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

Letter from Gunner J. Coley.

[Bridgnorth Journal, 4th December, 1915]

Mrs Coley, of 11 Whitburn Street, Bridgnorth, has received a letter from her son, Gunner J. Coley dated from 1 Casualty Clearing Hospital, "Somewhere in France," from which we make the following extracts:-

"You will be surprised to hear from me from the above address, but don't be alarmed; I am not wounded. On Nov 11th at 9 a.m., I had to go to the trenches to take my officer some food. I reached the 3rd support trench in safety, and went to the telephone dug-out and found that he had gone into the firing line for observation purposes. So I went into the firing trench and found part of the parapet had fallen in. It kept falling in different places and what had not fallen the Germans were blowing down with large shell, called coal-boxes. It was 'hell let loose'.

I remained up there three or four hours, but could not find 2nd-Lieut. Kilpin, so went back to the telephone dug-out and afterwards returned to the battery. I was knocked down and buried by the trench being blown in on top of me, but I managed to crawl out and came back under heavy fire, and have not got a scratch.

I was cleaning some of the mess off my clothes when my officer sent and told me to pack up his kit and mine, as they were bringing him out of the trench wounded. So we came down to this hospital, and as soon as he leaves here I return to the battery.

It is very cold here and winter has fairly set in. Out of four telegraphists and the captain of our brigade, they have only found the captain's hand, so that they must have been blown to pieces. Lieut. Kilpin has his right arm blown about and peppered with high explosive shell. I am living in a house which was once as large as Stanley Hall, but we have to sleep in the cellars. I sleep on a shelf and under that there is a German buried."

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.