Numbers too vast to imagine. Wounds too ghastly to contemplate. Death as close as the next cigarette. Images too seared on the brain to erase. In thier own words veterans recall the horrors they witnessed.
The accompanying photograph shows James Pierce of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Pierce a farm labourer from Carlow was wounded in April 1915 and invalided out of the army a year later.
The image is reproduced here courtesy of Sandra Rimmer.
Dr Charles Dickson returns to the site of the Battle of the Somme and recalls the horrors he witnessed fifty years earlier.
Few soldiers survived the war unscathed. Jimmy O'Brien of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers describes how he was shot in battle at Ypres.
A veteran of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers tells how he was injured in a shell explosion at Oppy Wood which killed his three companions.
Jack Campbell describes the frightening experience of being gassed at the Somme.
Jack King describes horrific scenes of dead soldiers being buried on battlefileds only for the corpses to be blown up again later.
Edgar Poulter recalls being told by an officer that mules were more valuable than men, as dead men could easily be replaced, but mules were scarce.