Letter from the Trenches

Thursday, 26 November, 1914

Lieutenant Colonel G B Laurie was the Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Rifles and he wrote a letter almost every day until he was killed in action at Neuve Chapelle on 12 March 1915. The following is an extract from a letter dated 26 November 1914 and provides a description of life in the trenches.

'Last night, while talking with the General, a bullet struck near his head, glancing off a brick wall. You should have seen him jump! My nerves have grown stronger, as I've had a good baptism of them when going about. Our trenches were awful. Yesterday I went round them all, and found everything more or less right. Only my leggings were absolutely plastered above my knees with mud. I think I've hit on a good way, if original, of getting ahead of the mud now, by putting my feet into a bag as soon as I come into my dug-out. This is then drawn up nearly to my waist, and collects any mud that falls off, and saves the place. As one does not walk about in it, only crawls, the bag is better than you would have thought! It is turning cold again, and I suppose we shall have a bad night of it. Yesterday evening we discovered a fast machine gun had been brought up against us, so this afternoon I have been amusing myself and one of our batteries by shelling it, but with what result I cannot say ... . A man looked into one of my loopholes during the night, and told my men that he was an Engineer mending our wire, and the silly fellows thoroughly believed him. I am certain he was a German.'