STORY BY SHARON ADAMS
Excerpts from a memoir written by First World War veteran Charles Henry Savage, born in 1892 in Eastman, Que., who served in Messines, Belgium, in 1915-16.
Our first trip in the trenches was a short one for instructional purposes…Although late in October, there had not been a great deal of rain and the front line and communication trenches were in almost perfect condition when compared with those we took over after the rains had begun.
Trenches in this sector were very difficult indeed. The water was so close to the surface that the “trench” really consisted of a built up fortification. To build up a trench of that sort you must have sand in bags, and to get sand into bags requires much labour with a shovel. We only called it sand because it went into sand bags. Actually it was the stickiest of clay in most places.