Thursday, December 4, 2014
As I look up and down the the trench I can see familiar faces, and a few new conscripts. Many of us have been here before, and we know what to expect. Some stare fixedly ahead, forming in their minds the determination to survive at all costs. Others glance furtively at photographs of loved ones, before tucking them away in breast pockets. A few compulsively check and recheck their kit, just to ensure their ammunition pouches are within easy reach, and their bayonets firmly fixed. Our breath condenses in clouds around us in the icy air. Our captain emerges from his dugout, looks nonchalantly at his fob watch, and holds the whistle just a few inches from his lips. Seconds to midnight - we know it can't be long. A flare arches over our heads in the pitch black sky, we hear the whistle's scream, and we scramble up the ladders, over the top of the sandbags and into the inferno.