1916: The War to End all Wars

As I said goodbye to the love my life, Daisy Grey, tears started to fall down my face. My name is John Grey and I am leaving to join the war effort and help fight against the German army, and the only thing keeping me from running back into my wife’s loving arms is the image in my head of when I heard that my brother Junior was killed by those Germans, I could not wait to fill their guts with bullets. Everyone kept telling me that these Nazi’s were fierce fighters, but I wasn’t worried about it. I am from Scotland and Daisy is American, we met when she was visiting Scotland and we eventually got married and moved back to America together. It had been a couple weeks since the news of my brother, so I went to join the Scottish forces and help take down the German advances, I moved back to Scotland and joined the Scots to avenge my brother.

            Seeing the face of my wife as I left on the boat was terrible, but she promised me she would send letters. The boat I was in finally reached Scotland and I met up with some people I knew that were in the military and the next day I was already at a camp ready to train. Over the course of four weeks I had become the most talented at the camp so they put me as the platoon leader and next thing I knew we were headed to the German front. Over my time at camp I had gotten close to one of the guys in my platoon named Charles Weschester, and since we had a while to go we started talking about our lives before the war. I told him about how my parents divorced when I was young and how I had to drop out of high school and work two jobs to support my mother and I. With a bit of hate and confidence I told him, “Ever since my parents divorced you could say I have a chip on my shoulder and I like to do everything on my own.” He replied laughingly, “Let me guess, you don’t have a girl back home.” I told him with pride that I had a beautiful wife back home and I had proof with a picture of her, and he still didn’t believe me.

             After a couple days we arrived to the battlefront, and the first few battles we fought were pretty easy and I started to get a big head, but after a week of fighting in Germany we were called to help out the French and the Brits in France near the Somme river. I was not worried about it, I was racking up a lot of German kills and I was proud. We finally arrived to the front a couple weeks after it started around the beginning of July, and it was not a pretty sight. No other battle we had fought in could compare to what we saw, my men were shocked and terrified at the sight of all the dead bodies piled up everywhere. I had began to realize that this was a war that was not just about my revenge and my ego, it was about winning and freeing our entire world of these vile creatures.

            It had been several months of just complete bloodshed and I had already lost several good men from my platoon and the British and French had lost so many that everyone kind of just stopped keeping track after one hundred thousand men were found dead. The next day, November 1, the great war of Somme finally ended. My platoon, well, what’s left of it were called to help out at the battle of Verdun, which had been going on longer than the battle of Somme. My men were devastated as is from the Somme battle, I can’t imagine what Verdun will do to ’em. Since Verdun was fairly close to where we were, we all decided to spend the night resting up for the battle the next day.

            I received a letter from wife, and I couldn’t wait to open it. She told me how much she loved me and missed me and she mentioned some huge things had gone on while I was away from home, like how the Chicago Cubs got a brand new stadium called Weeghman Park and defeated the Cincinnati Reds seven to six in eleven innings on April 20! I was very happy because I was a Cubs fan. She mentioned all the terrible shark attacks that had happened on Jersey Shore from July one through twelve the Tom Black explosion on July thirty. I was about to write a letter but I was so tired I fell asleep. It’s morning and my guys are tired and devastated and so am I, but I got to look like I’m fine so my guys won’t lose faith.

            We started to head out until I saw some movement in the tree line and we all had our guns up. All of sudden I saw a grenade flying towards us and yelled to all my guys to run and get cover, but my best friend didn’t make it in time. My eyes started welling with tears, it felt like the world was stopped and all I could see was the image of the military officials telling me my brother was killed and now parts of my pal all over the place, I started to feel the anger increasing and I lifted my gun up and just opened fire on the tree line and we all ran to where they were, all I saw was one survivor, the rest were torn apart by me. All my guys asked me what we should do with the survivor, I didn’t respond. They all looked at me as I started walking towards the battered German, tears falling down my face I pulled out my pistol and unloaded a whole magazine into him. I knew killing him would never bring back my friend Charles but it had to do something for my hatred.

            I was never the same, I rarely talked or interacted with my men. The next day we reached Verdun, the battle was a hundred times worse than we all thought it’d be, the only words you could use to describe the battlefield was blood and the stench of decaying bodies. November was almost done and the battle of Verdun was still going on, our numbers were dwindling every hour and all I could think of was the face of my best friend Charles before he exploded. He saved us all by jumping on that grenade, but I knew if my head wasn’t in the game I wouldn’t be helping the men I stand by that I call brothers. Finally December rolled around, I thought this year would never end, snow covered the ground and it was freezing but everyone seemed to have a since of confidence.

            German fire was hefty and for some reason I poked up and started firing and killed several machine gunners, our goal was to take the machine gunners out first then advance and I was tired of nothing happening so I did something. As I was firing I felt a warm and almost nauseating sensation I looked down and saw blood spewing out, next thing I knew I was in a hospital that was apparently in France and I fell back asleep. Later I was woken by some nurses and the first thing I asked was if Verdun was won and if my men were safe and they told me that my men had brought me to the hospital and the Verdun was finally over. I couldn’t believe that I was done, I’d get to go home and see my beautiful wife.

            a month later I was back home and I came home to my wife’s whole family throwing a party for me,  I bursted into tears as I ran into my wife’s arms. I realized something as I was fighting, that the war wasn’t for me to get revenge but to join my brothers in arms and take back what is rightfully ours. The war wasn’t over yet, I would return if it wasn’t for my injury but I know my boys will do me and Charles proud,  “Nemo me impune lacessit.”

            Works Cited

history.com staff. A+E  Networks. Battle of Somme and Battle of Verdun. History.

Hutchinson, Walter. “The Battle of the Somme: 141 Days of Horror.” bbc.co.uk. n.d. Web. 31 January 2018.

Henri Bidou. “Battle of Verdun.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Web. 1 February.


Michael Duffy. “Battles-the western front.” firstworldwar.com. Web. 1 February 2018.

Coffman Edward. The War To End All Wars. Madison, Wisconsin: Oxford University Press, 1968 and 1986. 1 February 2018.