Take physic, pomp


I’m aware that with the 100th anniversary soon upon us, we’re going to see a lot of coverage of World War One in the months and years to come. All the same, this article about a grandson’s investigation into his grandfather’s diaries and memoirs of the war is an outstanding piece and well worth your time, if only to help make our own 21st century problems fade and melt into utter insignificance. Here’s an extract from the diary:

“A most pathetic thing happened that afternoon. A young gunner subaltern was on his way up to observe a machine-gun position. Just as he got outside my door a shrapnel shell burst full in front of him. The poor fellow was brought in to me absolutely riddled. He lay in my arms until he died, shrieking in his agony and said he hoped I would excuse him for making such a noise as he really could not help it. Pitiful as nothing could be done for him except an injection of morphia. I always will remember that incident, particularly as he was such a fine- looking boy, certainly not more than 19.”

full article here

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