Wake up, son. Come on…. come on...

I can’t see anything. What.....

Don’t worry. I’ve got you now. Can you move?

Who are you? Oh, heavens....

Drink this. Slowly, slowly. Don’t worry, I’ve got you now. What’s your name?

My sight’s gone... oh god my legs hurt.

What’s your name Private?

Harris, Tommy Harris.

Listen lad, you’re in a shell hole. You’ve been hit. Try to take a couple of deep breaths.

Who are you? My face is on fire.

Harris…drink a little more....I’m Sergeant Simpson.

What’s happening Sarge?

You’ve been hit in the leg and face. I’ll wipe the blood a bit....

Bloody hell, that hurts.

Harris listen to me. I need you to concentrate. I need you sitting up.....here you go...


Don’t faint on me now. Deep breaths. Here, let’s get that blood out of your eyes...

I can’t see.

You’re copped it badly. Here, let’s get you straighter. Hmphhhh there...

My legs…..

I’m going to put a tourniquet on. Don’t want you bleeding out on me.

Aghhhh–now -now I can feel my legs again. Jesus.....

Rest your head back, Harris. Tommy, you say?

Yes Sarge. Tommy Harris, Sarge. Second West Yorkshires.

Yorkshire lad, eh? Do you remember anything?

We went over the top. I remember a bang....well...then you Sarge, that’s all.

You’re safe now.

Bloomin’ heck. I’m right groggy Sarge.

You’ve taken some shrapnel in the face Tommy. I can’t take it out at the moment.

Am I going to die? I’m only bloody nineteen......

You’re not going to die, lad, not if I can help it.

Are my eyes gone?

They’re pretty messed up, I’m afraid. Let’s worry about that after we get you back behind our lines.

I’m feeling really rum Sarge....like I’m going to faint.

Tommy, you’ve got to stay with me now. As soon as it’s clear up there, I’ll get you out.

Don’t leave me here will you....

Not on your nelly. Listen up–I think the shelling’s stopping....

My bloomin’ ears are ringing, Sarge. How much of a mess am I in, really?

Your leg’s been smashed up badly, but I think you’ll be able to walk with a bit of help.

I play football back home. Bloody hell, this bastard war…..

Well, I reckon your chances of playing for England might have gone for a while, Tommy.

I’m a Leeds supporter...

Leeds City? Well lad, if you’d told me first I’d have left you in the shell hole.....

What about you Sarge?

I’m a Birmingham City man myself. That chap McLeod you’ve got playing up front is a jewel.

Great manager as well, Sarge. Herbert Chapman. I reckon City will.....oh bugger that hurts!

Right, lad. The huns seem to have stopped shelling. There’s been nothing for a few minutes now.

Sarge, don’t leave me....

Tommy, I told you I wouldn’t and I’m not going to. We need to wait here till it’s quiet.

I can’t walk Sarge, I know I can’t.....

Once I’ve got you out of this shell hole, I can carry you on my back.

OK Sarge. Thanks Sarge.

Right. We’re not hanging around here. It’s quiet, so we should try to move now.

Won’t they see us?

No chance, there’s so much smoke and fog about I’ll be lucky not to drop us both into another hole!

OK Sarge, tell me what you want me to do.

Right, here you go. Put your hands around my neck......

owww! Stop a minute.........ow!

Hmphhhh–this isn’t going to work. I can’t get any leverage. I’ll climb out, and pull you up after.

Where are you Sarge!

Quiet, quiet, don’t want the entire world knowing where Tommy Harris is, do we?

Is that your hand, Sarge?

Yes Tommy, give me your other one.....


Quiet, lad! Bite your bloody lip. Right...one more pull.....uhhhh. There you go.

What can you see, Sarge?

Bugger all. There’s no-one about. I hope there’s no gas. Hang on a minute while I get my breath.


Yes Tommy?

If I die, there’s a note in my pocket. It’s for my mum. Can you.....

Of course. What’s her name?

Dinah. She’ll be heartbroken. There’s only me.

What about your dad?

He’s dead. Worked in the pits.

Don’t worry, son, you can give her the note yourself. What was your dad’s name?


Right Tommy Harris, only son of Eric and Dinah–I’m going to lift you up on my back and get us both back.

Righto Sarge. Sarge?

Yes, lad?


You’d do the same for me.

I haven’t got my rifle, Sarge.

Not to worry Tommy, His majesty’s army has got another one waiting for you.....

Do you know which way you’re going Sarge?

Course I do. Away from the smell of those rotten huns.

Uhhhhhh- Sarge! Sarge? Are you OK?

I slipped. It’s bloody tricky walking through this mud with you on my back. Hang on, I’ll ......

What’s that? What happened?

Stuck my foot in a hole. Bloody hell, my knee’s gone. Bloody hell!!!!

Sarge? Sarge are you OK?

I’ve twisted my knee, Tommy. Keep your head down.

Sarge, what are we going to do?

I don’t know lad. Can you try to help me?

I can try Sarge. If we take it slowly.....

Keep a good hold of my hand. Don’t want you getting lost. It’s up to you now.

I won’t know where to go, Sarge.

You walk and I’ll talk Tommy.

What if they shoot?

Let’s hope they don’t–and if they do, let’s hope their aims as bad as their breath–bloody huns....

I can’t do it Sarge..

Come on Private. Show me how strong you Leeds boys are....

Hrrrrrrr–it’s no good Sarge, I can’t.

Well, we can’t stay here. This smoke is going to blow away soon and…...

What Sarge? What then?

We’d be done for lad. We’ll have to get back to the shell hole.

Where is it?

Behind us Tommy. We only managed a few steps. I think I can push myself- hold on to me...

I’m scared Sarge...

Bloody hold on to me, lad! Hang on....

Sarge, where are you?

I’m in the shell hole. Keep crawling towards my voice. And keep your head down.

Oww... sorry Sarge!

Not to worry. At least you’re back in. But please, can you get your scrawny backside off my face?

Sorry Sarge. Sarge?

Yes, lad.

What do we do now?

We’ll wait here and hope that our boys find us first.

Is it still foggy up there?

Most of the smoke has cleared now. We’ll be out of sight here for a bit......

Sarge, have you got any morphine?

No. Sorry lad.

It’s OK. Have you got any cigarettes, Sarge? I could do with a puff.

Here you go. Hang on, I’ve got some matches somewhere....

What if the huns find us first?

They’re not all animals. Most of them are ordinary blokes like you and me.

What do you do Sarge? You know, when you’re not in a shell hole in the Somme?

I’m a butcher. Got a shop in Sparkhill in Birmingham.

Are you married?

Yes. My wife’s Enid. Two boys, Barry and Tim.

How old?

Barry’s five, Tim’s three.

Do you miss them?

Of course I do. Been married ten years now. My old man was a butcher too.

Is he still around?

Lost him ten years back. Still got my old mum, though. Want another ciggy?

Thanks Sarge. Shouldn’t really because my mum’s always telling me how bad they are for you......

What did you do before, Tommy? Before this all kicked off....

I’m apprenticing Sarge. Plastering. I’ve done a bit of paint and decorating as well. Working for my uncle.

Keeping it in the family then.

Not now Sarge. Not sure how I’m going to paint anything if I can’t see.

Don’t give up yet, Tommy. Your right eye’s gone, but the other one might be OK with a bit of luck.

This whole thing is messed up, Sarge. I don’t even know why we’re fighting.

Not our job to question why, Private, we do what we’re told. Follow orders and hope for the best.

Never get any of those bloody generals on the front line, do you Sarge?

Steady on lad, don’t want to hear any talk like that.

Sorry Sarge.

Quiet now, I think there’s someone coming. Put that ciggy out.

Shall we give them a holler?

No–could be our boys, but I can’t be sure one way or the other.

Do the Germans take prisoners?

Like I said, they’re doing their job, like you and me.

I think they’ve gone.

I’ll take a look. I’ll need you to push me up a little–I can’t see from here. There you go...

Sarge! Bloody hell Sarge, did you cop it? Sarge–talk to me, talk to me. Sarge?

Who’s there? Who’s there?........…please–I can’t see...........

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