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The Reality Behind the Lines

Our Poetry Editor, John Stocks, sheds some light on the historical reality in Oonah V. Joslin’s “Behind Lines.”

Dear Oonah,

Thank you for “Behind Lines.” I have a talk on “Alcohol and the British Soldier in World War One” that covers some of this ground. Did you know that the average Tommy was four times more likely to be out of the front line with gonorrhea than trench foot?

The Canadians — in my opinion the best pound-for-pound fighters of the war — had even more troops sidelined. The British were paid less and tended to prioritise egg and chips over Fifi. Providing condoms only in the latter stages, for fear of the consequences of French women being raped by Tommies and raising a potential outcry at home, didn't help.

I look forward to seeing the poem on the schedule.

Best Wishes,


Responses welcome!


Copyright June 6, 2016
by Bewildering Stories

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