Dearest Mutter,
I hope I am doing you proud. I am following orders although it may not always be easy, and my friends are supporting me through everything here in this endless loop of trenches. It’s the first of July today, hopefully this war will be over soon because I could eat a horse I’m so hungry, but I will put up with it for my King and my country, Oh, who am I kidding? I can’t lie to you anymore: I hate it here. I’ve had enough of this treacherous mud, this cramped smelly place. I can’t come home for fear of being called a coward but I can’t stay here any longer. My only option is to die: it’s my desire, even though it may upset you, it’s what I want and I hope you will support me. The only way I can be at peace is to die, I just hope the world will follow and this war will end.

I have been hearing these digging noises underneath us but I shall not say anything because my Colonel already thinks I’m useless, as I never follow orders. I just can’t, I’m too scared to do what they ask. Nobody ever asks me why I don’t follow orders they just assume. I’m terrified out here, not knowing what will happen next. I just wish I could be at home before everything changes in my nice warm home, not here in this rat infested, mud ridden trench but that’s not an option anymore. Don’t send me any food parcels, don’t send me any socks don’t send me anything because I’m sick of everything and anything! I’m guilty, I’m letting you down and I’m not doing as you asked. I’m a coward. A coward stuck in the middle of a war.

All I can smell ls dead bodies around me and I’m forever wishing it was me. I can still hear these digging noises and I hope it’s the English coming to blow us up because I really can’t deal with this anymore. I don’t want a grave, I don’t deserve it. I just want to sink into the earth where I let my comrades down. I don’t deserve your endless love, I just don’t know how you do it as I let my King and my country down. I don’t understand why all these innocent people have to die, the pain in people’s eyes alone as they fall to the ground is distressing to watch. The food is rancid especially whilst I’m looking at rats the size of cats eating the rotting bodies next to me. I’m going deaf as there is the constant sound of the shells going off in the distance makes you wonder, is it going to be us next? All I can taste is my own breath which is unquestionably foul for any human being.

Love Jack

Dear Mutter
I have just read this back and have decided I am not going to send you this letter, I’m sorry, it will die with me never to be found. We are always told to write home and tell you we are happy but that is not the truth I just can’t do that anymore. I don’t want to keep lying to you but I can’t let you see this letter, it would break your heart, I’m your only family left and I can’t do that to you.

Olivia Ballard