First 600 words of the document:
What will you lack, sonny, what will you lack,
When the girls line up the street
Shouting their love to the lads to come back
From the foe they rushed to beat?
Will you send a strangled cheer to the sky
And grin till your cheeks are red?
But what will you lack when your mate goes by
With a girl who cuts you dead?
Where will you look, sonny, where will you look,
When your children yet to be
Clamour to learn of the part you took
In the War that kept men free?
Will you say it was naught to you if France
Stood up to her foe or bunked?
But where will you look when they give the glance
That tells you they know you funked?
How will you fare, sonny, how will you fare
In the far-off winter night,
When you sit by the fire in an old man's chair
And your neighbours talk of the fight?
Will you slink away, as it were from a blow,
Your old head shamed and bent?
Or say - I was not with the first to go,
But I went, thank God, I went?
Why do they call, sonny, why do they call
For men who are brave and strong?
Is it naught to you if your country fall,
And Right is smashed by Wrong?
Is it football still and the picture show,
The pub and the betting odds,
When your brothers stand to the tyrant's blow,
And England's call is God's!
Since I set foot on Calais quays I have not had dry feet.........It has penetrated now into that Sanctuary my sleeping
bag, and that holy of holies my pyjamas. For I sleep on a stone floor and the servant squashed mud on all my
belongings; I suppose by way of baptism. We are 3 officers in this 'Room', the rest of the house is occupied by servants
and the band; the roughest set of knaves I have ever been herded with. Even now their vile language is shaking the
flimsy door between the rooms.........
I chose a servant for myself yesterday, not for his profile, nor yet his clean hands, but for his excellence in bayonet
work. For the servant is always at the side of his officers in the charge and is therefore worth a dozen nurses......
There are scarcely any houses here. The men lie in Barns....
Our Mess Room is also an Ante and Orderly Room. We eat & drink out of old tins, some of which show traces of
ancient enamel. We are never dry, and never 'off duty'.
On all the officers' faces there is a harassed look that I have never seen before, and which in England, never will be
seen -- out of jails. The men are just as Bairnsfather has them -- expressionless lumps. We feel the weight of them
hanging on us. I have found not a few of the old Fleetwood Musketry party here. They seemed glad to see me, as far
as the set doggedness of their features would admit.
I censored hundreds of letters yesterday, and the hope of peace was in every one. The Daily Mail map which
appeared about Jan.
Lt. Siegfried Sassoon.
3rd Batt: Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
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I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority because I believe that the war is being
deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it. I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting on behalf of
soldiers. I believe that the war upon which I entered as a war of defence and liberation has now become a war of
agression and conquest.…read more