The effect of a shellburst as seen by a First World War soldier

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A First World War soldier reflects on his first experience of shellfire.

‘And was I panic stricken? No. Not in the least. It would be hard to analyse my feelings as I gazed at the ugly brown hole in the green field. Astonishment, excitement, realisation, relief, foreboding, curiosity and even a morbid kind of satisfaction – those emotions possessed me almost simultaneously and left no room for the sensation of fear.

‘Nothing to be frightened of, in fact – provided it did not burst any closer, that is to say. Ah, that was the question: where was the next one coming?’

Private WT Colyer, 28th Battalion London Regiment (Artists’ Rifles).

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