Most of them got the message.
A Man at Arms; Memoirs of Two World Wars, Francis Law, 1983
I impressed on them that heroics were 'out' except in the rarest circumstances. They were trained to lead their men in action and should be satisfied with that by no means simple duty. Any fool could die if he had a mind to, the Germans would be delighted to assist.
In due course, my wound nearly healed, I was sent to a convalescent hospital in Suffolk run by a friend of Lady Carnarvon's. It was a large and very pleasant place, and there were few restrictions. Before long I got myself before an Army Medical Board and was pronounced fit enough to return to duty with our reserve battalion.
I was promptly put in charge of young officers' training and given a free hand. This was fun, gave me plenty of scope, lots to do and I enjoyed it. Perhaps some of my pupils found the going hard, for no one was spared, their comfortable existence soon ended, yet there were no rebellions. I had all sorts to deal with, the indolent, the idle, the keen, even the adventurous. It was a grand job and had a sound practical purpose to it. This was to fit all these young officers — a few considerably older than I was — to command platoons in action, with luck to stay alive, and more important, help save the lives of their men. Oliver Baldwin was one of my trainees. I liked him because he amused me, was intelligent and unorthodox, facts which explained his unpopularity with our seniors, who failed to be impressed by unorthodoxy, especially in the young and inexperienced. All would soon find themselves in the front line. The more each knew about what lay in store and how to cope, the better for the men they were destined to lead. The class was put to hard physical work in digging trenches at night, and made to assault and defend them and to carry out patrols in darkness. Many pleasant evenings in London were forfeited, but in a good cause, for it was likely that quite a few lives would be saved. I impressed on them that heroics were 'out' except in the rarest circumstances. They were trained to lead their men in action and should be satisfied with that by no means simple duty. Any fool could die if he had a mind to, the Germans would be delighted to assist. Of what use was a dead officer to those he was supposed to lead, often at a time of great confusion when his leadership was all important? Most of them got the message.