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Diary of William Marshall: July-August 1916

Extracts from this document...


Fozia Ali                                                                                             English Language

Diary of William Marshall: July-August 1916

July 4th 1916

Woke up this morning with a bleedin’ backache, could barely move. Roberts due out of hospital today, bout time n’ all.

July 20th 1916

Been busy with digging the new trenches in Rouen. Me and Rob went to local pub. Bought me egg n’ chips with lots of beer too. Got drunk that night. The cheeky little bugger was still limping from when he hurt his leg, I reckon he was putting it on, trying to get out of all the hard graft. Cheeky bugger, don’t know what I’d to without him though.

July 26th 1916

Went again to Rouen. Just got back.

August 1st 1916

Today we got a full day’s of rest, we deserved it n’ all. Received letters from home. As usual some fellas were happy and some were sad. I was a happy fella, received a letter from Ma. They all well. Family is all good.

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August 4th 1916

Got woken up the next morning could hear artillery guns firing. Shit! The Germans had found us. Our time has come. It was no practice it was real this time. What the hell am I going to do? Everyone was rushing round everywhere. Sergeant was bellowing at everyone to move quickly, “you fucking bastards move!” I could hear the Major screaming at Rob to get a move on. He was always shouting at him; for god’s sake give him a break. There was no time to argue we had to get out there. I was shocked, scared and shaken. I could see Robert he was keen to get out there, showed no sign of fear. That’s why I was proud. I was feeling anxiety and dread at the same time. When we got out there bullets where shot all over the place, I didn’t know what to do defend myself or go and attack. Robert was quick to attack he ran forward screaming at the Germans. I was scared. I didn’t wanna go further.

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August 7th 1916

Last two days were the worst. My little brother had gone. The bastard Germans killed him. Sergeant told me a telegram had been sent home, but what must they be going through. What am I going to say to Ma? I let these bastards kill my little brother; they took him away from us. What do I say to Ma? I didn’t look after him properly. Rob was brave one and I was the weak one. I couldn’t even go and help him; it’s my fault he’s gone. I should have helped him. I should have been brave. Ma told me to look after him, be the brave one. But I didn’t. Rob was the brave one. He wanted to prove himself to the bleedin’ Major. It’s my fault. I should have been there for him. It’s all my fault, all mine. German bastards, when I get out of this shit hole, I’ll show them all. I’ll get them all back for what they have done. I’m so sorry Rob.


Me and Robert digging the trenches in March 1916.

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