Dedicated to the memory of all the men and women of Bridgnorth, Shropshire, who died during the two World Wars.
LETTERS FROM A LOCAL SOLDIER [Bridgnorth Journal, 16th October, 1915]
The following extracts from a letter of Pte. P. F. Davies, 8th Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders (son of Mr A. Davies, School House, Norton, near Bridgnorth) :-
"We moved out of billets on Saturday last, and walked about five miles to where the communication trench began, and through quite two miles of this trench to our company station, this time D company. I may say that D Company was in a very warm part of the line, and it was quite interesting, as I'm sure you'll guess, to be in a trench 15 yards from the Germans - just imagine, only 15 yards. I went round all of it on Sunday to see it, and looked over the parapet. Well, it was almost impossible to see which was trench and which was a sap, for between the nearest parts of the trenches was a huge crater caused by a mine which the French had exploded there, but it's a very dangerous part to look over, of course, because it is subject to fire from both the German firing line and the support trench.
Each company takes 18 hours at this point and moves round in a circle. We moved yesterday down to the first reserve trench, and it is there I'm writing. It was in the abovementioned part of the firing line that we first met with the aerial torpedo. All the 'scrapping' here is done by bombs, hand and rifle grenades, trench mortars, and aerial torpedoes. These torpedos are about four feet long from what I could guess by seeing one coming, and filled with screws, old bits of iron, and, in fact, the pick of an ironmonger's scrap-heap. They go a tremendous height in the air before coming to us, and, of course, seeing one coming we can dodge it. At night they go up like a rocket, leaving a tail of sparks behind them. They are awful things to get unexpectedly. The Black Watch of our Division got one the first night they came up here, and it fell in the trench, killing two and wounding three, while another man was missing. He was discovered some time after (the night we relieved them, to be precise), about six yards from the German trench, where he had been blown by the concussion. I went up there just afterwards and saw him. He was only recognisable by the tunic and kilt, head, legs, and arms being blown off. Of course, his body could not be recovered. They send them mostly at evening and after dark, and every time they come out goes the candle with the draught and the noise is about three times that of a high explosive shell. So much for those beasts.
Since we came here our trench mortar men, grenade throwers, etc., have had a very busy time. Our only casualty in this trench so far is one killed. He was looking over the parapet at the nearest point to the Bosches - a foolish thing to do - and he did it all right once, but putting his head up a minute later at the same spot he got it through the head."
A later letter says: - "We lost one officer last time in the trenches, Lieutenant ---- of A Company. We discovered a flag set up by the Germans between the two firing lines. He set out one night to try and get it. He found it all right but in pulling it out he exploded the mine attached to it by the Germans and was killed instantly."
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.