20 July 1915
Please don’t think me bad, but when you read this letter I’ll be dead. They’ll take me out this coming dawn, and end my seventeen years born. Some said that I had run away, a coward afraid to fight and stay. I explained my mind was so destroyed – The bombs! The gas! The bloody noise!
I couldn’t see, I couldn’t think from breathing in that putrid stink of rotten flesh, decaying heads…my rations tasted of the dead. The rats inside the gaping mouths, gnawing at the eyes from inside out, Oh Mother, please forgive your son I never should have took the gun, or lied about my date of birth, they think that I am two years plus.
They want to warn my other chums, that might be scared to charge those guns, but there’s no difference to the stench, in no mans land or the muddy trench. So when they tie me to that stake, remember me for Jesus sake.
I will die the best I can – one day a boy – next day a man.