Thursday, 10 March 2016

Colmworth Man “As Happy as a King”

Colmworth c.1910 [Z466/1]

Friday 10th March 1916: Private Ernest Charles Thompson of the 9th Seaforth Pioneers has written a cheerful letter to his brother Albert at Colmworth.  Private Thompson and his comrades were fortunate to survived unscathed when their billet was knocked down by a shell, although all their rifles and equipment were blown to pieces. The demolition had worked to the Seaforths advantage as “we have a very comfortable place now, the remains of an old farm house, all sand-bagged inside, with a good floor, and we have a fire in it to make it better. We got some old chaff bags stuffed with straw for a bed, and we are as happy as kings. We have a gramophone in our company with about 100 records; our turn is on Sunday. We get plenty of good food.”

Private Thompson also described just how close the German and British front lines are to each other. “I was out the other day in the first line with a periscope. The Germans are only 70 yards off, and I could hear one playing a tin whistle, then split some wood. All the time I was waiting to have a go at him. Then he just had another look at our trench over the top and his view was short and sweet for a bullet was there in no time.”

Source: Bedfordshire Times, 17th March 1916

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