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Gunner R H Ward


Harrogate Herald - 23rd May 1917


Gunner R H Ward writes : 

The battery, - Heavy RGA, came out some 14 months, and has done some excellent shooting. There are already five honours in it, so that must speak well as to its reputation. As far as casualties go we have also been lucky, although we have been in some tight corners. At A--- we were not allowed to put our heads outside during the day. We gave Fritz a bit of a strafing, and, of course, he had to retaliate. One shell struck our No 4 gun pit, and the fuze penetrated the trail. Another shell drove in the entrance to our sub-dugout. Luckily no one was injured in any way. Whilst at F--- (in open warfare) a Bosche 'plane espied us. Here again Providence was again with us, for although he sent over 80 shells, not a single person was hurt in any way. The only damage to report was three greatcoats riddled, a gun-sheet torn to shreds, and two boxes of cartridges destroyed. During a lull in the firing, I visited G---. Here the Germans had been in occupation for about two years. His network of trenches and wire must have been marvellous. Some of his dugouts had even 80 steps leading down to them, so there is no wonder he took some shifting. Our artillery certainly did its work in this bombardment, for you could not fins a piece of ground a yard square between the shell holes. My own opinion is that this advance was far greater than that of July of last year. Is it not a recognised fact that to capture enemy guns intact is the greatest disgrace which can befall an army? Did not Sir D Haig report this amongst his 200 odd captures? There is still much to be done, and if only the CO's at home and peace cranks would recognise it and do their utmost to help us, the war would finish much sooner. In a certain German town a strike was on. The authorities called all back to work, and told them that those who wished to return to work could do so, and those who still persisted in staying out would be sent to the Army at once. The desired effect was obtained and work was commenced immediately.


Harrogate Herald - 27th February 1918

Asking for the Harrogate Herald, R H W [I suspect this is Gunner R H Ward by the style of his writing] says :

You have not the slightest idea how a little home news is relished. In fact, literature has been conspicuous by its absence in the battery. So far we have only had one issue, and that as far as I have seen consisted of a few penny novels and a few novels greatly condensed into leaflet form. It may surprise you to know that I have been out here some fourteen odd months, and have received no consideration from the town. If my mind does not lead me astray, the local battalion had a gift sent to each of its number about Christmas time. I do not attach blame to anyone, but surely a Royal Engineers and Royal Artillery or a townsman who has joined any branch of His Majesty's Forces overseas should not be numbered amongst the transgressors. The Vicar of t Mary's has my name, and it was also on the roll (during Mr Froggatt's curacy) in Harlow Church. Things in that quarter have greatly altered, which I deeply regret. Our battery has gone through some stiff engagements, and has done some excellent work. One instance will suffice : One officer and five of he men have (in a batch) been awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre. This was in one affair. Several of our own medals have been awarded. We have also had our fair share of casualties, and that has not deterred us from "carrying on". There is one thing which we out here greatly resent, and that is this continual talk of "striking". I wonder what they would say if every Tommy out here had to "down tools". I bet they would be the first to squeal. Perhaps they would like to see the Old Country overrun by Fritz similar to what it is in Northern France and Belgium. I'm certain I do not, for the destruction both to life and property and the desolation caused makes one's heart ache. It is appalling. Surely they (the would-be strikers) are earning enough money. They also have a good bed to lie upon, and the usual home comforts, baths, etc. whereas what do we get, and especially this time of year? Any kind of a funk hole to sleep in, unless we happen to be on a quiet front, and then we have time to prepare things a little, and no fires until darkness has set in. you may think I am (to use an Army word) "cribbing" at my lot. Well, I am not. They do not have to think they may be "going West" any moment of the day. At night there's gas, shrapnel, lyddite, and bombs always trying to find you out. Really, if they gave it a moment's thought they would not think so much about "self".


Harrogate Herald 10th April 1918

Postcards sent to Mr W H Breare, thanking for the Herald &c :

R H Ward


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