Letters from the Front

Private James Irving McWilliams M.M.

Describes being wounded and recuperating in historic England

Huntingdon Gleaner, Huntingdon, Quebec, Huntingdon, Quebec published Thursday, April 18, 1918

Saturday, March 16, 1918

Transcribed by: marc

Whitehall Convalescent Hospital,
Sawtry, near Peterborough.
Hants, March 16, 1918

Just a line to let you know I am still in hospital, and am getting on fine. My wounds are all healed, and I am getting massage treatment to cure the stiffness. I expect to be all right again soon.

Was wounded on the 28th November so have been laid off for quite a while. Got my wound in a bombing raid at Avion trench, near Lens. One of the German trench bombs fell within a few yards of me and I got several pieces in the legs and thigh. Fritz came over about four o'clock in the morning, just before daylight, after a preliminary bombardment by trench mortars and got quite close to our trench before we spotted him. His first bomb landed right square among the machine gun crew, wounding several of us. But we were able to spot where he was and get the gun in action before he could get into our trench. We must have fired with good effect as things were quiet after that.

This is a fine part of England I am in, and I will be rather sorry to leave it. It is about 9 miles away from any town, so is rather quiet. The nearest town is a place called Huntington and there is also a Godmanchester. It seems rather funny to be in places of that name and to be so far away from those I know so well. Peterborough is the nearest large town, and is famous for its cathedral, which is one of the oldest in England. Was in twice to see it, Mary, Queen of Scots, and Catherine of Aragon, were buried there. She was beheaded at Forthingay, which is not far from here. I also understand that Robert Bruce had a shooting box near here, and place is named after him, so this is quite a historic part.

At three Gleaners sent me this morning from home. All the cold feet artists around home seem to be getting exemptions now. It makes you feel fed up with things at home. A lot of them would be no use anyway.

I am to be sent down to the Canadian hospital at Epsom in about a week's time and get my leave from there. I expect to go up north to Scotland.

Private J. McWilliams, M.M
842155 14th Canadians
1st E.G. Hospital, Cambridge