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20 June 1917

By June 20, 2017No Comments

Soldiers breaking a hole in the ice to get water for cooking purposes, Western Front, early 1917. Image courtesy Imperial War Museum © IWM (Q 4860).

I didn’t think it was as cold at the North Pole as it is in Flanders… the food used to be frozen. We had to break it with our bayonets, and it crackled when we chewed it. We had to breathe on the jam before eating it; even then it made our teeth ache. I had an onion one day, and, being such a watery thing, it was a block of ice. I had to break it with a stone before I could do anything with it. We had to sit on our water bottles, or we should have had nothing to drink.

I am not having as bad a time at the front as you would think. We are in the trenches a good deal, and we are advancing at a good pace, so that makes it better for us; it breaks the monotony… I am lucky to get paper to write to you, as we are advancing so fast that it is impossible for the transports to get supplies to us.

  • The Leader publishes the 311th Casualty List
  • Allied forces repulse German attacks on Souchez river on the Western Front
  • British troops recover lost ground on Infantry Hill
  • German soldiers attack and gain territory near Vauxaillon at Chemin des Dames