‘We had another bad case of shell-shock in. Poor man, he lost his friend near him, but the shell did not touch him – it knocked him down by the loud concussion. The man looks quite insane; it is fearful to watch him. Another boy of 17 in my ward, also suffering from shell-shock, does nothing but cry and say he can’t stand the noise. He is quite unnerved. I shall probably send him down the line in a day or two. He is no good here and ought not to have come out, but he gave his age as 19!’
The treatment of soldiers exposed to relentless shelling during the 1st World War was just one of the many aspects of that conflict which makes us look back on it with horror. The diagnosis that these young men so badly needed, and deserved, barely existed in the medical vocabulary of the day, and certainly did not go under today’s familiar label of PTSD.
As pupils prepare to mark the centenary of the end of the 1st World War, we hope that they will read again the words of Sassoon and Owen, Gurney and Sorley, but that they might also discover the poetry of Eva Dobell, Katherine Tynan and Winifred Letts. Our anthology, Never Again, contains the much quoted words of some of the finest war poets ever, but also much lesser known work by the women who were left behind, or who had to tend the crippled and the psychologically damaged.
With less than a month to go until Remembrance Sunday, we hope your pupils will benefit from the resource pack we have put together, with lessons for English, History and Religious Studies. Designed to be used alongside our new anthology, Never Again, pupils should be able to deepen their understanding of the terrible events of the 1st World War and form their own views as to why we have still failed to stamp war out of our lives.
For details of how you can put Never Again at the heart of your school’s commemoration of the centenary of the end of the Great War, including details of how you can order class sets please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Never Again webpage CLICK HERE