These pages are based in WW1 history. Some is factual, some is fiction based on the facts. There will be visits to Commonwealth War Graves Cemeteries, Battlefields and towns and villages both on the Western Front and the Home Front.
Thursday, 30 June 2016
Somme Remembrance - 1st July 1916
As we remember those who fought on the 1st July 1916, many of whom died on the battlefield in hopelessness, I would like to share an extract from a publication in which I have written a fictional tale, based on the diaries of a nurse and a stretcher-bearer, who experienced the horror that was The Battle of the Somme.
Image: Creative Commons
At the Going Down of the Sun
“No, Sister, leave me be, I’m just
about fed up with this splinter on me arm, and this leg – me leg’s very
Paige smiled at the man with splints
on his right arm and leg that he insisted on calling splinters. “Come on, Joe,
let me change your dressing,” she urged, “you’re going home today.”
“All right, Sister,” Joe submitted,
“but make sure you do it right, I’ll be watching you.”
“I promise I shall.” Paige liked
Joe. “But I’m not a sister,” she told him.
Above the continuous roar from the
guns a tremendous bang rocked the ground and the roof of the tent beat its
gigantic wings above them.
“Be careful, will ya,” Joe scolded,
“I don’t want to lose my arm like he has.” He pointed to the man in the next
bed with nothing but a blood-stained stump where his arm should have been.
“It’s only Grandmother sending
another big one over,” a second-lieutenant with a head wound and lying in a bed
opposite called over the racket.
“It sounds awfully close,” Paige
said, trying to concentrate on Joe’s splinted dressing when she would really
rather have been covering her ears.
“It’s a fifteen-inch Howitzer beside
the railway line just behind us,” the junior officer told her. After much
cursing from Joe, Paige was able to finish his dressings and move on to the
next man in need of attention. Her back ached with all the bending and lifting
and the tight collar of her uniform irritated her neck. Eventually Sister signalled
to the stretcher-bearers, who had been sitting smoking by the tent’s entrance,
to come onto the ward and begin taking these wounded soldiers to the hospital
trains. As beds became empty, Paige removed soiled sheets and replaced them
with cleaner ones. She was leaning over a bed at the end of the ward when she
felt strong arms encircle her waist.
“Hello gorgeous,” Wesley whispered
in her ear as he nuzzled her neck. “Ooh, you smell of..” He hesitated.
“Yes?” Paige answered, turning to
“Antiseptic and smoke.”
“I wonder why that is! What in God’s
name were you thinking, bringing us here?”
“I thought we could make a
difference. You look very fetching in your nurse’s uniform.” He raised his
eyebrows and kissed her cheek.
“VAD,” Paige corrected him. “You’ll
be laughing on the other side of your face if Sister catches us,” she warned.
Another blast shook the Casualty
Clearing Station and Paige fell against Wesley.
“Come on, mate,” a young man dressed
in khaki with a red cross on his arm, the same as Wesley had, was calling to
Extract from At the Going Down of the Sun in Summer Tales published by Ruler's Wit, July 2016.