Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Living in No Man's Land During the First World War


The Scorer
 Share

Recommended Posts

This is hopefully a link to an article published by The Smithsonian Museum giving details of the deserters who allegedly lived in No Man's Land during the First World War. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/legends-what-actually-lived-no-mans-land-between-world-war-i-trenches-180952513/

 

It all sounds pretty far fetched to me ... does anyone have any views, please? Thank you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

See Paul Fussell The Great War and Modern Memory pp.123-124 where he details the widespread 'Legend of the Wild Deserters'..

 

Fussell is clear that the stories represent fictional accounts functioning as 'trench legends' with a strong element of myth.

 

Fussell references several accounts used in the Smithsonian article, but also this from H Tomlinson

 

Quote

Once  ...  the Salvage Company had put out, as a trap, a basket containing food, tobacco, and a bottle of whisky.  But the following morning they found the bait untouched, and a note on the basket, "Nothing doing!"

H.M. Tomlinson Waiting For Daylight (1922), pp.180-181

 

Mark

Oh , and Fussell is a far better writer than the journalist who wrote this article!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Boyd's 'Salute of Guns' mentions the many British deserters hiding in High Wood, who were living off what they could take from the many dead bodies that lay around.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Australian mini-series Anzacs (1985, with Paul Hogan) had an episode with deserters having some sort of their own kingdom in no man's land.

 

Roel

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If we'd been there then, wouldn't we have told each other such stories to pass the long winter nights?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Subject has come up before, see this thread.  There should be other threads which I can't find. I have a hospital report on a man who claimed to have been taken POW 1/7/16 but escaped during allied barrage. His story was that he made it to a quarry and lived there with a German deserter for almost a year. May not even have been in No Man's Land and as he was treated for amnesia, originally he had no idea who he was, why he was in France -etc. Possibly a good ploy to tell the MPs.

TEW

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...