Sorry for the mass mailing but i had a memory/ ww1 flashback last night and it quite affected me. I'll write it up properly sometime but i felt i wanted to mention it as its so moving (Well, to me any how!)
Mum was singing a hymn called "Tell me the old old story" which has a line "Lord Jesus makes me whole" near the end and suddenly i had this vision-
I was standing (as Jamie, of course) in a makeshift field hospital - it was dark outside so i guess it was about 3 or 4 a.m. and it was the night after a fairly big offensive in the Wipers Salient. It was raining hard in those large , really cold sorts of slodges and i had on a waterproof cape that was soaked. I'd helped in a fellow soldier who'd fallen into my trench, wounded in the foot (for those of you who've seen my 'Brothers in Arms' drawing, i think its the guy on that) and when he'd sat down to be examined I wandered across to where i saw about four nurses standing round a stretcher on the ground.
I didn't go closer because of how wet i was and i didn't want to disturb the patient or scare him but i became aware gradually that the stretcher bore a very young soldier - younger than myself- he looked about fourteen, as if he'd came hardly out of school. He was tucked up in a thick charcoally grey blanket, even to the sides of his face and he had his cap on but i could sense he was badly injured all down one side...It was also obvious somehow that the poor lad didn't stand a chance- for one thing he was left on the floor where a rivulet of water was running beneath him and they would have moved him or not put him there otherwise, and blood had darked the blankets... Conditions and shortages were so bad that he hadn't been given any pain relief because it was so needed for soldiers who were expected to have more chance to survive.
But he made no fuss. He clutched a photo of a lady who i assume was his Mother and he was pale and striving hard not to cry. He was singing. Softly and with great effort to keep his emotions in check. He knew what all of the situation meant but it was only when he came to one line of his hymn that it really seemed to dawn on him that he genuinely was going to die. The next line came out as a choked sob, with such a sound of pleaing in it that tears came to my eyes, like the ones already in the nurses' and two of them let the drops run down their cheeks..
He'd changed the line of the hymn to "Lord Jesus make me whole"
I guess Jesus did later in a sense, when he got to Heaven, as i know he died, even though i couldn't bear to stay any longer - i had to go outside and it was very difficult not to cry. The hardest thing was not being able to do anything for him. Apparently even the doctors were upset. He was so brave and, even to me, so very young that he should almost have been siging that hymn at Sunday School still, not out there in the cold...
I've heard that hymn sung so many times in this life and its not often my flashbacks or memories affect me quite as much as that one but i just had to share it. Poor boy - I hoped he rested in Peace...