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Sapper J W Smith

 
 

Harrogate Herald - 1st December 1915

Sapper J W Smith writes : 

November 15th, 1915. Hitherto I have been in receipt of the Herald privately from my home, but in the issue of the 27th ultimo I see you have kindly included my name in your list. This will be very acceptable. There has been considerable disorganisation of the cross Channel boat service recently, and possibly for this reason the papers have not arrived. I received from home, however, a copy of the issue 0of the 17 inst., and in this edition I find myself appearing in the portrait gallery. My thanks are therefore due for this service also. It may be the means of bringing me into touch with some of the h youths who are at present in this quarter of the globe. It has been my wish for some time to write you, but as I only arrived in this place on the 15th September I felt that my brief experience of this was negligible compared with that of some of your boys ???????? warfare, I know nothing ????? what I have been able to glean ???????? many soldiers who pass to and fro ?????? through this place. These soldiers to whom I refer - that is, infantry, are the men who have my admiration and affection. Many are the stories of hair-breadth escapes which have been related to me. They are told simply, yet invariably without boast, and what impresses me most is the apparent reluctance on the part of these boys to discuss, at any length, their own share of the fighting. This, I imagine, is due to the fact that the terrible devastating power of modern warfare is so real to them, as a result of their participation in battle, and in addition they no doubt feel that Providence saved them, whereas perhaps, a comrade was sacrificed. People at home might imagine that these boys would incline to melancholy as a result of their experiences. Not a bit of it. They are always cheery. Twelve, fourteen, twenty, nay, any number of months of trench warfare cannot quell the spirit of a British Tommy. He is always optimistic. Never did I meet one who did not consider that we, as a fighting force, are decidedly superior to the Germans. It is difficult, I know, for people to judge between the bald official reports and the varying, optimistic and pessimistic views of the daily Press, but let anyone converse, as I have done, with hosts of Tommies who know, and any doubts will soon be dispelled. While I disparage not other branches of the service, my hat is off to the infantry. These are the boys to whom victory will be given. I am, of course, largely associated with the Canadians. These boys are splendid fellows, drawn as they are from all corners of Canada. I had the fortune to meet several boys, who for some years had been among the gold mining prospectors in Dawson City and the district beyond. They pictured to me vividly the life in that far outpost of the Empire. The Canadian boys know everything which is worth knowing about the building of cosy dug-outs. I was recently shown the interior of several of them. The construction is scientific to a degree. Provision is made for two or more sleeping bunks, and extreme care is devoted to the fireplace; many of them are fitted with improvised stoves. I hope at some later date hope to send you further details, if you consider that such particulars would be of use to any of your boys. You have, I see, two footballs on hand, and perhaps I might venture to ask if you will bear our little company in mind if you do not receive applications from any of the West Yorks, in which most of the Harrogate boys are serving. Our company numbers about 120, I think (including despatch riders), but as I am the only Harrogate fellow attached, I hardly feel justified in availing myself of one of the footballs unless there is no application with a stronger claim. We have a football club; our present ball we provided but of our own subscriptions. It is, however, getting worse for wear, and a new one will shortly be necessary. As most of us are employed on telegraph duties, and the work is of a sedentary nature, a certain amount of exercise is necessary. I will close. With best wishes.

 

Harrogate Herald - 8th December 1915

J W Smith of the signal service Royal Engineers, Canadian Camp, HQ, British Expeditionary Force, France, is anxious to obtain a Rugby football for his comrades.

 

Harrogate Herald - 2nd May 1917

W H Breare letter

I had news from lots of Harrogate boys when Private G Eaddie, RAMC, came in last Friday, from Elmwood Street. He has been out since July 4th, 1915. Before the war he was twelve years with Maxwell Grayson, wine merchants, James Street. Of the six lads who enlisted and went out with him, only one remains, and that is Wood. Eaddie has been at the Dardanelles, Suvla Bay, Egypt, and now France. He came home on leave on Tuesday of last week, and returns today. He met Johnson, who worked for Knowles, wine merchant, Parliament Street; likewise E Tindall, who was with us; Sergeant Birkhill, J W Smith, H Lockwood, who, by the way, is reported missing, and Dent, named "Major", as well as Oddy, Ted's son. The last two he saw only three weeks ago, and they wee well. Then he has seen Harry Robinson, Taylor, Syd Dawson, and Simpson. Robinson and Simpson were in the Salvage Corps. Eaddie met Frank Jackson at Suvla Bay, and was the only Harrogate man Jackson had met. Eaddie attended the ambulance classes, with Jackson, under Dr Campbell Ward. Although the last two soldiers were training in Sheffield at the same time, they never saw each other until Suvla Bay. Private Eaddie wishes to be remembered to all his old friends, wherever they may be.

 

Harrogate Herald - 19th September 1917

W H Breare letter

To Private J W Smith

Am afraid the address you sent us is not sufficient. Send us in full and we will put you on the list for the Herald and try to send you a watch. We are bound to do this in turn. It is not that your friends are less generous, but that there are so many more boys to care for.

 

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