“The last job they would ever need done for them”

An Ascot man serving with the Canadians shared some of his bleaker experiences, including the burial of dead comrades.

THE MILITARY HOSPITAL at the Grand Stand re-opens this month.

THE WAR.

Gunner George Cannon, son of Mr. and Mrs. Cannon of Swinley was drowned off the Dardanelles on April 17th, when the Transport Maniton went down. Captain Denison, Commander of his Battery, writes to us:-

“I am very sorry to lose Gunner Cannon, as he was a first class man and an excellent soldier … The Battery is doing well: but I am afraid that will not make good the loss to his own people.”

He was an excellent young man: and our most true sympathy goes out to his parents. RIP.

Mr. W. Francis, our much respected parishioner, of London Road, Ascot, has received a letter from the King, in which his Majesty writes in terms of warm appreciation of Mr. Francis’ four sons and one son-in-law in the army. One of these sons died of wounds in South Africa early in the war.

“If GOD is for us, who can be against us? If GOD is not for us, all our munitions, all the heroism of our men, will not avail to secure the victory. It may not yet be patent to all, but it is undoubtedly true, that at this moment the whole fate of our Empire depends upon this – whether we have among us, in the Churches or outside, enough spiritual might, spiritual power, spiritual decision, to grasp firmly the Unseen, and to use the forces that GOD holds out to those who put their trust in Him.” (R.F. HORTON)

THE FOLLOWING EXTRACTS from one of the heroic Canadian Contingent (and Ascot parishioner) will be read with interest:-

“You will see by the papers how the Canadians have done, and the men we have lost. We ourselves took 2 lines of trenches from the Germans last week. But we lost a good many men, and then we had to stay there and hold them under fire all the time, until we were relieved by the Gordon Highlanders. I saw my old lot that morning, the 5th Battalion. They have lost all but 6 officers: and there are only 97 of the old men left who went out to France with me… They will have to give us more men to make us up to strength, or we shall soon be all wiped out. But these must do the best they can: that is what we are here for. The Tommies call us the “mad Canadians.” …

I was in one of the German trenches last week and there were a good many bodies lying about, so some of us volunteered to go out and bury them. I went, and the first body I went up to was one of the Scots Guards. He had been dead for 5 days. I took his card off, and buried him as well as I could, and marked his grave up with a Cross. I shall report him to his regiment. Then we set to work, and buried at least 40 more, Guards, Welsh, Warwicks and Germans. Poor fellows, they had been lying there for a week. It was the last job they would ever need done for them.”

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, July 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/5)

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