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Letters from the Front Keith Bruce Crosby (December, 1915)
Bramshott Camp Diphook, Hants, England Dec 1915 Dear Dad I received your letter last night. I just returned from a pass to London and found five letters waiting for me. I had been on pass for four days. I saw all the interesting things there were to see including Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Cathedral, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Whitehall, Zoological Gardens, St. James Palace, the Tower. The last day I was there I hired a guide and saw the guards change at Buckingham Palace. The guards there consist of the Royal Horse Guard, Life Guards, Grenadier Guards. They change to the tune played by the bands of the Irish and Scots Guards. We have to salute the colours as they are carried by. There were six of us Yarmouth boys of the 40th stayed together: Lance Corporal Cliff King, Lance Corporal Adelbert Taylor, Lance Corporal Harry Smith, Lance Corp. Emerson Porter, Harry Porter and myself. London is packed full of troops - English, French, Canadian, Belgian, Australian, New Zealand and Indian; everywhere you go there you see soldiers. The place is also full of fellows back from the trenches on furlough. They come in from the trenches right here, clothes all muddy and torn, rifle and kit on their back. I have seen a good many of the First Contingent boys back, among them quite a few of the Princess Pats. I was with a English fellow the other night who is out of the King’s Own. He had been there fifteen months and was back home for nine days. What a good time we had together. Keith Keith Bruce Crosby Private, 24th Battalion Date of Death: April 11, 1916 Listed on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial Keith Crosby was born on April 25, 1897. He was initially with the 40th Battalion in England and was transferred to the 24th Battalion. He was killed at the St. Eloi craters south of Ypres, Belgium. There had been action along the front of the St. Eloi craters between the 27th of March and the 16th of April 1916. On the 6th of April at 3.30 am the Germans attacked, taking four craters. The front line positions were complex and difficult made harder by the fact that the six new craters now made a total of 17 in the area, and telling them apart especially in the dark was nearly impossible. In the following days, the Canadians made several attacks to try and recover some of the craters, but these failed, and in view of the forthcoming major operations on the Somme no further offensive moves were made here. The fighting was often confused with heavy enemy shelling. Snipers were active and the salient was narrow within range of the German guns. The body of Keith Crosby was never recovered. Source: A Monument Speaks (A Thurston; pub. 1989)