Source H-Corporal Henry Gregory served with the 119 Machine Gun Company.
It was while I was in this Field Hospital that I saw the first case of shell-shock. The enemy opened fire about dinner time, as usual, with his big guns. As soon as the first shell came over, the shell-shock case nearly went mad. He screamed and raved, and it took eight men to hold him down on the stretcher. With every shell he would go into a fit of screaming and fight to get away. It is heartbreaking to watch a shell-shock case. The terror is indescribable. The flesh on their faces shakes in fear, and their teeth continually chatter. Shell-shock was brought about in many ways; loss of sleep, continually being under heavy shell fire, the torment of the lice, irregular meals, nerves always on end, and the thought always in the man's mind that the next minute was going to be his last.
Source I - Cross section of a trench
Source J Captain Impey of the Royal Sussex Regiment wrote this account in 1915.
The trenches were wet and cold and at this time some of them did not have duckboards or dug-outs. The battalion lived in mud and water
Source K- Private Pollard wrote about trench life in his memoirs published in 1932.
The trench, when we reached it, was half full of mud and water. We set to work to try and drain it. Our efforts were hampered by the fact that the French, who had first occupied it, had buried their dead in the bottom and sides. Every stroke of the pick encountered a body. The smell was awful.
Source L- letter to his father, Jonathan Priestley (December, 1915)
The communication trenches are simply canals, up to the waist in some parts, the rest up to the knees. There are only a few dug-outs and those are full of water or falling in. Three men were killed this way from falling dug-outs. I haven't had a wash since we came into these trenches and we are all mud from head to foot.
Source M- Bruce Bairnsfather, Bullets and Billets (1916)
It was quite the worse trench I have ever seen. A number of men were in it, standing and leaning, silently enduring the following conditions. It was quite dark. It was raining, and the trench contained over three feet of water. The men, therefore, were standing up to the waist in water. They were all wet through and through, with a great deal of their equipment below the water at the bottom of the trench. There they were, taking it all as a necessary part of a great game; not a grumble nor a comment.