It seems that Albert was treated to a tour many of the major British battlefields of the First World War. For his pains, he earned the three most commonly awarded medals nicknamed Pip, Squeek and Wilfred.
For years I wondered what might be the contents of the small glass vial found in the pouch with Albert's medals; morphine? suicide capsule? Then listening to the interview of Private Cook an alternative possibility emerges. Apparently one of the first aid procedures for gas victims was to administer ammonia to attempt to aid with breathing. This ammonia seems to have been supplied in glass vials. Unfortunately it sounds as if its efficacy left a lot to be desired.
From 1918 Albert has kindly left a birthday book which he used as a diary during the final push by the German Army. He clearly moved from the 27th Field Ambulance to the 59th Field Ambulance at some stage, but I've not found out when yet.
The Bishop tells us: 'When the boys come back
'They will not be the same; for they'll have fought
'In a just cause: they lead the last attack
'On Anti-Christ; their comrades' blood has bought
'New right to breed an honourable race,
'They have challenged Death and dared him face to face.'
'We're none of us the same!' the boys reply.
'For George lost both his legs; and Bill's stone blind;
'Poor Jim's shot through the lungs and like to die;
'And Bert's gone syphilitic: you'll not find
'A chap who's served that hasn't found some change.
' And the Bishop said: 'The ways of God are strange!'
All those moments lost
like tears in the rain
|peter_jennings @ hotmail.com|