Private John McEwan

Private John McEwan

On 27 April 1914, the Alloa Advertiser reported:

Mr Mitchell McEwan, 5 Mill Street, Alloa, has received official intimation that his son, Private John McEwan, of the 7th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, has been admitted to No. 9 General Hospital, Rouen, suffering from the effects of the poisonous gas used by the Germans. In a previous letter home, Private McEwan says:

"Just a few lines to let you know that I am still in the best of health. I wrote and told you in my last letter that I was going up the line again. I got the battalion all right and I was up in the trenches a few days with them, but we were out now for a well deserved rest. My word, the 7th has got a bad cutting up. I don't know what they will do with us now. We might go back to the trenches, but I don't know. They have done a month in the trenches. They only had two or three days rest out of that month. When we did come out we thought we were right for a good rest, but we were soon rushed up and then we got another dose of gas. You will be sorry to hear that Captain Tullis has died of wounds, and his brother is wounded. I don't think there is many Alloa men left to tell the tale. Thank God I have been spared to come through it all. It is not war; it is murder, nothing less. The Germans are making a bold bid to break through to get to Calais, but we still have the upper hand. If they would only fight fair, but they send over that gas. It is most terrible stuff, it fairly knocks you out altogether. They are grand at killing our wounded. I have seen a few of our wounded getting killed by these Prussian Guards, but when we get at them we don't give them any mercy. You ought to have seen us when we came out of the trenches, you would never have known us. We were all like tramps with being in the trenches so long, but once we get a wash up it makes a difference"

Soldiers recuperating at No 9 General Hospital, Rouen.