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Private Roland Alderson

 
 

Harrogate Herald  6th January 1915

Local Lads on Active Service - Photos

Private Roland Alderson, 5th West Yorks

 

Harrogate Herald - 1st December 1915

Mr H Alderson has received the following letter from his son Roland, which recounts some exciting times in the front line : 

Dear Mother and Father, Thanks very much for your letter and parcel, which arrived safely last night (Sunday). The box was somewhat bent, but the contents were all right. I will write Miss Wade as soon as I can, but we haven't had a great deal of time these last few days. We have had a most exciting time lately. We went out of the trenches last Wednesday night, and were billeted in a farm a mile or two back. There were no civilians there. That night was all right , and on the following afternoon some of our guns started, and the Germans replied very quickly. The first shell or two dropped on the road near us, and then they got on to the farm where we were and of course we had to clear out, and whilst doing so they dropped one or two right among our chaps, and out platoon sergeant was killed, others wounded. One of them has since died. It was marvellous there were no more hit. I was lucky in being practically out of it, as when they started I was at the other end of the field in which the farm stood, and saw all the shells burst. Most of the chaps were in the barns and had a very anxious time. The stretcher bearers and one or two of the others were looking after the wounded whilst the shelling was going on, and I think they have been recommended for the DCM. They certainly deserve it, especially one of the stretcher bearers, called Humpherson. He is one of the best chaps in the Battalion, and whenever there is a call for SB's, I'll bet he is the first there every time, and it doesn't matter whether he is in danger himself or not, he sticks at it. I certainly hope he gets it. When things quietened down again we got orders that if a certain battery of ours opened fire we had to clear, as they (the Huns) always retaliated. However, we were left in peace that night, but about breakfast-time next morning they started again, but luckily for us the first shell was a "dud", and we all got clear away without incident. We were very glad to get away from that billet, as you feel like a rat in a hole when they shell you. It's much better in the trenches, as you have a bit of protection there. We nearly got straffed going in the trenches. The Germans put 12 shells over in quick time, but it must have been our lucky day, as only one got hit in the waist, but they were too near to be pleasant. However, we are still smiling and are once more in reserve after two days in the front line. Our Platoon was in a detached post and could only get to the rest of the company at night by going over the top; but things were all very quiet. When we were coming out they spotted us and started potting at us, and we had to crawl into a trench on our hands and knees, which is no joke with a white ---------- the ground and full pack on, but we ------ all right, and that's the main thing. The weather is fine at present, and there -------- keen frosts at night, but the trenches are in a rotten condition, which, of course, has not helped, as there has been a terrible lot of rain lately. Today it has been foggy, and it is very thick tonight. Arthur and George are all right, as is "your humble", but it's hard work keeping your feet warm, but they do all they can for us from getting trench feet; but it is a hard thing to prevent nowadays. I hope mine keep all right. I think that's about it this time. Hoping you still keep well, and with love from the three of us. We have not had snow yet, and don't want it.

 

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