World War One Letter

Topics: Trench warfare, World War I, Olfaction Pages: 3 (1059 words) Published: June 20, 2013
Somewhere in FranceSomewhere in France
Dear Mother,March 1

It’s been months since I last wrote a letter to you – and that was when I was still a trainee. I’m really joyful and thankful that I had the chance to receive your letter before winter. I terribly miss you and I hope I did not make you worry. The censorship is still being done; but I am grateful that I was able to send a letter earlier than expected. Right now, I’m writing in a nearby casualty clearing station – recovering from injuries caused by the devastating battles that happened on the Western Front. Until today, I cannot believe that I’m in France – a country that has been a mystery to me before I enlisted in the war. And being able to become one of the survivors – after two major battles in the trenches against the Huns – was a miracle to begin with. When we first set foot in the trench – an in-ground tunnel to protect ourselves from the enemy while fighting – I noticed that the soldiers have an unpleasant condition. Most of them haven’t had the chance to have a decent wash for weeks. The odour was also intense and unbearable that it made most men in the trench ill. We could smell the dead bodies that are starting to decompose on the trench and on No-Man’s-Land. Not to mention the smell of exploded bombs that remained after a few days, dormant mud coffin-nail smoke and cooking smells – which contributed to the displeasing odour of the trenches. They said we will soon get used to it over time, but it felt impossible for it to subside at the moment. The smell also attracts the rats – which explained why we see them everywhere we went in the trenches. What’s worse is that the rats become as large as a cat due to the amount of wastes they intake. One night, I was sleeping in the dugout. I felt something trying to get through my flesh, and it was a rat! It was really hopeless to have a good sleep since the rats cannot distinguish the difference between a dead body and a living body....
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