Letter from Thomas Hopkins to his friend Roy A. Collier less than 30 days before he died in battle
The hand writing is hard to read at times so this is a best effort.
Somewhere on the Front
Wed Eve 9PM June 26th 1918
My Dear Pal:
Well Roy old man I will hasten and answer your good letter of May 17th, I received it yesterday June 25th and it was under unusual conditions that I received it and also the same that I am answering it.
I am holding a strong point on an extremely bad front and was being heavily bombarded when my boys bring up our rations, brought me your letter, and I am waiting here now expecting a worse one; but I am ready for it. Say boy the war game is a dam sight different from my point of view than from yours or any ones else in the states: but by the Gods I am here first and they did Boche will have to go some before he can drive me and my men out and that will never happen cause I have forgotten the word called “Retreat”.
Well old man if every body back in the states could and would feel the same as you do about this war it perhaps wouldn’t take so long to put and end to it: but just take a tip from me it is no easy matter to put the Dutch ______’s off the map and they are not whipped by a long ways and it wont be over for many moons if my observations are worth anything cause he has the hardest machines to beat the world has ever witnessed; but eventually it will be done: but we have got to pay the price and it is an awful big one to: but boy we can do it and when you know the French people you marvel at their grit and wonderful fighting power for they are good fighters and fine fellows and the American soldiers gets on with them fine and they are fine commands though it is difficult with the difference in language: but you ought to see yours truly Parley Vooing for something it is worth the money: but if I ever loose my hands and my arms there will be no conversation for me. Well old man it is now 2:30A.M. and I will attempt to finish this: for just at 9:45 P.M. I was interrupted by the Boche cutting at our wire entanglements and attempting to make an extrance and that called for every man at his post and we give them a Hell of lot of grenades and good hot metal from the automatic rifles believe me boy it makes some excitement to have those devils trying to get to you and you cant see them all you can do is to try and locate them by sound and flares. Say boy I wish you were with me it would be worth your while.
Well I have talked more about the war to you than anyone else and still I don’t think I have mentioned anything of military importance, so I will let her go as O.K.
Well Roy I sure would give a lot to be back in that gold old city of Wichita – for it is the best spot on the map to me and – if you will take it from me I have sure seen a lot already of this country also England.
Tell that dear little family of yours that I think of them all very often and hope the time flys in the future so that I may see them all again sure.
I would say that the Oakland is sure doing fine Roy and I am glad to hear that the wife is beginning to drive some.
Yes Edna is still in Joetown and says she thinks that perhaps she will stay until I come back.
Well old man give Bill Sted my best and also that I would like to hear from him also any of the boys that are still at home for mail is mightly scarce and precious and more than welcome and Roy when I do come back I have some good ones to tell you and incidently I am enclosing a picture that was taken one day while on dress parade in a French City – the fellows with me are one lieut. of my battalion and two fine young English Officers back from the line on three days leave – and remember that in France water is only used to wash in and then not very often.
O yes Roy before I forget in regard to that little business matter of ours – in any case that I don’t get to settle it up myself, I have informed my wife to do so afterwards.
Well it is most three A.M. and it will soon be light and then perhaps I can lay down and get a wink of sleep: but to stay in the front for 6 days and nights never taking off your shoes or clothes is hard on your constitution and I will be glad when I can get out for a few days.
I sure hope that your business keeps going Roy for I will be an old man when this thing is through cause it gets next to you in time.
Well please write me often and tell me all the news for I get hungry for it – cause I see no American papers and I know less about the war than you do, except my local secter.
So goodnight and good luck old man – I am always
Your true friend and pal