My Dear Mrs. Ayre
I am writing to tell you that poor old Burn has been
killed. His Coy led the attack on the 1st & did magnificently
this was due entirely to Burnís fine leadership it would be impossible to
express in words the skill, coolness & courage that he showed. He started
off in his most characteristic manner smoking his pipe & directing & leading on the men with his stick. He was killed just before
reaching the objective & died instantly. He suffered nothing, he has
just simply died a real heroís death & we are all very very proud of him.
I knew him better than anyone else & you know how deeply I sympathize with
you. I feel sure that he pride you must have in him which everyone here &
especially his company share, will be some comfort to you in your great
I recovered his body yesterday & had it brought down to the cemetery, the
Chaplain held a service over the grave with guns roaring all round; more
than 100 of us attended the service although everyone was exhausted this
again shows how he was loved & respected.
I am sending some letters which have just arrived for him & his kit will be
sent home, it will take some time to arrive.
Please let one know if there is anything I can do. We lost many of the
very best, but we won our objective.
I wish you could hear what everyone individually thinks of Burn, they will
never forget him & he has set a wonderful example.
John F Loane
I opened your letter to Burn to get the address
4.01.006, Centre for Newfoundland Studies Archives, Memorial University of
Newfoundland, St. John's, NL