Caitlin produced this great piece of writing based on a WW1 soldier’s thoughts.

Ciel Beaulieu

Salut. Today seemed to drag on longer than usual. I suppose it is because of the thick misery in the air from the constant deaths, mostly Suicidal by the looming depression hanging over us like the plague. Regardless of that matter, being in the new trench of the British is like a living hell. The ground is full of wet mud as well as large rats running rampant, eating through supplies and other soldiers like ravenous dogs. It is quite disgusting to witness, even though I see it almost all the time in this wretched trench.

It is very rare for me to have a moment of relaxation in this hellhole, embraced in my worn out and tattered jaquette. I would use my blanket, of course, but the rats had claimed it as some form of snack while digging through our stuff for any good food to consume. Either way, they were out of luck due to strict limitation of resources somewhere in the trench, we weren’t allowed to squander any meal we were given. Every crumb helps in these situations. Moving away from the food, I’d much rather discuss the current state of our... “Defence.” Our trench is in dire need of repair, and it isn’t from any damage the Germans have inflicted on us, nor because of some measly mini-army of rats. It is because of the depressing state of the weather, the rain continues to pour down on us like cats and dogs, worsening the already horrific state of the mud at our feet.

The popular “Trench Foot” is spreading around like wild fire and of course it would, people are getting the damned thing left, right, front and centre, just the mere thought of Trench Foot makes me cringe from the symptoms. How disgusting must it be to have to look at your feet, feeling the swelling build up with the possible outcome of having your feet amputated? Hopefully, if Dieu is protecting me, I will not have to find out the answer to my own question.

Shell Shock is becoming ridiculously common, also. I feel immense pity for those who suffer from it; it is rather upsetting to witness, especially because it is something that no one yet understands properly. Some men are even executed for developing such a trait from their traumatizing experiences.

Other than explaining all the negativities of being in the Trenches, being in the Trench isn’t actually all bad at all. You get to meet some rather interesting people and create a lot of bonds with your comrades. I met several men whom I have grown to admire while being stuck in the Trenches and men that I will have long friendships with for the rest of our lives, which may not be very long in these conditions of War. If luck is on my side, we will be able to move past this war and live until we grow old and tired although at this point, one can only dream of such luxury. What keeps some close friends of mine to continue moving forward to tomorrow is the fact that if they continue to live, they will be able to see their children and their wives once more. I can’t blame them for having such strong determination for the need to see such important people to your heart. My reason, however, is to see my brother and mother again. As well as the fact that I will face many days of this horrific event, just so the people of my country and the people of the countries I am protecting will be able to live another day. The people whose lives are taken from them in this disgusting war would not be vain.

What I like about the Trenches at times is the beautiful view that you have if you exit at night to see the sky. Just through the lingering debris, you can just make out the shimmering lights of the stars embedded into the velvet sky like a million diamonds with the silver moonlight lacing across the area, however it has gotten quite hard to see the beauty of the sky because of the constant cloak of smoke covering our air overhead. It is quite the shame, especially in a beautiful world like this.

During the day, however, is ear-splitting from the roaring of gun fire, explosives and the pitiful last cries of the dying soldiers. Watching the dying faces of the men, watching the light leave your Mon Amis eye’s, is quite distressing especially on a day-to-day basis. I try not to remember any of it, but I can’t help but be dragged to that loathsome memory. The nauseating scent of blood, the garnet-coloured liquid staining my hands as I feebly attempted to apply pressure onto the shot wound of my Mon Ami. I made the deplorable decision of leaving them alone to die to the vociferous, shameful display of a place for brave soldiers to die.

In all honesty, I wonder when it will be my time. We never know here, whether we will live to see our loved ones when this confounded war is over or whether we die by the hands of another or our own hands. I would be lying to say I wasn’t scared of such a constant worried of how I would die or how anyone who knew me was affected of my death. I shouldn’t think of such things, but it is what people in the Trenches seem to think about while we’re preparing for dinner.

How funny, I returned to the negatives rather than actually think of the positives. Let me actually do that now. Withal, despite the living conditions as well as the constant arguments within the Trenches, everyone is quite pleasant to talk to. We give each other advice, jokes and Life experiences beside this one. There is a silent rule about jokes, though, tread lightly that it isn’t anything delicate to the other Soldiers and make sure they are actually funny to hear or you will get temporarily shunned. Yet we all seem to get along just fine, it’s rather pleasant to some extent.

I believe I must retire now, it has gotten quite late and I have written a lot more than I expected to for today. I will write another when something has changed or whether something needs to be updated in my Journal. Hopefully I will get to write anything else down before departing if I am to die by our enemies, myself or the horrid jokes my Mon Amis “enlighten” us with.