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A Soldier's Life

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19/09/04 A Soldier's Life 21st December 1915 It was cold this morning; frost lined the mud and filth surrounding my 'Dug Out'. Mud has seeped through my uniform the damp is causing me to become feverish, I have been sleeping in everything I have got recently and still shivering and today my great coat's so wet, I cannot use it. Oh well, a slight fever has got to be better than the dreaded trench foot, poor Harry he was taken off on a stretcher yesterday. He just couldn't continue his work here any longer. None of us can take our boots off some feet swell and swell to an immeasurable amount of pain. Then it goes gangrenous and unfortunately for Harry it is irreversible so his foot will probably have to be amputated. He had only been stationed here for ten days; it's a shame for him to miss all the fun. The toughest part of this job is getting up morning after morning half an hour before dawn, so we are on standby for dawn raids. ...read more.


This afternoon the dullness truly set in, Bill was chewing a piece of grass and John was smoking. Life her is a constant wait here, sometimes for death, sometimes hopefully for peace. We use ammunition boxes for storage and sitting around on. Sometimes we pass the time by 'chatting' where we use our cigarette ends to burst the lice that have infested our clothes and hair, this I am proud to say is quite a skill to manage this without setting ones clothes alight. The lice run along the seams and 'pop' like popcorn when they are lit. The smell here is so peculiar; food cooking on wood blended with the smell of rotting corpses, stagnant water and cigarette smoke all builds up to odour that is so disgusting sometimes it makes me want to be sick. 22nd December In the middle of the night our patrol were surprised to hear tormented cries of 'help' and 'for God's sake' coming from all sides of us. ...read more.


Gas bombs and shells are used nearly every day here, they are the most feared and deadliest weapon they are used even when there is no attack going on. It really is awful, if ever an attack is launched no-one would survive.I hear it is like drowning in a sea of death but I prefer not to think these somber thoughts and keep my spirits up,by playing cards with the lads. 25th December Today we were all thrilled to receive a package from the 'soldiers and sailors Christmas fund'. It really was fun opening up the packages. Mine contained; a Christmas card, a picture of Princess Mary; cigarettes and some delicious sweets. Nora and the children sent a jersey with a number of pictures, drawings and letters. I have been away from home so long I'm starting to forget what they look like. It really was quite upsetting, when I thought about how they would be spending Christmas at home in such a different way, peaceful and happy, then me, not knowing whether I am going to live from one day to the next. ...read more.

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