Beaumont Hamel, France
November 12, 1916
Dear Mother and Father
I am writing to you to let you know that I am in good health physically, however, mentally I do not know how I will be able to endure much more of this place. Battling this war in such conditions is the worst event that a human can go through. This combat has lasted almost 5 months already and there have been so many fatalities already. Of course the officials have not disclosed the exact amount, but rumour has it to be about one million Allied and Central Power casualties.
There is so much mud and water in these trenches, it is hard to stay dry. The mud is so deep in places that some troops have drowned in it and to make matters even worse, the rats are in the trenches feasting on the dead bodies. The stench of death is nauseating. It is difficult to sleep at night with those who are wounded, screaming in pain only to be silenced by bombs exploding and constant gun fire.
The weapon that I was given is a Ross Rifle which I consider a piece of rubbish. As soon as water or sand gets into it, it jams and it can not be fired. I am not very confident with its’ reliability.
The commander in charge of our troops is General Sir Douglas Haig. He is highly regarded by the military in Britain, however, I do not agree with his military style and strategies. He sent thousands of men to storm the German trenches in broad daylight, and sadly, most of them were shot by heavy German Machine gun fire and did not have a chance to even fire their own weapons. I have to admit we were able to capture many prisoners, but the number of our own casualties was unimaginable. I understand that we have been considered victorious in this battle, but would debate that thought on account that there were so many fatalities and all we gained was 8 kilometres of mud.
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It is strange how I feel about the Germans. I know that they are the enemy and I am forced to fight them, yet on the other hand, I know that most of them do not like this battle either and are going through the same psychological and physical emotions as I am. I can not wait to be home with you all again, however, this was is important to me and to our country, I will be staying until we are victorious. I just hope that it will be soon.
Lots of love