When I think of your Red Cross practises on boy scouts, and the grim reality, it makes one wonder. And the biggest wonder of it all is the grit there is in them, and the price they are individually and unquestioningly paying for doing their bit in this War.
The men from Mons told us 'it wasn't fighting--it was murder.'
the 'carnage' is being appauling, and we have been practically in it, as far as horrors go.
Imagine a hospital as big as King's College Hospital all packed into a train, and having to be self-provisioned, water, sanitated, lil, cleaned, doctored and nursed and staffed and officered, all within its own limits. No outside person can realise the difficulties except those who try to work it.
many very bad cases, fractures spine, a nearly dying lung case, a boy with wound in lung and live, three pneumonias, some bad enterics (though the worst had not been moved).
"He's been dangerously wounded-and it doesn't say how!" It didn't say how. Now that I knew so much about wounds, that vagueness seemed the telegram's worst infliction.
One could not, he said, continually reflect upon the material and spiritual waste involved whenever that highly trained product, a man in the prime of life, was instantaneously killed by a stray bullet, or life at the front would be one long misery.
The ironies of war, I reflected sadly, were more than strange; in terms of a rational universe they were quite inexplicable. But now the universe had become irrational, and nothing was turning out as it once seemed to have been ordained.
They sound ludicrous enough now, these rumours, these optimisms, these assurances, to us who still wonder why, in spite of all our incompetence, we managed to "win" the War. But at the time they helped us to live. I cannot, indeed, imagine how long we should have succeeded in living without them.
an apprenticeship in pain, desolation and grief. Yet one of the problems of such 'apprenticeship in history'-something less often spoken about-is the issue of owning experience.