The war had took its toll with everyone, it dragged on, there didn't seem there was going to be a winner, it was like a chess game, each side craftily making moves but getting nowhere.The only people who seemed to want this war were the Officials who wouldnt give in for pride or economical reasons.
They were not the ones lying in mud up to their armpits Jacob thought, they were not the ones seeing bodies spewn all over the place, the terrifying sounds of men moaning as they lay in agony with parts missing from their body, even the morphine could not control the pain.
Jacobs face was angry, he didn't want to be here, he was forced, he recalled his old Job back in England, he worked on a farm, his life was simple, he loved his work and at first was told because of his work he would not have to go to war, but it was changed when they introduced the "landgirls" women of all cultures joined up to manage the farming, leaving the men to fight, Jacob was'not bitter nor was he a coward, he just didn't like fighting for a useless cause.
Brian was different his folks were in the Military he was encouraged to join the Army when he was 15, his dad did the same as did his father before him, so Brian knew from an early age he too would be in the Military it was in the genes.
Jacob met Brian at the training camp, they hit it off right away,out of all of the recruits Jacob took to Brian he was funny, always cracking a joke, always real and not pretentious Jacob despised pretentious people and this World was full of them.
Life in the camp wasn't bad, as well as tough Army training there were good times, like going into Town to check out the local talent, having a good old punch up with the local Navy guys it was never serious it was all fun,the worst part was spending time in the locker if you were caught by the Military Police or having to peel thousands of potatoes, suppose you had to pay for the crime, Jacob smiled to himself.
Jacob was seventeen when he got his call up papers he recalled his Mum crying because she was on her own, her husband had been killed in a tragic mine accident and Jacob was her only son. It wasn't because he was going but because she knew he was a pacafist he abhored violence so he wasn't really built
for an Army life.
It came to the day Jacob had to leave, he hugged his mum and assured her everything will be ok and he would write soon,Jacob's mum was so distraught she never took her head away from her handkerchief waving it around as if she was heading a bull fight.
Night time fell very swift, the noise of mortar banged in the background like distant fireworks, Jacob was still holding Brian, his injuries were serious, there was no medical guys in the trench, the day before they tried to get a wounded soldier out of the line of fire and ended up being blown to pieces by a stray bomb from our own guys, Jacob shook his head in awe as he thought to himself whos side were they on? The radio was out, a handful of soldiers lay in the trench, some smoking, some looking at family photographs some moaning, some crying, there was no happiness at all and why should there be?Jacob opened up Brians tunic to see just how badly wounded he was, Jacob flinched as the blood soaked tunic was sticking to Brians body he could see him twinge in agony, but Jacob had to see if he could help. The shrapnel was sticking out of Brians chest, it looked as if it was around 4 inches inside but Jacob couldnt be sure, the blood poured out faster when the tunic was opened Jacob started to panic. He left Brian sitting upright manipulating his own hand to cover the part the blood was gushing out of and went into the small hut which had survived the days bombing hoping he would find something useful to cover Brian.
the remains of some food the Officers had three hours ago, an empty tin water still boiling on a small fire, but no medical supplies, in the hut was an old tunic, Jacob grabbed this and took it back to were Brian was sitting, he was gonna try bring Brian back to the hut to stop the blood gushing from his chest.
Covering Brian with the tunic he manipulated him upright Brian was in so much pain he couldn't talk tears were rolling down his face, Brian was a brave guy, but the amount of blood he had lost already and the pain was breaking him and it was to be understood.
By the time Jacob carefully got Brian to the hut he had passed away, the blood was pouring out of the wound and Jacob noticed there was a pool of blood were he had been sitting previously, he now regretted moving him and wondered if he may have lived longer if he had left well alone, Jacob was distraught, his friend was dead.What made Jacob more upset was the fact that Brian had taken the blast for him, when they were on reconasence a German patrol spotted them, one of them threw a hand grenade Brian pushed Jacob out of the way and got most of the blast, he fell were he stood.
Jacob knew his friend had given his life for him just as they swore way back at camp,Brian saw the patrol, Jacob didnt it might have been the other way and Jacob thought to himself he would have done the very same.
Help finally came, too late for Brian but the rest of the men were taken away to the local Hospital in the nearest town.Jacob visited Brians grave monthly, his tombstone read....."War does not determine who is right it determines who is LEFT"Jacob was medically released from the Army and continued his dream to run a farm and lived to a ripe old age, never forgetting the friend who died for him to live.
thats the kind of friends we all long for... true friends.....
William Manson (c) 2009