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Original Writing - A Soldier's Diary

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Original Writing Surreptitiously, she placed the corroded, antiquated key into the timeworn lock of the decrepit leather trunk, glancing circumspectly over her shoulder to distinguish whether or not she was being watched. She wasn't. Her tenuous, slender fingers trembled with tangible trepidation as she gradually rotated the ancient, rusty key. Click. The lock was open. Breathing heavily, she apprehensively raised the lid of the chest, blew away a mountain of dust and extracted a dense, elaborate chronicle. Inscribed on the exterior in ornate, interwoven characters were the words, 'Kenneth Walker: Diary of a Warrior'; the familiar sight of his delicate, meticulous handwriting sent a heartfelt shiver down her spine. Poignantly, a solitary tear rolled soothingly down her cheek as she caressed the intimate journal of her recently deceased husband. A fifty year old memoir was all that remained of her loyal, affectionate spouse. His innermost thoughts and feelings from bygone days were concealed in one neglected account that she had previously never contemplated touching. Would this be the day that she finally summoned the vast amount of courage necessitous in order to peruse this confidential journal? She broke out into a nervous sweat whilst retiring to Kenneth's cherished armchair, inhaling his lingering transcendent aroma. The aroma of a hero. An oscillation of nausea swept over her as she tensely opened the front cover. Delicately fingering the discoloured pages, she began to read... January 18th, 1915 I have done it! I have pledged to taste the salt of life, I have scaled the first rung on the ladder of prosperity, I have enrolled in the British Armed Forces! Hurrying down to the local recruitment office with my comrades, exhilaration pulsated rhythmically through my veins. The four of us eagerly expressed our patriotism, confabulating the depth of our enthusiasm at the prospect of assailing the nefarious Fritz on the Front Line. Gordon affirmed that he would never wish to endure the sheer humiliation of being deemed a coward and forced to wear a degrading white feather in his cap. ...read more.


Uncharacteristically, I'm beginning to wish I did not join up. 16th June, 1916 My beloved Lily, Initially, I must show gratitude for your amorous response to my preceding letter. I am sincerely appreciative. Reading your solicitous words and seeing your elegant calligraphy brings a myriad of tears to my eyes. It feels as though there is an element of you within each of your missives. Presently, I am industriously serving in the perpetually pernicious trenches of Sierre, France. As I write, I am partway through the eight week duration of my invigorating term in the reserve trenches, approximately three-hundred metres behind the front line. Regrettably, due to my increasingly busy schedule, my letters to you have been sporadic within recent months, However, I intend to discontinue this tendency by corresponding frequently. Trench life is thoroughly spiffing! Possessing a Lee-Enfield bolt-action rifle makes me feel amply equipped for battle and scrupulously primed to assail the malicious Fritz. Furthermore, the food here is decidedly palatable; the bully beef and maconochie stew are utterly appetizing. It is a considerable improvement on the substandard cuisine that was served at Redmires. Occasionally, we are permitted a ration of bacon, cheese or jam as a merited indulgence. How spiffing! Last week, Percy caught a Blighty one. Spending days on end immersed in contaminated water had led to him developing Trench Foot; the calamitous open sores were unmitigatedly repulsive. Catastrophically, Percy's symptoms exacerbated, resulting in his decomposing foot requiring amputation. I hope his condition improves rapidly. Yesterday, the chaps and I waved goodbye to him as he returned to Blighty. How are you managing? Although I habitually pine for you, I find solace in the certainty that the sunrise I perceive each morning is the same sunrise that you witness. In the end all that matters is love. Love Always, Kenneth x x x 16th June, 1916 "Trench life is thoroughly spiffing!" ...read more.


Hysterically, I shuffled over to the remains and stroked the icy cold skin of the corpse. Gordon. Several bullet wounds to the chest, he was evidently dead. I cried as I clutched him to my chest. How could this have happened? A shell blast brought me back to reality. Instantaneously, I knew that I could not let myself endure the same deplorable fate as my lifelong companion. Tenderly, I kissed his deteriorating head and uttered a heartfelt farewell. Tears streaming down my dirt-ridden face, I painstakingly persisted on my journey towards protection. After what felt like an eternity, I made it. Mustering my final degree of potency, I propelled myself over the perimetric sandbags and into the shelter of the British trench. Excruciatingly, I landed on the nauseatingly filthy ground with a strident thud. Everything went black. Upon regaining consciousness, I found myself in the rehabilitation marquee. Although I have fractured my left femur during my agonizing descent, I do not wish for sympathy. My injury is severely insignificant in comparison to the thousands of lives lost in the Battle of the Somme. They are the real heroes. The culpability is overwhelming. I am unworthy of living when so many of my comrades have departed this life. I have infinite deference for all the valiant fellows who perished in honour of their King and Country. How could the merciless Fritz commit such debauched genocide? As for the Generals, they did an utterly spiffing job - only 600,000 of us have died. What have any of us done to tilt the world into this aberrant orbit? This convoluted carnage has guided me into the obscure understanding that we humans are merely pawns on a metaphorical chessboard being forced around by destiny's indistinguishable hand. No matter how much we attempt to challenge the inevitable outcome, we are never ready. We are powerless. Atypically, I have not yet verbalized my thoughts and feelings since that momentous day. Nobody will ever understand. When the corollary is so atrocious, why bother being a hero? Amy Collins Page 1 of 10 ...read more.

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