Memoirs of an Infantry Officer
As I stepped over one of the Germans an impulse made me lift him up from the miserable ditch. Propped against the bank, his blond face undisfigured, except by the mud which I wiped from his eyes and mouth with my coat sleeve. He'd evidently been killed while digging, for his tunic was knotted loosely about his shoulders. He didn't look to be more than eighteen. Hoisting him a little higher, I thought what a gentle face he had, and remembered that this was the first time I'd ever touched one of our enemies with my hands. Perhaps I had some dim sense of the futility which had put an end to this good-looking youth. Anyhow I hadn't expected the Battle of the Somme to be quite like this. This first-hand account of the face of battle is as beautifully written as it is historically significant.