15th October 1915 – Letter from Gutteridge

15thOctober1915_GutteridgeI wonder what we fellows will do after the war

Also printed on 15th October, 1915, Gutteridge gives us an interesting insight into life in the trenches.

“Our regiment has just returned from the trenches, and had a very peaceful time; a change from the bayonet scrap we had on the 26th of September, we coming our this time with a complete roll. The only danger we had was when we relieved the —, and when we were relieved by the —, as they (the Germans) have machine guns sighted on the road that we travel to the trenches by.

We were in the trenches with a Scotch regiment, and they are “some” boys, up to all the mischief imaginable. They are fine fellows to be in the trenches with; they give everyone confidence, and it takes very little time for one to get confidence. After our bayonet charge on the 26th I had a feeling that the Germans had no bullets made for me. It’s just fine to see the Germans run away when we boys show them cold steel; they can stand up to anything bar that. I was just pleased to be in that charge, as we were engaged in the biggest battle in history, according to the weekly papers.

I could now do with a good wash and change of clothing.

I wonder what we fellows will do after the war; if we shall ever go back to shop life. I doubt it. I have, at least, learnt how to cook; that is a little I have learnt. I am sure also that we boys will appreciate more little things that we did not appreciate before we enlisted – not more grumbling about eggs being boiled too hard, or the bacon being too fat, that is, if there are such things as eggs and bacon now. I know for certain there are bully beef and biscuits about.

At present I am in a dug-out, my mates being outside making tea, but the snipers have noticed the smoke from the fire, so they are just giving them a warm reminder. They even begrudge us afternoon tea.

A few ‘Jack Johnsons’ are flying overhead, but you can hear them coming, and one is able to get under shelter, so we count them as nothing, although I should not care to stop one. I believe my inside would get quarrelsome if it had dealings now with a nice beef steak pudding, or a nice custard with fruit, but I do not think it will get the chance to quarrel for some time to come yet. I hope the recruiting rally went off well and the labour was well spent.”

The District Times is seen here more than any other paper.

Notes:

1) The Battle was the Battle of Loos
2) Before the war Gutteridge had worked at Howard’s Stores
3) A ‘Jack Johnson’ was the British nickname used to describe the impact of a heavy, black German 15-cm shell. Jack Johnson was the name of a popular heavyweight boxing champion who held the title from 1908 – 1915

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