12th November, 1915 page 2
“The Germans opposite me are starving. They shouted across for food, and sometimes they got it. It all depends what regiments are occupying the line”
More notes from Lance-Corporal John Gutteridge, on life in the trenches during World War one.
“A few lines from our mud camp, somewhere in Belgium. Our regiment have this time occupied the reserve trenches, which means they have been doing fatigue work for the companies in the firing line, carrying rations, timber, &co. Sounds nice but the boys would sooner be in the firing line any time, as they are exposed so. One cannot carry rations and timber along the communication trench very well, as there is not the room, so they have to walk in the open, exposed, and the Germans give them all a high time with their machine guns, also the snipers help.
We have had mud up to our necks this last week, and my word we look some beauties. Well the Germans have been very quiet. Although they shelled a church 100 yards away from my dug out, and completely destroyed it. On 6th November, from one a.m. till seven a.m., our artillery shelled the Germans for all they were worth. My word, it kept as fellows awake, but it was worth it, as we like to hear our iron rations whizzing over our heads. We generally give them twelve shells to every shell they send over.
Of course we have a lot of spies here. One has to be very careful what we say, even if we are well away from towns and villages, as the Germans have spies everywhere, and we do not even trust the Belgians here; they are too quiet for our liking. They have captured a good many Belgian spies since we have been here. We are all thinking of coming home in six months’ time, as the Germans opposite me are starving. They shouted across for food, and sometimes they got it. It all depends what regiments are occupying the line.
We had one good laugh this week. I woke up one morning and said to my chum, ‘I had a rotten night.’ Guns kept me awake, and he said the same till we both sat down to breakfast. Then we found someone had stolen our breakfast, also a box of cigarettes, so I think we both slept some time or other, and the rotter must have been an early bird. Too early for us, at all events. It seemed rather strange, but at the same time as the German shelled our church and destroyed one of the crucifixes one of our aeroplanes brought one of the enemies’ aeroplanes down. Must close, trusting all the boys have enlisted.”
Printed in the Bromley & District Times, 12th November, 1915 page 2