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The Forums » The Forums » English Language » The Battle of the Somme
The Battle of the Somme
Halfbrick Date: Tuesday, 14-June-11, 21:31 | Message # 1
The Supreme Overlord
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First, watch this vid:



1st July, 1916 - Somme Sector, Western Front, France

It is at this moment the bravado dies.

The enemy are only a few yards away, waiting for us, and don't we know it. Rod Pilkington says we're all going to be fine. That's all he's said since April. Every one of us is nervous. A lieutenant blows his whistle. That means fight, a word that sends chills down my spine and a sinking feeling into my gut. For weeks on end you've been telling yourself that you won't be afraid, that you will fight for your country, whatever happens. But the truth is that you don't know until it happens, and the odds aren't good that you will stick it out. I have only a few moments to think about home, perhaps for the last time, before Jack Filbert pushes me forward. I scramble up the muddy wall of the trenches, rifle in hand. Jack climbs up behind, then moves ahead of me. He is much faster than I am. I look around. Suddenly everything is going in slow-motion. To my left, I see men scream and fall, their bodies riddled with holes. It sickens me. To my right, Jack and Rod run, confident of survival. A shell whistles towards them. They see it and try to dive out of the way, but it is too late. Rod takes the brunt of the explosion, leaving Jack winded. A couple of the lads stop, but the officers wave them on. I see a brief flicker of defiance in the eyes of Chris Collins, but he goes on anyway. I follow them. Jack'll have to take his chances. A few men are trying to drag injured comrades to the cover of shell-holes, but it only takes a bullet and they crumple. They'll never help anyone to safety again.
Several dead men later, we reach the German wire. The fastest among us begin to squeeze beneath it. I go under side by side with George Haringey and Matty Scowcroft. Matty takes a bullet to the brain and falls back, dead. I duck and another narrowly misses me. As we swing into the trench, George catches his arm on a barb. He tries frantically to untangle himself but a German machine-gunner spots him and destroys him with a quick burst. I see Chris Collins and a couple of others following Captain Hurst round the corner. One of them is hit in the leg. Chris has to shoot him - he won't be moving anywhere and it's the only cure for the agony he'll be in. A shell hits. It's one of ours, but it still kills more of us than them. As the smoke clears I get to my feet and peer into the trench. I see Captain Hurst's head - I don't know where his body is - and help Terry Perkins to his feet. I ask him if he understands why we fight, and he gives me the textbook reply. He's been indoctrinated well. He begins to repeat the lie - "dulce et decorum est, pro..." But he gets no further. His head is taken off and I am showered in blood. The lieutenant who blew the whistle calls for retreat, then collapses, dead. Those of us who remain run back, as fast as we can. I see Frank Barnes being shot into next week, Kenny Miller taking a bullet in the neck and falling, choking and writhing as he runs out of air. Another shell. One man runs across No Man's Land, screaming and burning. After about a minute his burns get the better of him, and he dies. Three more men fall. Those of us who remain cower in the trenches, but the relief is already there. We waste no time here, before we leave for the back lines.

About three kilometres from the front, Corporal Buckingham, the highest-ranking man we have left, has set up a regrouping point. We've been here a week, and there's only seven of us. Chris Collins, Jack Filbert among us. A week ago, there were sixty. The rest are all dead.

1st June 1986, Thiepval Memorial, France

Seventy long years have passed. Corporal Buckingham has died - cancer in '58. Snyder and West copped it on the front. Jack Filbert died in 1982, sixty years after McEwan met his end in a boating accident. Only Chris Collins and I remain. We walk across the immaculately cut grass towards the pristine stone of the Thiepval memorial. A quick search and we find our dead friends' names - names are all that remains of them - and it brings tears to my eyes. Fifty-three names. And they only identified twenty of the bodies. Frank Barnes, George Haringey, David Hurst, Kenneth Miller, Terrance Perkins, Matthew Scowcroft, Luke Westmore... I was very close to all of these people. Now they are no more.

It is at this moment the bravado dies.


What up? I say "indeed" a lot.
My youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/HalfBrickStudios2010
 
silverfoxmedia Date: Thursday, 16-June-11, 08:07 | Message # 2
Good for you
Baron
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Wow! Very good- so effective!
Only one small criticism:
Quote (Halfbrick)
Several dead men later

It sounds too funny.
But still, this is amazing stuff!


"Great herd of elephants!"
 
Halfbrick Date: Thursday, 16-June-11, 15:55 | Message # 3
The Supreme Overlord
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How about if I change it to 'several seconds later, and with countless young lives brutally cut short'?

What up? I say "indeed" a lot.
My youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/HalfBrickStudios2010
 
silverfoxmedia Date: Thursday, 16-June-11, 17:37 | Message # 4
Good for you
Baron
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No, something shorter like "Many losses later".

"Great herd of elephants!"
 
Halfbrick Date: Sunday, 19-June-11, 20:34 | Message # 5
The Supreme Overlord
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Okay, maybe I'll change it soon.

What up? I say "indeed" a lot.
My youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/HalfBrickStudios2010
 
silverfoxmedia Date: Monday, 20-June-11, 18:36 | Message # 6
Good for you
Baron
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Yeah. Good for you.

"Great herd of elephants!"
 
Halfbrick Date: Monday, 20-June-11, 21:32 | Message # 7
The Supreme Overlord
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Thanks for the compliment. I agree with your suggestion and will change it whenevert.

What up? I say "indeed" a lot.
My youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/HalfBrickStudios2010
 
silverfoxmedia Date: Tuesday, 21-June-11, 18:02 | Message # 8
Good for you
Baron
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Good for you.

"Great herd of elephants!"
 
Halfbrick Date: Monday, 27-June-11, 17:29 | Message # 9
The Supreme Overlord
Duke
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I know. I'm awesome!

What up? I say "indeed" a lot.
My youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/HalfBrickStudios2010
 
silverfoxmedia Date: Wednesday, 06-July-11, 17:34 | Message # 10
Good for you
Baron
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Good for you.

"Great herd of elephants!"
 
Halfbrick Date: Wednesday, 11-July-12, 15:37 | Message # 11
The Supreme Overlord
Duke
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Okay, this is getting ridonculous now.

What up? I say "indeed" a lot.
My youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/HalfBrickStudios2010
 
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