The Great War began in 1914 and lasted a gruelling 4 years. During this war, new and powerful weapons were developed such as machinery, guns and heavy artillery. Soldiers had no choice but to dig trenches, which were barely sustainable to live in, in order to protect themselves from the constant enemy gunfire. They lived, ate, slept and fought in these trenches for the whole 4 years… In this investigation I will thoroughly examine evidence from a whole range of resources to find out the extent of some of the misery and dangers in the trenches for the British and soldiers in World War One starting with miseries.
Was Life In The Trenches Miserable?
The Food in the Trenches
A huge amount of food was sent to the French trenches for British troops in the war. Approximately 3,240,948 tons of food was sent to the battle field. Soldiers had to have enough food to keep them alive and fit enough to fight so at the beginning of the war, they had only 10 ounces of meat and 8 ounces of vegetables a day for each solider. However, the size of as the number of recruitments went up the demand for food also spiked and the army couldn’t maintain these portions and lowered the meat to only 6 ounces of meat a day! This was a very small amount and even though the soldiers could only have that they felt hungry and weak. A British soldier, George Coppard, remembering his life in the trenches said, “How much food that arrived in the trenches depended on the weather, transport and enemy action. Wrapping loose rations such as tea, cheese and meat was not considered necessary, all being tipped into a soggy sandbag. In the wet weather the conditions was unbelievable and you could bet the rats could get to the food first.” The advantage in the world war was the invention of been able to tin food; this meant it was able to stay in tins for a longer amount of time before it was inedible. This meant food like Bully Beef became the most eaten type of meat in the trenches since it was easily prepared. However, before been sent, the tins had to be made and without much electrical equipment, it was a time consuming job and took ages. Soldiers in the Western Front were very disappointed with the quality and quantity of the food they received and were fed up of eating the same sort of food on a daily basis. Other that Beef they ate bread and biscuits. However, by winter 1916 the flour shortage meant that the bread was made out of dried ground turnips. At this stage the main food was pea soup with a few lumps of horse meat. Kitchen staff tried their best to fill pots up and resulted to using weeds and plant roots.
Soldiers often complained that their tea tasted of vegetables, since it was cooked using same pots. This is because fresh clean water wasn’t easy to access and fresh food was hard to provide. Even the delivery of bread took 8 days and the bread was stale. The British army found they needed to hide the food from the enemy since they would steal or destroy the food storage. The British Army Office received over 200,000 letters of angry soldiers complaining about food. This sort of information was censored by the BAO since it was valuable information for the German Army. Censoring was vital and blacked out the information like dates, times, destination and any other information valuable to enemy eyes. The catering staff put the food in cooking pots jm jars and carried it up the smaller communication trenches however, by the time the food reached the frontline it was always cold or had spilt along the way. Eventually the army moved the field kitchens closer to the frontline trenches but they were never able to get close enough to provide hot food for the men. Sometimes a small group of soldiers managed to buy a small stove between them. When they could get the fuel, which was always in short supply, they could heat their food and brew some tea. In this source you can see two obviously...
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