REGARDING Peter Jackson’s film They Shall Not Grow Old. No wonder my father said so little about his part in the 1914-18 trench warfare of World War One. Enlisted age 19, shot though both thighs in 1917, treated along with hundreds of others at Netley Hospital and released with a gammy leg and foot with just a rough suit into a world without work, to the point of being unwanted by job adverts saying “no servicemen need apply”, he died age 52.

A war that saw a million allied soldiers shot to pieces and left lying in filthy shell-cratered mud, fed on by rats, with the living later dumped on the streets by a government who couldn’t care less once the war was over, after being lured by adverts “your country needs you” and “women say go”.

Did you spot the way, in the war films of that period, they dressed up the fighting soldiers in the foreground to make them look more human by making them all wear abundant wigs, when in fact the plagues of trench head lice precluded growing hair in the inhuman living conditions existing on the front line?

I hope we have learnt a lesson and never again fight a war for any government on foreign soil, where out of sight is out of mind and hidden from view to the general public, to the point that upon returning home survivors of the day were treated not as heroes, as we so like to portray today, but less than human beings.


Fraser Road, Poole