Saturday 10th November 1917: Two Luton brothers who were wounded in a recent battle in the Ypres area have both written to their parents at 132 North Street describing their experiences. Private Albert Anderson told them:
“We went up on the 20th, and went ‘over the top’ on the 21st, and I think we can say we have been in one of the biggest battles of this war. We had to go through a wood to get to our objective, and the wood was simply swarming with Germans. They were all round us, sniping us, and what with bullets and shells and things, it was a perfect hell. We took our objective, though, and took a lot of prisoners, too. I think the Germans had a lot more casualties than we, although we had a great lot. I got slightly wounded in the shoulder with a bullet, but it is nothing serious. I didn’t trouble to go to the dressing station with it, and it’s getting on very well.”
The British soldiers dug themselves in and cleaned their muddy rifles, but when attacked by the Germans they were forced to retire under a barrage of fire. Private Anderson “gave up hope of ever getting out of that lot alive”, but now feels it is “certain this old war cannot last much longer by the way things are going on – the Germans can’t stand it, I’m sure”.
Signaller Horace Anderson, who was more seriously wounded than his brother, has sent a letter from the Royal Victoria Infirmary at Newcastle:
“I am in good old ‘Blighty’ once more, and, by jove! It is a perfect treat to be out of that lot for a while, and I thank God that I came out with my life. The day before I got hit was the hottest time I have had in my life, but I came through all right, and then the next day was not so bad. I was just returning to the battery after being forward, and I had got within about two yards of shelter when over came this big one, and, of course, I was ‘napoo’ for a while. But it gave me a nice little ‘Blighty’ one. I have a gunshot wound in the right leg just below the knee.”
Before the war Signaller Anderson worked for Messrs Kilby and Sons, but moved to Davis Gas Stove Company to work on munitions before joining up in April 1916.
Source: Luton News, 8th November 1917