I waited till night fell before I could get back to our lines. I crawled across No Man’s Land.
I didn’t walk, obviously I’d make myself a bit of a target. So I crawled. Other fellas was doing the same and it looked a bit like a great sea rolling. Obviously though I was crawling over the bodies of our lads. So when I got back to our lines I found me tunic was just covered in blood and bone, guts, bits of brain. And you see these was all fellas that I knew. We were a Pals battalion. I went to school with a lot of ‘em, work in same colliery, go to same pubs and cinema. You know I left a lot of Barnsley behind me that day. About 1400 of us went over the top and just about half of us got back. Rest was left out there dead and wounded. You know they’re normal lads, you know, husbands, brothers, fathers, sons. The odd scoundrel too it has to be said but you know all these dreams and hopes were just gone in a couple of hours. I waited back in the lines, well we was kept in line there for three or four days afterwards and I was left to think about the fellas that I’d lost as I ate the rations that should have been theirs