Dysentery sufferer on his way home


A postcard and two letters have been received from Pte Claude Gilder, of the 1/5th Beds, who before enlistment was on our staff. They are mostly bright and full of confidence.

A postcard dated September 8th read: "Received our first mail yesterday. What joyful faces as we read our letters from home - and our best girls! Have got you papers up to August 14th all right, and they were appreciated. I am now engaged temporarily as clerk at Brigade HQ, owing to their clerk being down with dysentery."

Under date September 11th is the following letter: "Still keeping fit, bar having dysentery, but nothing to worry about, although I shan't be sorry when I get rid of the complaint for it pulls you down a lot.

"Have read the budget of newspapers, and didn't I enjoy reading the local news after being away from home for six weeks. My newspapers went round the whole Signal Section etc - about 50 fellows - and they were enjoyed!"

The latest letter is headed "M.E.F., Sept 28th, 1915," and reads: "I was quite eager to go into action and I should have been disappointed if I had not been with the boys but, frankly speaking, neither I nor any of us want another Sunday like that one [August 15th]. The pace was too hot to last long, as you can gather from the letters you have published.

"We now have six days in the trenches and six days out. They call it rest, why I can hardly see, for their are fatigue parties working day and night the whole time we are at the 'rest camp'.

"We have had officers from the 2/5th Beds as the reinforcements, or at least the majority of them. A second lieutenant who was put ashore at Mudros was left in hospital there, and Second Lieut Campbell, who arrived with reinforcements, has also been admitted to hospital suffering from sunstroke. Are there any men from the 2/5th coming out? We want them badly.

"We are not having many casualties lately, but when added to those admitted to hospital (the complaint being, of course, dysentery), it reaches quite a respectable total in a week.

"We were shelled this morning. The shells burst quite close - too close, in fact, to be comfortable - and it was a question of keeping in your dug-outs. We had one casualty - a policeman - who was strolling up the gulley.

Pte Gilder has since written to his parents, Mr and Mrs Gilder, 35 Moor Street, Luton, stating that he was in hospital suffering from dysentery. A later communication says that he is on a hospital ship, and the probability is that he is now well on his way to England.

[Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph: November 6th, 1915]