Letter from Roy Thomas Bruce to Maud Goodenough Bruce, 16 May 1915 (identifier: 135656)

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My dearest girl:
I hope the above
address describes to you exactly
where I am, because it is the
best I can give you. We landed
on Tuesday without any trouble
except a little shrapnel which
did no damage. We are occupy-
ing a line of trenches on a
ridge above the sea & have a
most glorious view. The sea is
a perfect blue with two islands
studding the distance, the coast
line stretches in front of us for
some miles, with flat cultivated
land, mostly olive groves thrown
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into relief with rugged ridges
a few hundred feet high &
covered with a short scrub.
The sunsets are perfectly gorgeous,
and the scene is one of peace
& beauty if it were not for
the continuous cracking of rifles,
the ping of bullets overhead, the
bombardment by the heavy guns
of the warships & the reply from
the Turkish batteries inland.
Since we arrived we have not
had a minute of silence. The
Turks have kept up an in-
cessant rifle fire all day &
all night, but they do practically
no damage. We happen to be
in a very safe corner here & an
occassional bullet or shell bursting
fairly near is all there is to
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worry us.
We had one piece of bad luck
the night before last, poor old
Harold Hay was killed. He was
accidentally shot by one of the
Nelson men. Volunteers were called
for, to go & bury some of our dead
about a ½ mile away, & he was one
that went. It was at night &
he had gone a little distance away
to try & locate a sniper who was
firing, on his return one of our
look out men mistook him for
a Turk & shot him dead.
Officially he is reported killed in
action. I am writing to Mrs
Hay
& I intend to tell her
exactly what happened, because
I am afraid of yarns reaching
her afterwards if I simply say
he was killed. Of course you
will see her & I want you to
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explain as much as you can
that no blame attaches to anyone.
It was at night & these things are
always liable to happen. It is
very sad and very unfortunate but
he died well performing a voluntary
service to the dead. Poor old Harold,
he had the makings of a fine
man. He was one of my best
men & I miss him sadly in the
troop.
I don't know how long we
are going to occupy this line, but
I will write as often as possible.
We sea bathe every day, it
is lovely, occasionally a shell bursts
near and there is a general stampede.
So long for the present darling,
don't worry your old head. Kiss
Helen for me, & take care of your-
selves.
Your loving husband Roy.
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