Home » WW1 » That’s Nothing Compared to Passchendaele

That’s Nothing Compared to Passchendaele


 Fig.1. British Soldiers struggling in the mud – The First Gulf War (early 1991)

1) The cool, calm and quiet of the early morning – my work space.

2) The dog rolling over on her bed and wagging her tail for a bit of TLC

3) A pot of coffee

Set to go. iPad open on a Kindle eBook on the First Gulf War; Mac Mini in Google Docs. Working on something my grandfather said in 1991 when watching a documentary on a DLI private in Saudi Arabia waiting to enter Kuwait during the First Gulf War : ‘That’s Nothing Compared to Passchendaele’, he said regarding the regional news programme from BBC’s Looks North. Was it nothing like the Battle of Passchendaele (Third Battle of Ypres July – November 1917) or more similar than different? Scale and technology were different, operation and tactics different due to the technology and lessons of previous conflicts, mud for sand … but a soldier when hit by shrapnel or loses a mate feels the same pain. And there was mud too (see above). There mistakes and the wrong kit.

The remark was pointed at the individual soldier’s lot. BBC Look North were doing a profile of a ‘day in the life of a private soldier of the Durham Light Infantry’. It was when looking at the man’s rations and gear that my grandfather, by then in his 94th year, said this. It’s had me thinking ever since, not least since the plethora of ‘soldiering’ we are getting and will get during the Centenary Commemorations of the First World War.

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