FOR KING AND COUNTRY
THE ORDER OF THE WHITE FEATHER
In August 1914 Europe blundered into war. Alone of all the combatants, Great Britain did not have a large standing army. The Secretary of War, Lord Kitchener, sought to remedy this by launching a campaign appealing for half a million volunteers.
Hundreds of thousands of eager young men answered this call. Most Britons felt immense pride at their action. Some people, however, chose not to focus upon these brave young men. Instead, they set their sights upon those who, for whatever reason, chose not to fight for King and Country. The Order of the White Feather was their weapon of shame.
Even the most courageous of soldiers has his limits. When Mitchell reached his limit it took him completely by surprise. His immediate action was even more surprising. He fled the trenches. Was this an act of cowardice, courage or despair? Whichever it was, it began to dawn upon him that he would sooner or later have to face the consequences.
The men who suffered most from what was called Shell-Shock but would now be called combat stress were not the officers and men in the trenches. Those who went up into the skies in observation balloons had that distinction. This story focuses on an observation balloon crew.
About Martin Lake
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Published August 4, 2011
War, Literature & Fiction.