Fear

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Fear could be a soldier's greatest enemy. Many soldiers also suffered from shell shock, or psychological trauma as a result of their war experiences, where they were no longer able to deal with the terrible conditions around them.

Mr. MacLellan describes gaining the confidence of his men as the war progressed.

Transcript

We were put in there rather hurriedly to plug a gap in September, 1915. Cripes, I hadn't the faintest idea. No, we had just shot two horses of our own. We thought we were being attacked and we were about 15 km behind the line. I wasn't scared. I was never what you would call, I didn't have fear. I was too stupid. A lot of fellows broke down, you know, and they were sent back with shell shock and one thing or another. Not me, no, because I didn't know enough. I was just that kind of a person. I had the respect of my platoon, which is as far as I wanted to go, and I never had any trouble getting another guy if I wanted from another platoon. He'd be glad to transfer to me. I was never an adolescent, you see. See, I missed that. From fourteen on, I was in the hands of a deity that I didn't quite understand either.

Images

Caption: Wounded Canadians on way to aid-post. Battle of Passchendaele. November, 1917

(Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-002107)

Caption: Shell bursting in a trench, injuring an unidentified member of the 5th Battalion, C.E.F. France. Aug 1916.

(Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-000742)

Caption: Troops leaving trenches during the Battle of the Somme. France. 1916.

(Credit: Library and Archives Canada/PA-207187)

Caption: A trench on the Canadian front showing funk holes France. 1917.

(Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-001326)

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