Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Journal of William Brazear - edited by Margaret Brazear

Free US/UK Kindle Classic
Unusual for this blog, I am featuring a newly published book.  It is a WWI memoir,  "Journal of William Brazear,"  edited by Margaret Brazear.  (US Edition)  (UK Edition) This is the edited diary of a British soldier.   The diary begins in 1895 and is unusual in that the soldier was a prisoner of war. 

William grew up in London and was in an orphanage and then apprenticed. 

At the age of fourteen, I was sent from the home to take a position apprenticed at a cycle works.   .  .  .  Well, this job nearly broke my heart.   I started there on the 9th May 1899 and managed to stay there until July 1st 1900.   During that period my regular routine was filing brazings in the morning, after doing the housework, and running with young ladies, learning them to ride in the afternoons.   The result was that I was handsore from the rasp, footsore from running, and heartsore from the whole thing.   Of course I was a bound apprentice and could not leave easy, so I made up my mind to run away from there.

You can imagine the service would be more attractive and Brazear was regular Army for awhile and in the reserves at the time the war began.

Now I was comfortable and thought I was safe.   But wait and see.   There was a church about 100 yards in front of my position.   The bells were ringing, and the people were walking towards the church just as if nothing was happening.   Suddenly a shell, either from us or from the Germans, struck the bottom corner of the church and the whole thing collapsed.   Naturally it would when the foundation had gone.   After seeing this, I knew that I was not so safe as I previously thought.

Later he is captured:

We entrained at Lauvain Station.   Although we expected to have to walk all the way into Germany, it appears that by now they had organised a system.   While we were waiting on the platform, I stood against some packages.   I had also organised a system, so with my jack knife I opened one of the cases and I was not disappointed for I found dog biscuits.   I filled my pockets and my pals emptied the box.   They were very acceptable at this time.  

War is hell.

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