Lieutenant Patrick Duff served with the 460th Battery, 147th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (29th Division) on Cape Helles, Gallipoli, and wrote a series of letters home describing the general conditions and the determination of his Turkish adversaries with a resolute cheerfulness.
… I write this in the midst of a terrific battle: it is now 5.30pm and since 7 this morning we have been hard at it. From what I hear on [the] telephone we are doing very well – I know we meant to make a real business of it today. I am pretty deaf and fearfully hot: everyone else is all right.
War is so full of chances: three signallers today who really took considerable risks in lying wires out in the open and along the fire trenches, return unscathed to our camp here where they promptly get hit drawing their rations and filling their water bottles at the water carts!
We went for the Turk in proper style today, with mine and maxim and rifle and gun and aeroplane and destroyer (at sea) and howitzer and heavy gun and balloon. Expect after today we shall have a quiet time for a bit.
… I write with my last stump of indelible pencil by one of the guns and with the ground strewn with empty cartridges-cases. The gunners are sitting about on the trails of the guns, oathing and drinking tea… (More action) Am now standing by all loaded up in case of counter-attacks, so that if evil Turk shows his nose round the counter it may be blasted off him by one word.
8pm Have had more firing and am again standing by. I believe we have made a biggish advance; anyhow they sent up the right troops last night. It was the most impressive sight seeing them simply crowding up, all proper men, and with all the same expression on their faces. Hope they are all comfortable in the Turkish trenches.
I shall be dashing about most of tonight getting ammunition: am inclined to think that one earns one’s money occasionally. It will be rather a stirring night, as each side will be so nervous of the other that will be constantly shooting up flares which momentarily light up all the ground between the trenches and tho’ [sic] one is miles away, one feels most ‘conspicuous’…
Must go and eat. Best love to all. Will write a better letter soon.
Your very affectionate
Love, Tommy: Letters Home, from the Great War to the Present Day is a poignant collection of letters from a hundred years of British and Commonwealth military history
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