Night In The Ward by Sandra Garstang

Here I am lying in the Jammy Arse room. The huge coat of arms with the motto Jamais Derrière has, with the Tommy sense of humour, been ‘anglicized’.

I am confined to bed, having lost a leg at Mons – no bloody angels for me.

It started out as foot rot, just a little black spot which quickly turned to gangrene. Although I soon got to a CCS, my leg could not be saved.

Me and my oppo Jack came together. He took shrapnel in the face and will soon be going to another hospital to have it rebuilt. At night he has a special little pad under his nose, or what’s left of it. It looks like a pimple on a cushion.

We’ve been here a few weeks and from what we hear and read in the papers it’s getting to be a stalemate in France.

At night I look at the ceiling at the lilies of France, and think how lucky I am not to be stuck in the trenches with frozen balls.

Nurse has just been in…jolly unsportsmanlike conduct, jabbing a bloody big needle in my remaining leg. She says it will help me to sleep, but I don’t want to sleep; the visions I see are too bad.

Tomorrow I am to get up and sit in a chair. When I have got used to being ‘up’, I will be introduced to my new lifetime companions, otherwise known as crutches. My acceptance of this equipment will determine how long I will remain in the Jammy Arse room.