Dedicated to the memory of all the men and women of Bridgnorth, Shropshire, who died during the two World Wars.

Letter from Private Percy J. Griffiths, 8/10th Gordon Highlanders

[Bridgnorth Journal, 10th June, 1916]

We have received the following letter from 13381 Private Percy J. Griffiths, 7th Platoon. B Company, 8/10th Gordon Highlanders, whose home is at North Gate, Bridgnorth, dated June 2 :-

"Having the energy to write a letter after sixteen days in the trenches will let you know that I am feeling fit. I must say they are awful trenches, and the weather is equally rotten. This is about the worst part of the line for land mines. We never know when we might be launched into eternity. For the majority in the vicinity when a mine is exploded it is just a ten-second deluge of earth, planks, rats, and sandbags. By the way, there must be a heavy death role among the rats when a mine does go up, as there seem to be about ten families in every square yard of ground. However, I think we are better than the Germans at mining ; we seem to be always nearer the mark with ours, and consequently do more damage.

I was one of a party putting up wire entanglement last night, and I can assure you it is a ticklish job. We are barely forty yards from the Germans at this point. We haven't to speak or make a sound; every time a star light goes up we have to bury our noses in the mud, and quickly too. However, we only had one casualty. There are rather a lot of dead lying near to the German trenches, as the result of a bombing raid by us. Immediately day breaks the Alleman starts "strafing," and we retaliate, so that until one gives up it is almost impossible to hear one's ears. The things we dislike most are trench mortars; you see them come wobbling through the air like ducks on the run, and the noise they make is enough to awaken the dead.

By the way, I never mentioned that I had been down one of our mines and listened to Fritz slogging away at the chalk, on the same job as ourselves. There is a special listening apparatus, not unlike a doctor’s stethoscope. I think I have said sufficient, and here come the orderly men staggering up the trench with our tea, so I will conclude.”

This memorial has mostly been compiled from official sources. It would be good to be able to expand it with more personal material - memories, stories, photos, etc. If you have any suitable material or any corrections please contact Greg. For news of updates follow @BridgnorthHeros on Twitter.