Wednesday July 26, 1916
Tonight we made two trips to the front trench with sand bags. The trenches are marked off in different ways. Sometimes they (the front trenches) will be sectioned off and the sections named for cities, then farther on they'll be lettered off. Then sometimes they are numbered. On July 25th we went to the M and N trenches, last night to the O and P trenches. Our reserve trenches are just between the village of Brasserie and (see map) a wood we have named Ridgewood. Brasserie is just between the villages of Stiersstraat and Dickebush. Farther along from Dickebush is the far famed Ypres just a few miles distant.
Both up in the front line and in the reserve trenches men live in dug outs built into the parados or rear wall of the trench. The dug out is generally just big enough for three men to lie on their sides and about 3 ½ feet high. The roof is shored up, then a corrugated iron roof is laid on, then two thicknesses of sandbags to make it shrapnel proof. Of course a shell will break through and kill everyone inside.
We lay back here in our dug-outs all day. We have a rifle inspection at about 4:30 by our lieutenant. Dinner about 1 p.m. and supper at 5:30. We move out about 9:30 p.m. to headquarters and wait until dark. At about 10 to 10:30 p.m. the fatigue parties load up and move off. We try to get through work by about 2 or 2:30 a.m. getting home by about 3:30. We go right to bed and as soon as it is daylight we have our breakfast and sleep again until noon. This is a days work in the rear trenches.
When away in the rear and resting up, the soldiers go into different classes and learn the new stunts that keep coming up. Sometimes they are inventions or improvements of our own. Sometimes they are stolen from Fritzie. Fritzie is a pretty ingenious fellow and we have learned many valuable pointers from him. But we have him beat in nearly all the latest stunts. We have a better thing than the machine gun in the automatic rifle and a better hand grenade, and a new terrible trench mortar which fires a shell doing not much less damage than a howitzer.