A letter from Pte Emmanuel Goss, Somerset Light Infantry

Written in ‘Buzzer’ dug-out, Somewhere in France. Feb 1916.

” We have been getting that sort of weather that gets on a man’s nerves, rain and mud up to your waist. When you walk one yard, you slip back two! Still the boys keep merry and bright.
Do not think I am sad and gloomy; far from it. I only hope that God spares me to see this busines through. They tell me that the Germans are running out of ammuntion? And I expect that you read in the newspapers where they fired a 1’000 shells at our little bit of front-line. All I know is that they fired off a good many, but I did not stick around to count them. Happily none of our lads were hurt.
We had our Christmas in the trenches, this makes two now for me, the next one, at home with you I hope. There was no truce this time, our artillery chaps sent the Huns Christmas puddings with lead in them. We came out of the front -line on the 29th December, of course we did not get duck or turkey, but we still had an enjoyable time. As we sat down to our late Christmas lunch, the Hun artillery sent over their good wishes in the shape of 4 ‘Coal-boxes’*, which dropped not 40 yards from us. Nil damage. I am as always much indebted to you and the people of the village for all your gifts and many kindness’s.

* A Coal-box was a German 5.9mm, High explosive shell. It could make a crater approx: 36 feet in dia. X 18 feet deep. And burst with a lot of black oily smoke, hence the name.

Pte 6467 Emmanuel Goss. S.L.I. Was killed in action at the Somme, on 1/7/1917 and is buried at Serre Military Cemetery, France.

He was born in Llangeinor.

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