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, April 17, 1915

Monday, March 01, 1915

Transcribed by: M. I. Pirie

This letter describes an attack made 28 February 1915 (near St. Eloi). Although the newspaper published no date, the author stated it was two days later.  Therefore, the date used above (01 March 1915) is an estimate.

Relevant war diary entries:

Attack on German Sap 28 02 15
Attack on German Sap (cont'd)

War diaries - Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry  (1914/11/04-1915/10/31)

14 February 1915 letter from Gordon Carling

11 December 1915 interview with Gordon Carling


Dispatch Rider of the Princess Patricia's Writes Interesting Letter from Belgium

Just a few lines to let you know I am well and whole.  I can't tell you how glad I was to get your letter; news from home is something we can almost live on out here.

The war seems to be getting worse, but it can't last very much longer, as the impression is that the Germans will be starved out.

Such is the story we get from our prisoners.  We have lost pretty heavy the last two days, when over 100 men went down.  We charged the German trenches and took them afterwards blowing them up, and on the way back to our own trenches the Germans got a machine gun into us, cutting a lot of our bunch down.  Major Gault1 was shot in the arm; Major Ward2 is dying, was shot through the back of the head, and Lieut. Crabby3 [Crabbe] was shot through the hand.  It seems terrible to have wounded men on the field, who will have to lie there until dark, as the Germans shoot every man that tries to rescue them, Red Cross or others.  The weather has been very cold and wet, and after 48 hours in the trenches many of the men have to be carried out.

We got a new draft of 150 men and eight officers who were sent over from Canada.

I am afraid there will be a lot of sickness, as the dead lying on the battlefields is fierce.  They are mostly French and Germans.  The poor French got a terrible cutting up here, but the Germans always seems to get worse than they give, even in their best fights.

Poor Belgium is in a terrible state.  All the beautiful houses, farms and buildings are blown down, and the fields are all trenches and cut up.  General French was very pleased with our regiment and he should be, as they are fine fellows, always there with the goods, and cheerful under all kinds of conditions.

Put in a few sheets of writing paper when you next write, as paper is terrible scarce out here.

Best to my friends,



1Lt.-Col. Andrew Hamilton Gault, PPCLI, DSO.  Survived the war. 
Major John Simeon Ward, PPCLI, died 17 March 1915.  Photographs.
Lieut. Colville Eyre Crabbe, PPCLI, Military Cross.  Survived the war.