Arthur Douglas Crease Letters, Diaries and Scrapbooks
Letters from Arthur Douglas Crease of Victoria to his brother Lindley Crease and his mother Sarah Crease; instructions for the offensive of July 26, 1917; a regimental notebook, diaries and scrapbook. Learn more.
*All transcriptions are provided by volunteers, and the accuracy of the transcriptions is not guaranteed. Please be sure to verify the information by viewing the image record, or visiting the BC Archives in person.
Times [Tuesd]ay, July 18, 1916.
Going into Action.
An Officer's letter before the battle
Though the writer of the following letter must remain anonymous, no apology is needed for publishing it. It was written by a young officer to his parents on June 30, the day before the beginning of the British offensive: -
I am writing this letter to you just before going into action to-morrow morning about dawn.
I am about to take part in the biggest battle that has yet been fought in France, and one which ought to help to end the war very quickly.
I never felt more confident or cheerful in my life before, and would not miss the attack for anything on earth. The men are in splendid form, and every officer and man is more happy and cheerful than I have ever seen them. I have just been playing a rag game of football in which the umpire had a revolver and a whistle.
My idea in writing this letter is in case I am one of the "costs," and get killed. I do not expect to be, but such things have happened, and are always possible.
It is impossible to fear death out here when one is no longer an individual but a member of a regiment and of an army. To be killed means nothing to me, and it is only you who suffer for it - ; you really pay the cost.
I have been looking at the stars, and thinking what an immense distance they are away. What an insignificant thing the loss of, say, 40 years of life is compared with them! It seems scarcely worth talking about.
Well, good-bye, you darlings. Try not to worry about it, and remember that we shall meet again really quite soon.
This letter is going to be posted if . . . Lots of love. From your loving son,
"Qui procul hinc, Ante diem periit, Sed miles, sed pro Patria"
The writer of the letter was killed on the following day, July 1, and his Commanding Officer in a letter to his parents says:-
BC Archives, MS-0055 Box 15 File 1 / CREASE FAMILY / Letters from Arthur Douglas Crease to his brother, Lindley Crease, 1916.