'Awakened by great shouted oaths below. Peeped over the side of the manger and saw a Belgian lass milking and addressing a cow with a comprehensive luridness that left no doubt in my mind that British soldiers had been billeted here before.' - Private Norman Ellison, 1/6th King’s Liverpool Regiment
Humor helped the British soldier survive the terrible experiences they faced in the trenches of the Western Front during the Great War. Human beings are complicated, and there is no set pattern as to how they react to the outrageous stresses of war. But humor, often dark and representative of the horrors around them could and often did help. They may have been up to their knees in mud and blood, soaking wet and shot at from all sides, but many were still determined to see the ‘funny side’, rather than surrender to utter misery. Peter Hart and Gary Bain have delved deep into the archives to find examples of the soldier’s wit. The results are at times hilarious but rooted in tragedy. You have to laugh or cry.