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World war 1 A Day in the Trenches

Apart from dodging bullets and avoiding death from enemy shells, there was a daily routine in the trenches of World
War 1.

It started 1 hour before dawn with the morning "stand to" the men were roused from sleep and sent to the "fire step",
with bayonets fixed to their rifles to be on guard for a dawn raid by the enemy. Many raids were carried out at dawn
by both sides although it was common knowledge that the opposing armies were both preparing to deal with them.

As the first light of day approached machineguns, shells, and even handguns would be fired toward the enemy
trenches. Some people said that this was to test the weaponry. Others said it was to relieve the tension, and others said
it was to ward off a dawn raid. Whatever the reason the first hour of the soldier's day became known, as "The
morning hate."

After the "Stand to" rum was issued to the soldiers who would be cleaning their rifles, before an inspection by senior
officers.

Then it was time for breakfast, unofficially breakfast time was a time of truce between both sides, both sides
respected this truce for most of the time, but it was broken now and again when a senior officer heard about it and put
his foot down ordering the men to open fire on enemy lines. .

After breakfast the soldiers would face an inspection by their commanding officer, this was followed by the daily
chores, each man would be given a specific chore. Daily chores included the refilling of sandbags, the repair of the
duckboards on the floor of the trench and the draining of trenches, repairing the trenches and preparing the latrines.

During the rest of the day movement was restricted in the trenches, snipers and lookout posts from either side
constantly watched the front lines and shots would be fired at the first sign of movement. Soldiers used this time to
catch up on some much needed sleep write letters to their sweethearts and home and some soldiers spent the time
producing ornaments and useful items from used shell and bullet casings, these items are very popular these days and
are sold as trench art.

With dusk came the second "Stand to" of the day. Soldiers would be sent to the fire step as darkness approached in
preparation for surprise attacks. With the darkness of the night the trenches came to life, men were sent to fetch vital
food, water, and maintenance supplies whilst others were sent to the fire step for sentry duty, 2 hours

Was the limit for the soldiers on the fire step before they were replaced, incase the men fell asleep, if a man fell
asleep at the fire step the punishment would be death by firing squad.

Patrols into no-mans land would also be carried out under cover of darkness, to repair breaks in the barbed wire and
some were sent out as "Listening posts" hoping to over hear information from the enemy.

Sometimes enemy patrols would meet in No Man's Land. They were then faced with the option of hurrying on their
separate ways or else engaging in hand to hand fighting.

They could not afford to use their handguns whilst patrolling in No Man's Land, for fear of the machine gun fire it
would inevitably attract, deadly to all members of the patrol.

The cover of darkness also allowed the frontline troops to be changed over, those who had completed their tour of
duty would be swapped over with fresh troops.

Then it was time to start the daily routine again with the morning "stand to"