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We are please to announce the winners of our writing competition to mark the centenary of World War One and honour the people who lived through the war.

 

The winners are:

Ca​tegory 4-7
  • Winner: Annabel Stenson (Sheffield High School)
Category 8-11
  • Winner: Beatrice Sinclair (Sheffield High School)
  • Runner up: Nydile Mohan (Sheffield High School)
​Category 12-16
  • Winner: 12 year old Naomi Thomas (High Storrs)
  • Runner Up: 12 year old Ziyi Wang (Ecclesfield School)

 The winning entries can be read below:

 

Annabel Stenson

 annabelstenson.jpg

 

Beatrice Sinclair

Saturday 18th October 1915

I'm tired of all this! The lice, the lack of food, the cold, the wet. I wish I had never signed up, I wish I had done as I was told. I was too young, I'm only l6. At first it was great the parades, the presents, the cheers. Then the real war started and it was nothing but poverty, diseases and death. One of my only friends here died today. He died of hyperthermia. The worst thing was they just left him there, on the ground to rot with all the other bodies, both German and English. They said it would be over by Christmas. Christmas was 10 months ago. I don't think it will ever end.

 

Sunday 19th October 1915

We've started shooting again started early this morning and hasn't stopped I feel something sharp hit the side of my head and everything goes black

 

Monday 20th October 1915

When I woke up everything and one was gone. There was nothing they had moved on without me, I was hungry and alone. I started to panic, I would starve to death here. When I said there was nothing I meant it. It was nothing but grey and death. But then, I saw a splash of colour, a splash of hope. The only thing that survived when nothing else did. A poppy red and alive in a sea of grey and this small poppy gave me hope. Even though I had a bullet in my shoulder and stranded here with no food or water, I got up and I moved on.

 

Nydile Mohan

The 'Glory' of War

​Bang bang go the guns,

Men slowly dying,

tons and tons.

 

Bombs exploding

hour by hour,

while shell-shocked victims

shiver and cower.

 

Our uniforms, our medals,

our weapons and our boots,

are on the battlefield with

Death and Devil in cahoots.

 

Rats scuttle in the trenches

with a mission for food,

they delicately nibble,

making us look crude.

​Men I never knew before,

we fought together like brothers,

I thought war was a great galore,

until I found out we were massacring others.

 

The bread is hard and brick-like,

the cheese is mouldy and stale,

I wish I could leave and take a hike,

and have a pint of ale.  

 

The concept of war is so strange,

I find it hard to grasp,

but now that I am in it's range,

all I can do is gasp.

 

I don't know why I got involved,

for I could've escaped War's cry,

I feel my spirit has almost dissolved,

then I will join dead men lying by.

​The bayonet and the rifle,

the grenade and the shell,

they cannot possibly stifle

the sight of this place of hell.

 

The families that we leave behind,

for us they cry and plead,

so that salvation is what our souls will find,

not anger, hatred and greed.

 

Why does the Lord hate us so,

to bring upon us this war so cruel?

We do not take him for a foe,

but he takes man for a fool.

 

Naomi Thomas

4th August 1914
‘Tis true! The rumour is now reality! I shouldn’t really be awake now; ‘twas my bedtime hours ago. ‘Twas one of those nights where the noises outside our shabby flat above father’s shop could keep you awake for ages. The shop downstairs was closed up by my father and I heard him coming upstairs to Mother. My throat felt raw, so quietly I crept downstairs for a glass of cold water. I could hear Mother and Father’s voices in the sitting-room. Curiously, I put my ear to the door. I know ‘tis wrong to eavesdrop, however I could hardly resist. Father usually comes back with such interesting news that he’s heard from customers. Still, no news could be as interesting – and shocking – as this. “Britain has declared war on Germany,” he announced. His words repeated again and again in my head. Dozens of thoughts raced through my mind. War? Now? England? Petrified, fear consumed me like a ferocious beast. It slithered, surrounded and strangled me like a snake does to its prey. Staggering back upstairs, I abandoned all thoughts of getting a glass of water. Much worse thoughts were raging through my head than that! ‘Twas to be expected, I s’pose. After all the horses yesterday filling Cannon Hill Park, there was clearly something going on. I wish I could’ve stayed and found out what was happening, although Father, who guessed they were being prepared for war, took us back home. ‘Tis getting late now. I must stop writing or I shall fall asleep in this position, and then I’d have awful cramp! Goodnight!

5th August 1914
I think I slept in this morning. I had to get up fast, for otherwise I would be late for school, and that would never do. I had some tinned bacon for breakfast, although ‘tis my least favourite breakfast. I can’t bear tinned food. Unluckily, we have stacks upon stacks of it at home, for ‘tis all the range in the shops. When I eventually finished, I slipped on my clogs and headed out of the door. ‘Tis not a long walk to school, and it’s pleasant enough. As I ambled along the drab, grey pavement, my eyes caught an unbelievable sight! Queues about 10 yards long led from the corner newsagents! I managed to catch a glimpse of the paper (The Daily Mail) headlines: WE ARE AT WAR WITH GERMANY! Still I find it hard to believe. ‘Twill be all the gossip at school, I’m sure. I trudged along the pavement. ‘Tis still the same street, the same city, the same country. But will it be after the war? Will Britain change shape entirely? I don’t know. Despite the fact that this awful war hasn’t even properly started, people look mournful and worried everywhere I turn. What’s going to happen? Are we going to be invaded? Are we safe? Are we all going to die? Oh, I wish this war would never happen. I wish, I wish, I wish!

 

Ziyi Wang

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF TOMMY ATKINS – SHEFFIELD PALS REGIMENT

1/7/1914

It was my birthday I was 17 and I'd lied about my age to join the Army to serve my King and Country. I wanted to make my family proud; all my friends were joining up too. We were told our Country needed us. I thought it would be a laugh but it's not like anything I've never seen before. I was with my best friend Jimmy, we were more like brothers I wouldn't go anywhere without him.

I'm at a place called Somme and it's like hell. We were part of the Sheffield Pals Regiment, or at least it was a regiment. We were surrounded by our friends from home, boys we'd grown up with, some of whom had even been in same class with us. Don't know why I'm still here-most of them are dead. It didn't take long. We were like lambs to the slaughter. The rain, the mud, the deafening gunfire are more than I can describe. I would not wish anyone to see what I have seen. It's difficult to tell who killed more of my friends, whether it was the German soldiers or the stupidity of my own generals. They made us walk at the enemy in straight lines, we couldn't even run at them, so we were just target practice. The whistle blew and we were told to advance. We climbed over the top of the trenches and started to walk towards the enemy. In hundred yard I hadn't a friends left. It only started today, but it's already disaster and I feel like I've been here all my life. I've never really been a religious man but if there is a God he wasn't here today. The smell is completely beyond description the mixture of gun smoke, cordite from the bombs and blood from my dead friends.

Jimmy was right next to me as we started out.  We had promised to keep the other safe. I really, really tried but with all the bullets there wasn't anything I could do. He got shot in the stomach and fell to the floor I was right next to him. I held him in my arms as he died. I promised him I;s write to his mum. I cried and couldn't stop. Then I had to leave him there, in all that mud and blood and keep walking on towards the Germans with his blood all over my uniform. I kept walking on through the smoke and death I kept falling over the bodies of the other men. I just kept getting up and walking again I don't know how I survived. I know I will never ever forget what happened today. Even if I live to be a hundred, I don't think this nightmare will ever end. I decided to start a diary today is my first entry I don't know if I'll be around to do man more, but if I am it might help me to keep it all straight in my head to try and make some sense of it all. Don't think I'll manage that, there wasn't any sense in any of it, but I have to believe that Jimmy and my other friends died for something important.

 

(Recounted by a family member from a conversation with a soldier who was there.)