"I watched them as they came out of their dugouts and the German machine guns just mowed them down. I doubt whether any of them reached the front line.
We crawled because if you stood up you'd be killed. All over the battlefield the wounded were lying there, English and German, all crying for help. But we weren't like the Good Samaritan in the Bible, we were the robbers who passed by and left them. You couldn't stop to help them. I came across a man who was ripped from shoulder to his waist with shrapnel, his stomach on the ground beside him. As I got to him he said, 'Shoot me.' Before I could draw my revolver, he died. I was with him for the last sixty seconds of his life. He gasped one word -'Mother'. Suddenly, a whizz-bang shell burst amongst us. The force of it threw me to the floor, but I didn't realise I'd been hit for a few minutes. The burning hot metal knocks the pain out of you at first but I soon saw blood, so I put a field dressing on it.... I didn't know what had happened to the others at first, but I had lost three of my mates. We were a little team together, and those men who were carrying the ammunition were blown to pieces. I reacted very badly. It was like losing a part of my life. It upset me more than anything. We had only been together four months, but with hell going on around us, it seemed like a lifetime." - Lcpl Harry Patch, Cornwall's Light Infantry, age 19, Battle of Passchendaele, Ypres, Belgium, July 17, 1917 #stayzero #zerofoxtrot #ww1 #reality #war