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Thread: Ward 10, Edinburgh War Hospital.

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    Default Ward 10, Edinburgh War Hospital.

    I have just come across an old letter of my Mothers in some of her effects and is the first time have seen. Is a letter written by her father I assume on the 8th. July 1916 the hospital being in Bangour, West Lothian.

    Dear Sir, The task I am taking upon myself of writing you regarding poor Simpson is not, by any means, an envious one, but I feel sure that you would like to have some details as to the manner in which he met his death, also the way in which we, who have worked and fought alongside him for so long- cherishing his memory-demands that you should know the high esteem in which he was held and the true soldier he proved himself to be. We took up our position in the firing line late on Friday night, June 30th, in expectation of making our attack the following morning at dawn. All this time the artillery bombardment, on both sides intense, and the trenches where our guns kept putting an ever increasing number of shells into the enemies front line trench, At 7;30 the artillery lifted and commenced shelling the German communication and second line. Then we began to go forward, but the huns were waiting for us and almost as soon as our first rifle fire. The barrage of shells mostly shrapnel which the germans had stretched along no mans land made it absolutely impossible for anyone alive to get through, so after advancing a 100 yards towards our objective, our thinned ranks were forced to lie down and await orders. The german soldiers in front of us were very brave and not afraid to expose themselves as they rose up in their trench to take aim at us. It was here that Simpson fell. I was away to his left and did not see what happened, but a chap who was near to him told me that Simpson was sitting on one knee potting at the huns for all he was worth. this chap saw him hit and he (Simpson) immediately fell forward. must have hit him in a vital part and I am glad to think he would suffer no pain. His death robbed us of one of whom we were all proud to have as a comrade. The fellows in his platoon fairly idolized him, when the few of us who are left have been talking about him, I have seen tears start in their eyes. The position our battalion had to attack was immediately in front of Thierpval, with La Boiselle on our right and Beaumont -Hamel to our left, from 4 to 5 miles N.E. of the town of Albert, mouth of the River Somme. You will have seen from your newspapers that it was around here that the most sanguinary fighting took place and it was only after a very severe struggle that La Boiselle was captured. I have not seen a newspaper for a few days, but by that time Thierpval ( the place we were expected to take) had not been penetrated. To show the bloody nature of the battle all the sergeants in our "A" company, except one who was wounded, were killed, and out of a total of 769 men with which we went into action , only 50 unscathed men answered the roll call on the night of Saturday ,July 1st. My wound is fast healing and I may be transferred to a convalescent home at any time. A lump of shrapnel got me amongst the ligaments behind the left knee and I lost a good amount of blood . It immediately stiffened up and I could barely put my foot to the ground , and to make matters worse, a few days after the knee filled with water, but that is all gone now and I can walk with a limp. However that will soon go , and I am very lucky to be alive today. I also have the satisfaction of knowing that I must have picked off at least a dozen Huns before being hit myself.
    Yours Truly. (Sgd.) J.K. Douglas ( EOE) as copied from paper as found.

    Just shows the things our parents and Grandparents didn't tell us. My maternal name is Douglas.
    Last edited by j.sabourn; 15th January 2017 at 09:44 AM.

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    Default Re: Ward 10, Edinburgh War Hospital.

    ##that is very sad to read john it brings home to us what the warriors went through in the WW1.....some finding courage to sit up and fire and some taken down before they had a chance to take a shot what a great piece of history to have in your family ....it surely must be passed down to the younger generations of your family...yes the older generations seemed to keep the bad news to themselves when poss ......and certainly did not constantly carp on about there problems ..which to me just seems to sow discord.......regards cappsy

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    Default Re: Ward 10, Edinburgh War Hospital.

    The thing is Cappy my mother had 2 sisters they are all now dead, the letter I printed was a copy so one of her sisters family must have the original. If it was my Grandfather he didn't die until I was in my twenties and he to my rememberance would have been entitled to the GOS before Marian, my grandfather was also called Hugh, so may of been one of his brothers, the original could be anywhere amongst a dozen cousins or half cousins, or even have been thrown out. My mother was a wise old bird and would of had a copy made when she saw. A definite family member is on the Church front Rememberance stone at the front of the Church in Tynemouth. Where it says J.W.Sabourn killed in Flanders 1916, and on the Cenotaph in Whitley Bay on the Links another J.W.Sabourn Killed Singapore 1942. The next J.W.Sabourn will be Killed hopefully in Bed when fell out of drunk in 2037 on his 100th. birthday. Cheers JS
    Last edited by j.sabourn; 15th January 2017 at 11:20 AM.

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    Default Re: Ward 10, Edinburgh War Hospital.

    Very interesting reading John, some points raised by your relative show more of the senseless slaughter of a generation passed. as the writer mentions the lead up to the battle of the Somme on July 1st 1916, to the left of his regiment, (part of the 29 div) was Beaumont Hamel. This was the objective of the Royal Newfoundland regiment, (part of the 88th brigade). When they went over the top that morning they totaled around 770 men. during that morning their losses amounted to 324 killed, 386 wounded. The next morning at roll call only 68 answered their names. This action at the time virtually wiped out the regiment. Today as we celebrate Canada day on July 1st, Newfoundland honour their war dead from the WW1 battle of the Somme.
    regards, stan carter.

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    Default Re: Ward 10, Edinburgh War Hospital.

    Stan he may of even been part of the Canadian regiment you mention. There was always talk when I was a kid of various family members emigrating to Canada in the early part of the last century. Cheers JS

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    Default Re: Ward 10, Edinburgh War Hospital.

    Hi All.
    My Grandad died in 1922 from the effects of gas in the first world war the war to end all wars, then we had all those young men in the second world war, my brothers best mate killed when torpedoed at 16. And the subsequent so called and unnecessary small wars since, now we are watching again children being killed in an unnecessary war in the middle East, and if that isn't enough Obama is trying to start the war to end all wars in Europe, man must be the most stupid animal on earth, I despair.
    Cheers Des

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    Default Re: Ward 10, Edinburgh War Hospital.

    It just goes to show how stupid the warw as. Good men thrown in as nothing more than cannon fodder whilst the ones in power sat at home thinking up other ways of moving forward maybe another 50 yards at the risk of loosing another 500 men. All for nothing when you see how Europe is today.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
    World Traveller

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    Default Re: Ward 10, Edinburgh War Hospital.

    All stared by Politicians. Why does 70, million people have to do what a Politician says. ?? Are we all that stupid????

    If Politicians want a war with someone, then form a Battalion of Pollies and send them all into battle, and leave the rest of us in peace, the sooner they are all then wiped out there could be peace on earth
    Brian

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    Default Re: Ward 10, Edinburgh War Hospital.

    Re # 1.
    There are 72,247 names inscribed on the Thiepval Memorial, those killed in battle without a grave, every single one of them betrayed by successive British governments who have given away the freedom they thought they were fighting to defend.
    May they all R.I.P.

    FOURO.

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    Default Re: Ward 10, Edinburgh War Hospital.

    I have a relative on that Memorial, no grave,
    My grandson went there last summer with school, and saw it, he brought back a small pice of rusty metal , supposed to be a fragment from a shell.
    Cheers
    Brian

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