Through the Blood and Mud

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Enlistment

My name is Arthur Gregory, I was born in 1896 of December. I was raised in London but my parents have told me that I was born in Wales. I had heard of the goings of the Great war, though I wasn't old enough. So in December of 1915 on my twentieth birthday I decided to do my part and enlist for the army. After I enlisted they had me alongside tons of other men town to our trousers and tank tops, and had us put on a thick woolen tunic, wool pants, military grade boots made from a brown leather, and after we were dressed we started exercising drills. After that they gave us tons of equipment like Lee Enfield rifle, a bayonet that went on the end of my rifle, and a giant helmet that resembled a salad bowl. They then sent us to France, and from what I heard the trenches in the Western front were like hell. But being the excited kid new to war, I thought they were just trying to scare all the new recruits. When I got there, immediately I saw men with bloody bandages on their legs, faces, some were even missing legs.

I felt sick to my stomach, for the smell of rotting flesh and smoke filled the air. The trenches were filled with mud, rats, and men awaiting the next artillery shell to hit. After they assigned us our platoons and battalions we were gonna rush a German trench across from our trench. But there was one problem, we had to cross the dreaded No Man's Land. A baron field riddled with dead bodies, barbed wire, and the weapons of the soldiers who were unfortunate enough to fall victim to the hands of the German forces.

As we got into position, I was the first to cross alongside tons of other soldiers. Once the officer blew into his whistle, we started to run. I tightly gripped my rifle, but blacked out as artillery went off next to me. As I woke, I saw the face of another man. Lifelessly laying in the mud next to me. I scrambled away from the corpse and grabbed my rifle that was laying in the mud. I started to run again, bullets flying by me.

I then saw the trench ahead. Bayonet first, I jumped into the trench, plunging my bayonet into an officers chest. The German soldier next to me yelled something in German. I then shot the German in the chest. My mind was racing, I had just killed two men. Though I didn't have time to think because more Germans were coming my way. I pulled back the cocking mechanism and pushed it back into place, cocking the gun. I pointed it at the next German, without thinking I pulled the trigger and shot him. He fell on top of his fallen comrade. Then the rest of the British troops came in and started to kill more of the German's.

We had successfully taken the enemy trench, though it didn't feel like we won. In fact it felt like I lost something.

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