There is a sensation in my stomach. I’m not quite sure how I can describe it, the big attack is tomorrow. But this feeling, it's not fear or anxiety, nor is it excitement. It's more of a meaningless eruption of uncertainty. For this war has lost all purpose to me: it can quite easily have finished months ago. All this pointless dying! As I sit in this bunker while our shells thrust aimlessly upon this indestructible German wire, I feel sympathy for these young soldiers, who will throw their lives away, even the German soldiers. Is there something wrong with me? My best mate Ben puts my odd emotions down as nerves and exhaustion, but I know that is not the case. God, how I wish I could be more like Ben at this present time; he doesn't sit here in this hopeless time and write in his diary of all the torment he is facing. No. He takes charge; he is an excellent leader.
The weather is grim, or at least I think it is. I have not been outside during our reign of shells; I have just sat here silently by myself. Ben says I'm being very uncharacteristic. I can feel the cold air brush against my unshaven face, and i can hear the heavy raindrops bomb the ground, presumably taking more effect than our shells ever will. It will be horrendous trying to force an attack on the Germans, if we are just sliding on the sodden ground. The lice hidden in my clothes are starting to get to me! They are everywhere! And I cannot take it! My skin will have been ripped off between my finger nails long before any German can pierce a bullet through it.
It reeks down here, most probably because of all the rats. What a waste of ammunition killing those rats, especially if you miss with the first shot. I would rather take my chances and lie in my bed, instead of sitting here with these sweat drenched, soldiers and the relentless bombardment has driven me deaf and caused a much unwanted pain. Maybe Ben is right; I am not being myself, for usually i can talk to anyone in our platoon. But now I can barely hold a conversation with Ben on the occasional chance I do get to talk to him. I just sit here expressing my feelings in a diary that no one cares about.
The head of our platoon, Captain Mitchell recently left the battlefield. I cannot condemn his actions; he knew this attack would be of no gain. To be honest, I think the real reason the Generals commenced this bombardment, was to convince themselves that we are doing something: that we are making progress and winning the war. That we are not just sitting here waiting for the Germans to strike first. That we are the ones that will use the element of surprise and charge to victory, and be back home for the Christmas that the war has already surpassed.
The preparation today was much like it is every other day. Uniform and equipment checking, the last thing I'd want is to be lying injured on No Man's Land without any water. Every man is to have wire cutters in his pack, which is a mystery as if we are to cut the German wire ourselves, then what is the point of all these shells? Surely they destroy the much needed element of surprise? The reason i hate uniform check so much is simple. Will the German become angrier with me if my boots are not shined? It does not make sense.
Nevertheless, the only reason I am still here, the reason that i haven't put a bullet through my own head already, is because of Ellen and the kids. Their faces silence the screaming, the bullets, and the bombs. They help me ease into a sense of relaxation. I fight this war, so my kids will never have to. I write this diary so I can destroy it the second i step through my front door. The sole purpose of this stupid book which contains my moans is to purely pass the time. To help me jot my feelings, rather than keep them bottled inside, only to explode in the asylum where they keep the poor poor shell-shocked nutters. But what else can I write when everything is the same day in day out. Clean my boots, another person has died, check my pack, another person has died... I only fear that I may be next. Am I a coward? Or is it natural to look Death in the face and quiver.
But this completes today’s entry, I’ll pray before I sleep that I get to write in the next empty page.
God save us all!