Dear Mr. & Mrs. Smith:
It is with deep remorse to have to write this letter that involves your son, Corporal Elijah Smith. He played a very important role in the attack against the Germans on July 1st 1916, and lost his life in the fight. You should be proud of him.
At 0730 hours the British and French troops, together, shoulder to shoulder, began to head towards the German soldiers to defeat and clear out a fair amount of them. The plan was once the Germans were defeated, the Newfoundlanders could further the attack, having less enemy soldiers left to carry on the battle. Sadly, the plan did not work out as expected and the British and French soldiers were very unsuccessful with many casualties that day. Since the Allied forces lost, the Germans knew they were going to be attacked again and were prepared with their strong army
At 0915 hours, the Newfoundlanders headed in, as the original plan had laid out. They were unaware of the unsuccessful defeat of the French and British and proceeded to attack the enemy from a support trench, nicknamed St. John’s Road. There were hundreds of brave first line soldiers, stacked liked rows of dominos. The brave young Newfoundlander soldiers had to climb over fallen Allied soldiers, with their faces frozen with the horror of death that descended upon them. Most bodies were stepped on, making a loud crunch as the weight of the new soldiers caused the frigid cold corpses’ bones to break, like twigs. The air was filled with the musky smell of death from the freshly killed bodies.
After passing through the trench, the remaining Newfoundlanders, including your son, had to make it to the open space passing over one very sharp, treacherous barbed-wire. The barbed wire was so dangerous that skin shredded like paper when contact was made, and the pain almost unbearable.
After crossing the open area and clearing the barbed wire, there was still a 500 foot slope to climb before getting to the German’s trenches. Elijah, your son, made it along with only a few remaining Newfoundlanders. There was a tree where the majority of the rapid fire was between our brave soldiers and the enemy. Elijah was struck in the forehead with a bullet, and was killed instantaneously, suffering no further.
I can’t even begin to tell you how sorry I am, along with our country, for the loss of your heroic son. Both his superiors and fellow soldiers thought highly of him, due to his fearless character along with the ability to