I’ve started remembering bits of John’s life again.
While using a regression recording last night, I recalled being on a football pitch with tall, Victorian-looking stands that were slightly elevated, sort of like the ones in this photo of Shrewsbury Town Football Club: http://www.shropshirestar.com/wpmvc/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Saturday1.jpg
The pitch was surrounded by stands and facilities on three sides, but toward the back there was nothing but trees. I couldn’t see anything behind it.
It’s possible it could have been Gay Meadow, though I’m having a difficult time finding photos of Gay Meadow in 1914.
I also found out that Shrewsbury Town played at the Copthorne Barracks for a while (though they stopped in 1910), so it’s possible that stands they had erected for the purpose were still there in 1914. The stands would explain the slightly elevated angle of that photo of new recruits in 1914.
Also, I had a brief flash of standing in line to join the army. I was nearly twice the age of most of the boys in line. When it came my turn the recruiting officer, a mustache the size of a small bird on his lip and a smoldering pipe in his hand, gave me a smile.
“And how old are YOU, son? ” he asked.
“Thirty Seven,” I replied flatly.
“Good man!” he roared with a hearty laugh. “We’ll be needing you to keep these young ‘uns in line!”
It seems my age always made it harder. From the day I joined until the day I got killed, I was always forced into the role of setting an example. I couldn’t let them know how scared I was when I got pulled into dangerous duty as an expendable man. I couldn’t back down when they needed volunteers. Ultimately, though, I also couldn’t stop the bullets and shells from picking them off one by one and I had to be the sane, mature one each time. And each time, I cried as little as I could or sometimes not at all; I didn’t want them to see me do that either.