Source: Per post by Allan Miller at the 18th Battalion Facebook Group.
Somewhere in France.
August 24th 1917.
Dear Mother and Father:-
No doubt you will be expecting to hear from me sooner, but if you knew what I have gone through since the 15th of August. I know you would excuse me for not writing sooner. Suppose you have read the papers about the terrible battle we went through, and lost so many of the 186th boys killed and wounded. I was right among them and it was sad to see your chums falling so fast. The battle lasted for a week and you may be sure I was all in., for it was a case of no sleep, and very little to eat, but I am thankful for escaping so far.
I got a slight shell shock and was lost from the battalion for 3 days, and I think I was reported missing, but I am safe and real well now. I helped to bury Delahaunty[i], Ivan Wilson[ii], David Aitkin[iii] and Jack Dyer[iv], they had a very nice burial in a cemetery back of the lines. I cannot see for the life of me how I escaped for the shell killed and wounded many, and I was only 10 feet away from the men were killed.
I never want to witness such a sight again. The officers say it was the worst battle in the war, even worse than the battle of Vimy Ridge and the Somme. If you had seen me after the battle was over I was a sight my clothes all in rags and my self scratched.
But I am all right now and fitted up with new clothes. I helped to capture two Germans as prisoners.
Hoping you are well.
From your loving son, Parnell.
[i] Private Jeremy Delahunty, reg. no. 880096.
[ii] Private Ivan Chester Wilson, reg. no. 189302.
[iii] Private David Aikin, reg. no. 880497.
[iv] Private John Clements Dyer, reg. no. 189746.
[v] Captain Garnet Garfield Brackin.
[vi] Lieutenant Douglas Robertson Oliver.
[vii] Lieutenant George Johnston Spencer.
[viii] Lieutenant James Nathan Mowbray.