Will I ever get used to it? The stench, mud squelching through boots, ever wet socks and rare, rank clumps of grass trying to survive -and the noise.
That infernal noise – what I’d give to hear my mother’s lilting voice, rather than whistling bullets and deafening explosions.
Even the warmth of squashed fresh cowpats would be better than the bone aching cold, oozing mud in the trenches. For a moment, I can almost taste a hot cuppa and feel a steaming shower. I hear a whistling noise close by. My knee is very warm. It’s then I realise I’ve been hit. Buggar!
I try to scramble and aim, but fall backwards to the cry of ‘medic’.
Blood’s gushing, but I feel no pain – just numb and weak. I can’t stand, try as I might. The medic straps my leg and helps me. Screams fill the air, biting into the clouds of tear gas in a ghostly fashion. I beg the wind not to change.
I’m only twenty. Some adventure. It’s Paris I dream of, not some sodden field. Now it’s raining, not the soft summer rain of home, rather heavy pounding rain of a French winter. I swear it’s frozen before it cuts at my face.
Just a few more yards till we reach the tent. A young Private rushes out and grabs me. My guardian angel returns to the trenches. It’s then tears well up – of frustration, exhaustion and sheer relief.
- Photo courtesy of Wikimedia… in Public Domain