Innes Meo

Innes Meo : First World War

Innes Meo joined the Artists' Rifles in 1915. After being sent to the Western Front he became a subaltern in the 11th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment.

Meo took part in the offensive at the Somme but in September 1916 was diagnosed as suffering from shellshock.

After recovering his health, Meo returned to the Western Front where he was captured during a German attack during the Spring Offensive. Meo spent the rest of the war as a prisoner in Germany. He later recalled that this was his happiest period as a soldier.

Primary Sources

(1) Second Lieutenant Innes Meo, diary entry (25th September, 1916)

My 30th birthday, an awful day. Still in the trenches. In the afternoon I was called to see the doctor. It is possible if I live I may be invalided home. This night I was sent on an ammunition job. Conducting a party of 50 bombers to stores. It was hell! I was already tired and ill.

(2) Secend Lieutenant Innes Meo, diary entry (28th September, 1916)

A terrible bombardment was started, it is simply awful to hear, as I write the guns are crashing, roaring and the din is like a collision of hundreds of bad thunderstorms. God knows what mothers are losing their sons now.

(3) Secend Lieutenant Innes Meo, diary entry (30th September, 1916)

Sent to Casualty Clearing Station at Guezancourt. Officer in next bed with awful shell-shock, also airman with broken nerves. God, what sights.

(4) Secend Lieutenant Innes Meo, diary entry (8th October, 1916)

I hear I am off to England at 4.30 p.m. Thank God I am about to leave this miserable country. I hope to God I never return. Have been tortured all the morning by dreadful thoughts. How I wish I had a girl to care for me, waiting in England for me.