A quote from John's Borthwick's letter can be found on the Footballers' Battalions Memorial:
We were being very heavily shelled, dead and wounded all over the place, Germans as well as our own... our Captain came and gave orders for four men to take a wounded Captain (probably Acting Capt John Engleburtt) to the dressing station, and I was one to be chosen. There wasn't a whole stretcher in the place, and all the stretcher bearers were knocked out except one. We were kept busy all the time bandaging the wounded, and if they were not able to walk to the dressing station, they had to be left until someone could take them out. We got two south branches of a tree and put two waterproof sheets across them, placed the Captain on it, and then started off. The trenches were very badly knocked about and full of troops so we had to go over the top and what a journey.
We had to go three-quarters of a mile to the dressing station, and God knows how we got there with shells flying all around us, scrambling up and down shell holes and over broken tree trunks. I expected that we should all go up in the air any minute. However, we arrived all safe and I was thankful as well beat. We had an hour's rest before starting back off again. Everything was going well until I stopped my packet. I never heard the shell coming but felt it as my neck was very near set in. The piece must have been rather large and I was afraid I should be under the turf with a little wooden cross on top. I managed to get back to our trench and the stretcher-bearer dressed the wound. I lay down in the side of the trench for nearly half an hour until the shelling quieted down.
Our Captain wanted to send four men to carry me out, but I didn't fancy it so I told him I would rather walk across if he sent a man with me to see I didn't collapse. Jack Nuttall (his Millwall team mate) came with me and you ought to have seen us dashing across the wood. Donaldson couldn't have run faster (Jack Donaldson, legendary Australian sprinter in the early 20th century). I remember getting to the dressing station but I must have lost consciousness as I don't remember seeing our Doctor (Lt Richard Felton) on the trip down the line. I was operated on next day, but I remember nothing about it. I was placed on the danger list and the missus had word to come, bit I took a turn for the better. What a ward I was in, not one able to get up. We had six deaths in 24 hours and one fellow off his head. I am glad to say that my would is going on all right, but I am afraid I am finished with football.
I feel rather sorry as I am sure the army training had done me a lot of good. I was looking forward to coming home and making good. However, I must be thankful I am alive. My head has been trepanned, as the skull was knocked in. The cut extends from nearly the top of my head down too my eyebrow. It was a near thing of my losing my right eye. I left on 19 August (hospital in Rouen) and had the good fortune to get to Liverpool. This is worse than a whole season of cup ties.