Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967) was already in service with the Sussex Yeomanry on the day the United Kingdom declared war. He was commissioned into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers as a second lieutenant on 29 May 1915. Sassoon’s periods of duty on the Western Front were marked by exceptionally brave actions, including the single-handed capture of a German trench. Deepening depression at the horror the soldiers were forced to endure produced in Sassoon a paradoxically manic courage, and he was nicknamed 'Mad Jack' by his men. His efforts were rewarded with a Military Cross. In 1917 his letter, Finished with the War: A Soldier’s Declaration, was read in parliament. Instead of facing a court-martial however, the Under-Secretary of State for War declared Sassoon insane and sent him to military hospital. There was only one way for Sassoon to escape the hospital, and that was to give up his protest. By July 1918 Sassoon was back on the Western Front where he was hit by friendly fire. He spent the remainder of war in Britain.
from notes by Robin Tritschler © 2014
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