Vivid Letter from a Waterford Soldier- A Great Battle Described

The Waterford News - 20th of October 1916, Page 8

Vivid Letter from a Waterford Soldier- A Great Battle Described
Courtesy of The Waterford News

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Vivid Letter from Waterford Soldier
Great Battle Described

Francis Purcell, Water street an employee of Messrs C. Dunne and Sons, the well-known firm of Waterford cork manufacturers, and a member of the National Volunteers, joined the Royal lrish Regiment a t the recruiting campaign in this city early in 1915, arid has written the following quite remarkably vivid letter to Mr. C. Dunne:-

Machine Gun Section
B. Coy., 6/ R. I. Reg,
B.E.F. France 8th October 1916

Dear Sir - I received your letter and was glad to hear you are all well, as I am at present. Well sir, I suppose you have read of the gallant charge of the Irish Brigade at Guillimont. I will try and describe to you some incidents of that day, which I may call a glorious one for Ireland. I well remember it was September the 2nd when our good priest came to us on the hillside where we lay to give us absolution and encouragement for the coming day. When we had heard from him his good and holy words, we went to rest for a few hours. Then the order came to get ready. It would be about 2 o’clock on Sunday morning, the 3rd After some breakfast we moved up to a reserve trench that lay between Trones Wood and the village we had to take Guillimont. There we lay, talking about one thing or another, while the Germans gave us a hot time. you might have heard some fellows say, . I wish they’d let us advance. But the time came. I t was 12 o’clock on that never-to-be-forgotten Sunday morning. I remember looking over the top. There I saw the Connaughts and Leinsters advancing as if on parade. Then came the words: Fix bayonets, Royal Irish !" With steady hands and prayer on lips over we got. We were not alone, as I have said. We had on our right the Connaughts and Leinsters, with the gallant Munsters on our left On we went to the strains of " O’Donnell Abu " from our brave pipers, who stuck to us like glue. Although you would think it would be impossible for any human being to stand such shot and shell, yet on we pushed. Though thinned our ranks, our h earts could not be dismayed. A little further up the Germans came, and then that Irish yell, and a charge that I believe no nation could withstand. I remember saying to my officer : " Where is this village, sir?" He turned and pointed a little in our rear. ‘‘ There." I looked and saw some sticks arid bricks. That one time, was the peaceful village called Guillimont By this time we had taken the Germans’ third line, which lay well behind the village There we settled down under the enemy’s rifle machine- gun. and awful shell fire, and had to dig ourselves down.

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