By Lucy Hutchings T.G 305
In 1914 the First World War had officially started. Everyday thousands of men from both sides where sent abroad to fight for their country. Many soldiers found themselves in unknown fields digging elaborate narrow ditches known as trenches. These were made to try to protect the soldiers from the enemy. In-between the two enemy trenches was “No man's land” which was an area of land that was unoccupied, neither side owned it yet both wanted it. The conditions in the trenches where awful for both sides, however the Germans were more prepared as they had arrived early. They were able to equip their trenches with electricity and other extra things to assist them. However even though they seemed to have better conditions they too suffered in many different ways as they fought in
The Daily Routine
A day in the trenches would normally begin with a “stand to” which is when the soldiers where ordered to be awake and prepared for battle. Most of the soldiers hated this time of day and it was known as the “daily hate”. Occasionally the troops would be able to “stand down” this was the period of time when they could eat their breakfast and clean their rifles, others also chose to spend their time guarding the front line.
After breakfast, the men were inspected and assigned different duties. Some of the duties included: repairing duckboards, refilling the sandbags, fetching supplies and draining the trenches with plumping equipment.
At dusk the soldiers were ordered to stand to again because they felt that it was a good time for the enemy to attack them.
At night the soldiers took turns keeping watch, encase there was any surprise attacks.
‘Going Over the Top’
Going over the top was a very dangerous and risky thing to do; this was because the soldiers would be out in the open and an easy target for snipers. They were also liable to be shot down by machine guns or blown up by shells. They had to cut through barbed wire and many died entangled in it. The soldiers who were injured had to crawl into shell holes and wait for help; however it took a while for them to get any help and many died slowly and painfully.
Some men after suffering weeks or months of torment whilst living in the trenches refused to go over the top because of the horrendous conditions and sights they had seen, due to their physical and mental state. Sadly these men were seen as cowards and were shot for not obeying orders.
The Conditions in the trenches
The conditions in the trenches were terrible, young men found that they were living in conditions that were hellish.
Trench fever and lice
Another big problem in the trenches was trench fever; this was a severe illness that came across by the spreading of lice, it caused terrible infections to the soldiers. This condition was thought to affect over 1 million soldiers from both sides during this time. Its therefore not a surprise that soon many men suffered from this illness as the average amount of lice found on each person was 2o the most being 10248.
Mud was a major issue in the trenches and on the front line. Soldiers died whilst trying to hide in the shell holes as they would become stuck in the mud and drown. The mud also slowed down the movement of the supplies and the process of the soldiers.
There were many different parasites that lived in the trenches; the worst of them all were the rats. They would eat the dead bodies and grow big and fat, there are reports of soldiers seeing rats grow to the size of cats. The rats were covered in lice and would spread disease to throughout the trench. They would also try to eat the soldiers whilst they were sleeping.
The Conditions in the trenches
Shell shock was a horrible problem that affected thousands of