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Walter Fielder in the Royal Field Artillery
Records, medals and photos
General story, copies of records, medals and photos.
In the Royal Field Artillery the gun carriages were pulled by horses. Walter was offered promotion but turned it down because he did not want to leave his mates or his horses. Walter liked horses and this empathy remained for the rest of his life. He was shell-shocked and poison-gassed with mustard gas, like many others. This afflicted him for the rest of his life. In recent years this effect has been identified and given a nice long name: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Modern soldiers receive special treatment and compensation but there was none of this for the surviving soldiers of the First World War. Walter said that the worst danger was posed by mud and shell holes full of water. These large shell holes had to be traversed by wooden duckboards, and if you happened to slip off the duck board into the hole there was no way to climb out as the sides were too slippery. Like all the soldiers in this war Walter had a horrendous time but he survived. His brother Frank also served and survived. Dad did not like to reminisce about the First World War as it held so many bad memories that he just wanted to forget it. He always told me "Never join up. Don't go to fight wars. They only use you to go out and get killed".