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Author Topic: Help again please 2  (Read 7393 times)
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« on: 15 September 2011, 07:24:55 pm »

Kim
Senior Forum Member
 

Australia
601 Posts    Posted - 14/09/2004 :  5:48:31 PM  
Thanks Jeff, yes any thing to do which insightful thoughts that the men had is very helpful. Especially about their emotions and such before during and after battle and their enviroment.
David
Forum Member


Australia
183 Posts    Posted - 16/09/2004 :  1:58:42 PM  
Kim, may i recommend Frederic Manning's - "The Middle parts of fortune".
While this is a fictionalized account, dealing with British soldiers, the author Manning is writing from personal experience. Manning was an Australian who served in France as an officer with a british regiment. The events described concern the Somme mid to late 1916.
The book was originally published anon. and the authors identity was not made known publicaly till after Mannings death in the 1930s.
The focus of the book is not so much combat but soldiering, from a psychological perspective. It would be well worth adding to your reading list, and could also assist in your search for a greater understanding concerning a persons/soldiers motivation, as asked in your other post - what propels a person into combat? It is not always an easy read but i have found it worth any effort.
David.
Kim
Senior Forum Member
 

Australia
601 Posts    Posted - 16/09/2004 :  6:25:49 PM  
Thankyou David I will add this to my ever growing list
You guys are just fantastic!

Bill Woerlee
Veteran Forum Member
 

Australia
1069 Posts    Posted - 21/09/2004 :  08:30:46 AM    
Kim
I think I understand what your essential search is and in some ways it is unanswerable because individual motivations vary considerably within a group. Thus the reasons that keep one person in action are different to other people.

One thing that comes through in all the material as a constant has nothing to do with the conflict nor with the cause. It is complete at a personal level. This relates to a group of people, no more than a handful in number, who through shared common experience come to rely upon each other in the most intimate of ways. They eat, defecate, wash, drink, screw and heal each other, a microcosm of a larger scene. However, at this level, no one gives a toss about why they are there or even who they are fighting for – the politics is irrelevant. The key issue is to survive the experience. No nation has a monopoly on this emotion.

In researching this issue, one of the most profound and remarkable studies of the psychology of the soldier in the trenches was produced by Erich Maria Remarque called “All Quiet on the Western Front”. It is worthwhile reading this book from cover to cover half a dozen times as it will take you through the process of recruitment of the idealist volunteer to the cynical survivor and the episodes that impacted on the individual. After reading this book, hire the video of the 1930 version of the movie directed by Lewis Milestone. It is readily available at most good video shops. It is a long movie of 131 minutes in black and white but every aspect will give you the nub of what you are searching for on your journey of understanding. If you can’t get a hold of this version, the remake is good and readily available on DVD. Bear in mind the people who remade the movie did not share the experiences that made the first movie so powerful. After all, the first movie was made by those who had directly experienced the trenches.

A fine exposition of the group psychology is to be found in the James Jones book and the 1998 movie of the book called “The Thin Red Line” which tells the story about a group of men in Charlie Company at Guadalcanal. Both the book and the movie make very powerful comments regarding the very issues you are seeking to find. Even is you don’t get the book, the movie is good and readily available. It is far more evocative than Saving Private Ryan although that too is a worthy movie dealing with a similar subject.

I hope this helps you out Kim.

Cheers

Bill



Kim
Senior Forum Member
 

Australia
601 Posts    Posted - 21/09/2004 :  6:48:36 PM  
Thanks Bill, I will definatly try to get these items.
Kim
Kim
Senior Forum Member
 

Australia
601 Posts    Posted - 21/09/2004 :  8:04:06 PM  
Glyn, may I email you something. It is about 4 pages
Kim
Jeff Pickerd
Advanced Forum Member
 

Australia
486 Posts    Posted - 22/09/2004 :  01:08:59 AM  
Kim
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Have just had to get on with some more work on my history, the rate I am going, I will never get it finished.
Have found several references that would seem to fit your requirements. The first is a passage from a letter written on the 10th August 1916, the day after the 8th LHR attacked the Tukish positions at Hod el Bada at 1000 hours, Wednesday 9th August.
"I hardly know how to write you about yesterday, such an awful and hard day it was. I will never forget it nor can I tell of it by writting. It was nothing short of murder. I witnessed some most frightfully cruel scenes... Even know I can hardly pull my scattered brains together to think what to write. I kept up all right while the fighting was on but when safe away from all danger riding into camp my nerves absolutely gave away and had I given away would have cried like a child thinking of the good fellows we lost and the poor horses dying in agony was enough to touch the heart of the hardest."
The next are a selection of Quotes from before and after the Charge at the Nek, 7th August 1915. I have only selected passages that portray the mens real feelings.
Before the charge. One man turns to his strong religious beliefs for solace; "we go forward in full consciousness of a duty clear before us. God grant comfort to those in anxiety and sorrow and give our leaders wisdom."
"Some of the men kidded and joked with their mates, others deep in their own thoughts".
"Scared, I was terrified, the Naval bombardment was just one continual roar, I have never heard anything like it before and hope to never again."
"When the time came, I don't know what I felt like, I just had this thought sticking in my head that I just had to get to the trenches in front of me."
After the charge;
"When I heard what the result was I cried like a child. It was really too awful."
"I went around for a time as if I were in a daze, I could not bring my mind to think straight."
Trust this may be of some help. I think what most of the others have stated about it being a very personal feeling for each individual is correct. From a lot of the letters and diaries it is hard to decide if they are writting their real feelings, or those that they think they should convey to family back home.

Jeff


Glyn
Advanced Forum Member
 

Australia
244 Posts    Posted - 22/09/2004 :  08:33:37 AM  
Sure Kim,
Work email would be best, glyn.llanwarne@defence.gov.au

Glyn

Kim
Senior Forum Member
 

Australia
601 Posts    Posted - 22/09/2004 :  08:35:46 AM  
Thanks Jeff, this is what I am trying to get at. In a lot of cases it seems that it was so horrific and unbelievable that the men didn't know how to put it into words,. As well as what you say in that they lightened it a bit for those at home. I think I am coming to the conclusion that a man whose very soul has been eroded by the stench and waste of war, and the deprivation of the smallest necessities of life, warmth, decent food and rest, will still fight on regardless, if his mates are beside him and the thought of returning home to see his family and the wattle bloom again, is stronger, than the wish for death to put a stop to his misery. But even at some stages, the war was so hellish that men did end up wishing for death or a 'blighty' to take them out of it.
Kim



Nick
Forum Member



196 Posts    Posted - 22/09/2004 :  8:52:17 PM  
It sounds to me like your writing a piece based on primary sources. (?) If so, then I would recommend Bean's Diary edited by Kevin Fewster. Compare this with Bean's written history. Gammage would be my first read, though.
Nick

Glyn
Advanced Forum Member
 

Australia
244 Posts    Posted - 23/09/2004 :  12:46:33 PM  
Kim,
Document returned with comments. After I wrote it and made a note to you about the affect of artilery on trenches I read Bill's post of 8.47 today where he says:

'Then they made an important discovery. Canons firing shrapnel did not inflict much damage upon defenders. Furthermore, they left the barbed wire in tact'.

I made my comment based on my training independent of reading this but I think that it reinforces the need for a bit more research.

Once again a good read. Keep it up.

Glyn

PS Bill- Thanks mate!

Kim
Senior Forum Member
 

Australia
601 Posts    Posted - 23/09/2004 :  6:29:57 PM  
Once again, thankyou Glyn. I'm going to owe all you guys a few beers and then some.
From research into origins and use of "those" words (swearing) I am led to believe that they were used at that time, no where as frequently as today but were used. One good source was 'Glossery of slang and peculiar terms in the AIF 1921-1924' Manusript at AWM or at www.anu.edu.au/ANDC/WWI/AnnotEd1.html
Very interesting reading.
To your other points I feel that I need to attend a workshop with one of those battle tables and all the tin soldiers so that I can get an overview of how it all worked on the battle field. I get a bit confused by just reading about it. I might try and set something up in the shed.
Does any one know of a website that has anything like this?
Your comments are very insightful and as I thought, only some one with military knowledge or a researcher would be able to get me on the right track.
Cheers
Kim
Senior Forum Member
 

Australia
601 Posts    Posted - 27/09/2004 :  2:10:58 PM  
The f word was also used by Manning in a Middle Part of Fortune. I read it last night after it was recommended by David. Am also reading Gammage, The Broken years and Mad Harry so am picking up on the feeling of the men. Still waiting on the library for the other books recommended to me on this topic.
Thanks

Nick
Forum Member



196 Posts    Posted - 27/09/2004 :  8:47:18 PM 
Hi all,
I still think Gammage is good for what you want. Nowhere else have I read of a soldier literally ****ing himself while lying in front of his trenches ready to advance.(Seems a natural enough reaction to me.)

As per thoughts about attacks. Sam McColl 8th LH KIA the Nek, wrote that "there was a pretty fore moon up" and "you would think everyone was after rabbits" regrading the Turkish night attack in June. Such detachment,I would expect, would be the necessary result of training so the soldier could perform as part of his squad, platoon, company and so on. However, I'll defer to those with more knowledge on this idea.

Nick

Jeff Pickerd
Advanced Forum Member
 

Australia
486 Posts    Posted - 28/09/2004 :  12:13:29 AM 
Kim
The Turkish attack on the 8th & 9th LHR's positions on Russell's Top, the night of 29th/30th June has left a lot of interesting statements from the men of both regiments. This was effectively the first major engagement they had had, and should have been a warning to the senior officers of what a disaster a charge across the Nek would be.
The following quotes give an indication of the excitement the men had felt in repulsing the Turkish attack, some of which seem hard to imagine, that they could think so little of the human loss they had inflicted.
LCpl Walter McConnan, "C" Sqdn, 8th LHR "Our rifle-fire not only checked them but piled them in heaps. Of course a good many got away but our bag was good. I reckon on a couple for my share. This was the most exciting time we had enjoyed till recently."
LCpl Ernie Mack, "A" Sqdn 8th LHR "Our men were the happiest men on the Peninsula during the attack because as soon as they stopped the first rush they jumped out of the fire trench and sat up on the parapets and yelled and cursed at the top of their voices, calling out to the Turks to come on, that they would soon finish them etc, etc."
Lt Ken McKennzie 9th LHR "Began with load cries of Allah and Mohhomat and at same time they advanced between dead end of No5 and Turks Point and over Secret sap. No control or leadership. It was like potting rabbits."
Capt Callary, 9th LHR "The Turks got a bad time. Our fellows said it reminded them of shooting rabbits running around...One gets use to the smell. How callous one gets. Such sights one ees and being so common and frequent makes one frightfully hard."
There are several other quotes in a similar vain. Little did they realise, that in over a months time the Turks would take their revenge on them. It interesting that some accounts suggest the Turks were appauled at the slaughter they inflicted upon the 8th & 10th Light Horse at the Nek.

Jeff

David
Forum Member


Australia
183 Posts    Posted - 30/09/2004 :  4:48:31 PM 
Kim,
on thinking on your topic for this, and your other post regarding experience in combat, i have a research suggestion. Have you researched any social history? It may be one area you have explored or considered already?
It's not something that is often directly dealt with on this forum, but i'm sure many of the more learned contributers have a knowledge of the society to which these people belonged.
I am beginning to appreciate the importance of this. The people we are speaking of were as much 'a part of their time as we are of ours'. I know this remains obvious , but i often, in some sense, forget its importance. Perhaps human reactions may remain the same, but a different culture, a different society and different beliefs and attitudes determine a lot.
In my interest to delve more deeply and gain a greater understanding of what these people went through - as well as those whys and hows - i have found an understanding of the social history of Australia in Edwardian times important to appreciate and understand. Its provided me with some possible answers. Perhaps it is a little off topic, but hope it is of interest. - David.

PS Gammage and Denis Winters 'Deaths Men' are grounded in this understanding.
By the way, how did you find Manning?
Kim
Senior Forum Member
 

Australia
601 Posts    Posted - 20/11/2004 :  8:42:48 PM 
Currently reading Jacka's Mob. Have read most of the recommended reading and more, still waiting for Goodbye Cobber. Manning was excellent so to Gammage, but then everything I have read has given an insight, whether written bombastically or modestly, there have been gems in every book.
Now I have too many ideas and trying to get back to my original work is hard as I my curiosity has led me on an extraordinary journey through the lives and thoughts of the soldiers of World War One.
Thanks to one and all that helped with this topic. My question has been answered ten fold.
Bill Woerlee
Veteran Forum Member
 

Australia
1069 Posts    Posted - 20/11/2004 :  11:24:27 PM   
Kim
The strangest things can set off research. When I was a kid in the sixties, I saved my pocket money and went to the Salvo Store in Murray Street Perth after school to pick up books - they were the only books I could afford to buy on my pittance. I received a whole two bob. At one time they had a few assorted volumes produced by the Times dealing with the Great War. They were heavy volumes and packed full of pix. They were the beginning of a romance with history that never left me. I studied each of the photographs and tried to imagine myself in the scene - the noises, smell and the sight.

At university I majored in History and have kept in that area all my working life. It is a bug that grabs you and never lets you go. My first and second wives went spare over the thousands of books in my library. Reading, writing and reading again. It is an addiction that transcends all other addictions. Not only is the addiction insatiable, it is also deemed to be socially useful. It's cheaper than booz, safer than pills and gets you invited to all high faluten social affairs.

Keep reading and writing Kim. May the passion give you as much pleasure in your life as it has given to me in mine.

Cheers

Bill

Edwina
Forum Member


Australia
15 Posts    Posted - 22/11/2004 :  09:00:44 AM 
Hello Kim,
I've just joined this forum and seen you request for personal accounts of trench life. Judging from you overwhelming response I presume you are busy reading all the wonderful published references supplied.

I have to hand the letters of my great uncle 2nd Lt Edgar Sydney Worrall, A Company, 3rd Reinforcements, 24th Battalion, 6th Infantry written home to his family in Prahran. Edgar served at Gallipoli and Flanders. He was wounded June 1916, convalesced in UK, returned to France and was killed on 4th October 1917.

Edgar had been educated at Wesley College, Melbourne and wrote articulate, poignant accounts of his experience.

Copies of his letters are held at the Australian War Museum just do a search on his name (this was previously listed as Edgar Stanley Worrall but I believe amended now)

If you have a specific question please contact me.

Have you read the diary of 538 Cpl. Ivor Alexander Williams 21st Batt. AIF? You will find it posted at this website.(http://users.skynet.be/Gallipoli/link/diariesonweb.htm)
It gives very graphic accounts of his experiences.

Cheers
Edwina
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