October 1, 1915: Finally!! I hear word of Oliver! He is alive and all in one piece. His portrayal of the Battle at the Marne was much different than of the papers. The thunderous booms from the large artillery guns that create havoc everywhere, to the daily life in the trenches; I cannot think of another way to devalue a human life. We are very fortunate that he was not forced to participate in raiding parties. Like my father once told us a story long ago, this seemed much like a suicide task. I have yet to encounter trench foot or gangrenous conditions to the body, but according to Oliver; it is just as traumatizing as injury by ammunition. Countless hours and days in deep puddles without the ability to change socks or boots ultimately leading to infection. We’ve read about this and seen pictures in our training manuals. I’m sure my day will come to witness the sights and smells of the supplemental horror these men are exposed to.

 

June 1, 2016: Another 6 months has passed and I am on leave from the field hospital. The sights and smells of the homeland have never been more refreshing. My father has just celebrated his 70th birthday. I wish his body reflected his spirit. News from the Battle of Jutland certainly has not helped his Naval pride. For Admiral Sir John Jellicoe has been written to flee away as a precautionary tactic instead of facing boldly against the Germans. Reading these words crushed my father’s self-esteem.

 

August 28, 2016: I am approximately 2000 meters from the front lines here in Verdun. Although, it seems like the furthest distance we have been for a field hospital; we can hear the screams of the men as if they were only steps away. Today is a day I will never forget. I had my second-best uniform on. It had only two stains above my waistline but not a single tear. It was rather warm today, very muggy as the 4-day rain had come to an end. I had two pieces of bread this morning for breakfast and was surprisingly full. Today was the day they brought my dear Oliver in. Today I lost my husband. My daughters have lost their father.

 

Oliver was moving his troops from the second line up to the front when an artillery shell exploded near his trench. The explosion had shot shrapnel into his side, dropping him to the ground. A valiant effort by his men to stop the bleeding was all too short, as Oliver bleed to death by the time he arrived at our tent.

 

I kissed him once more, held his hand, told him that I loved him and that I would see him again one day.

 

Goodbye my dear soul mate.

 

June 28, 1919: Not quite three years since my last entry but the Treaty of Versailles is expected to be signed today. A peace treaty signed by the Allies and Germans symbolizing the end of the first World War. I would say the World should be happy. Or that our children should be happy that this is over. My world ended with the loss of my Oliver. I was sent home two weeks after his death as I was “unfit to serve”. Just last week I received word that my teaching duties at Cambridge will not be reinstated. I pray that there is not another war in my or our daughters’ lifetime. Nothing was gained and all was lost. May this end with me.

 

References

Duffy, M. (2009, August). Battles – The First Battle of the Marne, 1914. Retrieved from FirstWorldWar.com: http://www.firstworldwar.com/battles/marne1.htm

History.com. (2009). Lusitania. Retrieved from History.com: http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/lusitania

History.com. (2009). World War I 1914 First Battle of the Marne Begins. Retrieved from History.com: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-battle-of-the-marne-begins

Jackson, F. (2015). The Cambs at War, August 1914 – May 1919. Retrieved from Cambridge Shire Regiment1914-18: http://www.cambridgeshireregiment1914-18.co.uk/the-cambs-at-war.html

Mayo, T. (2017). Interview via Facebook. (J. Soza, Interviewer)

Red Cross. (2017). Volunteers During the First World War. Retrieved from British Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Volunteers-during-WW1

Shelton, J. (2014, November 3). Cambridge at War. Retrieved from Cambridge Edition: http://www.cambsedition.co.uk/index.php/interviews/539-cambridge-world-war-one-jenny-shelton

Spartacus Educational. (1997, September). British Home Front-Pacifism. Retrieved from Spartacus Educational: http://spartacus-educational.com/USApacifists.htm

University of Cambridge. (2017). School of Arts and Humanities. Retrieved from University of Cambridge: http://www.csah.cam.ac.uk/

Unknown. (2017). Portsmouth The Great Waterfront City. Retrieved from Portsmouth Historic Dockyard: http://www.visitportsmouth.co.uk/things-to-do/portsmouth-historic-dockyard-p54183

 

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