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Disease and discomfort.

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Disease and discomfort Heavy rain flooded trenches and turned them into mud pits. This was especially the case towards the Netherlands, which are traditionally prone to flooding, and reverted to swamp when artillery fire destroyed the delicate irrigation networks built up over the centuries. Planks called duckboards were put down, but these didn't really help. Many men suffered from frostbite or trench foot shown above due to the constant exposure to mud and water. The feet swell up to 3 times their normal size, begin to rot and had to be amputated. 'The moment you set off you felt that dreadful suction. ...read more.


It made your hair stand on end. The smell could make you vomit. And you could always tell whether it was a dead Jerry or a dead Tommy. The Germans smelt different in death.' - words of a first world war solider It was often difficult to remove the dead and this led to large colonies of rats emerging. They fed on corpses and rations. Some of these rats grew extremely large. One soldier wrote: "The rats were huge. They were so big they would eat a wounded man if he couldn't defend himself." These rats became very bold and would attempt to take food from the pockets of sleeping men. ...read more.


Almost all of the soldiers suffered from lice. They spread diseases like dysentery and typhoid. Many soldiers whiled away the hours burning the lice out of the seams of their clothes with a match, but they never left. "One night, as we lay in bed after doing our two hours sentry - we did two hours on and two hours off - my friend Jock said 'damn this, I cannot stand it any longer!' He took off his shirt and put it in the middle of the dug-out floor...As we sat up in bed watching the shirt he had taken off and put it on the floor it actually lifted; it was swarming with lice". (Henry Gregory) ...read more.

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