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17th February 1916
It has just gone past 5am and I am lying still underneath my rat-infested blanket; I am writing my first ever diary entry, using the dim light from the navy torch and ink pen that I borrowed from my Comrade: Comrade Grayson. To be blunt, I am not very good at expressing my feelings towards others. I don’t think any lad would be good at expressing their feelings. My new Comrades would think of me as a ‘Coward’ or call me names like ‘Big Girl’. Writing what I see and feel would be a better way of expressing me: I hope to think so.
So here it goes.
This is the diary of Charlie Henry Moore.
21st March 1916
Today has been an exhausting, long day. Every part of my body aches; my head; my back; my feet. Everything. I am certain that there are going to be long days ahead of me, which I will dread and despise. But what keeps me alive and going is the distant memory of my pregnant wife, Olivia.
Sweet memories which make my eyes fill with tears of joy, ready to roll down my cheek. Memories of golden hair, which gently flowed against her cream-coloured skin; deep blue eyes, as deep as the ocean’s abyss. And her voice; every time she spoke, it seems as if there were a choir of angels singing in harmony.
My hair, my body and clothes have been invaded by lice – they are feasting away on my warm blood. At least they have food. I have been starving for days. It seems that there is not enough food, so we have to ration things out. Today I received a piece of hard, white bread, which I at least think it’s made of bread ingredients. But, I doubt that. I got few pieces of biscuit and a mug of tea. The biscuits were too hard to chew, so I left it for the rats. I ate the hard chunks of bread and washed it down with my cold tea. It wasn’t that bad. I bet we were far better of then some trenches elsewhere.
Thousands of blisters have formed on my feet, which explain the constant pain I get when trotting around the trenches, during night duty. I should get it seen, but with the constant change of trenches every four days, I don’t really see the point.
I just hope that some days won’t be as heavy as others, like today. But this war.... We hope that the best is yet to come.
17th February 1916
It has just gone past 5am and I am lying still underneath my rat-infested blanket; I am writing my first ever diary entry, using the dim light from the navy torch and ink pen that I borrowed from my Comrade: Comrade Grayson.
It has just gone past 5amand I am lying still underneath my rat-infested blanket; I am writing my firstever diary entry, using the dim light from the navy torch and ink pen that Iborrowed from my Comrade: Comrade Grayson. To be blunt, I am not very good atexpressing my feelings towards others. I don’t think any lad would be good atexpressing their feelings. My new Comrades would think of me as a ‘Coward’ orcall me names like ‘Big Girl’. Writing what I see and feel would be a betterway of expressing me: I hope to think so.
So here itgoes.
This is thediary of Charlie Henry Moore
Today has been anexhausting, long day. Every part of my body aches; my head; my back; my feet.Everything. I am certain that there are going to be long days ahead of me,which I will dread and despise. But what keeps me alive and going is thedistant memory of my pregnant wife, Olivia.
Sweetmemories which make my eyes fill with tears of joy, ready to roll down mycheek. Memories of golden hair, whichgently flowed against her cream-coloured skin; deep blue eyes, as deep as theocean’s abyss. And her voice; every time she spoke, it seems as if there were achoir of angels singing in harmony.
My hair, mybody and clothes have been invaded by lice – they are feasting away on my warmblood. At least they have food. I have been starving for days. It seems thatthere is not enough food, so we have to ration things out. Today I received apiece of hard, white bread, which I at least think it’s made of breadingredients. But, I doubt that. I got few pieces of biscuit and a mug of tea.The biscuits were too hard to chew, so I left it for the rats. I ate the hardchunks of bread and washed it down with my cold tea. It wasn’t that bad. I betwe were far better of then some trenches elsewhere.
Thousands ofblisters have formed on my feet, which explain the constant pain I get whentrotting around the trenches, during night duty. I should get it seen, but withthe constant change of trenches every four days, I don’t really see the point.
I just hope that some days won’t be as heavyas others, like today. But this war.... We hope that the best is yet to come.
I had received my firstever parcel from home, just after breakfast. My comrade named, Joshua, was delivering the posts and letters aroundthe trenches. As he was making his way towards me, a small part of me was beingpessimistic that I won’t receive any letters from home – just like the past fewmonths. But when he passed me the brown, tatty parcel, a smile broke out on myface, from underneath the dull, despaired look that I carried.
All ofsudden, I wasn’t hungry no more. I dropped my mug of tea and inedible bread onthe stone cold, muddy floor. I rose and hugged Joshua tightly around his neck.I whispered into his ear ‘Thank you’, and released my grip from his shoulder.He grasped my shoulder; nodded and gave me a stern look. Then he assembledfurther away from me and into the other trenches.
I stood stillfor a few minutes, admiring the tatty, brunette parcel, wondering what it hadinstall for me. I assumed that it was the first ever parcel seen in the trenches,as the crowd of soldiers gather around me – like eager eagles. I placed my handon top of the parcel – it felt damp and cold, yet the slickness remained. Atthe left hand side of the parcel stated in a weary handwriting: ‘To Charlie HMoore. From Mother’. Attached to the parcel was a letter from Olivia. I opened the letter, hoping to find somemoney and a picture of my family; but, it consisted of some writing and a smallphotograph of a beautiful, baby boy. I took the photograph and turned it over.It said ‘Daniel Charlie Moore’.
A single,crystal tear of happiness welled up in the corner of my eye and suddenly, thedam broke. ‘This is my son!’ I cried, as I foolishly swung the photograph inthe air, making a complete and utter fool of myself. But who can blame me! Whenyou just found out that your wife had given birth to your child 3 months ago,are you expected to keep it quiet and carry on the daily horrific patrols?No. I was in triumph and celebrating thebirth of my marvellous child. My comrades: Peter, Jones, Joe and Benjaminoffered to take me out for a beer in the Local Pub to celebrate this joyfuloccasion.
This meantbeing away from the trenches. Away from the screams of anguish that torethrough the overwhelming noises made by the shells detonating every hour; theconstant clunks and chimes made by the blow, back operated belt-fed machineguns which pierced through the air and penetrated into the poor bodies ofsoldiers; the thick aroma of blood, sweat and tears which encircled thetrenches.
So I took theoffer and enjoyed my time away from the trenches, in the warmth and company ofmy fellow comrades in the Pub. The bitter smell of ale which embraced the Pubreminded me of home. Memories of my family visiting the Pub once a week toenjoy the company of friends. This day, I hate to say it, but it had been oneof the best days I had during the Great War.
Yesterday I never got thechance to open the parcel, which was sent by mother. I bet I was too drunk to remember what hadhappened last night. I regret kissing the owner of the Pub's daughter; I feelawfully tired and disloyal towards my wife. The feeling of guilt is like aheavy stone, sagging down on top of my heart into an empty pit of darkness withits weight. It is slowly creeping in on me, tormenting with my mind – sayinghow bad of a husband I was and so on. Thinking of it makes my heart beat alittle faster; my palms sweat and my body cringe. This is such a terriblefeeling.
Plus, I hadalready vomited three times and I can feel another set brewing in my stomachthat is surging from my gut and into my throat. This bile is filling my mouth,which makes me want to spew it out. But I don't.
I do not onlyfeel awful but look it too. My eyes look bloodshot red and there are little,dark, charcoal circles around both my eyes. There are little bags underneath myeyes, which are drooping downwards. My hair is very untidy and my breath reeksof bitter, sweet alcohol. My mate, Ben, called me a ‘Walking Corpse’. What afunny little chap.
We hadbreakfast, which spoiled my appetite for the rest of the day. This was becauseI found a couple of petite lice, swarming their way around my mug of tea. Ithink it must have sprung out of the cook's hair or clothes and onto my mug. Idon't understand why the cooks make simple food taste horrible. This is not theideal food, which should be served to a soldier of such a kind. This is notwhat I signed up for; in fact it is the opposite. Yet I see children, ages of16 – 19 enjoying the experience of war, but do not acknowledge that life isprecious and acting in an aimless manner along the trenches, letting the enemy(Franz) see you. This is an abomination.
Anyway, mynew comrades and I were hanging about in the dug-outs, playing gin-rummy andsolitaire, while smoking few ****. I never smoke, but it was recommended by mymate Jones. He said it will help you relax and become less tired. To be frank,he didn’t know what he was actually talking about as he was hooked smokingsmuggled weed, which he got from some local teenage boys. But who am I tobehave in a manner as hypocrites do when I kissed the Pub’s owner daughter!
We wereknackered! We had so much fun the previous night. And it is only just one?
So I decidedto smoke some **** for the first time in my life. Jones lit the fag and passedit to me. I felt anxious. But he told me I shouldn’t be. As I placed thecigarette onto my soft lips, I could feel the warmth of cigarette slowly makingits way towards my nose and down mythroat when I inhaled it. Suddenly the fume got too much for me, as I felt asif the fume just attacked my throat, making it irritable. I started to chokingviolently, attracting the attentions of all those who were present in thedug-out. The taste was disgusting, it was absolutely vile.
Jones slappedmy back and shouted 'First Time Smoker'. The confused crowd all started tolaugh loudly, and some even shed tears of laughter. I felt utterly humiliated.I gave a weary smile and held my hands against my face; covering my blushing,rosy cheeks. Jones then showed me how toinhale it properly. It took time to get used to it, but after a while I startedto enjoy the feeling. I felt invincible when I finished the fag. But then camethe aftermath effect. It was dreadful. Ifelt my head buzzing and I started tofeel light-headed. Jones said it is called 'Head Rush' and it occurs to firsttime smoker. It was this sort of weird sensation. Then, my mouth reeked andtasted of number twos. But at least it took my mind of things.
Whilst I gavesmoking a second try, I sat down in a small corner – far away from my friendsand the crowd – and opened my parcel. It contained a cylindrical shaped metaltin. I looked confused and upset. However, when I opened it, it contained halfa slice of cake, some old photographs which were taken in mychildhood, money, a drawing from my brother and a black, velvet diary. I openedthe diary and it stated 'To my lovely darling, Charlie. Use this book wiselyand always trust in God. Mother' I think that was one of the most amazing giftI received from my mother. I felt the silky, velvet diary. It must have cost afortune.
I savoured mypiece of cake and shared it amongst my mates. It was absolutely scrumptious.Thank you mother.
I miss the presenceof you and the family. Life here has been tough, but we are just doing fine; weare trying our best to cope. How have you been? I heard that you are ill fromthe letter Olivia wrote to me. I am very concerned about you Mother – it makesme feel the most unbearable pain you would never understand. Thank you for yourgifts and the gifts I received from the rest of the family. I hope that you andthe family are well. How is the little Daniel coming along? He should be around5 months old now. He is going to be such a strong little boy, just like hisfather, brother and grandfather.
Tell Oliviaand Daniel that I love them both and they are the reason ( and so are you andthe rest of the family) that is keeping me alive. Tell Connor that I miss thesound of his voice and games we used to play. Lastly, would you be able to send me more money and cake. It is verymuch appreciated. Love you to bits.