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My father, William Cedric Poole, (born 16 October 1899 - died February 1985) joined the army to fight in the First World War in November 1917.   He was not alone.  His friends from Leominster, Herefordshire, also joined, but I have to add that they were not prepared for what was to come.  He joined The Devonshires and did a short training.


In the letter from King George V, sent to prisoners of war, returned to this country at the end of the war, they were described as 'brave' but Dad said:  'We were not brave at all but we had no choice.  We either did what we were told or we knew we would be shot by men from our own country.'

17 yr old soldier.jpg

They had to climb a ladder from the trenches and run, (but I can tell you no more than this).  He told me they were 'mowed down as if a giant lawn mower went over us all.'  The dead and injured lay on the field and German soldiers were shooting those who were still alive.  A German soldier came up to him with his gun.  Dad shut his eyes and prayed, and the next thing he knew this German soldier helped him up and put him into the German ambulance saying: 'I can't kill you.  You remind me of my kid brother.' My father often used to say: 'I would love to meet this man and thank him for saving my life.'  From there he went to a German hospital where he was cared for and then on to Crossen on the Oder prisoner of war camp, on the German/Polish border.

                 Continued with voice recording

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