There were psychological scars too. Estimates put shell shock victims at more than 80,000 nationally, a number which grew after the Armistice as the effect of combat trauma continued. Re-establishing relationships with families, loved ones and work mates who had not gone to war could be difficult. Memories were often tucked away in an attempt to hide the mental scars of trench warfare, the spilling of blood and guts and inexpressible grief at the loss of comrades. How often was it said, “He never spoke about the war, y’ know.”
It is difficult to imagine the impact of the losses on families, work places, sports clubs and community groups. Many have written about the war and its impact but two men who served in local battalions, Captain Tempest (6th West Yorks) and Pte Walter Hare (1st Pals) offer particularly thought provoking, challenging and inspiring thoughts.
In concluding his history of his old battalion, Captain Tempest speaks of men “called upon to pass through a succession of sordid, nerve-racking and perilous experiences with human endurance tried to its limit, yet the spirit of the men proved invincible”. In his 90s, Walter Hare turned to poetry.