I came across the tale of a man who had been served for over 10 years in the regular army before the war began. Let’s call him Jim.
Jim had been mobilised like so many others from the reserves when war was declared in August 1914. He fought at Mons, was wounded and then captured by the Germans.
Whilst the battles of the early war came and went, whilst compatriots misted into ghosts, Jim was imprisoned in Germany. For over two years, Jim tried to escape. But recaptured, he was subjected to brutal treatment.
After the Armistice in November 1918, Jim was finally released like so many others heading homeward. Before he was finally discharged from the army, he spent some time in a hospital patching up his physical and mental frailties before finally being released in February 1919. Homeward bound nearly five years later…
For prisoners of war, like Jim, what memories clung to them? Did Jim survive long after his release? Did the release give him everything he wanted, a return to what he wanted? Was it better or worse to be a POW behind the lines?