Dulce et Decorum
100 years ago, the Great War was in its dying week. Wilfred Owen was killed on the 4thof November.
All the commanders-in-chief agreed the war was over–but on the ground, the struggle went on, and on.
I wrote a novel, Justice Hall, about a young officer, and included sections of his war-time journal:
Justice Hall, by Laurie R. King
From the War journal of Lt. Gabriel Hughenfort
Word today that they’ll move up our ship date to France, that it might be before Christmas even. The men are keen but I can see why the higher ranks worry. Without a really solid training, most of these boys won’t have a chance. And I say boys because most of them are ’way younger than me. A couple of them can’t be sixteen, no matter what they told the recruiting officer. Of course, there’s the old duffers too, conscripts forty and more. How are they expected to carry a full pack through the mud and still be fit to shoot? Children and old men. They’ll be issuing rifles to women before much longer.
Behind the lines, but not far. We can smell it now, and my men are acting the way I feel, like a horse at the scent of smoke, jumpy and white-eyed. Lots of jokes, most of them dirty. They’re shelling up the line, our guns or theirs, making the earth quiver like a fractious horse. A few days here, then up to the Front. I pray God I not disgrace my family.