Diary Of A Conscientious Objector by Char March

6 May 1916
Up before the JP tomorrow. Mam ironed my suit.
Father and I argued as per. Heavy rain but I walked out
– up to Almondbury Tower.

7 May 1916
My cell is 8’ x 5’.  My cellmate is Bill – a burglar
who has feet that smell rotten. I’ve got 6 months
“until you see sense”.

20 June 1916
Mam visited today. Right shocked she got searched.
She says it’s a scorcher outside. That 2 of Mrs Bennett’s
lads are home on leave. Trevor’s got a Blighty so she’s pleased.

8 Oct 1916
Father collected me. Didn’t recognise me. No
spectacles (smashed first month), suit hanging
off me, hands hard as a miner’s.

3 April 1917
Stretcher-bearers machine-gunned so I parked
ambulance and went forward. Bombardment
from our lot was falling short.  No Man’s was getting pasted.

12 July 1917
Blistering hot. The flies in the field hospital
are terrible. They’re taking my leg off this afternoon.

 

Notes:  We were privileged to be able to read the real diaries and letters of people involved in WW1 at The Liddle Collection.  Again I asked the writers I was working with to think beyond the nurses and soldiers, to uncover other lives in this diary-writing exercise.  The necessary brevity of the entries (in the tiny diaries of the time) made us all really think about exactly what we needed to say – a good discipline for a writer.