The Last Great War

by Henry
(Huddersfield)

A Sherman tank

A Sherman tank

September 1st, 1939. It was a terrible day today, the rain was coming down like bullets from the sky, it was said on the news a couple of hours ago that Germany had invaded Poland, and if they did not fall back, Britain would be at war with Germany. The British Government was waiting for a reply from the German leader, Adolf Hitler.


On the 1st September no reply was in the hands of the Prime Minister, Nevile Chamberlain. So he issued an ultimatum. “Pull back or we will be at war”. By 3rd September there was still no reply, so the Prime Minister's words were: “People of Great Britain, we are now officially at war with Germany, but there is no need to panic as we are a bigger and better country and we will not lose.”

On September the 10th thousands of letters were sent out to every house in the country telling men aged 18 to 40 to join the army, only religion would stop a man fighting in the war. If you were going to fight in the war you would report to the nearest recruitment office, and then you would have as much training as possible considering people thought we would be at war in a couple of days.

My name is John Sparrow, I am 24, I have brown hair and blue eye’s I got the letter a couple of hours ago. My mum did not approve of people going to war, she thought it was all a load of rubbish but I wanted to fight for my country and win this war.

On September the 12th the Government did the best thing they could think of, evacuation. This meant that children were sent away from the big cities and towns, they were sent to the countryside. They were sent off on a train where people that lived in the countryside would simply pick who would come and live with them. Some people followed the train tracks back to London to see their parents, because adults did not get sent to the countryside; they had to stay behind in London.

Adults had to use two kinds of shelters called an Anderson shelter and a Morrison shelter. An Anderson shelter would be an underground cabin with as many beds as someone could squeeze in. Once everything was in you would have to put a thin layer of soil over the top of the cabin. My mum would not have any of it, she said even if the Germans were bombing just outside her house she would be nice and snug in bed.

On September 13th I was walking towards my nearest recruitment office to start what little training I was to have. My team captain showed me what he called the “basics” e.g. how to hold a gun, how to fire a gun, how to take aim with a gun. I had three guns. One to carry round with me and two on my back. The one I carried around would be a Thompson, which is a machine gun but had a pathetic aim. One on my back MP50 was a hand gun and the other one was a kar98k which was as a rifle with excellent aim but terrible rate of fire, (the Thompson was my favourite).

On September the 15th everyone who would be fighting in the war (in Britain) would be ready for an attack. After a few hours nothing happened, at the end of the day nothing had happened, but we stood on guard over night. By morning still nothing had happened. All through that week nothing happened. Actually for two whole months nothing happened. The public were beginning to wonder if there actually was a war. This was going on for 5-6 months. Adults started to get their children back saying there wasn’t even going to be a war.

But after 8-9 months of waiting it happened. The Great War happened. Soldiers were being eliminated one by one, by either being shot down by the medium gauge guns and the high gauge guns or blown to smithereens by giant bombs with little pieces of glass that would go flying and hit anybody in its path. Some bombs even had leaflets in saying “we will kill you” and “we will win”.

I was a ground soldier waiting for the planes to do their job and when the German foot soldiers came in I would fight them off, or at least try. The planes went on all through the night and when morning came so did the foot soldiers. Now it was my turn. The plan was simple; when the German foot soldiers came in we would have hundreds of snipers taking out as many as possible. Once they had gotten through that they would have to face thousands and thousands of soldiers, when they got through that there would be a final ambush, I was in the ambush section.

I could hear cries and cries with German accents from in front. The Germans had made it past the snipers and were making their way through the thousands of “normal” people who had been called up for war. The last few rows were running towards the ambush spot calling “retreat” and “fall back”. They were trying to do their job so now it’s my turn to do mine. I could feel my hands trembling; I could hardly hold the gun. I was so hungry and thirsty and tired, good job I was being powered by adrenalin.

I suddenly jumped out not knowing what to expect, all I saw was men running up and down shouting and screaming like mad men. My ears were killing me after just a few seconds of the sound of bullets firing, with no intention of stopping. I was just standing there, not knowing what to do, I was extremely surprised at not being shot within ten seconds, I suddenly realised what was going on. I quickly dove behind what was left of a brick wall and every so often I would poke my gun out and fire rapidly, not knowing what I was firing at, or if I was even hitting anything.

The Germans were easing forward, slowly but surely. I was doing my best to hold them back as much as possibly but it was not working, I was about to lose hope but I remembered I had several grenades in my back pockets. I yanked one out quicker than I had ever moved my arm in my life. I pulled the pin out and threw and while it was in the air I felt a sudden pain down my right arm, it was as if I had been shot, in fact I had been shot, right in my elbow. I couldn’t move my arm and then just to top it off I felt a sudden rush of air from in front of me, it must have been a grenade. It lifted me off the ground and flung me into a stone building. I couldn’t feel my left arm, maybe because I didn’t have one any more. The force of the grenade had ripped it off; it had pulled the rest of the bone out with it. I could see my own flesh, I was loosing blood by the second and I knew if I didn’t get medical attention I would die. With my remaining arm I dragged myself along the floor with no sense of direction apart from away from the Germans. I had just remembered I had a first aid in my backpack. I flung open the zip and rooted around. I felt a square case and pulled it out it was the first aid kit.

I grabbed the bandages and wrapped it all around my arm. It had stopped the bleeding but not for long, the blood would eventually get through. I pulled the kar98k from off my back. I was laid in the middle of the street, not very sensible, I thought to myself. Anyway, I aimed down range, it wasn’t very steady as I only had one arm and for it’s size it was a heavy gun. Before firing I decided to get cover. I threw my gun in front of me and then I crawled after it. I was behind a crumpled brick wall, I realised I had a problem, how would I reload after firing just once? Any way I fired it, I thought I got one off. I was about to throw it, when I realised that’s like giving a gun to the enemy so I decided to put it in my backpack and pull out my mp50, a hand gun, at least this would fire eight times before a reload. With all my strength I pushed myself up to a standing position. I could see the Germans forwarding on and on and on, killing of all my remaining team mates.

After walking a couple of miles I saw what I had being waiting for all this time, a hospital and about time too, blood was just begging to drip through. It was only just in sight, but then the dreaded happened, I heard a whirling sound like a bomb falling at a thousand miles per hour, and it was just not that fast the hospital was blown to pieces.

Just as I lost hope and settled down ready to die, a miracle happened! An English plane came whizzing by up ahead and took out all the German troops. There were only several hundred people left so that meant we had lost at least a thousand.

I don’t know how, when or who lifted me into a jeep and drove me to the nearest hospital where I was sedated, but that’s the last I remember.

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