Silas was a conscientious objector (that means he believed in the Bible and wouldn't carry a gun, so he refused to fight). Because of that, Silas was very unpopular and was forced to go to war in 1917 when he was just twenty three. Fortunately, the government let Silas do non-combatant service and become a stretcher bearer.
Stretcher bearers walk through no mans land dodging shells and bulllets, picking up the wounded on the stretchers and helping them. For a while, Silas was in Featherston training, then he got shipped England for more.
After the training, Silas got shipped to Bapaume where the fighting was and food was scarce. Soon, Silas got shot by a shell in the legs and had to go on a hospital ship back to England. In World War One 18,500 New Zealanders died and 50,000 were injured. That just shows you how horrible World War One was.