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 AT THE FRONT. [Bridgnorth Journal, 23rd January, 1915]
Colour-sergeant F. J. Foxhall, 1st Shropshire Light Infantry (son of Colour-sergeant J. T. Foxhall, stationer, etc. Postern Gate. Bridgnorth) writes home "from the front," under date of January 2nd, the following being extracts from the letter: —
The chief factor we have had to contend with is the weather. We have had more mud than we can possibly put up with, for as fast as we get the trenches something like habitable. so the rain washes the mud in again. We are getting plenty of clothing, and good stuff at that. but it is no use trying to keep dry, although it might be managed if we changed every five minutes. At the present time I am wearing a pair of gum boots, overcoat, and mack, but the mud hangs on to the bottom of the coat and mack, making them feel like a ton weight, to say nothing of our feet sticking in the mud, which makes getting about one continual hard struggle. If you try and imagine what it is like carrying a 50lb. box of biscuits along a trench a mile long, with mud up to the knees. you might get some idea of what the ration parties go through every night, or, rather, I should say this is what they should do, but some of them prefer to walk on the top of the trenches and chance the stray bullets. These parties have a hard job to reach the five trenches, but they are made of the right stuff, and manage it somehow.
I have no "scrapping" to tell you about, as the fighting in our region is confined to occasional shelling and sniping on both sides. Just as the Old Year was dying out, a village behind us was shelled. From both sides rifles and singing welcomed the New Year. We gave them "Auld Lang Syne," and one of the Germans shouted to us to know how we would like to be down Piccadilly? He was invited into our trenches, but he declined, although some regiments got quite "pally" with the Germans on Christmas Eve, but it did not stop them from exchanging a few shots on Xmas Day.
We are expecting to be billeted shortly, and 1 can tell you it will be a great treat. After living in mud huts like ours, one fully appreciates anything that will keep the wet out; even sharing a pig's-sty with a pig in it would be a luxury to what we are in now. Yet, were you to walk along the trenches, you would get the surprise of your life; for your imagination, no doubt, pictures faces as long as a fiddle, but I can assure you such is not the case, although they certainly grumble, but of course this is the British Tommy's privilege.
Two of our boys have been awarded D.C. medals — their names are Private Moore (wounded) and Lance-corporal Clarke, who is known far and wide as "Nobby". Moore was wounded when out in front of the trenches seeking German snipers, and he had quite a number of the species to his credit before they stopped him. Clarke is still following the same trade, although two of his fellow snipers were recently wounded.
January 3rd. - I am now comfortably settled for a few days in a French billet along with Sergeant E. Jones of Brockton. We are in a cottage with a French woman and two daughters, this being the first time we have actually billeted on the inhabitants, and I must say we appreciate it very much after the time we have had this last week. These good people have gone so far as to give up their two bedrooms to us, they themselves sleeping in their sitting-room, which rather upset us as it makes us feel as though we were trespassing too much on their kindness.
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.