Letters from Waterford men at the Front

The Waterford News - 29th of January 1915, Page 8

Local War Items: Letters from Waterfordmen at the Front
Courtesy of The Waterford News

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LETTERS FROM WATERFORDMEN AT THE FRONT

The following letter from the front is from an old employee of the "News" and brother of our present works manager. Mr. Daly volunteered for active service immediately the war broke out in August last, and was sent to France in December.

The British Expeditionary Force, France.

Dear Jimmie-Your letter reached me this morning, but I have seen nothing of your parcel so far; in fact I would send no more parcels, as it is very doubtful about getting them. I am still safe and well, except that I am experiencing a bit of bother with my feet, but I hope to soon make them right, as we are having our four days’ rest up to Thursday next. We are going along very nicely and keeping the Allemands quite busy. Where we are we are getting a tidy share of work, but nothing is too hard for the boys - in fact, the more dangerous the job, the more volunteers for it. Where the first is worst the more joIIy the picnic party. As a shot goes by, missing you by a fraction of an inch, your comrade will get on with such banter as "Well, bli’me, but that German bloke wants blinkers (spectacles) badly, when he misses your turnip. Why, its’s like a mangel-wurzel sticking up there. Keep it down," and so it goes on. As one goes down there are plenty of willing hands to do all that is possible to soothe your pain. It is wonderful what a change comes over men when danger is near and every breath may be your last. But you never think of that. As a mate goes down you want to avenge him, if it cost you your life. The company that I am in are lucky in having a real good officer- fearless as a lion, yet with his men as gentle as a woman He won’t send a man to do any dangerous job but what he is with him to do his share; and so, of course. we would follow him anywhere.
The weather is not too bad, considering; but it is very hard in the trenches. You are knee-deep and more in some of them, but it makes no difference to Tommy. I think if he had to stand upon red-hot iron plates he would devise a means of adapting himself to the situation

Don’t worry about sending me tobacco, as we get more than enough. We are well looked after as regards food, and get plenty. Of course you will hear a grumble now and again: "More b-- bully! I wonder where it grows. Anyhow, it is plentiful." When we are in billets for a few days’ rest from the trenches we have extra. good times and food. We do all our own cooking, so you can have your food cooked as you like best. We also have a nice warm bath, which is every bit as much appreciated as the grub. It makes you feel good after the wet and slush of the trenches.
Your letter took fifteen days to find me; so it must have done a bit of travelling round. Well, dear brother, I must close, as I have a lot of cleaning up to do, and it is also near post-time.
Oh, by the way, I just discovered a friend three days ago in a corporal of ours. He heard me talking to some one, and he asked me abruptly, "What part of Urbs Intacta do you come from?" I need not say that I was both glad and amazed at the question, and we were soon comparing notes. His name is Whittaker; he used to work at McDonnell’s margarine factory. With haste and love to all.

WILLIE.

....was hit by a bit of a shell in the left arm and was sent to an hospital in a big village near where we are... I got your p!um pudding all right, and it was very nice...We got Princess Mary’s presents a few days ago.
In the last letter which Mrs. Harris received from her son James, which is dated 17th January, he stated that he is in hospital having his teeth attended to, but otherwise is well. Mrs. Harris has also allowed us to see some postcards and letters which she received from her son Benjamin, a sergeant in the Royal Irish Regiment. who was taken a prisoner by the Germans and is at present in a prison camp in Germany. In a postcard dated 12-10-1914. he wrote: "We are allowed to receive parcels weighing up to l0lbs, and I want you to send me some cigarettes, books, and a pack of cards. They would be a God-send This postcard was addressed from English Camp, Sennelager, via Pader- born, Germany." In another postcard, dated 5th January, 1915, and addressed from "No. 5 Kompagnie Gifangenenlager, Germany," he states that he got the clothing and other parcels sent on the 28th November. "You will see by my address that I am after shifting froin Sennenlager. This is a nice place. I met several chaps from Waterford, including a chap who lives opposite us, by the name of Sullivan. Don’t be afraid to send me anything, as they generally arrive safe. I met a lot of my platoon here who were supposed to be killed and I saw my name in a newspaper as unofficially missing." In another letter he stated that. on the whole they were being fairly well treated, and in one dated 5th January, addressed from same camp, he stated:--"I received a parcel which you sent on the 9-12’14. The contents were plum pudding, 2 boxes of cocoa, 1 of coffee, and sweets. The parcel was minus cigarettes. Any parcels you sent to the other camp will arrive in due course. This is a nice place; we have very good weather, better, I believe, than they have at the front. When did you hear from Jim? Some of his regiment (Irish Guards) are here.

RECRUITS FROM WEST WATERFORD.

Our Dungarvan correspondent writes :-
Though Dungarvan has since the outbreak of the war continued to send volunteers to the army, yet within the past few weeks the numbers, which were generous all along, have now increased considerably. For the past two or three weeks the departure at the station of volunteers has been very noticeable. On Monday night last 27 recruits left together by the evening train for training. Of these 20 belonged to the town and 7 were from the neighbourhood of Stradbally. The authorities do not seem at present to be in a position to cope with the steady flow of army recruits, for after two or three days from home the greater portion of these me came back to their homes, where they await their summons making definite arrangements for their training. During the time they are awaiting the call they receive a guinea a week.

KILKENNY MAN’S DEATH AT THE FRONT

News has been received in Kilkenny that Mr. Charles Millar, who was engaged in the motor service at the front, has died from the result of an accident received in the discharge of his military duties. Mr. Millar was a member of a respected Kilkenny family.


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