A Social & Family History

Comradeship

The great experience that one had by being in the war was this extraordinary comradeship, which is the only word to describe the feeling that existed between all those who were in the trenches together. It was indescribable and I have never met the same feeling anywhere since. I remember after a “show” I was in reserve with my company and was close to the casualty clearing station. Those who were brought back on stretchers and had no chance of survival were laid out in the open on stretchers and there they died. There was a young German officer who looked about the same age as I was and had been shot through the head. I went up to his stretcher and stood looking at him. For a moment he opened his eyes and seemed to smile. I just sat down beside him without any emotion the sense of tears or being very upset. I just sat beside him and took his hand in mine, and sat there until he died. I remember doing the same thing to one of the men in my Company in the front line who had been buried and badly wounded, but had been jammed by a large side of the dugout, which was iron sheeting, and we could not extricate him. He was in great pain – the doctor came up and gave him an injection and before the man lost consciousness I took his hand which was hanging out of the debris and held it until he died.

I have recounted these two incidents not to arouse any emotions but just to try and explain to you what comradeship meant.