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Diary extracts - Private John Howard.

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Tom Barnes 11MJT Private John Howard 28th August 1914 Well a rather queer thing happened to me today, I joined the British Army. Well over the past few weeks I have been hearing random comments about war in Germany, I just thought that this was a load of twaddle so I did not look into it any further. I got into work today and sat down at my desk when I heard a fearful roar, I opened up the window and looked outside. To my astonishment there was a line of young men, some even younger then me, from the City Hall to even where I could not see. I shouted down at a young boy. 'You there, what in blazes is going on?' and he replied in a hearty voice 'It is war sir, all the men are joining the army.' Well that took me back a bit, I ran down as fast as I could to the floor below to tell my chums Albert, Edward who were brothers, and Scott about what I had just heard but when I got there they was already leaving. I asked them what they were doing and they just replied 'My duty.' ...read more.


Speaking of the Boche I hear that they are putting a jolly good fight in other parts of the country, but to think that a country like Germany could even scratch the integrity and honour of the British Empire would be absurd, I am sure that all of the world put together would only hurt us a little. Gallant Germany. Well we recently caught a few men from the British Expeditionary Force walking out of the trench and in the direction of the enemy. Well none of them came back so I presume that the overpowered the enemy trenches. Albert left the trenches a few weeks back and all he said was that he was being sent to somewhere else to become a sniper, I knew he was an exceptional shot but I thought that only upper class men could have such an important role. He was so happy, I wrote home to mother and informed her of all that has happened, I am still awaiting her reply but I am sure that it will come soon. The officers are a rather jolly lot, all drinking their whiskey and singing songs, we are still happy yet all of us need a bit of action to come to us and free us from the boredom which is creeping into the ranks. ...read more.


the names 'Albert Huxford MIA and Edward Huxford KIA' after hearing that, I could hear no more and cried myself to sleep. The three people I joined up with are lying in a pile of mud, fallen. 0I do not think I can take much more. The only thing worse than the smell is the sight, where the land was once beautiful, it is now grotesque, barbed wire metres thick, rusting and with bodies twisted inside Looking around and the horrors block all that you see, there are legs and arms with nobody to claim them. All I want is the pain to be over, this war may yet end, but I will never go home. I will not live to see the smiles of my family again. My final vision of life will be of the floor and my own blood. These will be the last words I ever write, the pain will soon be over, I do not fear death but I do fear going out there, where I know I will never come back. I would rather die by my own hands then by a country that has deceived me. I feel no pride nor honour in myself or my country and that is why I am holding this pistol to my head. ...read more.

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