There are no letters in the collection from the period of Fred's service between the end of November 1916 and June 1918.
This letter is written by Fred a few days before he was wounded, sadly the 3rd page of that letter was missing.
June 3rd 1918
My Dear Mother
I will first of all thank you for your most welcome letter which I received yesterday (Sunday) morning. I received one from you and one from father at the same time. You do not know how these two letters cheered me up for about a couple of hours before day break. I was on sentry looking over the parapet and old Fritz let two shells right in from of my face and I was not touched I can say nothing only that it was Providence watching me I am glad to say that I am alright and do not feel any effects from the experience.
[first page ends here]
Now you must not get the wind up when you read this but I thought I would tell you. I also received the Exam and Guardian by the same mail but I almost dread open the Guardian for nearly every week I see in it that one or more Marsden lads have paid the great sacrifice there are two in this week Tom France and Lewis Bottomley. I do feel sorry for Mrs France for she is a widow woman. You will see that I am writing this with my pen well I have had an ink pelet given me so I have filled my pen up I want you to send me some ...
It appears that Fred joined an active service battalion in France some time between June and September 1916.
He was wounded in early June 1918 and taken to a Casualty Clearing Station (CCS). The following is a letter from a nurse at the clearing station.
29 Casualty Clearing Station
B.E.F 6 6/18
Dear Mrs Firth
Your son - Pte R.F.Firth
204732 W. Ridings has been brought to into this hospital wounded in the head & is very ill -
We are doing all we can for him - I will write to you again
A short and shaky handwritten letter - Fred's first letter home after he was wounded
June 11th 1918
My Dear Parents
I am just trying to write a few lines to let you know how I am getting on for I know that you will be uneasy, for I expect that you will have received by this a letter fomr the matron and the chaplain for they both said they would write to you and let you know how I was getting on.
Well I have been wounded in my head with a small piece of shrapnel it went through my tin helmet but i am thankful that I came through with my life. I would have written sooner only I was too ill to write the first few days but I am improving
[first page ends here]
nicely I am still at the CCS how long I shall be here I do not know. I should like to get to Blighty but you must not have much hopes about that I don't think they are getting across now with slight wounds. I will close now for I don't feel like writing any more today
I send my love to you all at home
You loving son
He finished service in the 9th battalion (which formed at Halifax in September 1914 and landed at Boulogne 15 July 1915). His Medal Card states that he was discharged on 29th August 1918 with Cause of Discharge "W", indicating that he was wounded.
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