Letters from War

Day 157:

My dearest Beth,

Today, while out in battle, we were given the order to cease fire. It was absolutely one of the happiest moments of my life.

As soon as we were given the command, I raced back to write this letter.

Some of the boys are giving me a hard time, saying you must be a real beaut or something; you have me talking about you all the time.

Do you remember that day on the beach, back last year?

I think of that day a lot, how we laughed, how you smiled, I miss that smile.

Every day I look at your photo and wish I was with you.

I want to hold you in my arms again, and I will very soon.

I hope you are well and that you have been looking after yourself.

Take care sweetheart. I will return to you soon darling, don't you worry.

All my love,



Day 200:

My dearest Beth,

Darling it's Sam, he got shot in the leg, left him unable to walk.

His leg then got infected. The doc told me he had gangrene.

He passed away late last night.

The doctor told me it was painless. They made sure it was a peaceful passing.

Give my love to Mary, and look after her my dear.

She needs you now, so be strong.

I will return to you soon darling, don't you worry.

All my love,



Day 206:

My dearest Beth,

A slow day out here. Most of the lads are just sleeping the day away.

But me? I wanted to write to you.

Today we wait, sitting in our trench and wait for the General to issue his commands.

The days are growing longer; each day seems to drag out further than the last, especially without Sam.

How is Mary?

I will return to you soon darling, don't you worry.

All my love,



• War is nothing like we imagined. War is hell. Utter hell.

I wanted to tell her that I'm scared. Every day, I pick up my gun and a shadow of fear trails along behind me, stitched to the soles of my feet.

I feel I can only escape it if, or when, death overcomes me.

I tell her not to worry to hide her from the truth, the truth that I will probably not return to her.

One day here, death will consume me. It will swallow me whole and suck the life right out of my eyes.

But what I am most afraid of is that, if a miracle did happen and I was able to return home, unscarred, would she still love me?

Would she still see the man that she fell in love with, or have I changed?


• I lied to her. How could I lie to her?

They didn't care. No-one helped him. No-one came to rush him away, no-one came to stitch the wound.

All they did was give him a dose of morphine.

He lay in the trench, right in the walkway, shivering in the bitter cold and in fear.

The guy started to cry, a brave soldier crying right at my feet.

What was I supposed to do?Sam knew he was dying, but it wasn't that he was scared of. It was the loneliness.

The tangible loneliness; leaving his friends, family and his wife all for this injudicious war.


• The war certainly does make you feel mighty small, helpless and alone.

It takes everything from you; your love, your dreams, your life.

Even if you are not killed, your life is still taken away.

Each brave soldier becomes a prisoner to war.

A prisoner to something so pointless and inhuman, all to prove someone else's idea of courage or to destroy it.


By Hayley Smith, Year 13, South Otago High School


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