I am currently in the midst of writing a short story (which may develop into something a bit bulkier) set during World War I. Any assistance would be greatly valued.
My main character is currently on leave. What my question is, is how long would the average leave pass have been for an ordinary private soldier of the British Army serving in about 1916/1917?
I am also interested if whether anyone would be able to give me any tips and information regarding battle injuries:
One character is wounded by shrapnel during a shelling barrage - like Robert Graves, the man is impaled with shrapnel piercing through his chest on the right side, and piercing his lung. Would an individual be expected to survive from such a wound? How would the wound be treated in a WW1 field hospital? How long would be needed for the man to convalesce?
Now. Shell shock. What was the usual treatment for ordinary private soldiers who suddenly came down with extremely violent bouts of shell shock i.e. unable to speak, tremors, twitching etc. I know many ordinary soldiers were executed for cowardice, when they were suffering from shell shock. Would an ordinary private soldier suffering with shell shock be sent home or sent to a hospital for good, or would he be expected to return to the front line?
About how a company is run. I understand the company has usually a Captain or a Major at it's head, with several other officers (approx. five?). Then there are platoons etc. I've never understood the difference between Sergeants and Sergeant Majors - would a platoon have both a Sergeant and a Sergeant Major? How many Sergeants/Sergeant Majors would a company have? How many men overall would be in a Company? How many men in a platoon?
Sorry; this is a lot to ask. Any informatin would be really appreciated.