Trench Life During World War One

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The life of a soldier in the trenches during World War I was unimaginable to the people back home in Canada. Soldiers carried out their duty to their country in the most horrifying conditions. The trenches were rivers of mud and blood, food rations were very basic and designed only to keep the soldiers alive, hygiene was non-existent, and military direction was poor as these men fought for their country. Constant shelling and gas attacks made many soldiers feel that death was imminent and a great deal of men suffered from mental breakdowns due to the war.

During World War I soldiers spent most of their time involved in trench warfare. A typical day in the trenches began at night when the sentry was relieved and replaced. This individual
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Sometimes the soldiers traveled from one place to another by train. Box cars, that had never been cleaned and had little protection from the elements, transported the soldiers for up to twelve hours. It was a very uncomfortable journey and the soldiers ended up stiff and wet.

Nights in the trenches were spent repairing damaged trenches with barbed wire, filling sandbags, and digging new trenches, instead of sleeping. Soldiers were also sent out into "No Man's Land"�, crawling about on their hand and knees, to find out information about the enemies military plans. It was too cold for the soldiers to sleep with no blankets and they could not even try to keep warm by exercising. Exercising would have the soldiers moving around too much, making them targets for the enemy. When the men did try to sleep they often froze.

Even though the soldiers were supposed to only spend four days at a time in the trenches it often ended up being longer. In fierce battles the men were sometimes in the trenches for up to twenty days with practically no food or water, and very little sleep. When the soldiers came out of the trenches they were "enclosed in a practically bullet-proof casing of mud"�. The men then had to march from the trenches to the billets and were often shot down on their way.

Life in the billets was not really much of a rest. Cleaning muddy clothes for inspection was not easy and in the evening the soldiers had to carry rations or mail up to the trenches. The men
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