Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Shell Shock

From M.K. Tod:
By the end of World War One, the British army had dealt with approximately 80,000 cases of shell shock. Four out of five cases were unable to return to active duty. A decade after the end of the war, over 74,000 cases were registered with the Ministry of Pensions. As estimated 10% of over 1.6 million military wounded of the war were attributed to shell shock. Shocking to say the least.

During the war, Siegfried Sassoon was sent to Craiglockhart Hospital, a treatment centre for officers suffering from shell shock. He wrote many poems, one of which is called Survivors.

No doubt they’ll soon get well; the shock and strain
Have caused their stammering, disconnected talk
Of course, they’re ‘longing to go out again’
These boys with old, scared faces, learning to walk.

They’ll soon forget their haunted nights; their cowed
Subjection to the ghosts of friends who died
Their dreams that drip with murder; and they’ll be proud
Of glorious war that shatter’d their pride…
Men who went out to battle, grim and glad;
Children, with eyes that hate you, broken and mad.
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1 comment:

julygirl said...

....and it continues long after the 'war to end all wars'. Our poor young men and women with missing legs and faces blown off....