Two And A Half Deserters

A docu-drama of the First World War

Front Cover
Dianne Pane
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£14.99, US$ 23.99. € 25.00
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About The Author

Dianne Pane was born in Swindon in 1948 and grew up on the Wiltshire downs in the village of Chiseldon, which she still regards as home. When she was ten, she moved to Chesterfield, Derbyshire. Her passion as a teenager was horses and she rode whenever she could and loved walking over the Derbyshire moors, especially Curbar Edge. When she was seventeen Dianne went to Liverpool University where she read English Language and Literature and gained an Honours degree. She married and taught English in Ickenham and Essex and had two children, Roland and Jessica. Following her divorce she returned to Derbyshire briefly, and then settled with her parents in Cornwall, where she taught for eighteen years at St. Cleer School. She wrote poetry and short stories and two children's novels during this time, although they were unpublished. When she wasn't working she took her family to the beach where they enjoyed bodyboarding at Polzeath. On her retirement she continued to write and also gained a B.A. in Fine Art at Falmouth University but then decided to concentrate on her first love, writing. She joined the Liskeard Writer's group whose members gave her vital feedback and encouragement when she was writing Scenes from a Conscientious Objector's War. She now lives in the city of Wells with her dog Hebe, though she is soon to move to Wales, near Hay-on-Wye, to be near her little granddaughter, Rhiannon

About The Book

My grandfather went to Mesopotamia in WW1 as a member of the RAMC, armed with his medical kit. As a Conscientious Objector he refused to kill because according to his simple faith, ‘Thou shall not kill,’ meant what it said. But as a ‘Conchie,’ he had other battles to fight with people on every side. Conchies were considered shirkers or cowards in WW1. He had to battle his uneasy path with everyone and with no-one, as the endless stream of wounded came in to be tended in the searing heat.

I remember him in his sixties, waddling down the garden path like Paddington Bear, trailing vegetables, when we all lived together in Butts road. He used to stand for hours at the kitchen sink washing up for ten of us, day after day without a murmur, and to sit in the yard peeling buckets of spuds for dinner. And how smart he looked when he proudly walked Grandma down to chapel in his Sunday best.

But fifty years before, like many young men of his generation, Grampy had had experiences in WW1 that cast part of his soul into darkness for the rest of his life. There were also a few interludes of light, I believe, as he surveyed the beautiful landscape made familiar to him by his beloved Bible.

So, this is his story, based on what he told us, his family, and given the added context of research as his war must have been: how, for example, he sat up at night in his tent, reading the Bible, waiting for the men in his Regiment to return from the field of conflict. The book relates how on one occasion when he was sent out with an urgent message into the desert, he was captured by a band of Arabs that led to a rare adventure in the Great Marshes in the watery heart of Mesopotamia. As a medical orderly he experienced sights and sounds that could hardly have been less horrific than those experienced in the midst of battle.