Where Once There Was Hope: Profound Words and Images of War: Volume Two: WW1: Slaughter and Tales from The Front.

Tales from the Front.

Below are 32,000 crosses for slaughtered German sons, brothers and fathers.  These men were killed in the battles for Arras.  Why?
Below are 32,000 crosses for slaughtered German sons, brothers and fathers. These men were killed in the battles for Arras. Why?
Soldiers were ordered to live in subhuman conditions on both sides.  Thousands had their feet and legs amputated as a result of 'Trench Foot' which was caused by having to endure wet feet for extended periods, in the flooded trenches.  Why?
Soldiers were ordered to live in subhuman conditions on both sides. Thousands had their feet and legs amputated as a result of 'Trench Foot' which was caused by having to endure wet feet for extended periods, in the flooded trenches. Why?
The Flanders Poppy - Lest We Forget.
The Flanders Poppy - Lest We Forget.

It's nobody's Duty to follow fools!

Where Once There Was Hope: Profound Words and Images of War: Volume Two: WW1: Tales from The Front; by Pearldiver. Hope; the fleeting dreams that were lost to an entire generation whose amazing, profound words and images have lasted throughout time and beyond those who captured such images that demanded wisdom not only provide commentary of, but also the assurance that such shameful crimes not occur again.

This is Volume Two of a series called: Where Once There Was Hope: Profound Words and Images of War. The scene is a divided and broken Western Front of 1914 – 1918, where Europe is ravaged by World War One. This war has been referred to as the Great War, not for its grandeur; as grandeur of such events, can only be measured by those with a vested interest, or a grandiose obsession. Sadly; to the power brokers and outmoded generals of the day, this war was indeed a great one and sold to the masses as being, a great adventure.

Like most, I had family who took part in the great adventure of WW1. I have life as a result of a family member surviving the entire war, while his brothers and friends, paid the ultimate sacrifice in unknown far away fields, in a far away time. When I was young I was told about the fallen brothers and about this thing called war, which I could not comprehend at the time. This series is a tribute to every young soul who lived or died through this thing called war; which as a man, I still can not comprehend! Those who served and those who suffered also could not comprehend the Great War! Only the driven politicians and their commanders, arrogant and self serving; like Douglas Haig, comprehended this war and they did so, over dinner and a brandy, while an entire generation was decimated, by the millions! Can you comprehend this war?

I hope that you find this article worthy of those who captured time with their profound words in poetry and images that were withheld from the next generations, in the hope that such events would go unnoticed. This is not about who was or was not an enemy, or who fought on the right or wrong side in the Great War. This is about the betrayal of the entire generation, by those who had and abused the power to influence the outcome for all, irrespective of nationality, or belief. Both sides sold the adventure to their fittest and healthiest, that it was their duty to die when called upon to do so! I don’t comprehend that either, do you?

General Warning: Many of the photos here contain the sight of dead bodies and suffering. If the graphic nature of these images offends you then please appreciate how much better life is; when honesty and openness are not compromised! - *Author*

Ypres... historically, war has visited here many times.

Three square meals a day and a room with a view.. what more could a young student of war hope for?  Life perhaps?
Three square meals a day and a room with a view.. what more could a young student of war hope for? Life perhaps?

5 Star Shell Hole Lodgings.

* Aftermath *

Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz—

The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on parapets?

Do you remember the rats; and the stench—

And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with hopeless rain?

Do you ever stop and ask, 'Is it all going to happen again?'


Do you remember that hour of din before the attack—

And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you then

As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?

Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back

With dying eyes and lolling heads— those ashen-grey

Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay?


Have you forgotten yet...?

Look up, and swear by the green of the spring that you'll never forget.

* Siegfried Sassoon 1919 * (British)

We bury our gentle blokes, like worthless sacks.

Everyone in our town joined up and we met other blokes from all over the world, who joined up too.
Everyone in our town joined up and we met other blokes from all over the world, who joined up too.
We all turned up and got turned out.
We all turned up and got turned out.
To Egypt where they learned to kill by bayoneting sacks of straw.
To Egypt where they learned to kill by bayoneting sacks of straw.
We used to call Tom a gentle bloke.
We used to call Tom a gentle bloke.
At Gallipoli the Turkish bullets were true.
At Gallipoli the Turkish bullets were true.
A rest on the march to the front lines of battle.
A rest on the march to the front lines of battle.
Just another rainy day on the way to the trenches, where they learned that the German blokes had been trained the same way as them.
Just another rainy day on the way to the trenches, where they learned that the German blokes had been trained the same way as them.
Gentle Bloke Tom and two dead German soldiers, all killed in a bayonet charge on the allied trench.
Gentle Bloke Tom and two dead German soldiers, all killed in a bayonet charge on the allied trench.

* Gentle Blokes and Sacks *

In our country town I used to call Tom, a gentle bloke

He raised sheep and we hunted red deer stags

Well we mates all turned up and got turned out

And then all came here carrying different flags


They reckon that we are now, all fighting men

But there is not much fight in a bayoneted sack

I wonder if killing sacks, can change gentle blokes

I wonder how hard those real sacks, do fight back


You know they told us, if the bayonet sticks

Then we pull the trigger, kick and pull away

I thank god we will only bayonet and kick, enemy sacks

And not men like us gentle blokes here, at play


They say we Anzacs are just a disobedient mob

But they tell us not the jobs, they want us to do

They expect us to salute, shut up and just do it

Yet we achieved every objective that, we all knew


I’m sorry Edith that the letters take so long to write

But you know a man of few words, I have always been

And we have been to Gallipoli and back since I started

That was hell for us gentle blokes and all we have seen


At Anzac Cove and on the ridge, we found out what real sacks can do

They scream, they shoot, they fight hard and like us blokes, are slain

Bloody sacks for gentle blokes killed; Turkish machine guns firing true

Many mates lost there and now, we are here fighting Germans, in the rain


Today we can swear at those gutless generals, "Jack your war is not a game!"

Sacks shoot at high flying ducks, with eighteen pounds of lead

It is raining here at the Front somewhere north of west of south

Blessed we are, no longer gentle blokes or sacks, all lying here dead


Edith, you know how much I love you, please tell our boy I love him too

Edith, we are not coming home from here, will you visit me and Tom one day?

You know, Germans bayonet sacks just like us, fire, kick and pull away

And we all get buried, like worthless sacks, all we gentle blokes at play


* Thomas Robert Hunter 1916 * (Anzac)

(© Held by author's trust)


The best of German youth followed fools too...

It is only with scenes like this that future generations can ever comprehend the numbers on all sides that were slaughtered in 'doing their duty' for politicians and industrialist manufacturers of war.  Why?
It is only with scenes like this that future generations can ever comprehend the numbers on all sides that were slaughtered in 'doing their duty' for politicians and industrialist manufacturers of war. Why?

When is enough Enough?

* The Immortals *


I killed them, but they would not die.

Yea! all the day and all the night

For them I could not rest or sleep,

Nor guard from them nor hide in flight.


Then in my agony I turned

And made my hands red in their gore.

In vain - for faster than I slew

They rose more cruel than before.

I killed and killed with slaughter mad;

I killed till all my strength was gone.

And still they rose to torture me,

For Devils only die in fun.

I used to think the Devil hid

In women’s smiles and wine’s carouse.

I called him Satan, Balzebub.

But now I call him, dirty louse.

* Isaac Rosenberg 1918 * (Jewish)

Come the Reaper.

'Taken' by Frank Hurley WW1 freelance photographer, who had the courage to shock and was determined to do so!  Of course when you can overlay negatives, then you can shock the public into looking beyond what the politicians say!
'Taken' by Frank Hurley WW1 freelance photographer, who had the courage to shock and was determined to do so! Of course when you can overlay negatives, then you can shock the public into looking beyond what the politicians say!

The Recruiters were told to use every emotion in the sell.

Except the Truth... only official photographers allowed and their works were not for public viewing.  Why?
Except the Truth... only official photographers allowed and their works were not for public viewing. Why?
Any trench - any day - any side!  Why?
Any trench - any day - any side! Why?
Too many women believed that their sons and husbands would make great leaders!  Haig thought so as well and made them great believers that leading men to their deaths against new weapons was their duty!  Why?
Too many women believed that their sons and husbands would make great leaders! Haig thought so as well and made them great believers that leading men to their deaths against new weapons was their duty! Why?

* Over By Christmas *


Sorry, but we left the harsh war stories buried somewhere

Perhaps in the softness of downy pillows over there

Oh yes we lived amid the mud, the gore and the pain

But nothing compares to the bad claret served on a second class train


Be over by Christmas, they told us, just you wait and see

And young boys will come home as men, footloose and fancy free

Fuss not over their rations; we have army chefs you know

In France they make a good brandy; that will make them grow


Each week they get their pay and spend it yes they will

After we have deducted tax, board and lodgings, from their bill

Look at how happy and proud my soldiers are, all ready to leave

We will give the Hun a jolly good show; to make their mothers grieve


So kiss quick my darling, I must go, my first commission calls

Be sure to visit with mother and I’ll see her when first snow falls

Must dash my darling; tally ho, duty calls and all that cheer

Yes, I have my flask and pinch of snuff; I will send for you, my dear


We left the softness of our lives and stories buried somewhere

Perhaps in the rat infested, putrid trenches, or in the years spent there

Oh yes we lived in luxury, square meals in the mess, with wine

But what compares to boyish NCOs, ordering grown men to die, in a line?

* Thomas Robert Hunter 1919 * (Anzac)

(© Held by author's trust)

PLEASE VOTE BELOW....

Which of These Poems?

Which of these poems in your view did you find the most moving?

See results without voting

The Poets Remembered Here.

*Siegfried Lorraine Sassoon*

Second Lieutenant Siegfried Sassoon served both in Palestine and France, attached to the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He was a realist who cared for his men and was angered by the deceit of the commanders. He won a Military Cross, cited for his actions in getting his dead and wounded men back to the Allied trenches. Wounded twice, while convalescing shoulder and upper arm wounds, he courageously wrote and had published his famous 'Soldier's Declaration of Wilful Defiance' after which he was claimed to have been Shell Shocked. Perhaps the upholding of which, saved his life and the careers of Haig and staff.

*Thomas Robert Hunter*

Private Thomas Robert Hunter turned down promotion, apparently so that he would not have to eat at an Officer's Mess with many whom the fighting men considered to be fools. In reality, it was probably more a question of him not wanting to be separated from his comrades. Anzacs all swore that they would always look out for their mates! That was a tradition born during the Boar War and has been honored since. He based the opinion on the number of friends and countrymen that he witnessed the slaughter of in Gallipoli, France and Belgium. I am told that he was a private man and also a realist, best known by friends for his wit, steely determination and love of (ironically) hunting. The poetry of this Anzac was found in his diaries and has remained unpublished, at the request of his family, who have also requested that this very talented man retains the anonymity and privacy they feel he would have preferred. As such, his surname has been changed here, per agreement and per those wishes.

* Isaac Rosenberg *

Private Isaac Rosenberg was initially turned down for service with the British Army on the basis that he was too short and did not have good health. By October 1915, however the British Army were far more 'flexible' in that they needed recruits to fill the spaces created in the killing fields of the Somme. Finally accepted, he was attached to The 'Bantams' Battalion, created solely to accommodate those outside of the original standards! He survived two and a half years on the front and during this time wrote prolifically poetry that was described as 'common,' yet years later became recognized for it's uniqueness. Sadly, he never saw that day, as he joined the thousands of other wasted lives, being killed on April Fool's Day 1918 in one of the battles for Arras. Though his body was never found; it is widely believed that he lies in one of the several war grave sites near St. Laurant - Blangy.

*Pearldiver*

© Copyright 2010 - 2015 Art of the Diver with all rights reserved.

DID YOU VOTE ABOVE?

If you have read this page and the poetry above and enjoyed the content, could you please take a second of your life to rate the poems here in the poll (above right). By doing so, you are helping the author compile a future project that will honor yet another group of World War One poets, many of whom gave up their lives, a sacrifice that allowed a future generation to write about their pain and have that part of history read and remembered.

Thank you greatly for that..

*Pearldiver*

If You Survive this charge into the Machine Guns... You can do it all again tommorrow... and the next day until you don't!

Between the crosses, row on row, lie the dreams and hopes of a generation that once were. Who wins when we are all dead?

More by this Author


Comments 30 comments

SomewayOuttaHere profile image

SomewayOuttaHere 6 years ago from TheGreatGigInTheSky

...i'm in awe at the words of these men...again they are all very good at expressing their emotion and their experience with war...Thomas Hunter is really standing out for me however...Gentle Blokes and Sacks....his words say so much...too bad his family doesn't want his name known and writing published...but i understand their request for privacy...since they know he was a private man....his words are so moving...his diaries would have been written from deep down in his soul i'm sure...

Thanks again PD for introducing me to the words of these men...I would have loved to have met Thomas Hunter; but I figure, I would have had to have the ability and time to see him for who he was....deep inside his eyes.

I assume he was from New Zealand.


Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi Someway, Wow you are first cab off the rank again.. with excellent comments again.. thank you and for taking the time to explore this world of the past. I am also in awe that they didn't loose it to the point that they couldn't express their emotions in poetry. I guess we have to appreciate that the ultimate form of communication then, was still poetry.

Yep, Thomas Hunter was a kiwi, which, other than depth of his poetry, is why I have put his work beside that of the popular poets of the day. I understand much about this man as I had the opportunity to met him, discuss and understand his life, when he 85, several years ago. So I do understand and respect the wishes and will hopefully have the opportunity in the future to discuss the merits of publishing with the trustees.

In the interim, it is just a pleasure having the ability to showcase a few of his haunting words that I'm sure, came from deep inside what I found to be a good soul.. Take care.


SomewayOuttaHere profile image

SomewayOuttaHere 6 years ago from TheGreatGigInTheSky

...yup, first cab!...that's me.... I just knew you met him....hmmmm....i'm sure it was a real pleasure for you too...he must be from 'Bumble Town', i thought to myself this morning...i also thought about how these men could even write about it...i guess it was one of the ways to 'get it out'...without screaming and/or while they screamed...then and after....

i'm getting your published hubs first thing in the a.m. while i'm sippin' my coffee since i started following...i know your hubs will always be a good read for me...thanks!...couple more volumes?...hope so...


Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hahaha Stop fishing a fisherman! I am bound by agreement (you know.. legal contract!!) to stick to a specific program re these poems! In time, maybe I can share them beyond HP.. but not now Someway.

Believe me Thomas was not a Bumbletonian, you don't met 85 year olds in BumbleTown with anything to offer but soiled nappies.. as the place is effectively a Dioxen dumping site.. A very Negative Place... where else would you meet a mayor with the name Dooya Trustmeornot?

I am doing a series of 5 of these articles.. you enjoy your coffee mate and have a good day.. Take Care


Hmrjmr1 profile image

Hmrjmr1 6 years ago from Georgia, USA

Pearldiver - thanks from an old soldier for sharing the tales and pain of those who went before me, I have stood proudly on the shoulders of the sons of those who survived. God Bless and rest them all.


Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi there John, thank you for reading this work and for this comment. Yes they certainly were important shoulders to gain a very important view from mate. That's also a pretty good reason to tell it as it was, I believe. Take Care Hammer.. thanks.


Jeremey profile image

Jeremey 6 years ago from Arizona

eye-opening to say the least. Educational experience at it's darkest. hurt a little to read, but those pretty orange flowers snapped be back when they had to!


Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi there Jeremey, thanks for taking the time to read this and for your comment. This article series provides completely genuine examples of how life was for this generation. If you found it hard to handle just reading it, then consider how living it would have been. The pretty orange flowers are poppies. These pictures were taken in Belgium, by a friend of mine and represent the the poppies of Flanders. So... welcome to what you clearly didn't know about... I hope you were suitably moved by this work. Take Care.


Doug Turner Jr. 6 years ago

Some of these old poems were so grounded in brutal reality that it made them tough to read, but I'm glad I kept on going. Poetry that raw and true in nature seems to transcend all other poetry. This hub reminded me that usually the people who demand wars are not the ones who fight the battles; a sick, cold truth in this world.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Raw, brutal, reflective reality...


always exploring profile image

always exploring 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

If only men fifty years old could go to war,there would be none.Thank you for sharing this.The poetry is beautiful and so sad.


Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi Doug, thanks for taking the time to read this work mate, as it really falls on your generation at this time to say No... as it will in time be your grand childrens' time in the future. It is raw poetry, it is brutal and it is haunting by it's very nature and every other message that it conveys. Appreciate your comment sir, you take care now.


Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi dallas, thanks for reading this work and as always your fitting comments. Yes reflective reality can often say so much.. can't it? Take care.


Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi there always exploring, thanks for reading this work and yes what an appropriate comment. Some of them would run out of puff just pulling their boots on wouldn't they? And their sons and daughters would then have a chance to have a life. However, in fairness.. during the last phases of this war, many men in their 50s and 60s were recruited.. many fought the enemy, many fought with papers. Cheers for your compliments.. take care.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS

You ask if we, the readers here, could comprehend this war, which, as you so aptly put it, "decimated an entire generation". No, I cannot comprehend it either. War is the most absurd feature of so-called civilization. It is supported by propaganda, which is another word for manipulative lies and hype and the payoff is more-than-likely death. Not a sensible or humane activity, but the opposite. It's a scandal hiding behind pretense of justified defense of home and country. Gr-r-r. It's horrid.

You asked if we could comprehend the leaders on both sides selling their agenda that it was their duty to die for it to their healthiest young men. NO! NO! They are selling their countries' youth down the drain for their own gains. Totally dishonorable.

PD, your hub is an outstanding, creative, well-written presentation showcasing so vividly the horrors of war, and especially. - WWI. What an ambitious project you've taken on, too!

Some say it was the outcome of this war which set up the scene for WWII. European countries were broken up into smaller countries and their monarchies were dethroned. They were easier prey for the advance of Hitler's regime. Maybe war breeds war.

But it is politicians and those with vested interest in perpetuating war who sell the public on it & keep war occurring over and over again. Naturally we citizens feel strongly about honoring our fallen heroes, but even that seems to encourage more of the same and provides politicians & war promoters more fuel to stoke the fires of patriotism to entice the next crop of the beautiful young people to be sacrificed, to set up & promote the nation's support of it and to bleed a nation's natural resources in the process. It's criminal. The same techniques are used and agendas worked by all the countries' politicians. Otherwise there would be no "oppositions" to fight each other. War is hell and it is under the supervision of hell's leader.


Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas

Wow! You are very, very good! I'm not sure which depicts the ugliness of war better your words or the pictures. If only the energy spent in fighting could be spent in resolving issues. The world could be so much better.

Thanks for reminding us of history and how the freedoms of today came to exist. It is something that should not be forgotten because of our ancestors that gave their lives for a cause.


Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi Nellieanna, thank you for reading this work and your passionately accurate comments. This series has created a lot of heartfelt response and that is exactly what it needed to do, as so many know very little about this generation and about war in general. I hope that it helps gain an appreciation of the lives that we have and the lives of REAL People who were lost. Thanks again.. take care.


Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi MG, thanks for reading this work and for your positive comments. Perhaps there is little profit to be gained from resolving differences.. how else could new war technology be tested and fully developed? We as a race do tend to take things at face value, don't we? Thanks again.. take care.


libby101a profile image

libby101a 6 years ago from KY

Wow. Amazing! Great analogy of war. The pics were awesome too. Awesome Job. Voting up.


Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi libby, thanks for reading this work and supporting it with your kind comment. I have chosen poems that show that soldiers are people, not just fodder as they were expected to be. There were many fine writers and poets during this period and so many of them were 'lost' to the war! Take Care.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Very good PD! Great Pearl Diver! WWI was started because the Germans wanted a share in the world as England, Spain, Portugal, America, etc. It's been a struggle for governments held by business. God bless you Pearl Diver!


Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi Micky, thank you for visiting this place of brutal reflection and for your comment. This was a very moving project to do, as this war was such an extreme waste of millions of lives who really had no say in the exercise. I felt so much anger and sadness reading the poetry and reports of the day, knowing that in many cases the words were their last... I'm sure you know exactly what I mean Micky. Thanks for your support mate.. take care.


Vincent Moore 5 years ago

These poems pearldiver thus scribed brings bitter pain and memory of wars gone by, young men plucked like fresh fruit on the vine and sent to die for political ground and nothing less.

Promises of hope falsely given, they bravely died and sadly never returned to their motherland. Ney they died in fields, beaches, fox holes, over sea and land.

Thank your for this pause for reflection on this outstanding piece of homework you did here. Bravo.


Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 5 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi Vincent, thank you for reading this work and your very appropriate comments. I found myself becoming more and more angry, putting this series together, for those very reasons that you state. Promises of hope were also given and betrayed to many parents, in regards to gaining the remains of their boys back. They were never told that their sons had actually been completely destroyed by the shell blasts, and so many fathers wrote for years to the war ministries seeking details, only to be fobbed into silence. Thank you for your compliments on this.. it was the least I could do to honor these men and the war poets. Take Care.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

Splendid.


Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 4 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hello Perspycacious, thanks for reading this tribute and your comment... take care


Anne Harrison profile image

Anne Harrison 4 years ago from Australia

Despite the tears, the strength of the poetry never fades. An impressive and poignant hub, thank you.


Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 4 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi Anne, thank you for taking the time to reflect on what was for us Anzacs, the beginning of a time of realization that we were far different as people, than those who commanded us as if we weren't. As two new nations, we gave the greatest % of our best youth to this terrible war. I believe it was (and remains) the Turks who appreciated that point the most... cheers for your comments and compliment... take care


Gary Malmberg profile image

Gary Malmberg 17 months ago from Concon, Chile

Beautiful text and a great presentation. A very worthy read. Two thumbs yup.


Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 16 months ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi Gary, thank you for taking the time to read and comment on this work. I'm glad you enjoyed some of the poetry of the era when when we sent our youth to war in far off lands not knowing the true cost of that decision and always believing that their superiors would know how to best lead them in a 'wonderful' adventure, as they were led to believe. Appreciate your interest in this part of history.

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