How truth is the first casualty of war

Katriona Lewis

Since embarking on a little voyage of discovery I have forsaken the Bronte sisters, Hunter S Thompson, Hemmingway and Orwell in favour of devouring anything any war reporter has ever had to say.

Some are frankly dull, others are challenging but there are a few that have really grabbed me and transported me into the hyperreality of the world of war. I had to immerse myself in it physically, I longed to see it and smell it. I went to the Imperial War museum, the closest I could get to anything like war from this western utopia that is relatively all I have ever known.

I did the  'trench experience'. Shushing my companion, I closed my eyes in the drafty funereal façade letting the words of Jackie Spinner, author of Tell them I didn't cry wash over me,  "The first mortar sailed over our heads, we barely glanced up. It seemed too far away. The second mortar shot over us, we looked up.

'That was close' I said, the words barely out of my mouth before a large crack and a flash of fire exploded over us. We looked at one another for a split second, a collective recognition on each of our faces. We were going to die". I wanted to feel the cost of truth.