An 18 year old Newarker goes 'Over the Top'

Former Magnus Grammar School boy writes home, 1916

This 1916 account of a narrow escape in the trenches of France, was sent home in a letter to his parents by an 18-year old Newark boy, who had recently been a pupil at the Magnus Grammar School.

"We went over the top and I came back safely through an absolute hail of bullets without a scratch. 

Raced back to own lines through a hail of bullets..... Bullet went right through his pay-book, mirror & cigarettes, but he Back safely sprinting 300 yards across No-Mans Land though a hail of bullets

I had two narrow escapes.  A piece of sharpnel pierced the brim of my tin hat.  And a bullet from a sniper entered my tunic below the second button, went into my right breast top pocket, through my pay-book and mirror, and the lid of a cocoa tin.  It cut all my cigarettes in half, and the bottom of the tin turned the bullet out again.  I also had two holes in my wool waistcoat and a smaller one in my shirt.

It was a wonderful escape as I ran 300 yards across 'No Man's Land' with a machine gun turned on me and sundry shells bursting.  I never expected to reach our lines gain.

I am out of the trenches now and many miles behind the line.... I am to stay here until I am 19 years old next February"

This page was added by Tim Warner on 03/07/2014.

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