The trenches of World War One certainly left their mark on those forced to spend time in them. I knew a few of my uncles, who were still clearly traumatised by their experiences in the trenches of World War One. I have since been told of an uncle who would regularly start screaming in the middle of the night as a result of nightmares, decades after his return from the trenches..
Here is where I get controversial.It is just theory, so please do not be offended. Perhaps the soldiers needed to eat a few unusual creatures to keep going. Also of course, they were surviving in terrible conditions. Knowing nothing about immunology whatsoever, as I understand it, these outbreaks seem to originate from other species before they eventually reach humans.
Extract from ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ written in Wilfred Owen’s own handwriting from the British Library.
They seem to have much of Wilfred Owen’s work written in his own hand. Available here.
At least one of my distant cousins was stricken with influenza in the trenches of World War One. It had taken him out of the war effort for quite some time from memory. He was killed in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, almost immediately following his return to the battle front.
Again, The Battle of Neuve Chapelle took place in 1915. This to me suggested the soldiers may have been stricken with influenza, almost from the start of World War One.
Yesterday I decided to investigate the influenza outbreak of 1916 in the US. To my surprise several reputable sources, state that The Spanish Flu outbreak started in The US. Based on very little evidence but a whole lot of instinct, I find this unlikely. The flu did not appear to hit The US until 1916. My preliminary research has suggested, it may have been ravaging the soldiers in the trenches, much earlier.