The trenches of the Somme
Dick brought his wedding forward and signed up as a physical training instructor in the army. His two older brothers also served. George joined the army, while Fred was deployed as a gunner on the Atlantic decoy ships known as Q Boats and was later awarded the Croix de Guerre for bravery.
Dick, now Sgt R. Pym, was soon sent to the Somme. He recalled later that the trenches were “cold, dirty and indescribable”.
Towards the end of 1916, he was wounded above the left kneecap by shrapnel and barbed wire. He developed blood poisoning (sepsis) and was given a card marked ‘UK”. ‘You lucky blighter’, said the man in the next bed. ‘You’re going home.’ Dick eventually resumed duty at a Recovery Centre in Dorset, helping other wounded men back to fitness.