The Life and Death of a British Officer
Captain Oswald Eric Wreford Brown
We came in here on Saturday (October 30th). We are in what is known as the salient, in the trenches which are the nearest to Berlin ! The place is beastly and quite beyond description. It has been raining for the last three days and you can have some idea of what the conditions must be like. I have been wet all the three nights and days, my feet soaking.
The men will stand anything in the trenches, but what they feel is a lack of thought for their comfort when they return for their well earned rest. There should be hutting accommodation and some means by which they would dry their clothes etc. Some of the muddles that take place here are colossal.
Sitting here in my tent and looking out at a sea of mud and deluge off rain, thinking of my men who have been marched out 5 miles to fatigue at which they will find it quite impossible to work. It strikes me that what is really wanted out here is some place or places adjoining every camp where the men could adjourn for a meal of sorts, in fact a YMCA tent or hut, any place where they could get warmth, fire and perhaps dry their clothes.
I have just come in with the Company to Y.... the battalion have been in the trenches for four days. It is not possible to stand any longer than that as the trenches are full of water in many cases up to the waist. The rain and frost are terrible to the men. I fear many must go sick. My only hope is that the Germans are suffering more. In addition to this exposure the dugouts are either non-existent or very bad. We now have big thigh length gum boots which certainly keep out the wet but are very cold and very bad for the feet if much walking is to be done. I have to thank you both for several parcels. The last one was welcome with the special kind of socks, marmalade, cards, chocolate, writing pads, cocoa sweets etc. All most acceptable. My best thanks to you both. Parcels are very pleasant to receive. I did not intend trying for leave at Xmas especially. I am ready to take leave whenever they offer it to me. We have had some casualties the last few days.