Views from Britain

In Britain, stories of the heroism of the troops were common. They were reported with enthusiasm by the newspapers. But as well as the stories of daring deeds, there were also reports of the growing number of dead and injured. Some letters home sometimes avoided the censors [click for definition] and told of the horror of war.

 

singing
Soldiers sometimes went singing into battle. Imperial War Museum

The company went over the top very well, with Soames and your brother [Wilfred Neville] kicking off with the company footballs. We had to face very heavy rifle and machine gun fire and and nearing the front German trench, the line slowed down. Seeing this, Wilfred dashed in front with a bomb in his hand and was immediately shot through the head.

SOURCE SIX: From a letter from Neville's friend to his sister, describing Neville's death at the Somme.


We are lousy [click for definition], stinking, ragged, unshaven and sleepless. My clothes are rotten with other men's blood and partly spattered with a friend's brains. It is horrible, but why should you people at home not know? I honestly believe that Goldie (a mate) and many others were murdered through the stupidity of those in authority.

SOURCE SEVEN: Written by Lieutenant Raws in a letter to his family shortly before his death on 23 August 1916


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