Letter home from a rainy trench

FALLEN SOLDIER Pte Ernest Teale, confirmed dead after he went missing during a retreat from Mons, Belgium.

FALLEN SOLDIER Pte Ernest Teale, confirmed dead after he went missing during a retreat from Mons, Belgium.

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A young soldier wrote home on a scrap of paper to tell how he buried his friend in 1914, this month’s Bugle reports.

Batley Carr trooper Tom Webster, 20, of the 2nd Dragoon Guards, had been battling German forces since the beginning of the war.

His father was John Webster, secretary of Batley Hospital Ex-Patients socials.

Tom wrote to his father, mother and sister from a rainy battlefield: “Just a few lines whilst I am lying in the trenches, plastered in clay. I am pleased to inform you that I am quite well, but I have had some hairbreadth escapes.

“Only yesterday, out of a troop of 28, there were only 11 of us left. My poor chum was shot dead through the brains.

“I buried him, and we had a short prayer over him. How sorry I do feel for his parents.”

His account is among the items in the latest edition of the Bugle, the monthly newsletter produced by Batley and Birstall’s Heritage Lottery funded Project Bugle. Copies are available at Batley and Birstall libraries or by emailing info@projectbugle.org.uk.