Leeds Mercury 1914: Letters from the Front

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Readers who received letters from men on active service were invited to submit them to the “Leeds Mercury.” Any extracts published were paid for, with the promise that letters would be carefully and promptly returned to the senders.

LEEDS POLICEMAN’S LIFE IN THE TRENCHES

Corporal F. Lundy, of the 18th Hussars, and recently a member of the Leeds Mounted Police, writing to his wife in Leeds Says:-

“I was sent on a message whilst on flank patrol yesterday, and got within twenty yards of the enemy’s line.

They started banging at me, but I wasn’t hit.

You talk about sitting down in your saddle - I did fly, you can bet. It’s a good job they are bad shots, or my number would have gone up. This morning the horse next to me was shot in the neck.”

Writing later, Lundy says

“We are having rotten weather just now, raining almost all day and night these last four days, but today it’s a bit brighter, and I am almost dry again. You can guess how we have felt trying to sleep in the wet grass.

“We are in the midst of a big battle, which started on Sunday last, and it is now Wednesday.

I am writing whilst in the trenches. We cannot get a move on until we have silenced their big guns.

The shells are dropping all around us, but I am used to them now. I would far sooner be under them than under rifle or maxim fire, but we have had our share of both.”

“It is now Sunday the 20th.

I started writing on Wednesday, but had to leave off as we had to advance nearer to the German lines and dig more trenches, in which we lay all night, whilst the rain poured and shells dropped almost as thickly as the rain. We were within 500 yards of the nearest German trenches.”

“On Friday at 6 a.m. we were relieved by the 11th Hussars whilst we retired for food for the men and horses and also some new clothing, which we needed.

At night we advanced and took up the same position again. It was the worst night of any.

The trenches were half full of water, and it poured with rain.”

“On Saturday morning we were relieved again, and retired about six miles for twenty four hours rest. After going three miles we stopped at a cottage to water the horses, when shells started falling like hail.

We were all dismounted, and I was holding five horses when the first shell dropped within nine yards of me.”

“The explosion knocked me about fifteen yards and caused the horses to stampede. I was kicked just above the knee and a horse trod on my back.

I can hardly stand, and am now waiting to be sent off to hospital.

Don’t worry, I shall soon be all right. My back is nothing, but my knee is bad.

The doctor says fluid has collected, and only rest and tapping will cure it. We had five horses killed and three men slightly wounded.”

“The battle is still raging, but today we got some French reinforcements, so something should happen.”