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 Post subject: Hanging in the Wire
PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:01 pm 
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I got out my copy of Robert Graves' 'Goodbye To All That', his autobiography about life in the trenches during the First World War, and found a mention of a man he met in the trenches named Walker. I found it by sheer luck. I wonder if this Walker is inspiration for the lyric to 'Hanging in the Wire'. Great book about life in the trenches; he also writes about meeting Siegfried Sassoon and T. E. Lawrence:

'Dunn had not let the war affect his morale at all. He greeted me very easily with: 'Well, what's the news from England? Oh sorry, first I must introduce you. This is Walker-clever chap, comes from Cambridge and fancies himself as an athlete. This is Jenkins, one of those patriotic chaps who chucked up his job to come here. This is Price, who only joined us yesterday, but we like him; he brought some damn good whisky with him. Well, how long is the war going to last and who's winning?'

[...]

''Listen,' said Walker, 'there's too much firing going on. The men have got the wind up over something. Waste of ammunition, and if Fritz knows we're jumpy he'll give us an extra bad time. I'll go up and stop them.' Dunn went on. 'These Welshmen are peculiar. They don't stand being shouted at. They'll do anything if you explain the reason for it. They will do and die, but they have to know their reason why. The best way to make them behave is not to give them too much time to think. Work them off their feet. They are good workmen. Officers must work too, not only direct the work. Our time-table is like this. Breakfast at eight o'clock in the morning, clean trenches and inspect rifles, work all morning; lunch at twelve, work again from one till about six, when the men feed again. "Stand-to" at dusk for about an hour, work all night, "stand- to" for an hour before dawn. That's the general programme. Then there's sentry duty. The men do two-hour sentry spells, then work two hours, then sleep two hours. At night sentries are doubled, so our working parties are smaller. We officers are on duty all day and divide up the night in three-hourly watches.' He looked at his wrist watch. 'I say,' he said, 'that carrying-party must have got the R.E. stuff by now. Time we all got to work. Look here, Graves, you lie down and have a doss on that bunk. I want you to take the watch before "stand-to." I'll wake you up and show you round. Where the hell's my revolver? I don't like to go out without that. Hello, Walker, what was wrong?' Walker laughed. 'A chap from the new draft. He had never fired his musketry course at Cardiff, and to-night he fired ball for the first time. It seemed to go to his head . He'd had a brother killed up at Ypres and he said he was going to avenge him. So he blazed off all his own ammunition at nothing, and two bandoliers out of the ammunition-box besides. They call him the Human Maxim now. His sight's misty with heat. Corporal Parry should have stopped him; but he was just leaning up against the traverse an shrieking with laughter.'

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Wiggins is so superbly unassuming, he looks like he's about to say 'Pop the gold medal in the post, I'm nipping out for some biscuits'

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 Post subject: Re: Hanging in the Wire
PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 12:04 am 
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pack up your troubles, let's head out to the fountain of death and splash about


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 Post subject: Re: Hanging in the Wire
PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 12:45 am 
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Many soldiers were killed as they attempted to climb over barbed wire entanglements.
Because these were covered by enemy machine guns, night and day, the bodies often had to be left "hangin' on the wire", sometimes for months.

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 Post subject: Re: Hanging in the Wire
PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:59 am 
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thanks astroboy64... I love this song... I cannot play piano but it sounds great with my bass (of course with guitar too)


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 Post subject: Re: Hanging in the Wire
PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:29 pm 
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Yes, thanks, astroboy64. Imagine sitting there, looking at that scene, not knowing when it was all going to end, and whether you would make it out alive.

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Wiggins is so superbly unassuming, he looks like he's about to say 'Pop the gold medal in the post, I'm nipping out for some biscuits'

Mark Steel


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