On the Battlefield


Part of a private letter, under date or August 26th from a wounded soldier in the British army to John Maskell, of 1159 Adams Street, Chicago, Ill. Published by special permission.

I am all in. I am in a hospital in England. I am sorry to say that I am deaf and dumb through shock and wounds. I have been on the armored cars during the last five months. I was a motorcycle dispatch rider and armored car driver, I was driving a 60-horsepower armored car, I could not drive my car through the dead bodies fast enough. The bodies of horses and men were so thick that it was impossible to get through.

All at once, a fifty-pound shell hit my car and blew it up in the air. When they got me from under the wrecked car, I was deaf and dumb with my ribs crushed and my spine hurt. That was a month ago. The other three men that fired the Maxim guns inside the car were blown to bits.

It is an awful sight on the battlefield. Sometimes I would open wide my car and drive.

into a regiment of Germans at about 50 miles an hour. The ear weighs four tons with the Maxim guns; three men besides myself and ten thousand rounds of bullets, inside. And when I would take a mad drive through a regiment. I could kill about fifty to a hundred every time, After making a dash for it my wheels and radiator would be full of blood and legs and arms, when I got back to the base. Then I would have to get all flesh and bones from my wheels. It nearly made my hair white, I’m tired of killing people. It is on my nerves. If you had seen me this sun. mer up to my eyes in blood! We might as well be in Hell as in a charge. We have to stand face to face and batter each others brains out. I have had my bayonet through fellows bodies, I have been so weak that I could hardly pull it out again. When you are like that, you do not care what becomes of you.” I only wish I was with you now. The battlefield is like Hell. The sky is lit up all night by torchlights and shells. We have fist fights and bayonet fights. We are killing one another any way we can. I am so weak now I cannot write any more this time.