Learning Curve, The Great War
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Transcript: Source3
Letter written by a British soldier in August 1916
(Catalogue ref: RAIL 253/516)

2181. Corpl. G. Kemball

Extract from letter dated August 13th 1916

After leaving the hospital came the chase after the battalion! I went by train to ------ & had four hours to wait there, thence to ------ once again, the transport were lying just behind ------ & I stayed with them for the two days I told you I was resting, from there I went straight into Hell, the battalion were in reserve in ------ from thence we moved up into support just in front of ------ & after two days there, into the front line in High Wood - otherwise ------ - phew! We were up there for just a fortnight, in the three positions I mean, all told, good old 51st, no glory, but damned hard and risky work, consolidating the positions gained as the papers say! it doesn't look much in print, but my God, I'd sooner go "over the bags" any day, every night we were groping about in "no man's land" digging advanced trenches & saps ready for the next move and on reconnoitring patrols – crawling about on hands & knees, finding out where "Fritz" had dug himself in. On several occasions we ran into him on the same game, result – an exchange of bombs & oaths & a scuttle for your own lines before they found you with their machine guns. If you could take one of their party back with you, so much the better! We managed it one night & they're just as fed up as we are, say we don't know what it is to be under a bombardment!!!

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