The dark and lovely life of trench warfare during the first world war

Facebook Twitter When the First World War broke out in Augustfew could have imagined the monumental events that were to come.

The dark and lovely life of trench warfare during the first world war

The Jerry on the Menin Road. Fred Karno was a popular music-hall comedian of the time. We are Fred Karno's army, we are the ragtime infantry. We cannot fight, we cannot shoot, what bleeding use are we? And when we get to Berlin we'll hear the Kaiser say, 'Hoch, hoch! The Longing for Home Despite the bitter irony of the trench songs, soldiers found comfort in the more sentimental compositions that reminded them of an idealised home life that they dreamed would be waiting for them.

I want to go home I want to go home, I want to go home.

The dark and lovely life of trench warfare during the first world war

I don't want to go in the trenches no more, Where whizzbangs and shrapnel they whistle and roar. Oh my, I don't want to die, I want to go home. I want to go home, I want to go home.

Take me over the sea, where the snipers they can't get at me. Ten million men had died on all the European fronts. Not all had been killed in the trenches. They died from their wounds, from sheer hardship of the war.

The dark and lovely life of trench warfare during the first world war

Many were gassed and blinded. The sorrow of war has been well covered through novels, film and the great war poets. But as Charles Chilton has noted, it is through the songs of British troops in the trenches that we see another, little-known side of the war.

These songs are, as Chilton's research has shown, extremely strong, more inclined to be stoical and sardonic rather than despairing. At the same time, there was the realisation that all they had gone through could never be fully understood by the people back home.

The comradeship of the trenches and the words of the radical, subversive and often suggestive songs created by these men often provided the vital glue that helped them to cope with the mass horror of the dominant trench warfare.

Once back home in Blighty there was little hope that those who had not experienced the war could ever begin to empathise. And When They Ask Us To the tune of: We spent our pay in some cafe, And fought wild women night and day, 'Twas the cushiest job we ever had.

What is Trench Fever?

And when they ask us, and they're certainly going to ask us, The reason why we didn't win the Croix de Guerre, Oh, we'll never tell them, oh, we'll never tell them There was a front, but damned if we knew where.

We have a lot to thank Charles Chilton for.Indeed, the Great War - a phrase coined even before it had begun - was expected to be a relatively short affair and, as with most wars, one of great movement. The First World War was typified however by its lack of movement, the years of stalemate exemplified on .

History of Trench Warfare in World War I Share Flipboard Email During the First Battle of the Marne in September , the Germans were pushed back by Allied forces.

They subsequently "dug in" to avoid losing any more ground. Unable to break through this line of defense, the Allies also began to dig protective trenches. Life in the. Trench warfare in World War I was employed primarily on the Western Front, an area of northern France and Belgium that saw combat between German troops and Allied forces from France, Great Britain and, later, the United States.

War photography Military History WORLD WAR II First World Trench WWII Warfare Battle WW1 Soldiers Forward WWI - French soldiers carrying a wounded soldier through the mud of the trenches.

Battles Within Battles

The First World War was a conflict of unprecedented scope, bloodshed, and destruction. It shook the world from its complacency, disfiguring and remolding the face of Europe. While most World War I versifiers dwelled on the misery and toil of life in the trenches, avant-garde poet Guillaume Apollinaire often portrayed it as an intoxicating feast for the senses.

8 Battlefield Poets of World War I - HISTORY