Saturday 11th March. Hohenzollern craters.
A long night at last ended. I might have slept peacefully from 4.00 a.m. but through a false report I waited for some stretcher cases which never arrived.
I think I am too sensitive for this M.O job. It has a depressing effect on me to see our men coming in mangled and wounded, it is against one's softer inclinations when one has to return to the firing line the more timid of our men who come down with trumped up symptoms. The mental agony that poor fellows must suffer must be impossible to truly realise and I don't marvel that self inflicted sometimes (though very rarely) occur. And yet, as an efficient M.O one must be hard and allow no man to escape his share of the firing line, except he be (in one's opinion) to ill to carry on. To favour some is to be unfair on the those brave fellows who are holding the line, many of them feeling far from well and all of them intensely tired and overwrought.
A very disturbed night again because of wounded. D.company's trenches were crumped steadily all afternoon and North Hampton trench badly broken in. One shell struck a dugout and the man inside had left leg blown off and right foot, he was also severely cut about the head. He was found with his mangled limbs in contact with the live coals from the brazier which had been upturned. He did not die until he had been taken some way down the trenches. At 3.00 a.m. I dressed four or five wounded, a batch resulting from an accident with one of our own bombs.
Then Leeds and I revived the brazier with charcoal and talked about milk, (his trade) cows and meadows full of lush grass and golden buttercups. We discussed the Jersey and Alderney and several other classes of these gentle creatures, we forgot all about the war. Instead I went with Leeds with his milk to the little town and we jogged along delightful country roads at six o'clock upon a glorious spring morning, between brilliant green hedgerows and with birds singing on every side.
Tuesday 14th Hohenzollern reserve.
Although we are out of the firing line craters we still carry on with the same dugout. It is a gorgeous day with delightfully hot sun. I am writing this on the disused railway, screened from the Bosch lines by a hedge enjoying the sun and the song of Larks on every side. Once again spring is reasserting itself after the terrible setback. The poor undergrowth which had sprung up at the beginning of February has been cut down by the recent frosts and growing leaves of Hawthorn are blackened and withered.
In an article on the great war, Leadbetter says "horrific as it is, it has yet lifted thousands upon thousands of people clear out of themselves out of their petty parochialism into worldwide sympathy, out of selfishness into the loftiest altruism - lifted them into the region of the ideal."
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