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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Jim Carroll Anyone watching My Son Jack? (111* d) RE: Anyone watching My Son Jack? 13 Nov 07

In the late sixties we were asked to record a friend's grandfather, then quite old, who had lied about his age in order so 'serve his king and country' in France.
For two days he talked about the obscenity of WW1, speaking about it as if it were still happening, and often bursting into tears as he told it as it really was. He more-or-less forgot we were there as he relived his experiences.
One of the most moving parts of the week-end was when he spoke about the deserters. These were not cowards who ran away because they were afraid, but young men - often little more than children, whose minds had become so benumbed by the constant barrage of noise that they simply turned and walked away from it.
They were usually found on the roads, making no attempt to evade capture, were systematically picked up by the military police and taken back to base where they were routinely tried by a drumhead court and sentenced to death. They were then imprisoned to await execution.
If the fighting became intense they were taken out of prison and placed in the front line to 'do their bit'.
After the action had died down, (if they survived the fighting) they were returned to prison and eventually shot by firing squad.
Tom described how it felt to be fighting next to somebody one minute, chatting and swapping cigarettes and experiences, and the next, reading a notice saying he had been shot as a deserter.
Surely society at its most barbaric - Land of Hope and Glory or what - can't wait for next year's 'Proms'.
We sat for many hours with Walter Pardon, listening to him talk about the relative merits of Kipling (a fellow Norfolk man) and Hardy (Walter was very much a 'Hardy nut'). It was he who introduced me to the Hardy poem 'The Man I Killed' - now there's a poem that tells it like it was - streets ahead of all the other jingoistic garbage.
Jim Carroll

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