Reference: Midland Mail
Dated 4th June 1915

Letter from Tpr W H Walker LY, an account written for the Midland Mail.
(extract of letter)
     We were all having our dinner on Sunday 9th when the order came for the trenches, but we did not think we should get into the first line at the time. But our Brigade had been sent to make full strength up so we had a hurried dinner and then got into the old London Buses. After a ride up to the trouble line again, which we had only just left, and had not got the sound of guns out of our ears yet. We went into the trenches as soon as it was dark and things were quiet during the night. We were thinking that we were going to have an easy time, when at dawn the German guns of all sizes and shells of every kind fell like rain on our trenches and into them, blowing our men into the air and burying me and two others. They kept it up for about an hour and a half. they must have had about 50 guns on us, for they blew our trenches to bits and then all was still for a time. In about half-an-hour the German Troops came in massed lots, thinking we had all been shelled to bits, but what was left of us started rifle fire on them and made awful gaps in them. They did not rush up to us, as we expected, but walked slowly into some long grass and waited. Then the guns shelled us again and the troops on both sides of us had retreated, and we did not get any order till they began shelling us again.
     We had about 200 yards to go to the reserve trenches, with the ground full of deep holes and with shells dropping every few yards and raining lead. It was awful to see your Pals drop in front of you in the run back, and the gas from the shells making you feel so faint and tired and expecting one in the back every yard you went, as you had to pick your way over fallen comrades.
     What were left of us got into the back line, but the Major and 20 men could not get out of them as when they tried to leave the trench they were shot down; so they remained in the trench for two hours with Germans on both sides until every man was killed. Major Martin did some terrible work to them - one Trooper was loading his rifle for him all the time, so his total stands very high in loss to the Germans. He kept on until he was riddled with bullets. There were some very brave deeds done in fetching our wounded into the trench, that had fallen in retreat, to save them being taken by the foe. Then they shelled us again for about on hour, which caused some more loss, and then our artillery came to our help and started shelling them - you could see them flying into the air.
     We then had our roll call and numbered only 120 out of 300. We had the order to charge and take our lost trench. We gave a yell and then started for them under cover of our artillery fire. They gave us some rifle fire then jumped out of our trench and ran back to their own - all who had time, but a lot paid the penalty, with the bayonet, for our fallen comrades. It was that terrible 200 yards that cost us such a loss both ways. All our officers acted like soldiers all the time and died like heroes. Three would certainly have had the V.C. if they had lived. We then had to go make the best of our trenches for cover as in most places they were only large holes. We lost everything we had got - caps coats and all our rations. It was enough to get ourselves and our rifles out of it in the retreat. It was more awful as it was raining all the time and we had to lay in the mud. They sent the gas over towards us, but it did not all reach us as it went with the wind back onto them. That was why they did not charge us after the first shelling at dawn as it settled them and did not do much damage on our side.
     I shall close now or I shall fill the paper all up with sad news. This is only a little as no one can picture what it is like.