Months ago now the great battle of Loos was raging and we were marching up to take our part. As we marched from Bethune up the wide road, which was packed with transport, ambulances and cavalry, a long stream of wounded were moving painfully down the road, leaving the battle. They plodded bravely along, some with large red-stained bandages over their heads, others with bleeding legs, shattered arms, or fractured bones. Some would collapse exhausted by the side of the road, urged in vain by their comrades to keep moving. This ghostly procession appeared to be never-ending. As we passed a dressing-station a man was being brought in on a stretcher, suffering from gas, struggling so violently to get air into his poisoned lungs that the bearers could scarcely manage to keep him on the stretcher. Up the road we marched in column of route, a battalion a thousand strong. And were merged into the battle and eaten up by it. After three days we too were on the return journey; having lost many of our own comrades, some of them left on the battle field, some gassed, others broken in limb or mind by the inferno of shell-fire.
Desolate villages, ruined homes, the ghostly echo of treading feet and the rattle of transport past the gaunt remnant of houses, and a pervading bleakness and depressing solitude.
That is war.
Excerpt from Life among the Sandbags by Hugo Morgan