A FASCINATING insight into a Great War soldier’s attitude to fighting the Germans has been revealed in a letter written in October, 1915, by a Kendal machine gunner.

Pte James ‘Jim’ Dawson revealed his intriguing views about the comparative fighting attitudes of British and German forces when he wrote to his parents Thomas and Elizabeth Dawson, of Newbank Yard.

After giving a description of how the French civilians reacted to German shelling, Pte Dawson continued: “Of course it’s war and some war at that; and it provides sights enough to disturb fastidious tastes, but then we enjoy it.

“We’re out here for England, home and duty; but don’t make any mistake, we do our fighting for the love of it, for the scrum of it.

“The Boches only fight for hate, which is why a good many of them squeal at the sight of the merry beyonet. But hate never won a war yet. That’s why Tommy is so full of confidence.

“He’s not downhearted, oh dear no.”

Pte Dawson, who served in a machine gun section of the 8th Border Regiment and spent the whole war on the Western Front, also provided humorous news of fellow Westmarians he was fighting alongside.

He wrote: “Tell Maggie (Pte Dawson’s sister) that Big Billie Bone asked me to inform her that he was first rate and Li’le Billy Bateson from Gatebeck chimed in and said the same – he didn’t want to be left out.

“He says he is a hero, but what troubles him is that he has to put an extra sand bag down to stand on before he can see over the parapet at nights to have a shot across the way.”

Examples of Pte Dawsons’s correspondence – including an embroidered Christmas card – are in the possession of his great niece Liz Harrison.

She said he survived the war and returned to lived in Kendal. In retirement, he lived in the alms houses on Aynam Road.