This is an excerpt of my English coursework for GCSE. Written in early Year 10/late 2007,we had to write a short story about a soldier in the First World War. So this is what I wrote. It got full marks :D I’m not so sure about it anymore,as with most writing I did 3 years ago,but I still think it’s okay.
“Death is a constant companion-I still remember the first time I heard about a death. But now they are daily occurrences and no matter how you feel, in the words of Uncle, you have to “pull yourself together”. But I’ve never been someone who can forget-this place is not the place for me. I should have stayed at home. They would be better off without me; I can not fight or command. Captain Wesley says I am a good lad and a good soldier, but so are the others, much better than myself. I have had little chance to prove myself yet, but how would anyone know if I would? I would only get myself killed.
I put on a brave face for my mother through writing, telling her about how the men are eager and friendly to me, and how many raids we go on, always coming out victorious. But it is not true. Many men get drunk and although I have been offered whisky more times than I can count, I have never accepted. They say it is to block out what you feel here, but I have no need to, it happens naturally. They laugh and called me a “base wallah” which is slang for someone who has a “safe” job miles away from the action, but I quickly learnt anything they said was not how they felt. Other than that, when the men are sober, everyone is together. The camaraderie is tangible, even between us and the enemies, says my friend Mall, who has himself been out onto No Mans land, if only for a little while. He tells me of the battle, shells and grenades, white powder dusting the grey ground. The adrenalin and rush of being needed and fighting against the horror of what you have done, corpses and rats littered around you. It gives me a rush of encouragement that things are still moving in times as slow as this, but he quickly explains I should not feel this way. War makes people do silly things that you would never have thought possible; he told me as he shook his head in disbelief-surely people cannot do things like this willingly? I nodded and wondered how the Hun felt about this and if they were thinking the same thing. I privately thought they would.
I have no idea whether my fellows felt the same way-occasionally I saw flashes of fear and fatigue in the faces around me. Wesley’s assistant Brent lies on the wire beside me, a poor worn shadow of what he used to be. He has trench fever. The cook waves his hand airily and manages to find some water for him and a weak vegetable soup. It would be no help, but a little more water would be accepted by most us gladly, ill or not. A corporal plays a tune on his mouth organ to keep spirits up. What a fellow! He is as tired as the rest of us, and yet he forces out that little extra bit, and is admired for it. The day is winding on down a road as long as No Mans Land now, and eyes heavy and limbs limp, I drift into a brief slumber…
Dawn stirs the darkness. The early mist clings to the ground, and I rouse myself for another day. I have no desire for glory, but as I think back to the beginning of this time, I remember the promises and hopes I had for myself. I had to do something, and soon, before time slipped away altogether-to make myself a hero. It was in the distance, and as a siren sounded and Wesley called my name urgently, the light at the end of the tunnel grew brighter. We would all be heroes one day, soon, somehow, somewhere, whether today or next year, we would earn our badge as an English hero, even if the war was not won, and that would be worth more than anything in the world.