Charge into 'a perfect hell'


King's Shropshire Light Infantry badge

An interesting letter has been received by Mrs Taylor, of Langley Road, Luton, from her son Pte A. W. Taylor, serving with the King's Shropshire Light Infantry in France. He writes:

"I am writing to tell you about the attack we have made. I am very pleased to say I am quite well and came through it all right. It was a perfect hell, and it seemed impossible for anything as big as a rat to live.

"I will tell you how it was. Last Wednesday [April 19th] the Bedfords lost a trench. They could not help it as they were blown out, and they could not take it back again. The Yorks and Lancasters made a charge and failed to take it.

"Then they called on the 'crack' Shropshires ('that's we'). We charged through a hailstorm of bullets and shells and took the trench back. We had a lot of casualties. They were piled up. We took 28 prisoners and killed a lot of 'Boches' - they were Prussian Guards.

"I am going on fine, although it has shaken us all up, and we are now out behind the firing line. Tell A. that he ought to have seen us in that charge. It was exciting but horrible. Our commanding officer died of wounds [Lt. Col. Edward Bourryau Luard, aged 45, died on April 24th]. He was a fine chap, and we are all sorry to lose him."

[Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph: May 6th, 1916]