The sky above me reflects my pain, reminds me of my loss....eh, the innocence that is no longer a part of this young lad. A wounded soldier now, crowded on a rail platform somewhere in France. As I gaze to my left and to my right, as far down the siding as I can see our wounded men, crowded on litters, just like me.
The trip away from the trenches is but a shadow, a faint memory...my dear mother talking to me all the way. Telling my I was much too handsome to die...it was not time for that now and I must, must hold on. I held on...through the rain, the shelling, the long waits in shattered trenches for new troops to move forward so they could then bring us, the no longer useful, the burden, the wounded back out of the way of their progress. Ach, progress....one bloody fucking inch at a time and a gallon of blood per inch at that...it's criminal.
So many lads didn't survive the journey out of the line. When they died the stretcher bearers stacked there corpses in abandoned trenches and headed back up the line for more wounded...never a shortage of wounded, no sir. The meat grinder was working over time, the shelling never really stopped, just paused for a while then picked up intensity at another spot in the line.
That journey of what, a mile total, out of the line to a rear area where we were loaded on carts to a dressing station took most of a whole day. No food, little water, no medical treatment...I wanted to die right there. But mum kept reminding me to hang on, that I would soon be home, home to Blighty...that Island I love.
My memory is still faint and that time seems so far away, though it was only days ago. I miss my mates...how are they? Are they alive....have they gotten out of the line and do they get replacements. I feel ashamed, that I've let them down by getting wounded....The doctor just left me...he said that indeed I am going back to Blighty, er England for medical treatment and convalescence.
Think of that, in a short day or two I shall board a transport for England and months of hospital and leave. I have no idea what to expect when I get there for I have been at the front for a very long time. I fear that my dear father won't recognize me now nor my sisters who have prayed for the day that I might come home. Though the thought of family makes me feel good I do feel sad for my dear mum won't be there to see me home. Seems the day I was wounded my dear mother passed away after a long bout of cancer....