Leeds Mercury 1914: Letters from the Front

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Following the outbreak of war in August, 1914, the Leeds Mercury encouraged readers to send in letters sent to them from relatives on active service. A century on, we are re-publishing a selection of these in the coming months.

Fine Work of the KOYLI

Sergeant E.A. Hinderer, who is serving at the front with the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, writing to his sister, Miss T Hinderer, of the Royal Hotel, Dewsbury, gives a vivid account of the fighting in which his regiment has taken part.

Sergeant Hinderer says: “We are under heavy shell fire, and I am writing this in a trench. I have made it, and you can bet it is pretty deep. As far as I can tell we are getting on A1. What you saw about our battalion losing heavily, was at the Battle of Le Cateau, August 26. I lost all my chums. Total killed, wounded, and missing of our battalion, was 600, three-fifths of our strength. Of my platoon, 58 strong, 18 of us got away.

“Our battalion is the weakest in the brigade now. We were the last lot to leave the trenches, and the General said he could not recommend anyone, in particular, for bravery, because he would have to recommend the whole battalion and he marvelled at some of us coming out at all.

“I won’t be at all sorry when it is all over because it is an awful sight the fight and, my word, how it shakes a man’s nerves. I have not had a shave for three weeks and a wash for ten days, so you can tell what a state I am in. I am glad that everything is going A1 at home.”

Review: Cafe 71, Street Lane, Roundhay, Leeds