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Beneath the Poppy Fields.

Posted: Mon 30 Nov, 2020 6:48 pm
by chrischance
Short synopsis:
During the Battle of the Somme, a team of ten Royal Engineers veterans on detachment to the infantry, fight their war in tunnels and trenches, but the whims of the officer class threaten their existence to such an extent that one of the officers is murdered. Coincidentally, the German tunnellers have the same problem with their officer who also is murdered.

During the underground conflict the Germans use a baby to entice the infantrymen into no-mans-land where they are killed by a massive underground bomb. The sound of a baby crying plays enormously in the mind of Sergeant Johnny Gordon, the Royal Engineers section commander who has been fighting this war for nearly one year.

The infantry are new, inexperienced soldiers who die in their thousands each day; hence the conflicting opinions of enthusiastic inexperienced upper-class officers who think of the experienced decorated sappers as mere coal miners.

The story comes to the end with a nail-biting race between foes, each of them digging furiously to blow each other to smithereens with massive underground bombs.
The Royal Engineers win the day but sadly, Johnny Gordon dies of his wounds surrounded by his heroic sappers and the tiny baby boy he rescued from the battlefield. ... oks&sr=1-1

176 pages of 53,657 words about the recruitment of Lancashire miners by the Royal Engineers and how lives changed when the men went to war; leaving behind their wives, some of whom were not best suited to being alone.
Also, it is about the relentless slaughter of a generation of Allied and German lives in the hell of the Battle of the Somme. This is just a tiny episode about a section of sappers in their own subterranean hell beneath the poppy fields.