Victoria to Vimy The First World War Collections at the University of Victoria Libraries


Destrubé family
Page contains a typescript of a letter from Private Allan Miles to Sylvie Destrubé, dated 24 March 1917. Miles describes the events that lead to the deaths of her brothers, Guy and Paul, during the battle at Miraumont, France on February 17, 1917.
Destrubé family; World War, 1914-1918; Canada--History, Military
Destrubé family fonds
[start page] PRIVATE MILES TO SYLVIE ------ COPY France March 24th 1917 Dear Miss Destrubé, Got your of the 18th yesterday, and having a few minutes to spare, will try and answer your questions. It is, I know very painful for all of you at home, and can well understand your all being anxious to hear all details. I knew your three brothers well, but had heard that Georges had left the Base, else I should certainly have sent him a few lines. I was not in this attack, being the first time I have been left out, so have had to gather what little I know from other boys. Regarding the man you mention named Forbisher, afraid he could not know very much about Guy and Paul, for it I remember rightly, he left this Battn. last October. Well, the attack was made on the 17th Feby. and it turned out very misty, and unfavourable for any observation, and parties got separated from one another. We had 18 Lewis Gunners from A. Coy., and only 3 returned. Sergt. Brierley also was killed; Sergt. Hennessey and several others were taken prisoners as far as we know. Guy and Paul with their team, five of them, including an extra man for carrying purposes, had a special objective. Two of the others were hit first, Guy and Paul and the Carrier went on, and poor Guy was hit in the neck, and the last seen of Paul alive being a few minutes later; he told someone that Guy had been killed, and of course, was very much upset. He sent the man back who was carrying for their team, and must have been hit very soon afterwards, shot through the head. One consolation is that they both died instantly, and practically had no pain or suffering. The Germans made a strong counter attack, and our boys had to fall back a short distance, but several days later we were able to advance again and the bodies were all recovered and given proper burial. Guy and Paul were found about one hundred yards from each other, Paul being in front which clearly shows poor Guy was the first one hit. Afraid this is all I can tell you, and of course they don't allow us to say much, but if Georges does not know where they lie and where it happened, I can tell you a few days later. Guy came to see me just a few minutes before they went in, and I have the three books by R.W.Service, which they have carried whilst being out here, told me where to get them in case they didn't return, and of course we only laughed over it, for I felt sure they would return. It seems such a shame, for it was about the last time they would have gone it, for they were both to have returned to England for a three months course in the O.T.C. for Commissions. I feel their loss very much, for I slept next to Paul at the White City, and also came from Edmonton, and we had many good chats over people and W. Canada, can assure you they are a great loss to A. Coy., and very much regretted by all. Their team were a very happy crowd together. I am not a Lewis Gunner, but very often visited them in the trenches, and of course we were very often together whilst out on rest, and they were always happy and made the best of everything, and have both done their duty as soldiers in a splendid manner. I must not dwell too long on this, for it is very sad for you, so must conclude thanking you for your kind wishes. Kindest regards to yourself and your Father, Yours sincerely (signed) ALLAN MILES, 367, A.Coy. R.F. [end page]