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Written by Jody Perry
His whistle imitated the stuttering of an owl- it was a call I never refused, and would never forget.
Albert and Joey had an instantaneous bond that was the reason Albert joined the army in the first place, enlisting before he was legally obliged to so that he could go to France and find his equine soul mate. Although Joey had the coloring and markings that Albert constantly referred to, it was not until he reacted to the owl-like whistle the Albert realized he had indeed found his horse again.
Captain Nicholls and Captain Stewart were rarely apart. They seemed somehow separate in spirit from their fellow officers.
Joey observed that there was a false jollity among the majority of the soldiers, and that they seemed to believe the war would be over quickly. Both Captain Nicholls and Captain Stewart were more cerebral and understood the futility of what they were being asked to do. They did not understand how their men could be excited about getting to the battlefield because they realized that they were killing men similar to themselves, not the men who had actually started the war. Their spirits were more filled with fear and apprehension than enthusiasm and adrenaline.
"What a waste," the Captain said. "What a ghastly waste. Maybe now when they see this they'll understand that you can't send horses into wire and machine guns. Maybe now they'll think again."
Captain Stewart was frustrated by the ineptitude of the generals who drew up the battle strategy and sent them into battle almost destined to lose. The horses became tangled in the barbed wire defenses making sitting ducks out of their mounts; the strategy was ill thought out and unsuccessful. Captain Stewart was justifiably angry that it took the needless slaughter of so many men and horses to make the generals actually pay attention to the men on the battlefield.
I am the only same man in the regiment. It's the others who are crazy but they don't know it. They fight a war and they don't know what for. Isn't that crazy?
Friedrich was thought to be crazy by his fellow soldiers because he talked to Joey and Topthorne, which they interpreted as talking to himself. He also made no effort to hide his disillusionment with the war and the fact that nobody could explain why they were actually fighting. His desire was to go home and resume his life as a butcher, which made him seem crazy to men who wanted to stay in France and fight to the death because that was their orders.
In an hour, maybe two, we will be trying our best again each other to kill. God only knows why we do it and I think He has maybe forgotten why. Goodbye, Welshman. We have shown them, haven't we? We have shown that any problem can be solved between people if only they trust each other.
When Joey becomes trapped in No Mans Land, a German soldier and a British soldier work together to free him. Although they are trying to kill each other to help their side win the war they are unsure as to why they are at war in the first place and during their conversation actually find themselves to be similar men following the same orders for opposing sides. The war has been so long and bloody that the original reason for it is forgotten and now it is just war for war's sake. The two soldiers show that by communicating and trusting the other to keep his word they can accomplish more and reach an accord that their leaders seem unable to.
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