Source: Per letter he wrote relating the placing of a cross on Sergeant Spooner’s grave in the Galt Daily Reporter on December 8, 1915.
PLACE CROSS ON GALT MAN’S GRAVE[i]
PTE. PETTY[ii] WRITES REGARDING DEATH AND BURIAL OF SERGT. SPOONER
Mrs. E. J. Petty, 78 Chalmers street[iii], received the following letter from her husband, Pte. E.J. Petty, well known in this city, who is in the firing line with the 18th Battalion:
I guess by the time you get this letter that you will have heard of the death of Joe Spooner. I was with him when he got shot. He fell into my arms and myself and a lance-corporal on examining him found he was shot below the right breast. The stretcher-bearers came up and we left him in charge of them. When we were coming back from the trenches we were told he was dead; he died about half an hour after he was shot. That was on Sunday night about six o’clock, the 14th of November. The next morning I found where young Bill Spooner was and told him where the body was lying in the dressing station. We were just in time to see him before he was buried. Burial took place in the Canadian cemetery and when we arrived our Captain and Major and two chaplains were waiting. Tell Mrs. Spooner that I had charge of the internment and was assisted by Mr. Patience (also of Galt). When they make the cross we are going over there again and fix it up and make it look nice. Our captain, major, and the chaplains shook hands with Bill Spooner before they went away and told him how sorry the were at loosing a good man.
This is a dangerous job, carrying rations up to the trenches to our A and C company men. It was our turn, D company, this week and we all take turns. We were all marching up a road to get the rations. No. 13 platoon leading and No. 14 platoon about 20 yards to our rear. Spooner was leading No. 14 and I was right behind him. We were all talking and laughing and all of a sudden a bullet came – bang – and Joe said, “I am done; I’ve been shot, boys.” I asked him “Where did you get hit?” and he said “in the stomach.”
A SOLDIER’S POEM
Enclosed with the letter was the following piece of poetry that had been clipped from some periodical:
My little wet home in the trench,
Where the rainstorms continually drench,
There’s a dead Turk close by,
With toes turned toward the sky,
And he gives off a terrible stench,
Underneath, in the place of a floor
There’s a mass of wet mud and straw,
And the Jack Johnsons tear
Through the rain sodden air
O’er my little wet home in the trench,
There’s snipers that keep on the go,
So you must keep your “napper” down low,
And the star shells at night,
Make a deuce of a light,
Which causes the language to flow,
We’ve biscuits and “bully” to chew,
For, it’s months since we tasted a stew,
But with shells dropping there
Yet no place can compare
With my little wet home in the trench.
[i] Galt Daily Reporter. December 8, 1915. Page 1.
[ii] Petty, Edward James: Service no. 53951.
[iii] This street address appears to have been renamed.