In the anonymous Billet Notes in Nash’s Magazine, 1916, two lines of verse are quoted. The context is a discussion of journalistic exaggeration and fakery:
I am rather fed up with this Angels of Mons business, which the cheap papers are exploiting. It’s too much like the bathos they indulged in during the early stages of the war, when, unable to fill their columns with anything authentic, they drew on imaginary horrors and exaggerated every disaster; when they:
Interviewed the wounded, and photographed the dead,
And coined the tears of women for coppers in the street.
Those lines sound familiar, and I’ve feeling I ought to know them, but I don’t. Googling the key words only comes up with a reference to the book version of Billet Notes (re-titled From Dugout and Billet.) Any ideas about the author?
These anonymous Billet Notes criticise fakery, but are themselves pretty obviously not the “Casual pencillings from a fighting man to his mother” that they pretend to be. On the other hand, there is enough front-line detail to suggest that they are written by someone who has been there, or maybe has just studied the subject intently.