Daisy (xfeagen) wrote in little_details,

questions about WWI military

I have a character in the early 1900’s who, as you may have guessed, fought in WWI. He’s a good working country boy, sweet and pretty intelligent, but not in college, mostly because his family can’t afford it. Right now I’m saying he was drafted in 1914 and was sent home in 1919, but that’s not concrete and can change as needed.

My military knowledge is pretty limited, and I’ve done what research I can on WWI, but a lot of the questions are too specific for places like Google and Wiki. Any and all help is much appreciated!

1. This character just so happens to be gay. I know that’s a whole other issue in itself, but what would that be like for him in the military? This is before the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, obviously, and he most certainly won’t go around blabbing that he’s in a relationship with his childhood friend, but what would happen if someone did know? Would they kick him out? Would they ask all the men entering the army? Would it be addressed at all, or would it just be assumed that all the men are straight? It’s my understanding that attitudes towards homosexuals were just beginning to loosen up at this time, but I’d like to know more about this and what kind of issue it would be, if any at all.

2. What is the highest possible (and realistic) rank this man could achieve during his time in the military? He’s a hard worker, extremely fair, but can also make important decisions when needed. He’s the kind of man who does the whole dramatically-take-a-bullet-for-a-friend thing. I don’t expect him to come home running the whole army, but I do want him to be rather decorated and high ranking without having to spend years and years in active service.

3. After he’s achieved whatever rank this is, he’s then taken as a P.O.W. by whoever is most convenient at the moment. I’m really more focused on the character and what’s happening immediately around him, so who takes him exactly doesn’t really matter. That being said, if they want information from him, are they likely to torture him? Will he be taken to a camp or somewhere by himself?

4. What are the chances of his side rescuing him? Will he have to make an escape on his own, or will they come and get him? Will they do a prisoner trade? Where would his side take him after he’s back behind their lines? If he’s injured badly enough, can they send him home with honorable discharge?

5. Is there anything else I should know? Like I said, my military knowledge is sketchy and really rather random, so anything you think could be important is much appreciated. Like I also said, I’m more specifically focused on the character rather than getting every single detail right, but I’d still like this to be as accurate as possible.

Thanks so much for all the help!

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