World War I - Letter Assignment
April 16th 1917
Sitting here all alone hearing the rain pour on top of the canvas wishing I was back home in Windsor with my dearest family. It started raining this morning and has been all day. How i miss you and your home cooked meals.
It is hard to live here, it is very wet in the trenches and everyone is scared to get 'trench foot'. There are many lice and rats in the trenches. The socks you sent us help graciously because this disease can happen when your are wet for too long and because the rain never stops, they come handy. Thank you very much for them.
Our Commanders check daily that we have changed our socks, so your help is splendid. Lice follow many allies. Many rats eat at wounded allies and the fallen also. It is mortifying. It is very hard for us, but that is war itself. We hope we do good for our Country and make you proud.
We were training for this day since 6 months, Finally two days ago on April 9th we attached using “the Creeping Barrage”. We had to walk at an exact pace and cannon fire would move forward slowly, acting like a rolling shield, by noon we had took over Vimy Ridge, but the alleymen gave us a hard time. We did lose 3500 lives but the strategic position is now in the hand of the allies. We completed “The Impossible Task”. We all celebrated at the archie with music and beer but not for long.
We had to get back to war, We left for Passchendaele a few days ago. Sir Arthur Currie refused at first because the dams and drainage systems were all destroyed, making the battlefield a nightmare. Mud was so thick and deep that simply walking was almost impossible, but he was over- ruled and we had to fight here.
We are very critical of the quantity and the quality of food we receive. The bulk of our diet in the trenches is bully beef (canned corned beef), bread and biscuits. Worse that last year's winter of 1916 flour was in such short supply that bread was being made with dried ground turnips....