Extract from the diary of Lt B H Gregg, 5th Bn, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment
[Lt Gregg joined up in August 1914 in Chester. He survived the war and died aged 102 in Canada.]
We have had thirty three days continuous life in the front line! Fortunately the middle time of this occupation was dry weather, but we have been on the alert all the time. There was always one officer on duty who at night with his orderly patrolled the C.Ts connecting the fire trenches occupied by the company. Leigh was on duty 8-12: myself 12-4 and Ratcliffe 4.a.m to “stand-to” when all officers man the fire trenches night and morning at dusk and dawn. The life was not strenuous but living below earth level for thirty three days guarding, watching, waiting and also fighting the trench rats which would eat anything not made of metal (they ate the web equipment of the men) was evidently exhausting especially when the rains came near the end of the tour. This was an isolated life here up in the Machine Gun Wood, detached from the world yet in a world of one’s own. The mice were tame & would eat out of my hand if I sat silent by the dug-out table. The bombers were careless, in one of their shelters they pushed some live bombs into the fire but the prize effort was the crows that used a piece of “Bangalore torpedo” as part of a grate.