Major, W.A. Murray, Royal Horse Artillery

Letter written to his father.


22nd June, 1915.

Dear Father,

I haven't written for some days, as we have been having a very quiet time since the fight of the 16th. There was some desperate hand-to-hand work there. When our Infantry got the first line German trenches they found the Germans panic-stricken and our Tommies bayoneted them like pigs by the dozen. One officer told me he couldn‘t bear it, and ordered his men to stop, as they were such miserable creatures.

When the Germans counter-attacked, our guns completely wiped them out before they got to grips. The German Staff Officers could be seen riding up and trying to get their men to go on, but they were absolutely annihilated. We had to leave the advanced trenches at nightfall, because the Germans brought a terrific gunfire to bear on them. It was rather sad, as their Infantry were absolutely beaten, and couldn‘t put up any sort of fight.

There was one rather curious incident. The Colonel of the Lincolns was wounded in the assault, and the Orderly who was with him ran up to the Second in Command and said "the Colonel is hit and is lying over…. ". At that moment a bullet went through his head and he fell dead. So they never heard where the Colonel was laying and he has never been found although they searched everywhere for him*.

We made a "feint" attack here the night before last, as they thought the Germans had nearly all gone, and as we got no reply I believe there are very few in front. I shouldn't be surprised if we had a try to go through shortly.

The King told our General that there would be plenty of ammunition in 6 weeks.

Love to all,

I hope you are well. Yours ever - Bill

*Lieutenant Colonel H.E.R. Boxer Commanding 1st Battalion Lincoln Regiment is mentioned on panel 21 of the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

By kind permission of A. Whitworth