The Trenches, December 1914.

Wednesday, 16 December, 1914

'I went my rounds yesterday in the evening. Such a time I have never had! Imagine going along a trench just wide enough for your shoulders; your head up to the original level of the ground, and the earth piled up on either side for two or three feet; the bottom was soft mud with water well above the knees. One sank into this whilst one struggled on, carrying revolver or rifle. In my case, revolver strapped on, and holding up my cloak to prevent it getting under my feet in my dreadful flounders. Several times I nearly stuck for good, but just managed to get through. I succeeded in putting on dry things afterwards, but the men, I am sorry to say, could not do so. I asked the doctor to go and inspect this morning, and see if there was anything he could suggest. He went off cheerfully enough, but came back two hours later a dirtier, if a wiser, man, and his only remark to me was: "Well, it will not last. No men could stand that very long!" I replied that we must do so longer than the Germans.'

Lieutenant Colonel George Brenton Laurie
2nd Battalion The Royal Irish Rifles

16 December 1914.