The Last Diary Entry Of A Soldier

April 17, 1916

Dear Diary,

We had mutton chops for lunch today. Our sergeant was in charge of distributing the rations this week, and today we got particularly lucky. We are camped on the outskirts of L, and it seems to be a town with a particularly fine array of livestock. The food really put a bright spin on sitting around in a trench all day, with nasty rats and cooties biting around our toes. But ah, it won’t do to dwell upon these things. I’ve got to keep my mind straight; they say old Colliers went mad over at B. They had to shoot him; he wouldn’t stay in the trench, kept rushing out in the open with one of them great torches, and crying in the cool night air. Diary, I don’t want that to happen to me. I tell you what, I’m writing this down so it bleeds out of me; Em said it wouldn’t fester as much that way. I wrote a nice, juicy letter to her today, to make up for the past few weeks. I nary got a minute to myself; all day and all night there were shells exploding right outside the trench over at G. It’s quieter here, not too many soldiers this part of the country. And it’s a real pretty country too. It’s a fine night today, there are wildflowers just beyond this hole and I can smell them. It hardly seems civilized for us to burrow underground, like moles, when there’s a field full of wildflowers blooming right above. But there’s nothing much civilized about war, is there, now?

In these trenches, there’s nothing that’s looked forward to more, than mail day. We started getting mail on Wednesdays now, and I mostly get letters from Em, or Ma and the boys back home. Ma doesn’t get much time to write nowadays, what with the new baby, but Em writes such blowsy, wonderful letters, that they make up for that. I sometimes feel real sorry for all the poor lads who haven’t got a sweetheart back home, like I do, or if they do, they don’t write half as much. Jack put in a photograph of the baby in the letter he sent, she’s not got much from either Ma or Da, she looks kind of like a baby monkey. But Phil says that’s normal for babies, he’s laughing next to me for writing about it here. Diary, I shall burn this page before going home, I wouldn’t want baby Carrie to know that her big brother once thought she looked like a… ah I shan’t write it again. I’m sure she’ll grow into her looks.

Well, my shift’s over, I’ll go wake up the others. I haven’t got any time to write in this little diary for a week now, I’m glad I got a chance to, tonight. When we’re all finally out of this accursed war, I’ll edit out this diary and get a man to publish it. It’s not many, in the trenches who’ve kept any record of this war, and I’ll be glad to let them on the outside know how it was.