Heaven and Hell in 1916

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My name is David Hartley. I was born in the village of Pevensey, East Sussex in 1897. My father was a baker and my mother sold flowers in the local market to support my three sisters and me. My sisters worked in the bakery when they weren’t at school, but I preferred to help my mother selling flowers. I was good at that, although my father disapproved: it wasn’t man’s work.

When war was declared in August 1914 one of the men in our village was sent to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force. My father followed the progress of the BEF in the newspapers. He offered to join up when there was a call for volunteers, but he was rejected because of his persistent cough.

In March 2016, as the war started to drag on, the Army Recruitment Officer arrived at Pevensey Railway Station. Almost the entire class of boys at my school signed up for the Royal Sussex Regiment. My father stared at me thoughtfully after I failed to sign up, and I could see the disappointment in his face. When William Harper enrolled in the Royal Sussex, his disappointment was even more evident. William was only 16, around 5’3″ and weighed no more than 100lbs. I felt sick but next morning, I took myself to Pevensey Station and enlisted in the Royal Sussex, 13th Battalion. I was 18 years old but some of the new recruits were only 16 or 17 and pretended they were 18. Truth is, I was ‘a delicate child’ as my mother used to say: I was slim, blonde, 5’8″, soft features with blue eyes, with a gentle disposition.

For my training, I was based in a camp outside Eastbourne. The camp consisted of around 60 tents, a place to eat called a mess tent, a place to shower, and latrines.

My uniform consisted of shorts and a vest made of cotton, while my jacket, trousers, and socks were made of a rough khaki-coloured wool. Footwear consisted of brown leather ankle length boots with studded soles. The rough wool fabric chaffed the inside of my thighs and arms as well as the skin around my neck and caused me endless irritation. My boots were tight and rubbed my toes causing blisters and bleeding. I was also given a steel helmet, haversack, and rifle.

Training consisted of physical fitness exercises, learning how to march and follow commands, and how to use the rifle. I was forever in trouble: I wasn’t fit, I struggled with my equipment, and I couldn’t shoot straight. But I tried my best and for some reason one of the other recruits, John Reynolds, befriended me, and stood up to the sergeant who was constantly on my back. John was 20 years old, 6’2″, short black hair, dark brown eyes and a stare that would stop men in their tracks. You wouldn’t want to mess with John. He was also incredibly handsome.

I was so happy that John wanted to be my friend, but we were an odd match. We appeared to have nothing in common except that we both loved playing cards. We were fanatical players. It’s strange how opposites attract, even in the strangest of circumstances; however, we got on well, always ate together and took our shower at the same time. When I say shower, there was a canvass tent with an open drain, a hose and a bar of soap. When John and I entered the shower for the first time, we looked at each other and laughed awkwardly. It was clear that we would have to share the hose and wash together.

I slowly and hesitantly removed my uniform, while John confidently undressed in front of me. He was bronzed and muscular, hairy, and had a thick limp cock hanging between his legs, protruding from a nest of thick black pubic hair. I tried not to look, but I couldn’t resist peeking. My body was very different to his: I was virtually hairless and pink, with a short fat stubby cock nestling between a set of equally small testes. John’s eyes travelled over my naked body before settling on my cock. He gave me a reassuring smile and stepped into the shower area. I blushed but took a deep breath and stepped into the shower after him.

We each took a turn with the hose. It was soon apparent that it was almost impossible to wash ourselves with one hand and hold the hose with the other. It was John who suggested that we wash each other. I held the hose over myself while he lathered up the soap. It was much easier for him to spread it over the areas I couldn’t reach – down my back, and along my spine. I tensed but tried to act normal. His hand felt good, and it was a much more efficient way of washing. It was also the first time I had been touched by another person, excluding my mother.

As I stood with my back to John his hand glided over my hips and the curve of my ass. I tried desperately not to get hard, but ever since I was a young boy my erections seemed to happen for no apparent reason, and I could feel my cock begin to swell. Before I had time to think, John motioned for me to turn, and I reluctantly faced him, naked, with a four-inch hard cock. I blushed scarlet as he soaped my chest and stomach, then knelt to wash my legs and thighs, his face level with my stubby erection. Ankara bayan escort I stood there the whole time biting my lip, embarrassed, but he acted as if everything were normal.

And then it was my turn to wash John. I began by spreading soap across his broad back and shoulders, along his arms, down his back and spine, and over his hard muscular ass. I was inquisitive and excited. His body was so different to mine. Then he turned to face me. My eyes glanced down at the hard lump of muscle between his legs. I swallowed hard, trying not to look. But soon I was washing lower, and we both knew where I would end up. His cock gave an almighty twitch as I knelt, my face drawing level with his genitals. As I washed his muscular thighs and legs, his penis filled with blood. It stretched and hardened until it became an 8″ column of rigid flesh.

Nothing was said between us. The veins in his cock throbbed, and his balls seemed to have a life of their own, moving independently, bulging with sperm I imagined. I picture being a girl under him, having his cock inside me, screaming in ecstasy as he fucked me and filled me with his hot cum. My cock was harder than ever. I had never felt this way before. I finished washing John, and finally I stood up and we both reached for our towels together. We looked at each other and something passed between us – a sense of understanding, even of pleasure, although we had only washed each other.

Our training continued apace over the next month. We left our old lives behind and became more disciplined, fit and military looking, and we learned how to fight with rifle and bayonet. John helped organise my kit, polish my boots, clean my rifle and kept the sergeant off my back. He also showed me a few self-defence moves, and I loved it when we wrestled together and he subdued me. Once, I got the better of him, and sat astride his chest triumphantly my knees locked around his firm body. He was so proud of me.

We continued to improve our fitness and shooting skills. After one particularly gruelling march during a thunderstorm, we got back to camp, covered in mud, cold and soaking wet. Inside our tent I stripped down to my shorts and vest, sat on my camp bed and shook uncontrollably with a towel around me. John took everything off and started drying himself. He watched me with concern.

“David, you’ve got to get out of those clothes and under your blanket.”

“I’m too cold,” I shivered.

“You need to do it.”

I shook my head. “I’m tooo cold.”

John stood up and reached out for me. “You’ll get pneumonia if you don’t.” With that, he pulled off my wet vest and slipped my soggy shorts down my legs and over my feet, tossing them to one side. I was used to showering with John and feeling his hands on me, but this was different as he took me in his arms and held me. His body was much warmer than mine, and his scent was intoxicating: a mixture of sweat and masculinity, not that you can smell masculinity, can you? He laid me down on his bed with his arms around me, transferring his body heat to me.

I can’t remember how much time passed before I realised that John’s fingers were slowly trailing across my chest and playing with my nipples. I held my breath as his fingers slowly stroked down my stomach until they were almost touching my penis. Then my cock was in his hand. His fingers circled the circumcised head. I was harder than I had ever been in my whole life. He made a loose fist and wrapped it around the shaft and squeezed lightly. Instinctively I started pushing up with my hips, whimpering. He smiled, gripped my shaft, and began pumping my cock. My moans got louder, and my hips began undulating rapidly. There was no turning back now as he increased the speed of his hand.

“Ohhhhhhh ……….” I moaned.

Suddenly I twitched as if hit by a bolt of electricity, and squirted three ropes of cum across my chest and stomach, then finally over his hand. I lay with my eyes closed breathing hard, sweating from the exertion.

At length I opened my eyes and stared “Fuck, John………”

He grinned.

We lay together like that, naked in each other’s arms, cum spread across my chest, as the rain pounded on the canvass. No words were spoken; no attempt to explain what had just happened; no effort to bring our coupling to an end. Instead, we snuggled up together, bathing in the glory of sweat and semen.

After what seemed like an eternity, we unglued ourselves. The rain was moving off, and we both feared the risk of discovery.

The next few weeks of training were very difficult. I felt instilled with a new sense of purpose, a new beginning. My affection for John grew daily, but there were few opportunities to follow up on the experience we had both enjoyed. It was almost two weeks later before the second event occurred. I was kneeling in front of John washing his legs, with his cock jutting out between his legs, harder than ever. We had been Escort bayan Ankara on sentry duty all night and had been excused from a map reading exercise the following morning. The camp was silent, and my sudden need overcame my fear, as I gripped his cock and began to masturbate him. I wanted to give John the same pleasure that he had given me.

John breathed in sharply as I worked on his hard cock. He stared wide-eyed as I circled my fingers around the bulbous head and squeezed his swollen balls with my other hand.

His breathing became rapid, his body stiffened, and he groaned as I jerked his cock. Suddenly, he exploded, sending thick ropes of cum over my face. I gasped as I tasted his cum on my lips. I hadn’t given it a second thought about where he would ejaculate. After catching his breath, John helped me up. His cum dripped from my nose and chin. I licked my lips: I loved the taste of him. He stared at his handiwork before grinning and wiped my cum away with his fingers. For a moment, I had wanted to kiss John, but like so often in life, many more opportunities are lost than taken.

So, we continued as we were. In late June, after eight weeks, we were told that we had all passed our training and would be sailing for France the next day. We couldn’t sleep after that. We played cards in our tent whilst others smoked, wrote letters home, read, or chatted into the night. Each of us was aware that this could be our last day of our life. I rued the day I enlisted; at the same time, I had never been as happy.

“John, I’m scared,” I whispered as night fell and it began to rain.

“I’m scared too, David,” he replied, reaching out for my hand and looking into my eyes. “But I’ll look out for you, I promise. Nobody will hurt you.”

I knew he could never keep that promise.

“John….I need to tell you something……”

“Shhh David.” He touched my lips with his finger. “I know…..”

“You don’t know, John.” Tears welled in my eyes. “I love you.”

He smiled softly and wiped a tear from my eye. “I love you too.”

As the rain beat its drum on our canvass, he lifted my face to his, and suddenly we were kissing, our lips locked together, our tongues exploring each other’s mouth. Our fingers instinctively unbuckled belts, undid buttons, removed uniforms and underwear, our cocks hard for each other. As reckless as it sounds, with the rain now beating down heavily on our tent, I begged John to fuck me. He pushed me onto my back, parted my cheeks, licked a finger and probed my entrance.

I pushed back willingly and within seconds his finger was fully inside me, opening me up, stretching me, preparing me for his cock. He grabbed a pillow and slid it underneath me so that my ass was raised. Then he spat against my hole, bringing his cock up to press against my entrance. I wanted this so badly. He pressed forward and I felt a sharp stab of pain as he forced his hardness into me. He adjusted his position quickly and started to fuck me.

“David, I’ve wanted this for such a long time…….”

I whimpered and nodded, so did I.

We kissed again. His hand slid down my torso until he found my hard stubby cock, which he began playing with. We were covered in a sheen of sweat and our naked bodies slid together in unison. He thrust his hips back and forth, fucking me steadily, giving me what I needed. Time seemed to stand still. The only sounds were of our deep breathing, the smack of John’s cock against my ass, and the beat of rain on our tent.

I held onto John’s arms as he fucked me, his rhythm never changing. I moaned constantly, feeling his deep thrusts inside me. A few seconds later he stopped moving, except for his cock which twitched violently. With that, he shot a stream of cum into my ass in numerous spurts. The sudden change in temperature within my ass, together with his rhythmic stroking of my prostate, made my own cock squirt hot cum into the air, falling back onto my stomach. John collapsed on top of me, panting. We kissed and remained glued together like that, thinking about what lay ahead, until the rain began to subside.

Next day, we were driven in army lorries to Dover, from where we embarked for France. The ship docked at Calais several hours later, and we disembarked and boarded trains to an unknown destination. John sat close to me the whole time, and we shared rations and played cards.

All too soon we disembarked from the train and set about marching towards a place called Richebourg-l’Avoué, which is what the road signs indicted. The name meant nothing to us: none of the names did, but we were told we were now in the Somme.

The sound of heavy guns and shells exploding grew increasingly louder the further we marched. It was clear we were now moving up to the front. As we drew closer, we looked on in horror at the most unbelievable sight coming toward us: tired and dirty men, many with bloodied bandages around their heads and limbs, shuffling Bayan escort Ankara slowly along the road, all the fight gone from them. Would this be us in a few days? We all had our own thoughts. Behind them followed twenty or more emaciated horses, whinnying in fright and pain, drawing empty artillery carts, clattering in their wake. And beyond this immediate scene, a sweeping muddy, lifeless panorama of desolate land pitted with craters and broken bits of barbed wire as far as the eye could see. If we hadn’t been a disciplined marching column we would have stopped and stared, turned around and fled for our lives.

The sounds around us made us want to cover our ears. It was incessant: the barrage of artillery, and the thud of German shells as they landed close to the trenches. Occasionally we would hear a scream or a moan, whether it was from injury or terror, we could only guess. Grey smoke hung heavily over the whole area, as did the bitter smell of cordite and something rotten, fetid. Surely, this was hell.

We were led by the sergeant who had trained us. He barked out orders, and John and I found ourselves being herded into the nearest trench along with half the battalion. Even though it was the penultimate day of June, we had gone from the warm sunshine of Calais into the chilliest darkest place on earth, as the sun fought with the grey smoke and bleakness around us. As we moved along the trenches, the barrage of artillery suddenly ceased, leaving our ears ringing and our hearts thumping out of our chests.

“Get some rest lads,” the sergeant called out to us. “You need to be ready to go early tomorrow morning.”

It was only 4pm in the afternoon, but we settled down as best as we could in the narrow, cramped and cold trench.

And so the time passed, and we managed at length to get some sleep.

We were woken at 3am the next morning by the bombardment of the German lines by British artillery. We were told to prepare to attack, along with the 12th battalion. As soon as our guns ceased firing, whistles were blown for us to go over the top. I climbed over with John and we ran forward, trying not to stumble amongst the pits, stumps and loose strands of barbed wire lying in wait to ensnare us. I ran as close to the ground as possible, but my uniform caught and tore on the barbed wire, tangling in my legs, whipping back into my face, slicing through my skin. I dare not pause, for fear of something worse, even though I felt blood running down my cheeks. John looked at me with alarm in his eyes.

“I’m ok,” I shouted.

No sooner had we gone a hundred yards across no-man’s land than the German machine-gunners opened up on us. John was next to me on my right. To my left I sensed colleagues stumbling and falling as they were hit again and again by rapid machine-gun fire. I ran forward screaming in fury, trying to block out the carnage that was taking place around me. Why on earth had we been ordered to attack machine gun positions?

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw John suddenly fall. My heart burst. Despite all the orders and instructions to keep moving forward and never go to the aid of a colleague, I swerved to the right and went to him. The soldier immediately behind me was hit in the chest by a fuselage of bullets meant for me. John lifted himself up, a stupid grin on his face.

“I fell over…..,” he laughed wryly.

I felt instant relief but looked around at the soldier who had been hit, Private Watkins. He was dead: killed instantly, blood soaked the front of his uniform. Watkins and I had shared stories of our families. He had a long-standing girlfriend and was planning to marry her at Christmas. I was bereft and tears formed in my eyes.

“Move it soldier!” the sergeant shouted angrily behind me.

John picked himself up and pulled me with him. We ran forward once again, the sergeant following directly behind us. I wiped away the tears with the back of my hand: it was covered in blood.

Shells exploded around us as we forged ahead. I glanced to my left and right, astounded to see so few men who had got this far, and we hadn’t even reached the German lines yet. We were being decimated.

The survivors, such as we were, reached the German trench a few minutes later. We poured into the trenches firing our rifles at the Germans. I can’t begin to describe the slaughter and butchery that took place in what became known as the Battle of Boar’s Head. I was pumped up, as was John beside me, and we fired our rifles point blank at young men and boys who looked exactly like us, except for their uniforms. Each of them had mothers, girlfriends, and lovers.

A German boy in front of me, younger than myself, aimed at the sergeant. I pointed my rifle at him and fired: nothing. I was out of ammunition. Instinctively, I thrust my bayonet into his stomach. The boy froze, stared at me wide-eyed in horror, then pitching forward into the dirt. The sergeant gawped at me, with an expression of amazement on his face.

“Thanks, lad,” he shouted. We both knew that I had just saved his life.

I was horrified at what I’d just done. I stared at the young boy on the ground, spitting up blood, dying. A huge red stain appeared on the front of his uniform where I had bayonetted him. I was appalled.

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