CHARLES FREDERICK PETERS "Rough diary of dates & ... experiences during period of entering of army to leaving army" , [1914-1917]; together with autograph letter signed ("J. Vincent Hitchcock, Capt.", of the 6th Buffs), announcing to Mrs Peters the death "in action" on 18 March 1918 of her son, 1 page, 8vo, 22 March 1918 (2)
Lot 145
CHARLES FREDERICK PETERS
"Rough diary of dates & ... experiences during period of entering of army to leaving army", [1914-1917]; together with an autograph letter signed ("J. Vincent Hitchcock, Capt.", of the 6th Buffs), informing Mrs Peters of her son's death "in action" on 18 March 1918, 1 page, 22 March 1918 (2)
£1,000 - 1,500
US$ 1,600 - 2,400

Lot Details
CHARLES FREDERICK PETERS
"Rough diary of dates & ... experiences during period of entering of army to leaving army", kept by Charles F. Peters of 20th Light Division, and 6th Battalion, Royal East Kent Regiment, 45 pages (mostly recto only), pencil in a neat hand on lined paper, original blue boards lettered in blind 'The Universal Reporters Note Book', worn, 8vo, [1914-1917]; together with an autograph letter signed ("J. Vincent Hitchcock, Capt.", of the 6th Buffs), informing Mrs Peters of her son's death "in action" on 18 March 1918, 1 page, 22 March 1918 (2)

Footnotes

  • "I am so sorry to have to tell you that your son was killed in action on the night of the 18th [March 1918]. He was killed instantaneously from a wound in the head but was not greatly disfigured...".

    Charles Peters was working on the railways at Aldgate East, London on the outbreak of war, and enlisted ("with my work chum G. Davis") at Fulham on 3 September into the 20th Light Division. The first 12 pages of the diary cover his period of training from Bodmin to Godalming, gaining his first stripe and being reviewed by the King, before embarking on SS. Onward for Boulogne on 25 July 1915. On 7 August, from near Hazebrouck, "we journeyed up to the trenches to dig a communications trench. It was night & here we received our first experience of being under rifle & shell fire... and received our first casualties"; on 5 September "we started to actually take our part in the line against the Germans... Sept 25 & 26th when during Battle of Loos we made our first attack... at this time conditions were such that the Germans could send us 10 shells back to our one", and Christmas day was celebrated with "only bully & wet biscuits...".

    On January 1 he recorded the death of "W. Gray, one of the four who banded together at Penzance [his earliest billet on signing up]", two days later his promotion to Corporal, and on the 9th "lively fighting for two hours. Germans used fire to ward off gas we sent over... our gas masks which up to then had been a pad on a piece of rag were replaced by one with a tube to it". "Full engagement underway at Ypres Salient", attack on "The Bluff", "from July 1st to July 26, trench fighting very hot & casualties numerous", at Guillemont (8 September) "our Div having had nigh on 8'000 casualties", Le Transloy, Mailly, and other battles on the Somme - one after another, with minimal time to recover, "terrible amount of water and mud here then, took rope with us to help men who sank in the mud. Several in mud helpless for two or three days...", some relief at Christmas with "big pay day and plenty of Champagne. On 28 January 1917 "an officer and myself got lost in no mans land & only saved from walking into the Germans hand by having two of them shout & some more talking softly". By 16 April "fighting line in front of Fritz and around the task of driving the Germans out of Havincourt wood which was 2 miles in depth & thick trees... by a methodical advance of 88 yrds at a time & dig in for the night, we wore the Germans down... 4 days rest well deserved", before moving to within a "thousand yards of the Hindenburg line".

    On 12 May Peters returned to England for a month's leave, spending "a deal of time with Ella and very enjoyable". The diary ends on 8 August with Peters taking his first examinations, which led to his officer's commission; after which he returned to the Western front as Second Lieutenant in the 6th Battalion of the East Kent Regiment (The Buffs). As the letter sent to his mother records with sombre simplicity, Peters was killed in action on 18 March 1918.
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