'Saturday was Peace Day, but for many it was an awful time. I and I suppose, like many others, had some very startling experiences. I am an ex-soldier, discharged from hospital with shell shock and on the Holderness Road my nerves were so weak that I thought many times I should be laid flat on the pavement.
Crossing Victoria Square on Saturday I had the worst experience of many months. Young lads, it is impossible to call them men, were quite excited at discharging these rockets, not thinking of the many men there are in Hull suffering with shell shock. I only wish that something could have been done to stop this sort of thing.'
'Evidence showed that Captain Hays, who had been demobilised a month ago, was mentally affected by neurasthenia. He thought he was a poor man, but he was not, and there was no cause for him to worry in regard to financial matters. He was suffering from the effects of shell shock.
... When Captain Hays came back from Italy he was a changed man. The one thing he kept saying was: "Why cannot I have a home for my wife and children?" Medical evidence showed that death was due to a revolver wound, and the coroner recorded a verdict of suicide while of unsound mind.'
'The clinical and scientific meeting of the British Medical Association was opened this morning, in London. Dr F W Mott, in a paper on War Neurosis, said shell-shock was an unfortunate term and led to misconception. A great many men, who had been returned as suffering from "shell-shock" would have been more appropriately designated "shell shy". Varied hysterical manifestations were due to the emotional shock and curable by contra-suggestion. The war had produced no new nervous disease.'
Who are these? Why sit they here in twilight?
Wherefore rock they, purgatorial shadows,
Drooping tongues from jays that slob their relish,
Baring teeth that leer like skulls' teeth wicked?
Stroke on stroke of pain,- but what slow panic,
Gouged these chasms round their fretted sockets?
Ever from their hair and through their hands' palms
Misery swelters. Surely we have perished
Sleeping, and walk hell; but who these hellish?
-These are men whose minds the Dead have ravished.
Memory fingers in their hair of murders,
Multitudinous murders they once witnessed.
Wading sloughs of flesh these helpless wander,
Treading blood from lungs that had loved laughter.
Always they must see these things and hear them,
Batter of guns and shatter of flying muscles,
Carnage incomparable, and human squander
Rucked too thick for these men's extrication.
Therefore still their eyeballs shrink tormented
Back into their brains, because on their sense
Sunlight seems a blood-smear; night comes blood-black;
Dawn breaks open like a wound that bleeds afresh.
-Thus their heads wear this hilarious, hideous,
Awful falseness of set-smiling corpses.
-Thus their hands are plucking at each other;
Picking at the rope-knouts of their scourging;
Snatching after us who smote them, brother,
Pawing us who dealt them war and madness.
No doubt they'll soon get well; the shock and strain
Have caused their stammering, disconnected talk.
Of course they're 'longing to go out again,' -
These boys with old, scared faces, learning to walk.
They'll soon forget their haunted nights; their cowed
Subjection to the ghosts of friends who died,-
Their dreams that drip with murder; and they'll be proud
Of glorious war that shatter'd all their pride...
Men who went out to battle, grim and glad;
Children, with eyes that hate you, broken and mad.