Dedicated to the memory of all the men and women of Bridgnorth, Shropshire, who died during the two World Wars.
LETTER FROM A BRIDGNORTH SOLDIER [Bridgnorth Journal, 11th August, 1917]
We have received the following letter from 13381 Lance-Corporal P. Griffiths, 11 Platoon, C. Coy., 6th Gordon Highlanders (whose home is at 6 North Gate, Bridgnorth), dated August 3rd, 1917:- “I inflicted one of my epistles on you about June 1915, and I am now about to repeat the dose, trusting you have no objection. On Monday night we went up to the trenches. We lay there in comparative comfort until about 3.45, when tea, which had once been warm, was dished out. Sad to relate the usual rum ration was absent.
At 6 a.m. the whole of our guns opened out, and above all could be heard the continual rattle of our machine guns. “Fritz” behaved very decently; we had no more than a dozen shells our way. The noise was fairly deafening, and the trench behaved like a small boat in a rough sea.
An hour after this the order was passed along to move up to the front line. By this time, of course, “Fritz” had lost his first and second line, and was well on his way to losing his third line. On the way up there we passed boys bound for Blighty, and some who would never see Blighty again. Some scared-looking prisoners were also being escorted back.
Well, we got out over the top, afterwards reaching the front line. It was almost impossible to see where “Fritz’s” front line had been. After little or no excitement we reached his third line, where we were held up by a machine-gun. We had not many minutes to wait before before a Tank rumbled up and gently put the machine-gunner to where all good Germans are destined.
We advanced another mile, and then dug ourselves in. The Johnnies did not wait for the bayonet, but made off. We came across several concrete dug-outs, all of which contained Germans. We did not waste much time on them, for if they did not come up quickly we just sent them down a couple of bombs by way of souvenirs. It was an ideal day for the job. Unfortunately it commenced to rain about 2 a.m., and has never ceased yet.
The rain was a beastly nuisance, as, apart from nearly drowning us, it caused all our nicely made trenches to either fall in, or fill with water. Wednesday was a rotten day, and we were up to our knees in mud, and to add to our discomforts “Fritz” shelled us as hard as he possibly could from 2 p.m., until 10 o’clock. However, on the whole, we were quite content, as we had obtained our objective, after an advance of over two miles, and had suffered very few casualties. We had water in abundance, having found several cases of soda-water in one of the dug-outs; unfortunately he had not left anything with a little more heat in it.
About a week ago I ran across the 6th Shropshires, and had the pleasure of talking to a lot of Bridgnorth boys, who all seemed in rare spirits. I must desist now as I have about three sackfuls of Flanders’ mud to scrape off me. I received the “Bridgnorth Journal” to-day, and am pleased to note they contemplate giving the Tommy a little more encouragement in the way of higher pay. Although I must say they have been rather long about it.”
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.