Siegfried Sassoon


No doubt they’ll soon get well; the shock and strain  
Have caused their stammering, disconnected talk.  
Of course they’re ‘longing to go out again,’—  
These boys with old, scared faces, learning to walk.  
They’ll soon forget their haunted nights; their cowed  
Subjection to the ghosts of friends who died,—  
Their dreams that drip with murder; and they’ll be proud  
Of glorious war that shatter’d all their pride…  
Men who went out to battle, grim and glad;  
Children, with eyes that hate you, broken and mad.

Craiglockhart, Oct. 1917

Craiglockhart is perhaps the most famous shell-shock hospital. 
It was set up to deal with the epidemic of psychological casualties 
created in the muddy trenches of the First World War; and, in particular, 
with the huge increase of casualties following the battle of the Somme 
in 1916. The hospital's fame is unsurprising in that two of the finest 
poets of a war over-flowing with poetic voices were treated there—
Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. It was Sassoon who nicknamed 
the place ‘Dottyville’ in a letter of 1917.