Presentation on theme: "1. The British government wanted to encourage men to enlist for war. They said the war would be safe, hardly any fighting, a good lark and over by Christmas."— Presentation transcript:
The British government wanted to encourage men to enlist for war. They said the war would be safe, hardly any fighting, a good lark and over by Christmas. They used advertising posters to encourage this idea! A picture of soldiers going ‘Over the Top’ 2
The reality of ‘going over the top’ was very different! 3
Soldiers were expected to carry all of their equipment with them at all times. They were supposed to keep it clean and in good condition – they were British after all. 4
How the uniform and equipment changed after just three weeks in the trenches… 5
Posters always showed men ready and willing to fight. They never showed the boredom of the trenches or actual fighting taking place. Why do you think the government showed no fighting? 6
No smiling and relaxed faces… No clean uniforms… Their equipment is scattered everywhere… Boredom and sleep are obvious… 8
9 The memories of soldiers who fought in the trenches in World War One are a fascinating source about life in the war. Primary source memories from WWI have given historians a vast resource to use. “Whilst asleep during the night, we were frequently awakened by rats running over us. When this happened too often for my liking, I would lie on my back and wait for a rat to linger on my legs; then violently heave my legs upwards, throwing the rat into the air. Occasionally, I would hear a grunt when the rat landed on a fellow victim.” RL Venables
11 “The water in the trenches through which we waded was alive with a multitude of swimming frogs. Red slugs crawled up the side of the trenches and strange beetles with dangerous looking horns wriggled along dry ledges and invaded the dugouts, in search of the lice that infected them.” unknown journalist
12 Nurses on the front line also had a hard time. “We slept in our clothes and cut our hair short so that it would tuck inside our caps. Dressing simply meant putting on our boots. There were times when we had to scrape the lice off with the blunt edge of a knife and our underclothes stuck to us.” Elizabeth de T’Serclaes
13 War often brings about mass destruction. This area was probably farmland before the war.
The soldiers had very little decent food, and what food they had was often attacked by rats. These rats were the size of small rabbits and badgers because they had fed on the decomposing bodies of dead soldiers. 15
16 Soldier’s Rations Daily rations for British soldiers: 20 oz of bread OR 16 oz of flour if bread not available 8 oz of fresh vegetable OR 2 oz of dried vegetables OR 1/10 gill lime if vegetables not issued 3 oz of cheese 4 oz of butter/margarine 5/8 oz tea1/3 chocolate (optional) 4 oz of jam20 oz of tobacco ½ oz of salt 1/36 oz of pepper 1/20 oz of mustard1 pint of run or port
17 Soldier’s Rations Daily rations for German soldiers: 26 oz of bread OR 17 ½ oz of field biscuits OR 14 oz of egg biscuit 53 oz of potatoes 4 ½ oz of vegetables 2 oz of dried vegetables
18 Richard Beasley was interviewed in 1993 about his experiences during the First World War. “In training, the food was just about eatable but in France, we were starving. All we lived on was tea and dog biscuits. If we got meat once a week we were lucky, but imagine trying to eat standing in a trench full of water with the smell of dead bodies nearby. “
19 In a letter to his parents, Private Pressey of the Royal Artillery described the quality of the food men were receiving on the Western Front. “ The biscuits are so hard that you had to put them on a firm surface and smash them with a stone or something. I’ve held one in my hand and hit the sharp corner of a brick wall and only hurt my hand. Sometimes we soaked the smashed fragments in water for several days. Then we would heat and drain, pour condensed milk over a dishful of the stuff, and get it down.”
20 Major Graham wrote a letter to his family about the food supplied to soldiers on the Western Front. “I am sorry you should have the wrong impression about the food; we always had more than enough, both to eat and drink. I give you a day’s menu at random: Breakfast – bacon and tomatoes, bread, jam, and cocoa. Lunch – shepherd’s pie, potted meat, potatoes, bread and jam. Tea – bread and jam. Supper – ox-tail soup, roast beef, whisky and soda, leeks, rice pudding, coffee. We have provided stores of groceries and Harrods have been ordered to send us out a weekly parcel. However, if you’d like to send us an occasional luxury, it would be very welcome.”
21 Do you think Major Graham’s was telling the truth? NO! Why was he lying to his family?
22 Trench Foot Often, the trenches were filled with water. The men’s feet were wet for days, weeks, and even months at a time. When you’re in the middle of a war, standing in a trench, changing your wet socks to dry ones (if you have dry ones) is not a priority. Treating your feet this way often resulted in trench foot.
23 “If you have never had trench foot described to you, I will explain. Your feet swell to two to three times their normal size and go completely dead. You can stick a bayonet into them and not feel a thing. If you are lucky enough not to lose your feet and the swelling starts to go down, it is then that the most indescribable agony begins. I have heard men cry and scream with pain and many have had to have their feet and legs amputated. I was one of the lucky ones, but one more day in that trench and it may have been too late.” Harry Roberts
26 1 On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, in 1918, the Armistice was signed, bringing to an end one of the bloodiest chapters in man's history. Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. The War to End all Wars? At the end of WWI, an estimated 13,000,000 soldiers were dead or missing.