BACK IN 1917: Soldier’s view from the Front

Private Alfred Buffham.
Private Alfred Buffham.
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Private Alfred Buffham, of the Army Service Corps (ASC) serving in France, a native of Spalding, son of the late Mr Charles Buffham, former owner of the Spalding Guardian and grandson of the late Mr C Buffham, county court baliff wrote with some observations from the Front.

Pte Buffham commenced his school career at the Spalding Board School, took a grammar school scholarship and later went to London, working in public life, then Hull and from there, he enlisted, at the age of 45, in 1915.

His only son, Trooper W A Buffham, a fine strapping lad, standing nearly six feet, joined the Dragoon Guards and for active service awas attached to the Life Guards.

Sadly, in October 1914, he was killed near Ypres.

After being in France for two years, Private Buffham wrote: “One impression is that the end of the war is in sight. Germany has already lost her morale amongst progressive and freedom-loving nationalities.

“The hideous nightmare that Germany has incubated that ‘Might is Right’ has awakened her to a realisation of what civilisation regards as ‘Right’ and the world danger that she has established will not only prove her undoing, but will irrevocably place her in a position of being world-widely distrusted.

“We and our Allies have done wonders as a land force during the past 12 months, and we should have done more, had Conscription been enforced at the inception of this ugly combat.

“In any community, there are those whose sense of duty towards their country is latent and even perverse; conscription was the only palliative.

“This war of millions will, I venture to predict, undo many of the many of the old social fastenings of the Brtish nation, revive and progess our industrial army, make us more self-dependent, bring agriculture to its own and deveop democracy.”