Forgotten Voices of the Great War (by Max Arthur) external image forgottenvoices.jpg

This book presents numerous interviews which record the experiences of ordinary individuals in war. The information gathered by a team of academics, archivists and volunteers, who set about a trace of WWI survivers. The interviews are from different people, with different statues at different times, which allows you to get a little overview of the people's general thoughts.


1914 - Elizabeth Own (English schoolgirl) was seven when her grandmother asked to speak to her and her siblings. She said 'Now children, I've got something very serious to tell you. The Germans are fighting the British, there is a war on and all sorts of people will be killed by these wicked Germans. And therefore ther must be no playing, no singing. no runnign about.' Her grandmother took away all of their toys made in Germany.

Wrong Assumptions

1914 - Caption Philip Neame VC (15th Field Company, Royal Engineers) was stationed at Gibraltar when war was declared. He and his follow officers ;were afraid that the war would be over quickly, and that we should miss it. They were 'keen soldiers, and if there was a war in chich the British Army was taking part we were all only too anxious to be at the Front'

1914 - Robert Poustis (French Student), whe he was a boy, lived in a community which was very eger to get back the 'lost province Alsace-Lorraine'. They felt that if had been 'stolen from France'. Once the first day of mobilisation came about, 'there was of course a lot of enthusiasm. Everybody was shouting and wanted to go to the Front. They 'wanted to go to Berlin immediately, with bayonets, swords and lances, running after the Germans. The war, we thought, was to last two months, maybe three months'


tserver.jpg1914 - Private Thomas McIndoe (12th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment) was 'a tall and fairly fit lad' who was eger to join the army. But once confronted by the recruiting officer, he was told he was 'I think you are too young son', despite having claimed he was eighteen. He went home and picked up his 'bowler hat', and return wearing his hat 'thinkin it would make' him 'look older'. He presented himself to the recruiting officer, as this time 'there were no queries', he was accpeted. Thomas, in fact, was not even sixteen yet.

1914 - Private Reginald Haine (1st Battalion, Honourable Artillery Company) first of did not intend to join the army, but his friend convinced him otherwise. He went to Armoury House to get enlisted. Once at the desk with a Sergeant-Major behind it, the Sergeant-Major asked, 'How old are you?' He replied 'I am eighteen in a month.' The Sergeant said 'Do you mean ninteen in a month?' He though for a moment and said 'Yes, Sir.' and he signed up.


1915 - Private Charles Taylor (13th Battalion Yorks and Lancs) was crawling back towards his lines, as doing so he said, 'I had never seen so many dead men clumped together. That was all I could see and I though to myself, "All the world's dead - they're all dead - they're all dead!" That's all I sould think as I crawled along. Everywhere I passed, to my left and right were dead men laying on the ground.

1916 - Captian Graham Greenwell (4th Battalion Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry) was told a private in his company 'was unfit to go on parade.' Yet the doctor had clear him. The Captain thus went to see the private, and it was clear 'he was in a very serious mental condition'. And the Captain told him he did not have to go on parade, but unfortunately only doctors had that authority. And so the private was 'made to get up and go on parade. Later in the morning the chap shoot himself.'

1915 - Private Frank Brent (2nd Australian Brigade) was digging a trench when the allies fired sereval shells. He said 'the bloke next to me, a coporal, was grinning all over his face and the next thing his head dell on my shoulder. A sniper had got him through the jugular vein.'
Battle of Loos.
1915 - Bombadier J.W. Palmer (Royal Artillery) had to lay a wire to the Hulluch crossroads. Whilst doing so he 'had to pass over those bodies' that had been decomposing in the trenches for days. Their 'faces were turning more and more blue and green. It was a terrible sight. He got right up to the trenches close to the crossroad, where an officer asked him 'Where are you going?' He told him and the officer replied 'You'd better bugger off. We haven't captured it yet'

Trench Warfare

external image Cheshire_Regiment_trench_Somme_1916.jpg1915 - Sergeant Frank Kennedy (3rd Australian Battalion) disembred off his boat at Gallipoli, he said 'the conditions were indescrible. Tere were wounded, dead and dying, rifles left all over the place and the packs the chaps had chucked off when they had advanced in the first assualt.'

1915 - Trooper Stanley Down (North Somerset Yeomanry) arrived at the trenches on the 12th of May. Soon after his arrival, a shell 'landed not many yards from where he was standing. The whole earth seemed to tremble at that moment. Sandbags, rifles and equipment went up into the air and a terrific shower of earth came down on top of us.'

1915 - Private Alfred Bromfield (2nd Battalion, Lancashire Regiment) was standing in teh bottom of his trench cocking up some breakfast (fried bacon and cheese) when the lookout shouted 'Cor, look at the lyddite shell bursting along Jerry's trench.' He jumped up out of curiousity. 'About a dozen puffs of yellow smoke' came up from what they thought was lyddite shells. About five seconds later, the lookout shouted 'Blimey. it's not lyddite, it's gas.' They jumped up again when an officer came runnign out and gave the order 'open immediate rapid fire!'

Home Front

1914 - Mary Hiller (Women's National Lsnd Service Corps) worked as a Farm Girl. The farmer who hired her no longer had anyone working on his farm as all the men had been enlisted in the army. Her daily work was to 'milk twelve cows twice a day, fed forty head of cattle, drawn in two hundred loads of mangels, fed calves anf mile them seperately.' She 'got up at five every morning and very often until nin a night'. She did this for six months straight.


1914 - Private William Dove (16th Lancers) one Sunday went to see a film show with a friend. At the end they showed sailing war ships whilst playing patriotic songs. He said 'You know one feels that little shiver run up the back and you know you have got to do something'. William had just turned 17 when he enlisted himself.
1914 - Private Thomas McIndoe (12th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment) said 'it was seeing the picture of Kitchener and this finger pointing at you - any position that you took up the finger was always pointing at you - it was a wonderful poster really.'

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