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Walter Leach Tells How He Was Wounded – Local boy hit by piece of
shell which cuts leg open from hip bone to knee – wound is not yet healed.
Attorney and Mrs. Harvey B. Leach of this boro have received a letter from
their son Walter, in which he describes how he was wounded. The letter
Allerey, France, Dec. 9, 1918. Dear Father:
Your letter of December 9th reached me yesterday. As it is the
first that I had since back in July it surely was welcome. Imagine
I will get the rest some day.
Evidently you didn’t receive the first two letters I wrote from here,
for I mentioned in both how I was wounded. However, from some of
the others you must by now know that it was in my left thigh – flesh wound
only – running from just below the hip bone down the back of the leg to
about the knee.
I was lying on my stomach when hit. The piece of shell passed
over my head ripped my pack and gas mask to threads, also a large map in
my hip pocket and took hold of me as above. Another piece caught
the muzzle of my rifle, splintering it in all sorts of shapes and causing
the stock to give me a crack over the ribs that laid me out. I was
lying on the gun for sometime. Still another chunk of steel was kept
from getting me in the right shoulder by two bandoliers of shells I had
slung over it. Oh, yes, there was hole dug in the ground about 8
or 10 feet in front of me that would hold a team of horses and wagon.
We went over the 26th of September from near Avancourt – about 12 miles
west of Verdun and the Meuse river. Drove up through Malancourt to
near Montfaucon the first day. The second day went past the latter
place about a mile. These two days my regiment was in the lead and
all we had to face was machine gun fire and now and then a one-pounder
– but most of the time those rained like hail. The third day our
regiment had …….back to support – staying a ….. the second evening.
All day we caught a great deal of shrapnel, 3 and 6-inch stuff; some
of which seemed to me to be coming from the east side of the Meuse river
quite a number of miles off. Saw one lad about thirty feet from me
disappear almost entirely; others went up in confused mass of arms legs
Just how far past Montfaucon we were when I was hit I’ve little idea
– would judge about five miles. We had been ordered down a lee side
of a slope for a few minutes rest.
Wrote a couple of weeks ago that I had been operated on to sew my wound
up. With good luck I should have had it entirely healed by now.
However, some inflammation set in and the stitches broke – so wound is
still open. Sort of looked to see skin grafted, but it would have
taken a big piece.
Coming along near supper time and I certainly am hungry. Only
had a poor appetite one over here – that was just after coming out of ether.
Am sorry to miss that hunting trip this year, but will be in shape to hustle
you next fall. With love, Walter - W. S. S. -
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Published On Tri-Counties Site On 11/15/2003 By Joyce M. Tice Email: JoyceTice@aol.com
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