George Victor Walton served in the King’s Liverpool Regiment during WW1. His daughter, FiSH member Elaine Price, once asked him if he had killed anyone face to face during his war and he told her this story:
He had been in the trenches for many weeks, always wearing the same mud soaked clothes whether he was asleep in a dugout or on the battlefield of the Somme. From somewhere he had squirreled together an empty tin, a spoonful of tea leaves and, most important of all, a candle. He stuck the candle in the mud, filled the tin with water and the few precious tea leaves – and then stood holding the tin until he had made what passed, in his deprived state, as a cup of tea. He could only say that it was a long time before the candle power approached something as near as possible to boiling point. Just as he was about to drink it, a group of soldiers came through the trenches and as, they passed my father, one of them reached out and knocked the tin of tea off the mud ledge and spilled the contents. That, may father said, was when he had the urge to kill, this time one of his own comrades. He didn’t of course. There was rough justice in the army and he would have been court marshalled and shot if he had obeyed his instincts.