Dear Diary, It has been a long time since I have written in you. The Battle of Somme is not going well. Here I am, writing to you, in filthy trenches, filthy with mud, slick with blood, bomb shells, food, weapons, clothes, body parts and rain. Half of my tent mates are gone, gone from this Earth. From my position, I can see black, white and gray smoke rising into the already darkened sky. Sand, clay and dismembered human bodies shot into the sky. The whole place is full of noise, the sound of machine guns, bayonets being fired and the screams of the wounded on the battlefield; worst of all, the smell of rotting corpses, the metallic smell of blood filling the air. Great big craters are dotted around “No Man’s Land”, rivers of blood flow down the battlefield, instead of the River Somme, all the trees that had once stood there were cut down. There is nothing around us now, except for the remains of the war and chlorine gas. The effect of the gas causes splitting headache and a horrible thirst, but drinking water resulted to instant death, I had seen people affected by this and believe me, it’s not pretty! The commander in chief wants a big push which may turn the battle the other way round, meaning next week, we leave. Twelve divisions including mine will be heading towards the North. The commander thinks it will work , but for now, I will just have to wait and pray that I will survive.
William McRae 24/6/16
Dear Diary, The trenches. Only wide enough to fit one person with the 3 feet width. We had to turn and twist through the trenches, for no trench ran straight for a few yards. For if one trench was captured, it’ll stop the enemy from firing from one end to the other. You know how rain sometimes drip onto you, instead of rain, it was blood, dripping down onto our heads, drop by drop. Sometimes I wished that I would be killed. In order to end this miserable life in the trenches. Never to see another dead body with it’s lifeless eyes staring at me again. It would be days before the wounded stopped screaming and then it was quiet once again. Yet I still lived through all the fire and hardship. Now in the North, I thought back to the time I first went into battle. I was terrified that I could die at the age of 21. I was paralyzed, but by remembering my Cassie, I came back. My friend, Nick, told me that day, “ To love one is to save one”, I didn’t understand that until now.
my Cassie dearly, whenever I fought, my will to see her again and marry
her gives me the determination to survive whatever the Germans threw at us. Nick told me the only reason he was still here and didnâ€™t sacrifice himself to save his friends is because of his daughter. He wanted to see his daughter grow up into a fine lady and wanted her to live a better life. We both have the same train of thought, but with the enemy closing fast, did we have the chance or would we lose or would we live? Tomorrow we will see whether we manage to distract the Germans from the Battle Of Verdun. Yet we never know as we walk through the trenches, if these trenches lead us to the Germans....... William McRae 30/6/16
Dear Diary, Itâ€™s winter. Today was my first day on the front line.s What a joy I had new clothes, freshly pressed shirt, a pair of shiny black boots and pristine white socks; and a fabulous gun. Looking around at the battle weary soldiers, my
heart leaped into my throat, I gulped down again and again swallowing my panic. Their description is beyond imagination. Mud and blood stained their uniforms, their faces were hollow and their eyes are sunken in. Some of their boots were gone, some broken and some were used as mittens, leaving their shivering feet covered with socks only. Although I’m new and I’m wearing all my clothes, I could feel the chill cutting through my clothes. I could not imagine what it was like for the soldiers outside huddled in their few layers of clothing. Their eyelashes were frozen and their faces were stiff. Their lips were a vibrant blue, worst of all, they had frostbite. Frostbite occurs when your body parts, especially toes and fingers are damaged due to extreme cold. I had seen a close up of frostbite and it was absolutely disgusting. First it turns red, like a blister, but slowly the finger or toe starts to blacken like soot until it’s as black as the sky above us. Frostbite can spread up to you arms, by that time, soldiers would cut them off. Just now, my friend asked me if I would help him cut a finger off. I was horrified, but he was my friend so I said yes. In my hands, I carried a pair of gardening shears. I couldn’t bear to look at the finger as it fell off. Additionally as I pressed down, my friend didn’t scream. Pain doesn’t have to be physical, it can be emotional; silence pain is an emotional torture. Even now, I shudder as I think of it.
I pray that I will not have to go through frostbite, but for now, all I am worried about is surviving this world war, but I’m scared, I’m terrified. The smell of winter and frostbite in the air, mixed with blood does’t help. William McRae 26/10/16
Dear Diary, This morning, we were bombarded with bombs. Flashing lights burn in the sky, and the sound of agony hangs in the air. As soon as the bombard of bombs stopped, we rushed onto the front. My heart was pounding, although it wasn’t my first time, every rush was just as unnerving as the first. I looked around, some rookies were standing there frozen to the ground, seconds after, they were gunned down. Blood flew from their chest wounds and exposing their lungs. The smell of death hung in the air for a long time. I could virtually taste the blood of the dead men on my lips. I would never forget the look on their faces.I remember the shock, the expression of true horror, in their eyes, I could see anger in their eyes, but
I could also see the proudness, or sadness in their eyes. These were the three hundred men who volunteered, the men who went through training, men who thought that they would become a hero, but they already are. More than 1 million people had died already, all because of one manâ€™s assassination, Arch Duke Ferdinand, one ultimatum from Austria/Hungary. Seven to eight foot high of human bodies were piled around us. It wasnâ€™t a big surprise. In one day, 60,000 of my comrades were already dead. To me, it was the highest number ever in history. Arms without bodies, bodies without legs, heads without bodies were laid quietly. Screams were penetrating the air. Bullets were whizzing past me. I ran. When I first joined the army, I thought that I would have fame, I thought that I would have everything, I thought that it would be the best thing ever. Posters were everywhere in my hometown. I remember seeing posters of soldiers have good time, joking, laughing. Now as I thought back, past events of what happened to me ever since joining the army flows into my brain. I ran towards the enemies, at first, there were hundreds of men around me, 10 meter after, it seemed like there were only 5 of us, 20 meters after it seemed like I was the only one standing. Then I got hit and fell. I watched as my blood ran from my stomach to the ground, watching it as it joined the other streams of blood. My vision was blurring, then I blacked out.
William McRae 30/10/16 Dear Diary, I woke up this morning to find that I was in a hospital. I was surrounded by men healing from wounds, men sleeping and men coming into the tent, blood spilling onto the ground. I looked down at my shirt, there was white bandages soaked with blood wrapped around my chest. Wait? A hospital, people don’t go out to collect wounded soldiers. I am puzzled. As I write, I feel my strength weakening, my chest starts to burn with the pain. Although thee energy to write astounds me, but as I write, my breath gets shallower. Somewhere in my brain, I know I will die today, I was probably too injured, but I’m lucky I have now to write one more time. I might even die whilst I’m writing, but now, I just need to hope that I would survive this ordeal. The hospital is filthy though, and I’m using the covers of another solider who died. There is blood crusted on the sheet, every time I move, it crunches. I feel sick now, how can I lie in a dead men’s blood and bed? To the left and
right their’s only a few gap. I can see that there’s dead people still on the bed, but nobody has notice yet! I still remember the day when I was told that my division will be going the Battle of Somme. I remember the time when we were on the boat to Northern France and I as think about the past the future and the present. (Although the British and French had only gained 6 mile in this battle.) Yet, here I am now, about to cross the line into death. William McRae 5/11/16
Dear diary, In the afternoon, I saw that outside, there were huge big tanks. I’ve heard rumors that this battle will be the battle that offensive tanks are to be introduced, but I didn’t think that I would still be alive to see these great brutes. I looked at my wound, they were the same bandages that I had first seen. Yellow pus was leaking out of the wound. Infected, I would have no chance of survival any more. In the end of the battle, 45 survivors, with 30 injured,will surrender, so ended the Battle of Ancre and with it the Battle
of the Somme. In my heart, I felt proud of serving England, I felt ecstatic that before I died, I had seen the tanks, I had almost survived the Battle Of The Somme, which ended on the thirteenth. I am still puzzled how I was saved, but I will and always love my