Contributed by: tony richardson, on 2008-11-07
|Year of Birth||1881|
|Year of Death||1963|
|Place of Wartime Residence||Houghton Le Spring, Durham|
A kindly family man, and good grandfather to me. He had been a door boy down the Durham pits in his early teens. His story was that he was going for water one day, in the trenches, when he was attacked by a pilot of a red German plane. He was chased through the trenches, but managed to unsling his 303. He had been an excellent shot. He said he was "Fair fettled", but took a "Lazy shot" at the pilot, who pursued him further before veering off. The Red Baron was found later to have a single 303 bullet in him, I believe.
"[A bullet] passed through my coat... too close to be pleasant"
I have an electronic copy of a letter from an American field hospital, in which he begins by asking after his family, especially a daughter, who had been ill. The letter then describes a terrifying incident, in which his platoon was held down by a German machine gun nest. "At the least movement a chap made, he was shot at and killed... for three and a half hours we played dead". A sniper took a shot at him, and it "Passed through my coat, a tin box of cigarettes, and the submarine that Minnie gave me the night I left. It did not penetrate the inside, but it was too close to be pleasant". The full letter is an extraordinary read.