Anyone studying the Great War will often ask how and why the men stood it and how they could possibly survive such an horrendous time and live in a shattered landscape.
The extract below is from the chapter “The house that love built” in “Plain tales from Flanders” by P. B. Clayton (Longman, Staff & Co., 1929). To be more accurate, The Reverend Philip Thomas Byard Clayton, usually known as ‘Tubby’. Serving as an army chaplain, Clayton was a driving force behind the establishment of the famous “Talbot House” everyman’s club in Poperinge in 1915 and its flowering into the worldwide Toc H charity. Tens of thousands of British soldiers visited Talbot House to rest, relax, read, or pray in its upper floor chapel.
I know of no greater single description of the motivations, morale and inclinations of the British soldier serving in Flanders. Certainly, they are seen through the lens of a man of faith who was not a front-line soldier himself, but Clayton met and indeed helped so many, I take his word for it.
I commend it to you for reading in detail.