Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

Posts tagged “Trench

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With all the men fighting at the front, women of Moscow dig anti-tank trenches around Moscow, Battle of Moscow, Operation Barbarossa, World War II; ca. 1941

Battle_of_Moscow

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Poetry from the Trenches:

The Wipers Times was a largely satiric British newspaper famously published in the trenches during the First World War on a printing press that had been “liberated” from the ruins of a French town. It was by the infantry and for the infantry, and much of it was marked by a very dark streak of humor indeed.

Nevertheless, there were contributions that were amazingly sad and touching, too. The poem “To My Chum”, written by an infantry private of the Sherwood Foresters who had lost his friend, is impossible to read without at least a twinge of sorrow. I say this charitably — for my own part, at least, I can barely get through it at all without tearing up.

To My Chum

No more we’ll share the same old barn
The same old dug-out, same old yarn,
No more a tin of bully share
Nor split our rum by a star-shell’s glare
So long old lad.

What times we’ve had, both good and bad,
We’ve shared what shelter could be had,
The same crump-hole when the whizz-bangs shrieked,
The same old billet that always leaked,
And now – you’ve “stopped one”.

We’d weathered the storms two winters long
We’d managed to grin when all went wrong,
Because together we fought and fed,
Our hearts were light; but now – you’re dead
And I am mateless.

Well, old lad, here’s peace to you,
And for me, well, there’s my job to do,
For you and the others who are at rest
Assured may be that we’ll do our best
In vengeance.

Just one more cross by a strafed roadside,
With its G.R.C., and a name for guide,
But it’s only myself who has lost a friend,
And though I may fight through to the end,
No dug-out or billet will be the same,
All pals can only be pals in name,
But we’ll all carry on till the end of the game
Because you lie there.

 


A large French digging machine building trenches on the western front during WWI.

 The digging was moving away from the solider. A Trencher like that moved backwards as it digs.

The digging was moving away from the solider. A Trencher like that moved backwards as it digs.


Self Colorized “Dawn of Passchendaele” by Frank Hurley (1917)

This photo is an amalgamation of two photos Hurley took, he did it himself. The sky made the landscape look more dramatic, kinda seems unnecessary given the context.

This photo is an amalgamation of two photos Hurley took, he did it himself. The sky made the landscape look more dramatic, kinda seems unnecessary given the context.

The Black an White version:

frank_hurley_1917-small