It was an officers duty to inspect the soldiers feet for Trench aFoot softening and rotting of flesh due to being permanently damp. Gangrene and death were likely if the condition was left untreated. Lice infestations caused a debilitating sickness called Trench Fever that lasted for several weeks. A severe and easily transmitted rash called Scabies was caused by microscopic mites. Some of the functions of the trenches were:? Protection against ?gas attacks Machine ?gun emplacements Dugouts for the posts of ?commanding officers Medical stations ?Observation posts. Some of the problems encountered were: ?concealment during construction ?living conditions in underground dugouts ?preventing rain and water seepage. TRIALS OF TRENCH LIFE as told by the men who endured Mud Mud is a bad description: the soil was more alike thick slime. When walking one sank several inches in and owing to the suction it was difficult to withdraw the feet. The consequence was that men who were standing still or sitting down got embedded in the slime and were unable to extricate themselves. As the trenches were so shallow they had to stay where they were all day. Most of the night was spent digging men out of the mud. The only way was to put duckboards on each side of him and work atone leg: poking and pulling until the suction was relieved. Then a strong pull by three or four men would get one leg out and work would begin on the other. Back to battalion headquarters was about 800 yards at night it would take a runner an orderly taking messages about two hours to get there. One would hear men who had missed their way and got stuck in the mud calling out for help that often could not be sent to them. It would be useless for only one or two men togo and practically all the troops were in the front line and of course had to stay there. All the time the Boche dropped shells promiscuously about the place. The land was very churned up by shell explosions and for many days the weather had been wet. It was not possible to dig for more than about afoot without coming to water. He who had a corpse to stand or sit on was lucky.
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