This booklet will be comparing the lives of two characters from the First World War. My two characters are, Private Stephen Brown (British Tommy) and Mark Hayler, who is a conscientious objector. There will be a lot of primary and secondary data on both character’s lives, these will help me determine which of the characters I would rather be. The secondary information will give us a bigger idea of what life was like in the trenches, and from this we can determine how happy and safe the soldier felt. The secondary information will also help us differentiate the similarities and differences between my two characters, and which character lived in a safe environment. My conscientious object, Mark Hayler, works in the farming and mining area. There will be letters and diary entries from both of my characters, and they will be analysed on whether they are reliable and if they look like they have been censored. This project will also display how people’s experiences changed during the course of the war, and identify the similarities and differences between my two characters. In my conclusion I will also state which character I would rather be, and explain why, and I will also state which character I think had a more difficult experience in the war in comparison to the other character.
My Tommy’s profile
Name: Stephen Brown (Based on a real tommy)
Age recruited: 17 ½ (Lied)
Date recruited: December 1914
Reserve: The Regular Army Reserve
Family: Mother, Father is deceased, younger sister
Battalion/regiment: 5th Battalion, Kings Royal Rifle Corps, Winchester
I chose this Tommy, because I found a lot of primary information on him. This means that my project will be more reliable, as I won’t have to base my conclusion on only secondary data.
There will be several letters below, which Stephen has sent to his mother and family. These letters could have been edited by men of higher statuses. The men of higher status only edit areas in letters which identify the place which the army is residing in, or the places which they will be travelling in. They edit these areas because the information could reveal many crucial things/plans to the enemy. This is called censoring.
First letter – Early December 1914
Just a line to let you know that I am getting on all right in the Army. I hope that you are all well as I am myself. I am very sorry for what I done when I was at home and will pay you back when I get some more pay. I like the Army very well for I am going to join the Regulars when I have done my time in the Reserve. Then I shall be able to pay you back for I get 30/- [30 shillings/£1.50] as a bounty. I hope you and Dad will forgive me for what I done when at home. I cannot write no more at present for I have to do some more work. Trusting you will forgive me. I remain your son,
This letter displays that Stephen’s literature is quite good in comparison to many soldiers back in WW1, who had no writing abilities. It also implies that Stephen Brown did something ad or took something from his parents, without permission. This implication is based on the fact that Stephen is pleading for his parent’s forgiveness, and saying that he will pay them back as soon as possible. The next letter shows that Stephen has received forgiveness from his parents as he says how happy he is that his parents have forgiven him, and how he knows he does not deserve it.
Second letter – 4 – 9 January 1915
Just a line to let you know that I am getting on alright. I hope [you] are the same. I am sorry I did not write before. We are so busy that I have had [no] time. We are confined to barracks so I cannot get a stamp… I hope Tommy and Archie Hammond are all right. Give my love to Kitty, Lillie, Maggie, Freddy and Ted. I hope Dad is quite well… I thank you for forgiving me. I know I don’t deserve it. Tell Auntie Tot and Uncle Bob that I am getting on fine. Is Uncle Bob been called