionally, Abdullas will do, in tins, as cardboard boxes break so.

Colder again today, but no snow yet. My uniform has rolled up I believe, but I can’t get at it very well in the trenches. Wish I could as it wd be warrner than this. We have been in these trenches 15 days now, & since we first arrived here on 29th October we’ve had 35 days in trenches & only about 10 out, out of which were 5 in reserve and so we have only had 5 days’ so called rest, & were busy the whole of that. However it’s all part of the show. Tell people to write to me a whole lot, as I love getting letters, but the only drawback is I cannot guarantee to answer them, though I do my best. It’s a good thing to enclose a letter card or a folding up envelope thing which you can write inside, & then I can answer them easier- Tell Ben poor Major Young has died of his wounds. She will be awfully sorry I know, so are we all. What a beastly war this is. He was standing in the road, a long way from the firing line & a stray bullet hit him; most awful bad luck was’nt it.

Mud is still as bad as ever, chronic. No chance of leave just at present. I’m awful keen to know what Topher’s doing- Don’t send too many warm clothes, except mitts & socks, & gloves & hankies, in small quantities, as one can dispose of such things fairly easily – Looking forward to your parcel of cakes etc, most welcome.

No more news just now. What awful ROT the papers talk about the Indian troops’ “stealthy forms” “panther springs” & all that absolute tosh. It makes us all look such idiots. We’re no better than anyone else after all, & not nearly as good as some. Why can’t the papers be reasonable, & treat Indians as ordinary human beings

Really the nonsense in the papers about the Indian troops is making us all awful angry; we’ve done no more than was asked of us, and all that appalling balderdash about Gurkhas & Kukris, & “grinning faces” – oh law, it makes me SICK!

(unsigned)

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