Very Bad News

William Gibson breaks the news of his brothers death to his Father

Dear Dad,

It is not very often that I write to you alone, but this time I must, for I have some bad news for you. It concerns our Bert. He has met a glorious end, and died bravely working his gun. His death was instantaneous, and I was very near him when he died. Do not grieve too much, for he felt no pain, and he died like any soldier would wish. I and another signaller were the only two men left alive on the position. I searched for two hours for his body, and a relief party searched all day, but the only trace we could find of him was a small piece of a letter written to him by mama. This I am sending you and also some of his small gear, that he used to use. Poor Harry Doe from Epps road, also went and many others. We have found no trace whatever of their bodies, so you see they could not have known anything about it. It gave me a shock, but whatever you do, bear up, and break the news gently, Dad. Believe me it was a glorious death, and I'm convinced that he felt no pain.

They all were a splendid lot of heroes,and although they have left us there is no doubt but they have gone to God. Cheer up, and be glad in the thought that he died nobly, doing his duty. How it is that I was not touched Lord only knows. Still, I'm OK, and am only a little shaken. I know this will be hard to break, but put a good face on it. The small piece of letter I am enclosing, keep it safely. It is sacred, and I will send you his cap and gloves,and one or two other little things he left behind in his kit.

Well Dad, this is about all I can say. The ground where they fell is being fenced off and a cross with all particulars erected. Also in the cemetery a cross is being erected to their memory. Be of good cheer and don't give way. Remember he was serving his gun when God called him. It has left me lonely, and a little down in my spirits, but I am satisfied in the fact that he is a British hero. Our casualties have been severe and several fellows from home are among the lost. Bert was killed at 4:30am on the 8th of November 1917.

Well bye bye Dad, and bear the news bravely. You've lost a son, and I have lost my best pal, but I'm glad to think that old Bert left for a better life, without pain. When I come home again I'll tell you all the details, so now good-bye and cheer up.

I remain your loving son,


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