Letters from the Front

Gordon Carling, P.P.C.L.I.

PPCLI - a report from the front line in Belgium

Crag & Canyon [Banff, Alberta] published Saturday, March 06, 1915

Sunday, February 14, 1915

Transcribed by: M. I. Pirie

Captain Gordon Burleigh Carling died 18 June 1918 and is buried in Ottawa, Ontario.

01 March 1915 letter from Gordon Carling

11 Dec 1915 interview with Gordon Carling


The Princess Pats C.L.I. have been on the Firing Line for the Past Ten Weeks

The following letter from Gordon Carling, a member of the Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry, bearing [the] date Belgium, Feb. 14, goes to prove that Sherman knew what he was talking about when he declared that "war was hell":

We certainly have seen some fighting since we have been at the front.  We have been on the firing line and in support eight weeks today.  Our loss has been heavy in killed and wounded but, taking it on the whole, we have been lucky.  We have lost nearly all our officers, the best being killed.  A sniper got Stanley Jones, of Calgary, through the hand so he is out of the game for the present.

Our trenches are only about 50 yards from the German trenches, so you can imagine what it is like getting in and out of them with the machine guns talking.

I am dispatch rider for the Princess Pats, and we have to do all our work at night.  We have some excitement as the snipers are thick and constantly on the lookout for us.

The weather is cold and wet and the trenches are knee deep with mud and water, which causes lots of suffering among the boys.  I tell you a warm, dry shack will look good to us all after this.

I would like to tell you where we are, but that is forbidden and everything one writes is read by an officer before it is allowed to be posted.  But we are right in the thick of it, and if you could only hear the Jack Johnsons and the French 75's you would think that hell was let out for noon, sure.

I think the war will last for a few months yet, as soon as the weather clears up there will be some fierce fighting and mostly with the cold steel.  That's what gets the Germans' goat.

Please remember me to the boys in Banff, and tell them I am still  in the ring.