We got back about 10 of our slightly wounded cases today, Sergeant Johnston among them, I’m glad to say. He last saw ‘At.’ waving the men on. He (J.) was hit about 30 yards from the German line, but he didn’t see ‘At.’ then. Smith, a Lance Corporal in ‘A’ [Company] also back; crawled in from near German wire on Monday and says he saw Montgomery and Hollywood; were lying dead close to him. So I fear there is no hope for them. Very few of the bodies were able to be brought in; all energies devoted to getting in any that were alive. Of course, it’s dreadful, but it was impracticable, except at the cost of leaving wounded men out. My orders were “concentrate all energies on getting in the wounded.” The area was under fire and I could not risk loss of life to bring in the dead; our time was limited. Of course, a few near our line were brought in, but those far out had to be left. The Border Regt. have been so good, and have buried a number.
The present idea is we stay here till the end of the month, and then go into the line somewhere near, but it changes from day to day because no one knows for certain—nothing is certain. Personally I have not the least hope of any of the missing being alive, but there is a bare possibility in ‘At.’s case, but Sgt. Johnston does not think so. About recommendations. You must have evidence of some specific act, and this is impossible to obtain, though I know all were splendid. Ah! the pity of it. No leave, I hear. Gen. asked and was refused is the story. After all, it’s right. Good news again today. We are still going forward—but they are far from beaten. We have had 80 men back since coming here, most from Ireland.