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Life in the Trenches: Letter Home Essay

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World War I(WWI) was a global war that originated in Europe that lasted from July 28, 1914, to November 11, 1918. During WWI, soldiers communicated with their loved ones back home by writing letters to ease the pain of separation. Below is a creative letter from a soldier describing what life was like in the trenches and the aspects of the war.

Dear Mother,

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I would like to thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. I miss you very much and I hope I can return back home soon from this dreadful war. Currently, I have been staying in the trenches. Basically, we’re living in long narrow ditches in the ground with barbed wire. The barbed wire helps to slow down the enemy. We spend all of our time in the trenches and hardly get any sleep because of surprise attacks. Here is a typical day in the trenches. At 5 a.m. we are at ‘Stand-to’. During this time everyone is to be on high alert for enemy attack. At 5:30 a.m. is rum ration and at 6 a.m. we stand down half an hour after daylight. Seven a.m. is breakfast which is the same thing we have every day, bacon and tea. After 8 a.m. we clean ourselves, and our weapons and also tidy the trench. Noon is dinner. After dinner, we sleep or have some downtime. 5 p.m. we are given tea and at 6 p.m. we are at stand-to for thirty minutes before dusk. At 6:30 p.m. we are at stand-down for a half-hour after dusk. From 6:30 p.m. onward we work all night. At night we are only given an hour of sleep. During the night time, soldiers are patrolling, dig trenches, put up barbed wires, or get into stores. The worse job to get is cleaning the trench toilets.

I would rather be in normal warfare because I highly doubt that these trenches are any safer. Every day I fight to stay alive. People from both sides are dying and thousands of lives are being claimed. The living conditions here are gruesome and unsanitary. I live with different types of rodents like rats, lice, and frogs, and also my bunk mate is a rotten deceased body. The trenches are very muddy and uncomfortable. Using the bathroom here is the worse. The toilets constantly overflow and make the trenches smelly and messy. As a result of these unsanitary living conditions, diseases down here in the trenches spread rampantly. Many of my close friends contracted infectious diseases like dysentery, cholera, and typhoid fever. Additionally, the constant exposure to the damp and wet trenches caused something we call trench foot. Trench foot is a painful condition where dead tissue spreads across one or both feet. Just the other day I had to witness a fellow soldier’s foot be amputated because of trench foot. Thinking about it just makes me even sicker to my stomach. To help prevent trench foot, we are advised to wash our feet regularly and we also get our feet inspected rigorously.

Given these conditions, I question why am I even fighting in this war. Is it really for our country and for our families? I do not have pride in the country I am fighting for. I am very afraid and anxious. Each day it feels like I am clocking closer and closer to my grave. I do not know when I will die. Whether it is this very second, minute, hour, day, or even next week. I just pray and thank God every day I am still here fighting this hell of a war. This war reminds me of a game. We go back and forth from our “safe” trenches killing people either with guns, bombs, or gas. It's getting very old. I wish it was already over. It breaks my heart to see my friends die right in front of me. I don’t know how much longer I would be able to endure this pain but I will continue to stay strong for you Mother. I love and miss you, continue to pray for me.

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Life in the Trenches: Letter Home Essay. (2023, August 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 24, 2024, from
“Life in the Trenches: Letter Home Essay.” Edubirdie, 28 Aug. 2023,
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Life in the Trenches: Letter Home Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Aug 28 [cited 2024 Feb 24]. Available from:
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