Ms Vanessa Johnson
16 Whitehall Lane
7 July 1916
I thought I should write to let you know im safe and im recovering. I miss you and the rest give everyone a hug from me and tell Rosie I hope she's being good.
The hospital is constantly got new soldiers coming in suffering from nervous exhaustion and shell shock too so im not the only one, the doctor said it is an injury to the nerves and told me to rest and they are putting in place electric shock treatment. All the nurses are very sympathtic but sometimes when they think we cant hear them they call us all weak and say we are cowards. Im not suffering as much as most, a young gentleman has been learning to walk again yet he still wants to get back to the frontline. Yes, I am returning to the frontline soon so that's why I took this opportunity to write.
We had strict orders not to take prisoners, no matter if wounded my first job was when I had finished cutting some of their wire away, to empty my magazine on 3 germans that came out of one of their deep dugouts they was bleeding badly begging for them to be put out of their misery. They cried for mercy, but I had my orders, they had no feeling what so ever for us... it makes my head jump to think about it. One time I was in serious danger I was almost completely paralysed with fear. I was sitting with Taylor (a fellow soldier) on the fire-step of a trench during an intense bombardment,when it seemed certain that we must be killed at any moment. Shots fired around us; each moment threatened to be the last. I was conscious of biting the fabric on my top to prevent my teeth from chattering. If I had been alone on that occasion I believe that I would be dead now; it was the presence of others that saved me. It's not all been like that, one evening me and Owen was in the barracks and I recieved a letter from you for my birthday and it kept me going for so...
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