'I gave every part of my youth
to do a job and to go through a savage war.'
'It was a different war from year to year
and one's reactions were completely different.
The intensity changed so much that
anybody who'd been out in 1914
and went home, then came back in 1917,
wouldn't recognise it as the same war.'
'I could only say one thing: I wouldn't have missed it.
It was terrible at times, but I wouldn't have missed it.'
'Oh, yes, if I could have my time again,
I'd go through it all over again
because I enjoyed the service life.'
'I could only say that I have never been so excited in my life.
This was like a boy going to the play for the first time.'
'I never realised there was anything unusual about it.
There was a job to be done and you just got on and did it.'
'We were all instilled with that idea
that this was war and that we'd got to kill the Germans
and this was how we looked at the thing.'
'I don't regret having experienced it.
I wish I hadn't, but I don't regret it,
because I'm safe. '
'There were good times and bad times in France,
but you took the rough with the smooth.'
'I was twice wounded and gassed, but it just didn't worry me.
I just made the best of it.'
'Just took it in its stride, like everybody else.
We were glad to be in it and we expected it to be rough,
and it was rough, but we didn't complain.'
'There was no real excitement about it.
You'd seen death so many times,
you'd seen wounded so many times,
blood didn't excite you.
We were professionals and,
to us, it was just a job of work.'
'It would be a fallacy to say that one enjoyed it,
but one got afterwards a nice, warm inner feeling
that one had been of some use.'
'It didn't affect me very much,
because I wasn't sufficiently up in the ways of the world.
I was only a kid, like other blokes there.
It was more like a great, big game to be enjoyed,
apart from the actual shelling and all that sort of thing.'
'It made me a man, yes, it did.
I don't think I should have ever been the man I am
if it hadn't been for having to serve.'
'You'd learn to look after yourself
whereas, in your civilian life, your mother did all the chores.
You've got to learn how to cook
for yourself, darn your own socks,
sew on your own buttons and all the things like that.'
'It was just a day's work.
I knew that I was not alone.
I knew that I wasn't fighting the war by myself
and that what happened to other people might happen to me.'
'I had no regrets at all but, you see,
I had no wife, no girl, no nothing.
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No regrets and no horrors...
...because, if you survive that,
you can survive anything.'
'We were aware there was sort of
a nasty feeling between England and Germany,
as we knew of the Kaiser's ambition to expand his empire
and all that sort of thing.'
'During that summer,
there was a lot of talk about trouble going on in the Balkans,
but we were a long way from the Balkans
and it didn't worry us at all.'
'It was that Serbia business, wasn't it?
Serbia, when that chap was shot.'
'I was paying attention to politics
and I realised there was going to be
trouble between England and Germany.'
'Well, it was a lovely August 4th morning.'
'We were all seated round the table
and we were starting the rugby football
dinner with the German team.
There was a German here and next to him was an Englishman,
and next to him was a German, and so on and so on.
And a runner arrived into the middle of this dinner
with extraordinary news of outbreak of war.'
'There was a big placard: "War declared on Germany."'
'We didn't know what we ought to do,
whether we ought to seize a knife off the table
and plunge it into the German or what,
but after a little bit of discussion
we decided that, as far as we were concerned,
the war was going to start tomorrow, and the party proceeded.'
'I'm proud of being a Britisher.
I mean, I think we're as good a country as any in the world
and you've got to be prepared to fight for that.'
'There's no doubt about it, in the First World War,
we prepared for war.'
The Empire was strong. We weren't afraid of anyone.'
'Everybody bought little buttons and waved flags and sang songs.
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There was no feeling of despair about it at all.'
'England couldn't possibly lose,
no matter how many Germans pushed
how many Englishmen into the Channel,