My great-great-great-grandfather was one of those out of many who gave his life in order to bring peace for later generations. Although I could not find many records of my great-great-great-grandfather I do have a few. I asked my grandmother if she had anything that could be of help for this report and she sent me a box that my great-great-great- grandfather’s sister kept during The Great War. Although there is only two letters in the box I also found the death telegram for my great-great-great grandfather. It was in shreds at the bottom of the box. This shows a lot of the pain that came with the consequences of The Great War. These following letters between my two family members are based off original letters. I could not, however, comprehend a lot of these letters and I could not make out the dates, I could figure out that, unlike many of the men going into the war, my great-great-great-grandfather was not excited and anticipated the great struggles and consequences of choosing to partake in this war.
I haven’t quite got to the trenches yet, but I can’t say I am as excited as most of my fellows soldiers. I don’t think the younger ones understand what they’re in for. I don’t think any of us are. I’m sure we will become a little more prepared when we start to get closer to the warzone. I hope all is well back home. England is not as open as Otago. I miss the farm, harvesting and even the yapping dogs. I just hope this Great War will not be carried on for much longer. Some of the boys have had letters from their brothers saying they have pushed the Germans further back, so I hope I will be home to you and the farm soon.
From what I could make out the first of the three letters I had, his letter was explaining his distaste of the excitement of some of the other soldiers. Although he was brave he seemed to reminisce about his home a lot. A lot of the original letter was also blocked by the sensor, I could understand what he was trying to say.
The day has come for me to go to the trenches. I leave tomorrow but I guess by the time you receive this letter I will be fighting for our country in Somme. I’m terrified if I must be honest. The things I have already seen have been unbelievable and I’m sure others have seen plenty of it. I would write what I have seen but I would never want you to picture something so gruesome, no one should ever have to see the pain here let alone be the ones to experience it. There’s so much loss here and I just hope that I can get out of here as soon as possible and get back home.
I think out of the letters, this was the bravest. I could make out that he did tell his sister exactly how scared he was, and that in itself is extremely brave. I believe that one of the hardest things to do is to show vulnerability. The fact that he told someone how frightened he was, especially in this situation was extremely brave and probably took quite a bit of courage and I think that later generations could learn from his and other soldiers bravery.
I have been in Somme for about a week now and the things I have already seen have shocked me. I'm terrified because they are planning another push and I'm sure I'm in the next one. Not everyone comes back from pushes and I'm already trying hard to withstand the conditions of the trenches. In case you get a telegram with this letter tell mother and father I love them and I tried my best. I can not write a long letter as we don't have much time but I hope to see you soon.
This was the last letter his sister received before her family received a death telegram saying he had been killed in action. To my knowledge, he had a wife and child who were devastated at the death. I'm not sure if he was recognised and buried in France but I do have the proof of his death. I wrote some poetry to express my views on the Great War and I have decided to include them.
One fateful day
A single letter
A pool of salt
Eyes a little wetter
An organised massacre
A stolen life
So much ahead
Maybe child or wife
Least we forget
A splash of red
Worn proudly on chest
Tears still shed
Those that left
To save us
Forgotten on a field
To make everything just
A mess of tangled wire covers a dull landscape
Tremor after tremor
Takes over a corpse filled field
Fear is just a daily routine
Run by those just as afraid
A yell runs down the shallow cavern
The walls are scaled
And piercing stings strike the freightened
Thud after thud sends dirt flying
Agony is now felt by even those left untouched
In my poems I focused a lot on the more painful side of war. In the first poem at the start I focused on the feeling of loss, near the end of the poem I started to explain how we treat those losses now. We wear poppies every ANZAC day and yet we still have some that will be lost forever, however we still honour those who died today. In my second poem I tried to replicate the feeling of being in a trench and the sounds and things one would've seen. I hope that these poems could have an impact on how someone would see the idea of the trenches of war. I tried to explain and have vivid images for people to imagine.
In this report I tried to explain the effects that war had on people through experiences and images. I hope that this report can create new ways of thinking about the effects and consequences of warfare for future generations to keep in their minds and favour those who paid the ultimate price for a peaceful future.
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Last modified on Sunday, 06 July 2014 09:23