In a letter to his parents published in the Sudbury Star (October 28th, 1916), Robert Bell gives an account of his involvement in the Somme offensive and how he was injured:
"I was only eight days at the Somme from Ypres. I was wounded on the 20th of September and in the hospital on the 23rd, which is pretty quick work. It was a surprise attack and we were pulling it off early in the morning, about five o'clock. Fritz' trench, a strong point, was about two hundred yards from our line. A continual rain for two days had mixed things up a little and we could scarcely get through the mud and water and a kit of 27 pounds, and a rifle made it all the heavier. No. 3 section of the bombers, the one I am in, had to stay in our trenches (shell holes) and Nos. 2 and 4 sections started out to crawl the 200 yards, and we were to run up if the attack failed. Fritz got wise but it was too late and the trench was taken. However, we fellows had to stand the shelling, as he could not shell the front trenches, as he would shell his own men. Our fellows stood their ground in the captured trench, but daylight was upon them before they could send for reinforcements and the runner they sent back was wounded. Poor fellow - he managed to get back under fire - but he was in a terrible state. He told me that our men up in the captured trench had run out of bombs and to hurry back with some..."