Posted 15 January 2006 - 01:14 AM
[quote name='alecnorwell' date='Jan 14 2006, 09:47 PM' post='379404']
by the 14th April only 5 officers were left, (9 dead, 5 wounded, 1 missing, 1 ran and faced court martial.)
Other ranks, 23 dead, 156 wounded, 145 missing. How do you live through that and stay sane?
I think they must have had a mental on/off switch Alec, or for sure most would have gone insane, some way of blocking out the thoughts of what they knew would be coming. The stress levels must have been unbelievable. It reminds me of a rememberance day about maybe 15 or so years ago, an old boy (must have been in his 90's) was invited by the presenter of a TV programme, song of praise or one of them - to choose a hymn for the congregation of his church to sing, and tell why he chose it, He said " I'd like O' Valiant Hearts, because " and at that point he broke down and cried, they cut the take and restarted once he composed himself, he went on to say it reminded him of the first day of the Somme, that morning when he and his mates were waiting for the whistle, they were in pretty high spirits as they truly believed nothing could have survived the pounding the German positions had taken, they were the second wave, another company of their battalion was first over a few hundred yards to their right, they heard the whistle and watched as the men went over and started walking they got a couple of hundred yards and then heard the clatter of machine gun fire, and watched as one by one they all fell, not a single one was left standing, and he said they knew in just a few minutes it was their turn, he was one of 12 walking wounded who manged to crawl back to the trenches, as they dare not stand, by this time he was fighting back the tears again, and i was too. I sometimes think what a lucky generation we are. it's a shame most kids today couldn't even tell you the year the war started and ended let alone the events that took place. I think as long as we have places like this their memory lives on, long may it remain so.