Two letters by Lieutenant Frank Torbutt about life on The Western Front 1915-16
32nd D.A.C Royal Field Artillery - Private Correspondence to friends (1915-1916)
The first letter is addressed to ‘Dear Old Richard’ and is dated 14/09/1915 and is three sheets of writing paper, written over 6 sides. It is folded a number of times and has the occasional spotting mark or browning along the crease edges. The second letter addressed to ‘My dear Hurac’ is dated 29/08/1916 and is two sheets of plain paper, written only on two sides and not the reverse. There is a doodled row of numbers on the reverse of one of the pages otherwise both letters are remarkably well preserved and in very good condition.
Frank Tobutt was a Lieutenant in the 32nd Divisional Ammunition Column of the Royal Field Artillery. In both of these letters he describes his day to day life on the Western Front. He describes marching on a full pack and sleeping in fields, barns, and stables. He says “of course most of the towns we have passed through have had hell knocked out of them” and also “it is quite a common thing here to see a raised plot of grass by the side of the road with an inscription an unknown soldier who died for his country R.I.P” He goes on to describe entering the Trenches “suddenly you will turn off and cut through a field or two and finally find yourself at the entrance to a communication trench which is some five foot deep with earth piled on each side. This trench is made in zig zag fashion and on you tramp until you eventually come to the firing line. It is quite an experience to hear the bullets whistling overhead.”
He then mentions being in charge of a digging party and how a sergeant “got one through the leg”. In his second letter written a year later, he mentions to another friend that he had been wounded, hospitalised, and then returned to the front line again. A scarce pair of letters.