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No Man's Land

60 second histories

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A description of No Man's Land and how it came by its name; it was particularly eerie at night with long shadows that stretched under the light of orange flares

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Those at home often ask me what is no man’s land, well it’s actually the bit of land that stretches between our trenches and the German trenches. It can stretch anything up to two hundred meters or more, but as little as twenty five meters and then you can hear the enemy talking. It’s called no man’s land because no man actually controls it not us and not the Germans. In the daytime nobody moves in no man’s land unless there’s a big attack. By night there’s a constant fight for control of that strip of land. The enemy sends up rocket flares and turn night into day. It’s strange looking at no man’s land in the orangey light of the flares, the shadows of the shell holes are dark and foreboding, the barbed wire tangled and twisted. Stumps of trees look ghostly and clumps of poppies almost orange in the light. Here and there you can see the dead bloated and black, that is no mans land. It’s where we work and fight and where death stalks us.
20th Century
Trench Life
WW1 British infantry soldier
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