The White Poppy

“Stan’s not going to join up, he says he’s a conshie.  If you ask me, he’s just a coward.”

“Well, he will have to do something, either go down the mines or become a stretcher bearer.”

“I don’t fancy my chances with either of those choices, I would rather have a gun in my hand.  At least I would be able to defend myself, they don’t make bullet proof stretchers.”

Stan could hear the conversation between his two best friends, as he was standing the other side of the pillar in the pub.  He decided not to intervene, they were entitled to their opinions, just the same as he was.

When Stan announced to his family that he wasn’t joining up, it was met with differing reactions.  His Mum was delighted “I’m so glad that you can stay at home with me.”

“Don’t be so stupid woman, of course he can’t stay at home with you.  They will send him away somewhere. I’m not sure what the lads down the Legion will say.  Can’t believe I’ve got a coward for a son.”

Stan still reported for duty when his conscription papers came, but announced that he wanted to object, on moral grounds, to fighting.  As he was fit and well, after his health check, he was sent out to the front.  Uniformed up, poorly trained and definitely afraid, Stan arrived at the battlefield.

The stench of smoke, mixed with blood and guts overpowered him and he threw up in the ditch next to him.  Then it all started, he had a back pack thrust at him, “Bandages” someone shouted.  Then paired up with another lad, he was sent off onto the battlefield to collect any survivors and bring them back to safety.



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