Volume 2: Letters written on active service, M-W, 1914-1919 - Page 79
They had great faith in our boys. Excuse grammar Bob, but I am trusting this gets through "O.K" I want you to build on it. For a whole week, day after day was the same routine, then we moved round a little further into what we call the "Donga", it was one time a water course from the hills and mountain leading into the sea, which was about a mile away from our Camp. We had two more weeks here – We picked this spot as a shelter for our dressing station, our troops also were camped above us, I call it a shelter, but travelling backwards and forwards one was half exposed, our enemy so found this out, as day after day we could always expect a shell or two of Schrapnel; they got 25 of our boys in two days here, so that will give you an idea there was a couple of weells [wells] of water just below our ranch, one in the open which used to also get there turn; whenever they saw a mob there, one could always be on the alert.
It was here that our second in command – "Major McManeny" got killed. Him and the Colonel while on their way back from the beach, where they generally went for their morning swim; went to inspect the Well – Jonny Turk must have spotted them putting one in which got the Major, killed him instantaneously. I helped to carry him to his last resting place A little Graveyard, which was made just behind our lines. He was a fine man, one of our best Officers, it cast a gloom amongst the boys, who were always so proud of him – had great faith in him. This continual same routine day after day, odd ones getting poked over, here and there. If they saw a mob in swimming they could put a shell right amongst them, although our boys took no heed of them, that dirty and lowsey, one chanced the risk for a good swim. My mate and I never missed a day, we used to look forward to it, sneaking away when there was nothing doing.
The heat and flies were awful, after the charge of the 18th in which they got out up so, they took a couple of Turkish trenches in which we backed them up, the Hundreds of dead bodies lying between the Trenches and in them, our boys made parapets of them, covering them up with dirt, they began to swell up with the heat and the strays catching them at times, it made such an awful smell, then with the flies I can tell you that our boys had it pretty rough for some days. One had to eat his food with all this, but at the finish we got used to it; such a sight between those trenches I never wish to see again. Both sides were cut up, lying there to perish away; such were the conditions of this [dash] place. Our boys did a lot of work here, digging trenches at first, they were only about 2ft. 6 when completed, one could carry a patient through any of them without being exposed. Relieving the Gurkhas for two days, under Hill 60 in which I will relate another of my experiences.
It was dusk when we marched off, (two squads of Bearers) and one of our Companys (it was so dark) didn't know where he was it was a case of follow the leader. At last we came to our
[Major James Whiteside Fraser McManamey, 19th Infantry Battalion, killed in action 5 September 1915.]