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My Memories of The Great War

I am currently twenty years old and have just finished my second year as a cadet studying history at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia. For as long as I can remember, I have always had vivid memories of what I believe to be my past lives.

One past life that has had a profound effect on me is the one that took place during the Great War. I can recall vivid accounts fighting as a lieutenant in an infantry regiment of the British Army. I fought and survived on the Western Front for two years until I was badly wounded in September of 1916 at the First Battle of the Somme. I recall sustaining a bullet wound to the left shoulder, along with multiple mild shrapnel wounds to both legs, a mild concussion, and several minor facial lacerations.

During my recovery in England near the end of my treatment, I was diagnosed with a severe case of War Neurosis, what we now call Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Because of this, I was deemed unfit for duty at the front with the army. I consequently transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, after receiving additional treatment, and received my pilot's wings.

After various flying operations through mid-1917 with several scout squadrons, I was transferred to No.48 Squadron, RFC, flying the Bristol F.2b Fighter, taking part in ground attack, bomber, photo reconnaissance, and fighter hunting roles. In the autumn of 1918, I was killed in action while flying low over the trenches attempting to return to base; a bullet struck me in the lower back. I managed to get the crate down behind Entente lines but died soon thereafter.

I still feel physical wounds from that conflict and bear strange, scar-like markings on my body that I was born with.

My recollections seem to be unusually specific because I simply remember them that way. The massive recall is mostly from memory with some minor filling in of the blanks. Some things I just seem to know. I see a name of a place or battle and feel an incredible sensation of familiarity. I've had these memories for as long as I can remember, along with memories of numerous other lifetimes -- during the Second World War, the medieval period, and memories from Rome, recalling specific units and the like.

For example, I always suspected that I had taken part in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. When we talked about it in class one day, I was suddenly overtaken by dizziness, nausea and had to excuse myself to get sick. That night I ran a horrible fever and had terrifying nightmares that I couldn't seem to wake from. These nightmares of the Great War came often in my youth. The memories were too real and made too much sense to appear as simple dreams.

J. B. Matthews.

Posted July 13, 2014