GWL 19th January 1915

The underclothing sent off on December 18th has just arrived, also a box of chocolates from Tills in Winchester! Another box of chocolates sent off on January 13th and your letters of the 14th and 15th so there was great rejoicing when we came back from the trenches last night.  We had rather a nerve-shattering time – Not much damage done, but continual shelling & wondering where the next one was coming & unable to answer to it in any way – The weather is bitterly cold, yesterday and the previous night it snowed hard and sitting in a muddy trench with one foot on an ammunition box and the other on an empty rum jar is hardly Bolters Lock on Ascot Sunday – Thank goodness my boots are big.  Your feet swell and you lose all feeling in your legs right up to the knees so that when you come out you are continually falling down.  Some of the men have to be carried out they are so bad.  I am sure the boots will be all right & if they are not I can fix it all right by using the new ones to patch the old! I am afraid the goggles will not be much use – we are not near the dunes.  The waders are a perfect Godsend.  Tell Dad so, will you – I am going to write to him if I can, But cleaning up takes such a long time.  The groceries & papers turn up regularly, please make the alteration I asked you in my last letter.  In addition please do not send any more butter – we are getting a ration of it.  Could you send me another strap for my wrist watch?  That cooking gear you were speaking of is a very good thing& we have already ordered a set from Harrods – The Economical Cooker I think they call it.  Basdell was hit yesterday – I think he is all right though & can look forward to a pretty comfortable three months or so ……… You cannot think what a lot of difference these you send out from home make.  It means comparative comfort when we are not in the trenches & something to look forward to when we are……

life in the trenches 1

2nd Lt F C Basdell was the first officer casualty from the battalion, although the first tour in the line had resulted 12 men wounded and 5 missing.  The battalion had been relieved by the 2nd Battalion of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry.  The description of the foot problems is a classic description of “Trench Foot”.  On the 13th the Battalion marched 6 miles from Dickebusch to Mount Kokerelle but 54 soldiers had to be carried in carts because of their feet.

{next post 24th January}

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