Private Thomas Willard Smith24th Battalion Thomas (Tom) was the son of Arthur and Susan Smith, Port Maitland, Yarmouth Co., N.S. He enlisted with the 40th Battalion and transferred to the 24th Battalion in England. Tom was wounded October 1, 1916 and invalided to England and was in a British Hospital for some months.Dear Mother and Dad:You will see by the writing paper that I am on my way to England. We are expecting to arrive early tomorrow morning. Have been sailing about four hours down the La Havre River and will be at sea in about three more.I suppose you have heard that I was wounded. Yes, I got it after all but never mind. We got what we were sent after anyway and that was about 700 yards deep and two lines of Fritz’s trenches but, believe me, what was left of us when we got there you could take out in a Ford car.It was ten minutes past three Sunday afternoon, October 1. We got over the bags. Our guns were to lift their fire at fifteen past three but we got orders to crawl out to our barrage so as to be ready when it lifted. Over we went and Fritz opened up right away with everything he had. It came from both sides for five minutes. Then our guns lifted. We rushed to their first line, soon took that, but thee was some fun. We got our revenge and no mistake. Then we made for the second line and here is where we lost the most of our men and that is where I got the bullet.There were hundreds of Huns there with plenty of machine guns and bombs and they certainly made good use of them, too. They had snipers all around in the trees, old houses and all over the side of the hill. Bullets were flying like hail and their big guns were doing their best to stop us. They stopped a good many alright but every man went until he fell. What was left of us took the trench and held it until we were relieved. We had just got over and were clearing what was left out of the trench and I started to do a bit of doctoring. I had tied up four or five fellows and was on my way over to another one when bang! my leg gave way and I dropped in a shell hole. I cut my pant-leg off and found that the bullet had gone trough my thigh about five inches above the knee.I fixed myself up and waited for darkness. Then I started crawling out. It was two miles and a half to the dressing station and they were shelling pretty heavy all the way, but I got out with only a scratch or two from them. Have had three or four days around different hospitals in France. Now for England. Don’t worry, for I will soon be able to hobble around. Can almost now.Loving son,TomOnce recovered from his wounds, Tom returned to the trenches. He was killed in action October 15, 1918.
Wounded on the Battlefield
Casualty Clearing Station. A Nurse being presented by some wounded Canadians with a dog brought out of the trenches with them. October, 1916.Wounded soldiers have Field Medical Cards attached to them.Photo Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-000984
Stretcher case for England (October, 1916)Canadian wounded officer being put on a Hospital TrainPhoto Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/
Train leaving Casualty Clearing Station for England (October, 1916)Photo Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/