These letters that were published in The Daily News weeks after the Battle of the Somme had started on July 1st were from soldiers of the Newfoundland Regiment to their loved ones back home. The letters provide an indication of what these men went through on that fateful day but notice the positive language that they use and the fact that many of them cannot wait to get back at it again once they are healed. These letters must have been greatly appreciated by the relatives at home that received them to know that their husbands, brothers, sons etc. were okay or were recovering in hospital.

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Passed Through Unscathed

Pte. A.J. Stacey to his brother Frank at the Bank of Montreal

Somewhere in France

Dear F----- No doubt long before now you have been scanning the Casualty List but hope you did not see mine. Guess you will say how did I escape with such a big list. At any rate all that I can do is to thank God. I came through O.K. without a scratch, but a good many near ones. Well with all my experience or warfare, I felt in the best of spirits, in fact everyone felt the same and you can take it from me that every man went right to it, and not one funked. I being with Headquarters (that is the C.O. and Adjt.) we were first to get up, and the C.O. gave a wave of his stick, (that was at 9:15 am you know the date) and they all mounted the parapet and away they went and the bullets flying around, just like hail, up went the hand, as if it was raining hard, to keep the rain off. No doubt you have full particulars of it by now. There is a good account of it in the Daily Mail July 8th edition. The Corps. Commander came down a few days ago and gave us as good praise as any one could give and said we were second to none. God bless you all.

From your ever loving brother,

Jim

Source:  The Daily News , July 28, 1916

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Our Soldier Lads

From Signaller Jack Maddick, Company C, to his Sister

London, July 12, 1916

My Dear Sister,

No doubt you will be surprised to know I am in London once more. Well, I cam here for the purpose of seeing Harry, and have been here three days, waiting for him to arrive from France. He arrived last night, and I was up to see him this afternoon, and I assure you there is not the least cause for anxiety. He was not in the big advance, but was in the trench waiting to reinforce one of the officers who was struck down while leading his men, when a shell exploded near him and struck him in the shoulder, breaking his shoulder blade, and pieces of the shell struck him in the face, but the marks on his face are gradually disappearing and although he lost a lot of blood, and is rather pale looking, as one would naturally expect after such a trying ordeal, he considers himself very lucky to be alive, and in view of the enormous casualties we had in that advance. I think you will agree with me that he is fortunate to come out so well, and thank God things are not worse with him. I expect he will get a furlough, which will enable him to go home, when you will be able to see him. Till that time, accept my assurance that he is alright. I would not build you up with false hopes if I knew his case to be serious, but such is not the case, and in the course of time he will be O.K. again.

I visited several of the wards which our boys are in. There are about 400 here, some with ugly wounds others with very slight ones, and they all say that our boys led the ďchargeĒ singing and smoking. They shudder when they speak of all the men who dropped on their right and left, and others whose bodies they had to cross; I have a little idea of what it must have been like, but you people at home havenít the slightest. It was not my lot to be in France with them. If I had to be there I may not have been alive today, but my chances were equally as good as the others and I sincerely regret from the bottom of my heart that I was not there to share I the glory. We have not yet received a full list of casualties, but that they are heavy we all know. London is about 400 miles or more from Ayr. I am leaving here on Friday, 15th inst. for Ayr. I shall run up again to see Harry before I go. He sends his best love to you, all relatives and enquiring friends. Tell Will and Charl and all enquiring friends that I have seen him, and that he is getting along nicely, has a good appetite, can sit up and chat etc. My address will be as heretofore.

The disaster must have caused a gloom all over Nfld., and my heart goes out in heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved numbers of whom have no doubt lost their bread-winner. The Ayre families have suffered a four fold tragedy. Capt. Eric whose wife is still in Ayr, his brother, Capt. Bernard, who was in an English Regt. And his two cousins, Wilf. and Gerald are killed. What a blow!

From your loving brother,

Jack           Source:  The Daily News , July 29, 1916

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Our Soldier Lads

Private Patrick Stamp to his brother William

Somewhere in France

July 11th, 1916

Dear Will,

Just a note to say I am enjoying splendid health. I know you are anxious about my whereabouts, but thank God, I am still going strong, and came through the awful undertaking of July 1st I did not get even a scratch, and was right into it. I tell you it was a hard sight to see so many of our fellows go down. Donít you think I was lucky to get through? I only wish this cruel war was over, itís sad to see so many fine young fellows go under. However, we are doing our bit for a good cause, and I have no reason to complain. A few weeks in the trenches and one gets filled up with war, but we are bound to see it through.

With kindest regards to all,

PAT

Source:  The Daily News , August 3, 1916

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From Private Wiseman to His Aunt

Somewhere in France

July 11th, 1916

Dear Aunt,

Just a word to tell you I am O.K. only that I am in hospital with a bullet wound in my foot. Thatís nothing, Dear Aunt, I canít tell you much about that charge of Saturday, July 1st. We got over the parapet about 9 in the morning. I with a few others were going along until within a few yards of the German wire entanglements when bang she goes. I lay for several hours in the grass, and when the opportunity came I managed to get back to the trenches. It was brutal to see the Germans killing our wounded when they were crawling back, and it looked so rotten that I did not care if they killed myself. I have the German bullet as a souvenir, and I hope some day to get the savage Hun that fired it. I will probably be some time in hospital, but donít worry I am being well treated.

Will

Source:  The Daily News , August 3, 1916

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From Private W. Bradley to his Mother, Mrs. Jacob Bradely, 48 Field Street

France

July 15th 1916

My Dear Mother,

Just a line to let you know that I am quite well. I know you must be worrying about me and wondering what has happened to me and that you will be delighted to know that I have come through without a scratch. I was speaking to W. Hall yesterday please tell his mother that he is O.K. We are having a quiet time now so have got time to write you. The weather is pretty good out here but we have some rain once in a while, so if you have some socks you can send them along. Give my love to all the family. Hoping to hear from you soon.

Your loving son.

W. Bradley

Source:  The Daily News , August 3, 1916

 

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