Gunner Bert Cox
Envelope Addressed to:
Miss Ina H. Cox
Black Rock, Barbadoes B.W.I.
October 5th 1918
My dear Ina,
I wrote Papa, I think, a short note last week, and am also posting you another letter with 30 francs. Hope you'll receive them OK.
I suppose you've read of the way in which we are smiting the Hun at present on our Western Front. If they don't cut it out, we're all soon going to be out of a job!!
The Canadians put on their 3rd big show on Sept 27th at 4:20 AM. The battle of Cambrai. (The 3rd battle, I wrote of, in my last letter, was only a continuation of the 2nd, the battle of Arras.)
It opened up with all the pep and fury of the two previous ones and soon the enemy was out of our range. He retaliated heavily on our position with his artillery and shrapnel was flying in all directions, but we were too busy giving him his ration to think about it. One piece hit me on the chest but was too far spent to go through, and believe me, it's been no picnic from that date to this. Digging gun pits, digging funk holes, digging holes to sleep in, and just as we get them finished the order comes through to move forward. The one redeeming feature about it is we're on the advance and not on the retreat.
We've certainly got him going now, and he's going to catch H--- as long as the weather keeps favorable.
We had some awful rainy cold days and have had to stand out in the open and take quite a few wettings. But have felt right 'up in the collar', through it all. In fact can't help feeling fit with the war news as it is---Bulgaria , hopelessly beaten; and since I started this letter, the news has come in that Turkey has surrendered unconditionally, too. Austria will be out of it before we get through with the fall campaign.
Keep the maps and clippings I send you and will explain them all when I get back.
There's not a wall left standing in any of these towns on the map that I last sent you. Guemappe and Wancourt ect. ect., the very foundations are pounded into the ground. This part of France is certainly a terrible wreck. Don't know how they'll start to rebuild it at all.
Have just written to Norman, Carl, and Florence Waith.
The boots I ordered from Canada have arrived; they are dandies; soft leather, very comfortable and absolutely water proof and very warm. They cost $19.00. Am enclosing the style exactly.
A few nights ago we had two of our lieutenants killed, and our new Major and another officer wounded. The shell landed right between the heads of the 2 that were killed. Of course, they never knew anything about it, as they were all asleep. I was sleeping about 30 yards from them, but did not know anything about it , until next morning.
I have letters here, from you of: July21st, May 31st; Aug11th; June 23rd and May 19th. Will read them through and answer. If I wrote you all the slang of the army you would never understand a word I wrote. It's a language in itself. It's fierce on ones English grammar.
You're awfully hard on a family, when you want them all to die just because a husband dies, aren't you? It's a very good thing that mothers and wives can't see their sons and husbands lying out in a shell hole for days with the sun working on them . It's a ghastly looking sight at first, but doesn't fig (?) a bit on me, now.
Remember me to Hally and Olive. I'll write them as soon as I get a chance.
Well, guess this is all the news at present. Write soon.
To give you some idea of the bombardment in the morning of Aug. 8th : there was more ammunition fired, on that one morning, than fired in the whole year of 1915!! Imagine the ROW.
Lots of love for Papa, Mamma, Leila and self, from you affectionate brother,