World War I - Trench Diaries

Essay by Lordie92High School, 10th gradeA+, February 2007

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9th November 1914

Dear Diary,

Life has never been so hard; in fact the only thing keeping me going is my wife Jane, back in England. We've been building trenches now for God knows how long, our C.O. described it as a little gardening but I know this is no back garden project. This is serious; the ditch I built could save my life. I drew this diagram recently on my break trying to explain to one of the new recruits. There's not much to do here, its all the same; build part of the trench, eat build part of the trench, sleep.

Pile after pile after pile of mud, sometimes I think that I'll end up on the other side of the world, though I realise I'm only 4 feet deep. It's tiring work, shifting all that earth all the time everyday but I know it'll look good when its finished, hopefully.

Here's a map I was given when we started to build the trenches to help me get around, it's very basic but better than getting lost. You know how it is with these trench systems.

Conditions aren't too bad at the moment but it can all change in a heartbeat. We've been getting some rain lately, which doesn't help us considering we are trying to build trenches. I haven't seen any Germans yet although I'm willing to wait. Mind you I could have already shot one from a distance without knowing it. I got a new uniform today because I was promoted to corporal, all of the uniforms are uncomfortable; they always itch.

A lot of my rations are surprisingly nice though; we have to carry over one and a half kilograms of it. That's one of the good things about the British, always give us enough...