In the trenches
Fear, it’s a feeling we all know. When your heart beats faster, and cold sweat comes rolling down your face like a dozen snakes sliding down your dry shaking skin. But in the trenches, fear wasn’t an abnormal feeling. It stays with you and it was something that could kill you.
It’s six o’clock in the evening. A cool wind breezed into the trench. There were two others with me, huddled in this dark, miry hole. Fear gripped us as we waited out the night, expecting the worst to come after a hard day of fighting. The memory of that day was painful and it still sent shivers down my spine as I recalled how my comrades were gunned down before my very eyes. As each man fell, a sharp knife cut through my head, I felt my vision blur (was I crying…?), my hearing dull… then suddenly, everything turned black like I was blind….I woke up to find I was still in the trench. The sudden enemy attack was swift and destructive, leaving many casualties. I must have fainted and fell back into the trench trapped by a falling dead body.
We knew our time would soon be over as we received the ‘order’. Each one of us had been conscripted into the army since they said they were losing the war and every able bodied man is needed to defend our beloved country.
I looked up again, at the wasteland that was no-man’s-land, the grayness on the ground of rotting dead flesh left there; the medics were not willing to sacrifice their lives to retrieve their bodies. We all didn’t want to die out there, no one did. But the government said that it was noble to join the army and serve your country but what they didn’t say was how cruel war could be.
Men fear death, as if unquestionably the greatest evil, and yet no man knows that it may not be the greatest good. (William Mitford). The speaker really nails one of the most highly controversial topics since the modern human walked this earth, what comes with death Religions usually talk of some sort of an afterlife, be it reincarnation, or a concept of heaven or hell. They see death as a type of ...
One of my mates was called John, John Makalskey. He was sixteen years old. He had dark eyes that held a long, sad history. I was told that he was the son of a middle-class merchant. They lived in Birmingham on a farm where he and his brothers usually stayed behind with their
mother while his father was always away on business trips. He said that when he was thirteen years old, his mother and father died in a train accident in London. It was sad as that was the first time his father decided to bring his mother on a holiday. After the funeral, he and his brothers were sent to live with their spinster aunt. When he turned seventeen, he joined the army with his two older brothers to get away from their strict and grumpy Aunt Florence. In his first foray into enemy territory, he was hit by a grenade thrown into his trench by the Germans in September 1919. He said he could see the dirt flying leaving holes in the ground. As he started running he felt the shockwave from the grenade and the force pushed him down. His brothers died on the spot but he was lucky to survive. However, his face was scared and the old wounds on his joints hurt when it rained. He said it was better to die than to wait in the trenches as he could not stand the suspense. He was then called to the south trench. He wouldn’t tell me any thing else.
At 0605 hours, we swiftly proceeded to the mess tent through a path full of mud. We were lucky to have gotten rubber boots that were black. After we got there, we ate breakfast consisting of baked beans and dry toasts. We were quite sick of the semi-moldy toasts which tasted like dirt. Nevertheless, we are thankful for something to fill our stomachs as we do not know when the next meal would be. After we had finished breakfast, we moved back into our trenches and waited hoping night fall would be soon.
Andrew Welsh has glazed faraway eyes as though he was still remembering. He was 18 years old and was from a small town somewhere in the middle of Lancashire. He was the son of a farmer. His mother died from cholera when he was ten so he stayed with his father and helped around the farm. He signed up for the war in 1916, and had fought bravely and fiercely in many battles. He would send letters to his family every night, telling them about his bravery. He managed to survive when his trench was overrun by the German artillery. The few survivors were pulled out and sent here to protect the last front. He was not afraid of death…
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he was not afraid of almost anything since his father was killed in 1917, fighting in the war in Europe. He was 35 years old.
Nightfall came and fear flooded through me like fire raging through a forest. We were called to go to the ‘place of final judgment’ as others called it. After the horn sounded, we charged. As I ran, I heard enemy gunshots flying out towards us. As each shot was fired, a wave of chill seized me. I was praying that I don’t get hit. But I was not that lucky that day as I felt the cold steel pierced into my stomach and leg. I felt nothing at first but then suddenly pain shot through like lightning and blood gushed out. I tripped against my bleeding leg and fell. I lay down as I waited for the darkness to come to me, telling me that I was dead. Before now I was always afraid of death, thinking what would happen. Staying in the trenches gave me a false sense of security. I had, somewhat a protective cocoon but now I know that dying is a fine experience, I felt at peace.