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2nd Bullecourt letter


digger5410
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I recently found a letter written by my late grandfather 5410 Pte A.A.G Voller serving in the 19th AIB to his then friend(later wife and my grandmother) about his experience at 2nd Bullecourt

May 9th 17

"My Dear Pearl

It is more than a pleasure to write this it is with thankfulness added because of my recent experiences. Our great preparations for a big attack was at last completed and on May 3rd we made our first attempt. We left our dugouts at about midnight and proceeded to our jumping off mark and there had to lie until the appointed time to move. We were all in waves or lines and just when the moon set (about 4am) our big guns began to spit fire. Imagine if you can hundreds of small drums rolling as fast as the drumsticks could move, with scores of big drums being banged at the same fast rate, added to this the swishing screaming whistling sounds and you have only a slight idea of that bombardment. As soon as it started so did we move. In long lines we slowly but surely neared the German trenches. He sent up his usual flares and searchlights which made the scene all the more weird and also as bright as daylight and his guns and machine guns began to bark. The noise was terrific. The noise terrible, yet we reached his barbed wire and got through stumbling and slipping into numerous shellholes until we could go no further on account of our guns playing on his front trench so we got into shellholes for cover and to wait for our barrage to lift and for orders. Nothing came and we could not see our lads only those who were near us so we had to wait. Dawn broke and midday and we were still in the holes, couldn't go forward or backwards and under very severe gun fire from of all descriptions, expecting every minute something would happen. At last night came on and the officer told us to get rid of our weighty gear and make a dash for our own lines by crawling on our stomachs through the barbed wire, taking advantage of every hole we came to and risking the machine guns and rifles of Fritz. Well we reached a small trench which was held by some of our lads and both sides of us were pleased to see the other. We were then told that a false order had been given and our boys obeyed. They said we were ordered back. But when they got back(those that did) they were ordered to charge again which they did. Where we were, we had been practically cut off between two fires and therefore had never had or heard the order. I lost a lot of my mates but some will come back again after getting over their wounds. Poor old Kelsey I have heard nothing of since. We went off the mark, side by side with another mate, but when we reached the Wire I lost sight of the other two. They have been posted as missing but I am not giving up hope because he may have been severely wounded and not brought in or he may have been through a different dressing station to ours, so he may turn up again soon, I hope he does.......

Well after, some more lads came and relieved us and now we are at rest camp. Very severe fighting is still going on and Fritz is getting it warm........How I wish peace would come and that we could all return again, yet there is a duty started and must be finished before we can enjoy again that priceless thing, peacefulness. How many souls are crying out for this and how strange to us it would seem to be living in peace and quietness. I have my stripe again and I keep it this time I think."

The 19th went into action that day 14 officers and 550 OR strong. When relieved by the 4th AIB on 4th May they had 2 officers and 203 OR answer the roll.

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Thanx for posting this

Stephen

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