thigh had been; he thought his arm had been blown off, & for the first time lost his nerve & cried out. Then he saw his arm was still there, & after a little he recovered again. He noticed when he had lain there about an hour & a half that the hail of machine-gun bullets on our old trenches was getting less & thought he would try & crawl back. There was one apparently unwounded & another very badly wounded man in the shell-hole with him; at first he tried to persuade the unwounded man to carry the wounded one back & then send help for him, but as it was impossible to get him to do this Edward started to crawl back himself. He got back safely to the trench but I think it was that crawl back among the dead which aged him more than anything; he says what made more impression on him than anything was seeing the dead hand of a man whose flesh was beginning to turn green & yellow, though he had only been killed that morning. Two stretcher bearers came out to help him & when he was back in the trench he sent them to the shell hole to fetch the wounded man he had been with. Then he was carried to the casualty clearing station, which was crowded with officers & men he knew. His own sergeant, Connaughton[?] had been killed. He never went to a French hospital, but came by ambulance train & the "Egypt" straight back to England; even so it took five days. At Waterloo he was amazed when they labelled him "First London General" to think he had got to the right place without even asking. He was there three weeks. I was too busy to see very much of him but it was
Brittain, Vera, Diary, 5 July 1916
From Youth to Experience: Vera Brittain’s Work for Peace in Two World Wars
5 July 1916
McMaster University Libraries
Vera Brittain estate; McMaster University has a non-exclusive licence to publish this document.