Christopher Latham considers the price paid by musicians as a result of the carnage at the Somme.

Excuse me for being so slow with my news but I have had a bad accident. On Sept 21 a shell exploded near me and blew up, taking with it my left arm. It is now amputated so I think I will have to say goodbye to my clarinet career. They gave me the military cross a few days back. It is little comfort in the face of my loss, but nonetheless it pleased me a great deal. (Maurice Jaspart, October 6, 1916)

In the Olympics of human suffering, two names top the list: Verdun and the Somme. Two vast 1916 slaughterhouses: flesh against iron; where every participant was a casualty, and those who learned to adapt through desensitisation became men of steel who could no longer feel. The most famous was Adolph Hitler, who fought the Australians at Fromelles. A generation later those living dead would reap a terrible harvest and make famous names like Auschwitz, Belsen and Dachau.

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