Our infantry are simply marvellous

Sapper A. W. Godfrey, who is with the Royal Engineers at the front, in writing to a friend at Caddington says: "One doesn't realise the situation unless he is here to take part in this great drama, which is no theatrical play but reality.

"I am sorry to say we had the misfortune to lose five of the boys at one place. It was on October 4th. I am not allowed to stated the name of the place, but you can see by the papers where the fighting is taking place. I can tell you it is fighting too!

"I am writing these few lines while we are having a few hours rest in a glass house, amongst the grape vines, where we have been staying the night. We seldom stay two nights in the same place now we are on the advance, and we are sitting here all ready to move at any moment as the infantry and artillery are in full action only a quarter of a mile ahead, banging away as hard as they can. We are expecting orders to join them at any moment.

"The battle we are in now we have been in since Monday, October 12th, and we have driven the enemy back about about 25 miles in a week, which, of course, is very good and, of course, that puts the lads in good spirits.

"The way our infantry are fighting and putting up with the hardships they have to contend with is simply marvellous, and a credit to any country in the world. No men in the world could fight better and go into action with better heart than they do, and I can't help praising them up from what I have seen since I have been out here. I daresay you know that we, as an Engineer Corps, get attached to many different regiments and, of course, we see how they are faring.

"We have come right across country this last fortnight, and, as near as I can say, we are about 250 miles from where we were a fortnight ago. To see the destruction the Germans have done throughout the country is simply heart-rending. Poor people turned out of house and home, some old and some young, nearly starving and glad to pick up what the soldiers have to spare, so you can imagine the state of these poor people.

"Some people in England think they have hard times, but to see the hardships some of these poor people have to put up with is simply awful. Some have their homes and furniture all burned to ashes. English people have something to be thankful for that this war is not fought on English soil, but there, we are beating these treacherous Germans back all along the line, and the sooner they are wiped out and finished with the better.

"I think every man is doing his best; at least I speak for all I have come across yet, and that is a great many."

[The Luton News, November 12th, 1914]