William Emerson

William Emerson was born in London to an upper middle-class British family, the sort who placed a great deal of importance on appearances, education and military service. Never the strongest or sportiest lad, Emerson excelled more in study than any martial pursuits. He graduated school with high marks and went on to study English and Classical Literature at Exeter.

He managed to avoid the war for quite awhile but, in 1918, he was finally caught up in all the patriotic propaganda and - due in no small part to pressure from his family - he dropped out of university to enlist.

Private William Emerson arrived on the Western Front and was instantly overwhelmed by the grim reality of war. It was nothing like the picture of grandeur and patriotism the pro-war groups were painting back home, or the heroism of the plays and books he'd read. It was muck, disease and ignominious death in the trenches.

Emerson didn't last long. He was killed in action when, while returning from a wiring party, he became caught on the wire and was shot quite dead by the Germans. He died with little ceremony, for no great mission and during no grand battle, just one of the millions of soldiers who fell in the Great War.

Wiring Party - Once More Unto the Breach

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