The contents of a heart-wrenching letter sent by a North Wales solider to his parents reveals the true horrors he witnessed during the First World War.
Daniel Williams, from Groesffordd, Hendrerwydd, had joined up in 1915 with his best friend William Pritchard, from Penygroes, near Caernarfon.
Mr Williams who was training to be a teacher, was at Normal College in Bangor with William.
They trained together at Kinmel Camp, Bodelwyddan, and by June 1916 they fought alongside each other in the first Battle of the Somme.
But Mr Pritchard took a bullet to the chest during the Battle of Delville Wood and died. He was just 20 years old.
Mr Williams, who was always known as ‘Danw’ to his friends and family, wrote a heart-wrenching letter to his parents Jane and Daniel Williams, giving a graphic account of the battle that saw the Allies and Central Powers losing more than 1.5 million men. He didn’t spare his parents any of the detail.
He writes: “Dear Parents, just a line to let you know I’m alive and safe. We have just come back to the reserve trenches after going through a perfect hell.
“We were ordered to take a wood where the Germans were holding out.
“It was a terrible place, it smelt of death, something like a Chamber of Horrors. Scores of dead bodies lying about and of the trees there only remained the bare trunks broken and shattered.”
The 20-year-old continued: “You at home have no idea how terrible this war is.
“The rattling of the rifles and machine guns and the shouting of men were deafening. Men were falling all round me never to rise again.”
About his friend’s tragic end, he wrote: “My best friend was killed, who was with me at college.
“We slept together every night. I shook hands with him before entering the wood and told him to stick with me, but in the fighting we got separated and when next I saw him he was dead with a bullet in the chest.”
He writes in the letter that during the battle he spotted a German sniper “calmly sniping our men off”, but he put five bullets in him and “he sniped no more”.
In August 1916 he was badly injured and was sent home to recover at the Southern General Hospital Bristol.
His friend’s death and the effects of the First World War meant he lost his appetite to become a teacher, according to his daughter Mary Parker, who is in her 80s.
She said: “My father never talked about the war but I think obviously it badly affected him, he didn’t want to become a teacher after that and instead ended up working for Denbigh County Council as a press officer.
“He was a lovely, gentle and very kind man.”
Daniel’s other daughter Buddug found William Pritchard’s grave in Delville Wood 100 years after the battle. He was only 20.
Source : DailyPost