Neil – Mother: 19 Apr 1918

Oaklands Section
Walton on Thames
Dear Mother,
The letter enclosed with this was not wasted after all. I waited in No 2 Stat over a week though before starting out for over here. On the Friday night some Gothas came over there on their way to Blighty, and about a dozen batteries opened out on them. They were dead over the Hosp. at the time and only about 1500 ft up so that there was some row. It made good watching, sometimes about 20 shells bursting up above at once, and a spice (?) of excitement added by the shrapnel clipping around. They did not drop any bombs. It would have been stiffness to have got a Blighty wound from one after having already been marked Blighty. I did not tell you before on account of the censor that there was the very dickens of a raid on Boulogne when I was in Hosp. about 11 miles away on a hill near Xmas. We could see the whole thing pretty well. There must have been 40 bombs dropped in one minute there. Things were very willing (?) Over 100 Froggies were killed.

We left Abbeville Wednesday night. I was on my stretcher in garages and ambulance waiting at level railway crossings at Abbeville for 4 hours before I got on the train. The ambulance train arrived at Boulogne at 8.30 a.m. Thursday. I was in the last carriage, and on being put into the ambulance was told that the Hosp. ship had just been filled and could take no more cot cases, and of course they would not let me walk. Instead they took me up to No 3 Canadian Hosp. (Boulogne) feeling as blue as it is possible for anyone to feel under any circumstances. But all the stretcher cases were evacuated at 3 p.m. the same afternoon and I sailed in the Hosp. ship about five. It was pretty rough, but I just managed not to be sick. I was nearer it though that (think he means ‘than’) at any time on my way from N.Z. I then came on here by Amb. Train and motor. I was examined this morning by Capt Rossiter and Major Hosking, two M.D.s who were on the ‘Tahiti’ with me and I understand I am being evacuated tomorrow (see PS) to a Hospital for cases no longer severe at Torquay, the port from which Vic has left I suppose by this time for N.Z. My temperature has dropped now, but I still have a tonsilitis. I am feeling A1 though. I am wiring you for £20, though I don’t suppose I shall require all that, but it is best to keep a certain amount by as a standby. At present I have not got enough to pay for the cable and am doing it with the credit standing to me in my paybook. (£7) I hope you send it through the bank and not through the pay office, though I suppose you are more likely to send it the latter way, since you will not have received the letter asking for the £15 (which of course will be cancelled by the cable) when you receive the cable. I don’t think I’ll reign in Blighty more than six weeks or so unless I strike a job, which of course I shan’t refuse if it comes along. Have still had no mail yet from anyone.


20-4-18 Not going to Torquay today