WW1 Alumni

Bennison, N

N. Bennison

Private, 24th Company of London (Queen's)

N. Bennison sent a letter home which was published in the March 1915 edition of the Edward Alleyn Magazine. His letter read thus:

"We have had our first experience of war at last. We left our billeting area a week ago, and since then we have lost touch with civilisation, passing through ruined villages, with here and there a church absolutely razed to the ground by shell fire. It fairly makes one's blood boil to see these once lovely buildings now nothing but a heap of bricks and mortar. One church had nothing left standing but two crucifixes, one in the graveyard and one amid the ruins of the church itself. The graves were burst open, showing the bones of the dead, and the shell holes were big enough to hold twenty men.

For two nights we went digging up the first line of trenches whilst bullets were whistling all over the place. On the first night one man was wounded and another killed. My 'pal' was just by the man who was killed. He said he did not feel like doing any more digging that night. Seeing one of the chaps you know well get killed is the sort of thing that makes you want to get at the Germans.

Some days ago I was walking along a road with our platoon sergeant, with some eggs and bread we had bought from a house still inhabited, and as we were getting near our billet, a ruined barn, three shells dropped quite close to us, one just behind me and two just in front. Still a miss is as good as a mile. We came out of the trenches two days ago and are now in billets. We had no casualties in our company. It is very quiet up there now."