World War One trench Diary
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As I lie here in my dug out writing to you, by torchlight, under my lice infested, rat chewed blanket, I suddenly realise just how cold it is in these trenches. I think I don’t usually feel it because I am so used to it by now. But after the heavy rain of today the usually cold and damp trench seems much, much worse, in fact I’m not sure if it really qualifies as a trench anymore; it has become more like a collapsing pit of flowing mud, with a few decomposing bodies, whom I once knew as friends and colleagues, thrown in. I sometimes wonder if this is all worth it, there is so much death surrounding me that it has shaken my faith in what I am doing, when I first entered the trenches I was a young lad full of enthusiasm to serve his king and country, but now I often lie here wondering who is more to blame for this war, our government or Germany’s. I would however do anything I could to get this war over with as fast as possible, just to get back to good old Blighty, t see my wife and kids again, I would do anything for that.
And the food, sweet lord how I miss the food, you know you do when u start drooling over the rare rasher of bacon that makes it here, the smell of it is a god send compared to the usual stenches which fill our lives here, the stench of death is the most unavoidable, it is everywhere you go, like a thick blanket of smell which just descended upon you nose one day and has never left. Your nose is not the only sense under attack here though, oh no, your tongue comes in for a time of it too, not only can you smell the bodies, but it’s almost like you can taste it too, the food here is bad enough, all of which already tastes like sand, but every time you sink your teeth into bread or sip your cup of tea you can’t help but feel you are some how ingesting you dead comrades that lie sometimes just feet away.
I sometimes wish I was actually born German, not because I agree with what they are doing or anything like that, but for the sheer fact that their trenches sound like palaces compared to ours, twice as deep and made of concrete, not mud which slides onto you with the first sign of rain, they seem to have put effort into theirs, unlike ours which have been thrown together like some child’s toy. But all of this is just a dream for me, and talking of dreams I best be off for tonight.
November 21st 1916
I’m sorry I haven’t written for a while, but I have been busy trying to salvage what is left of this god forsaken trench, after a downpour a few nights ago the entire walls just caved in, fortunately not hurting anyone but making it extremely difficult to fight. These trenches have begun to look like holding cells to me, a place which I am destined to spend the last few months of my life in until I am one day just exterminated like some sort of mouse in a lab experiment, maybe that’s all this war is just one big experiment to see how humans cope, I just don’t know anymore, this place leaves you with so many mixed emotions that you barley feel anything anymore. Just the need to survive and get home to see loved ones, but even the want for life can be tested in this war.
I’ve started to loose my hearing, if you’ve been bombarded with shells for the last eleven months that’s no real surprise though, it comes and goes, one minute I can hear fine, the next everything is muffled and indistinct. My feet are also beginning to suffer more and more, this is the first time I have truly begun to get trench foot, the heavy rains of the last few days have made them swell more than usual. The cold and damp has had one advantage though, the lice tend not to like it, as long as you are cold they leave you alone, it’s when you heat up they start to bite you like the blasted devil! I think they are possibly the worst thing I have to endure out here, though the lack of sleep is just as bad, I haven’t slept properly for at least three months, not since those blasted planes started flying, its not that they do much damage but they don’t half make a racket.
We don’t seem the only people being annoyed with them though, last night in my dug-out, where I had pushed my backpack to the front of me to try and block the noise, I awoke to find a rat the size of a small dog burled up inside of my blanket. I was too tired to do anything though; he didn’t bite and was just trying to get some shut eye like me. I just hope he hasn’t passed anything to me. This may be the last time I write in this diary from the front line at least, apparently my hearing and trench foot means I am being moved back to the reserve trenches, finally some peace from this place which has owned my life for nearly a year now, and I am one step closer to the white cliffs of Dover. Good night.