Originally posted by @zulufucxs
"It was a period of summer hayfields, singing birds and flowers on the one hand, and of mud, blood and the stink of dead bodies on the other, with nothing to separate these two worlds but a few hours of marching time... When men were hit, they would gasp and say, 'I’m hit', and someone would shout for stretcher bearers. Word would be passed on, echoing down the line. I heard boys on their stretchers crying with weakness, but all they ever asked for was water or a cigarette. Men with stomach wounds moaned. Otherwise there was silence.
Human dignity was often shattered as the wounds and sicknesses of war took their terrible toll.
We slunk about from hole to hole, from one piece of cover to the next, not daring, or else forgetting, to look about. Our landmarks were wrecked aeroplanes, derelict tanks, dead horses, and even dead men.
I had a friend who was as smart and upright until he got dysentery. It was dreadful to see him crawling about, his trousers round his feet, his backside hanging out, everything soiled. He couldn’t even walk. So I took him by one arm and another pal got hold of him by the other, and we dragged him to the latrine.
We lowered him down next to the latrine. We tried to keep the flies off him and to turn him round - put his backside towards the trench. But he simply rolled into the trench, half-sideways, head first in the slime.
We didn’t have the strength to pull him out, and he couldn’t help himself at all. He drowned in his own excrement." – Lt. Stuart Cloete, Ninth King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, Somme, France, 1916