Overcome with the fumes: five dead

Trenches, Gallipolli

Another Sunday has come around and with it no further work done in our section and no likelihood of anything being done just at present, of course the usual thing goes on, we snipe them, they snipe us, we bomb them and get some back, we shell them and expected to get shelled which lately they have done well and truly. We think it must be on account of Bulgaria coming in that they have a fresh supply of ammunition coming through to them anyhow, they have been sending over very large ones, that make you feel properly homesick but we keep well inside our dug outs and we are as safe as a house. I hope you are not worrying because there is not the slightest need and I never reckoned I was a brave man, so I keep my little self well and truly planted out of danger, it would worry me if I thought you were taking it too much to heart. I am well as ever I was in my life. I had a yarn to Ralph this morning and he said the same and looks it. Where he is is even quieter than our spot and they have no trenches in front for some hundreds of yards. Ernie has been getting around looking pretty miserable lately he had to come up to the firing line for a few days as we were getting short of men and whilst on his post early one morning put his foot on the part of the firestep that wasn't there and fell down. He cuts his head, scratched his hand and bruised his back and what with his head bandaged and hand tied up and a stiff back, he's been looking very down in the mouth, but the slight scratch on his hand turns septic and this morning was so bad that the doctor sent him to the field hospital here for observation of course if it gets any worse, he will have a trip somewhere like Harry Ivory from whom I have not heard a thing since he went away over one month ago. I don't know how those lucky fellows manage it. I can't get a holiday no how. Our chap here the other day held up his hand to catch a tin of bully beef. He did not catch the tin but catch something else, it made an awful mess of his hand so you see Abdul isn't a bad shot.

I couldn't help laughing the other night for we could hear the laughing and joking down at Lone Pine, which our trenches run into, and then I'd hear a big bang then some Australians would sing out “Here, turn the game up, Abdul!” and it turns out that the Turks have got some new bombs (they are beauties) and they were lobbing them in our trenches but they make a noise like a rocket when they are shot up out of the mortar and the chaps always knew when to seek cover, and so little damage was done. Its just as well they they did make a row for they are nearly as severe as shells and took our chaps by surprise but after awhile they used to sing out “Look out” when ever they heard one coming and then after it had gone off, they would laugh and taunt the Turks until they got disgusted and put their bombs away.

They seem to keep a lot of dogs in their trenches for we hear them barking a treat, especially in the early morning.

It was funny last night for we received orders from headquarters that a number of Turks would be surrendering so we were not to fire during the night, so not a shot was fired except by Abdul and I suppose wondering what had come over us but never a Turk came over, the same thing happened once before and our chaps withheld their fire and in the morning we found that during the night they had put up most elaborate barded wire entanglements, didn't our chaps roar.

We had an unfortunate accident last Thursdsay we had sapped under the Turks and then discovered that they were working just above us, so it was decided to lift him up at once so they put in one hundred and eighty five lbs of some new explosive monodol and let it go and when a party went in a couple of hours later, they were overcome with the fumes and the more that went in after them the more it was that did not return and in the end we had five dead and about twenty carried down to the hospital ship, with a lot of sick men left behind. It was an awful thing, doctors were called up from all over the place and there would have been a lot more deaths had it not been for them. It was terrible to see the poor fellows gasping for breath. We B COY. bearers offered our services (for it was in C COY. it happened) and were told to stand by until sent for. But when they did at last send us around the last man had been taken out but we helped a bit in the artifical respiration afterward.

Last week it was bitterly cold and now we are back again to shorts and singlets only. I started to write yesterday but I sneaked down and had a swim. Incidently, I also tried to wash some clothes in the salt water but I'm afraid they are not much cleaner.

The marks on this writing paper were caused by flowers which were sent by Miss Crouch some time ago.

We had no mail this week but expect one soon, so I hope to hear from you all and if I do, I will be able to answer the kiddies. I got such a lovely lot of papers last mail that I have only just run out and a magazine I received from Sister Blanche two days ago will just keep me going nicely. So I will close now hoping you are well.

I remain your loving son.

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