Letter from Ralph Munday to his sister, 17 November 1915

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Letter from Ralph Munday to his sister, 17 November 1915
by Ralph Munday
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R. Munday 2/Lt.

On active service

20 NO 15

Mrs. J. Denton Barker
Mount Pleasant,

9th Sherwood Foresters
33rd Brigade.
11th Division

Dearest Kath

At last my letters can thruthfully be marked on "active" service. We landed here on Sunday last ((illegible text) 14th) "we" means I and a batch of other subalterns, including my friend Egerton who is in the same battalion as I. In case you do not understand, in the infanctry there are us (illegible text) regiments as such, but for the purpose of distinction & for sentimental reasons, the names are retained and the (illegible text) battalions are called after their regimental names with a number added. Perhaps you would explain this to them at home, as in writing one is apt to use the word regiment & battalion as synonymous, and they may not understand (illegible text) I am you may be able to gather from my letter home. Am writing from a quite comfortable dug out just behind the front line trenches. We are this week, in support; which means that we do not go into the firing line trenches, but have constant fatiques to do most of the day & night. We actually go a bit further than the front line trenches, sometimes. We are more or less under fire always but at most times one is pretty safe until bullets begin to (illegible text) & (illegible text) on the ground within a yard or so one does not notice the fire much. I have not been (illegible text) really (illegible text) fire yet. I gather that that is a little unpleasant while it lasts, but if it does not go on too long from my impression at present, I gather that one very soon recovers one's (illegible text). From our position on this side is of a hill, and we can see the sea and a good deal of our and the enemy's trenches on both flanks. We are able to watch bombardments both from our own guns & those of the enemy; in the (illegible text) of gun fire, our side does the most. Yesterday afternoon & the day before there was a tremendous shelling of the enemy positions by our ships & land batteries. It is a serious game, neither side sees much of the other * the only people who do any damage (except when one side is making an attack) are the snipers & the guns. The country where we are is very rocky & covered in low scrubby bushes, which cover the rocky gullies which seam all this part of the country; so the snipers get very good cover for this work. The guns also (illegible text) do not do much damage, any way the enemy's guns do not, I hope ours are more affective. The two things which are most troublesome are dust & flies. The latter are not as bad as those of Egypt. We had a (illegible text) thunder storm the night before last which not (illegible text) the dust but made most unpleasant pools in communication trenches. But the ground had dried up since then & we (illegible text) plenty of dust again. Water, of course, is not very plentiful but we get enough to wash & (illegible text) for tea, but it mostly has to be brought up by hand from behind the line, so we cannot be wasteful with it. While we are out side we are not so well off for pay as we were in Egypt, as we only draw 10/6 a day instead of about 17/6 that we got there. We were then drawing what we called Colonial allowances, for all sorts of strange things such as lights, bread, (illegible text) &c. Of course we had much bigger expenses there, than we have here. Food is about the only thing to spend one's money on here. We came from Alexandria in the sister ship to the Royal (illegible text) that was sunk in less than five minutes, some months ago. We had most excellent food on board on the way we picked up a couple of boats with their crews, from a cargo steamer which had been sunk by a German submarine ahead of us, they were glad to meet us; but they had been given time to get some provisions & water into the boats & they had bought their (illegible text) they had a monkey on board which they took off several times, but each time he escaped & jumped back on board & the poor chap next down with the ship. We are shifting tomorrow I think into the firing line proper. It is not a very dangerous plas as a rule. It is not such dangerous work as we have been on as a matter of fact. We should probably be there for about a week & then we shall probably move further back. We got a better time than the (illegible text) we are in the firing line as we have dug outs to get into when not on duty.

You'll up to the have managed to keep healthy & cheerful. There is no need for anyone to worry about me. Hop you, Mead & Jim are all well


Your affecti. brother

Ralph Munday