Dedicated to the memory of all the men and women of Bridgnorth, Shropshire, who died during the two World Wars.
A BRIDGNORTH MAN ON LIFE IN THE TRENCHES [Bridgnorth Journal, 20th March, 1915]
1553 Private Eric F. Burton, Princess Patricia's Canadian L. I. (son of Mr. and Mrs. E. T. Burton, High Street, Bridgnorth,) writes home from the front, under date 14/3/15, as follows:- "We have just come out of the trenches for our rest. We had quite a good time of it this time, for the trenches were fine and dry and the weather was good. I will give you the menu of my last 24 hours in the trench:- At 6 a.m. I had hot tea, sardines, and buttered toast; and at 11 a.m. Welsh rarebit with an onion sliced in and Oxo. At 2 p.m. I had tinned ration, which is meat and vegetables, just like a good Irish stew, and one can either eat it hot or cold. Then for supper, brown bread and butter, with marmalade, and tea. Agree with me, that it is feeding fit for a king. Then, in answer to your enquiries about vermin, we certainly have plenty, but I am sure if they were taken away some would feel quite lonely, as they give us plenty of occupation and many hours of hunting in the billets and also in the trenches. I have managed to keep clear the last three weeks, with the aid of Keating's. My pal and I had quite a good laugh at your suggestion that the blankets and straw should be burnt. In the first place it would mean burning millions of blankets, and you must remember that quite a lot of straw is in demand, and it is bound to be getting scarce, so I am afraid all your suggestions are impossible; besides you may depend the officials are doing everything they can to keep the places healthy. You have no need to worry about my comfort, as I have got quite used to the life now, and know how to make myself cofortable under any conditions, and I feel just as happy as I ever felt in my life, so you may know I'm all right. Re your other question: We get a bath and a change of clothes every time we come out of the trenches for our six days' rest after twelve days' trench life. Our clothes do not get so wet as you seem to think. We have waterproof sheets, which we wrap round us, and they keep out all the rain. The only place we get wet is about the legs and feet. I have rubber boots, and I can now keep perfectly dry. The rum ration is given out to us only in the trenches, and it seems to put new life into a man; there is a regular transformation after a man has taken it. Beforehand, everyone is cold and feeling out of sorts with everyone around; afterwards, everyone is on the best of terms and all trying to talk at once. It would only take two lots, instead of one, and no German would be able to stop us till we got to Berlin. I am sorry to say it is Major Gault who was wounded, and it was our company who led the charge. Everything you are sending me is fine, and I don't need anything else. No more news."
This memorial has mostly been compiled from official sources. It would be good to be able to expand it with more personal material - memories, stories, photos, etc. If you have any suitable material or any corrections please contact Greg. For news of updates follow @BridgnorthHeros on Twitter.