Pte. Arthur Kenwood — A Letter Home

Box H


D8861/008 — Waterloo Place, Lewes, 2017


‘Letter Home from Pte. Arthur Kenwood of Waterloo Place — Dave Middleton

Audio transcript below


“Pte Arthur Kenwood of Waterloo Place:

Just a line to let you know that I am alive and kicking after what I went through. Well, we went into the trenches on the 8th May and early next morning we were in for it, and I very soon got my birthday present, one that I shall never forget. We got about, I should say, 120 yards in front of our trenches, when I was shot through my chest, and it came out of my back. Of course I could not go any further. I was on the ground some little time, and then I sat up to have a look around. I saw a big hole where a shell had burst. I went and got in there to get out of rifle fire. Someone took my kit off, so I was there some time when some poor fellow came in. He was all to pieces. He lay across my legs, and when I went to get up, the poor fellow was dead, so I had a job to get my legs out again. However, I got them out at last, and I very soon began to find my way back. I started creeping along the ground, and then a big shell burst in front of me, but it did not touch me. When I got within twenty yards of our trench I got another shot, right through my leg, and then I was done up for a time. Later on I had another try. Still no-one to help me. Then I got within eight yards of our trench, and someone called out: ‘Come on, quick’. I said ‘I can’t come any further’, but he called out again, ‘Have another try’. Something seemed to put some life in me. I got on my hands and knees, and made the last dash, and I got to the trench, and someone pulled me in. It was a chap in the Black Watch. He put me on his back and took me somewhere. It was safe, and later on two of the Black Watch took me away on a stretcher to see the doctor. When we were there a shell burst on the roof of the house, and I got another wound. My head was cut open, but that was nothing much. I lost everything I had. No rifle and no bayonet, no kit. I even lost my cap. My trousers only had one leg. They cut the other off, so that they could tie my leg up. I was smothered in blood from head to foot. I expect I shall get plenty of letters when they send them down. I have not had any letters since 6th May, so I have written to my officer for them.”