Over the past 20 years, Kurt Bayer has interviewed hundreds of old soldiers, many now dead and gone. He's heard recollections from survivors of Western Front trenches more than 100 years ago, Nazi and Japanese prisoners-of-war, and veterans of some of the most famous and infamous battles and conflicts of the 20th century: The Battle of the Somme, El-Alamein, Crete, Monte Cassino, D-Day, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Today, with the centenary of Armistice Day approaching, the Herald journalist pays tribute to the human touchstones to history, and reflects on the hell of war, enduring loss, mateship, memory, forgetting, and

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