You Got Mail,
From the War Front.
Letters From Hugh Charles Maynard,
His Uncle Charlie, His Brother Herbert Leslie and Dear Everybody.
Eugene E. Maynard
The letters in this group are not originals and the hand writing, was very bad, so Gene had to read them, using a magnifying glass, and even then it was very difficult. It is because Gene had a lot of military experience that he could make some sense out of most of the writing. I was also a fact that Hugh Charles was in combat conditions, when writing most of these letters. Not an easy thing to write letters under these conditions!!! It is very hard thing, to realize that a person would actually look forward to combat, but it must be true, as I would tend to believe anything that Hugh Charles says!!!!What a great man!!!!
Eugene E. Maynard
Eugene is now going to interject a special letter from his Great Uncle Hugh Charles Maynard to his brother Herbert Leslie Maynard, who is Eugeneís Grandfather!!!
8th of September 1914
My Dear Old Herbie,
Just a line to say, Good-by old chap. I am off to the front today and leave in an hours time. So my chance has come at last!!
My address will be.
1st Kings Royal Rifles
Needless to say, there is no time for a proper letter. Let me hear from you one of these days, old chap!!
With much love to you all,
Your affectionate brother,Hughie
Dear Everybody, September 26, 1914
A last I am in the thick of it, and I write to deafening sound of the huge guns, going off all around us. We are to gather together with our Brigade, that has been held in reserve, this morning, ready to start at any moment. But I must not mention places or give away any information likely to be useful to the enemy, should this letter fall into their hands en-route.
I have been traveling from the sea-port base since Tuesday and arrived here last night. The trains were fearfully and had to stop at different places for 6-8 hours at a time, on occasions. We were a party of 18 officers and come in a long train full of stores. All trucks except our carriage. We were well received everywhere and at some stations, there were enormous crowds watching the troop trains go through, and we were tremendously cheered.
Yesterday, we got to the rail head at 9 A.M. and then came on in transport wagons, all sorts of motor vehicles with well known names on then - two of them were from Maples and one was from Johnnie Walker Whisky - others from Warings & Gills, and a few Liberty taxi cabs. Our party separated at the Motor Transport with Gryades - There were three of us for the 6th Brigade and we were dumped down at a Refilling Point, together with the bacon and jam and other stores, where we subsequently got with our various Regimental transport wagons and so on to our regiments.
On my way, I walked ahead to get warm and also to see at close quarters, the effect of the German shells, which had been making quite a noise all day long and I came across one of our batteries, beautifully placed, which the German gunners were shelling and one huge shell burst within 30 yards of where I was standing. It came with a screaming noise and burst with a terrific roar throwing up a fountain of dust and earth. I went over to examine the place and found a hole you could bury a house in, and fragments of the shell all over the place. I took a small splinter, which I hope to bring home.
The transport wagons only move at night to avoid being shelled, so we hung around until dusk. It gets fearfully cold here as the sun goes down and I am glad of my British warms (Long underwear.). I found the rest of the officers of my unit in a small Cafe in a village, that had been abandoned by the owner, when the German's had advanced on Paris, and then been sacked when the German's retreated.
Everything is very rough and all sorts of discomforts are put up with cheerfully. The Battalion has had a bad time, we have, had eleven men wounded, but so far none killed. In the 2nd Battalion, they have fared worse, but they are in a different Regiment and we donít see anything of them.
Shells are flying over our heads, as I write, making a fearful din. No one takes any notice of them. Even at 1000 yards off, Black Maria shells of the Germanís make a startling noise and could not believe when I first heard them, that they could be so far off.
Our men are wonderfully cheerful and a fine band of mates, mostly unshaven and it is hard to recognize them. I got quite a little welcome, when I went around this morning. The artillery duel is slaking off a bit now - 9;30 A.M. and we heard that another German attack has failed, if this proves to be the case, we shall be able to take off our boots and have a rest. I hardly got any sleep last night, the noise of the shells and the hard tiled floor of the kitchen, where we tried to sleep, kept me awake. I am off now for a lie down - 5P.M.
We are off to the trenches in an hours time, about dark and shall be there for a few days, I expect. I canít tell you any details of our position here, except we expect to have a lively time of it. No time for anymore.! So please pan this around. I will write again soon.Hughie,
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