Meeting up with the young people again

The twelve students were asked what they remember from the play and the work we did with the group, this was now six months ago but their recollections were very clear, the fact that Jimmy and Kitty were bound to be sweethearts before Jimmy went to France, that she didn't know Jimmy was one of her patients a few months later, the relationship between Kitty and Rose the Sister. It was striking that they saw an interrupted love story even amidst the carnage depicted in the hospital, the blood, the ripped uniforms, the screams of the patients and the deafening cacophony of artillery.

Richard reminded them that lives of Kitty and Jimmy were servitude, from poorly paid fetchers, carriers and cleaners to the upper classes to the duty of King and Country, fighting a war that they never wanted or ever understood. They felt somewhat cheated by Jimmy's death and sorry for Kitty, but then the darker moments were recalled, the noise of the brush scraping blood from the stone floor and the facts they knew about the Battle of the Somme that was the backdrop of the play.
Richard built upon this by talking about the realities of trench warfare, the thousands of lives lost to gain a few metres, the slaughter of mechanised killing, the young men who had not yet had a chance to experience the joys of youth mown down within seconds of the Lieutenant's whistle sending them over the parapet and walking slowly into the range of powerful machine guns whose bullets would tear through the flesh and bone of more than one man, or remove an entire company of men, dying instantly or bleeding to death in No Man's Land, calling for their Mother or their God.

Matt Hinks