Kitchens in a trench | National Library Scotland

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This image of a soldier cooking at a stove while standing in a trench might seem rather unusual, but this trench would certainly not be in the immediate front line as the smoke from such a stove would have attracted the enemy’s attention. In general British soldiers’ diet consisted of bully beef (i.e. corned beef), stew, jam, bread and biscuits tat were all canned. The soldiers repeatedly complained that their ‘hot’ meals had turned cold by the time they reached the front line trenches. The army’s response – as shown here – was to move the field kitchens ever closer to the front line. Though the army claimed that the troops were receiving the 3,547 calories that they needed each day, the soldiers pointed out that this was the absolute minimum and was not suitable for fighting men.


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About Everett Sharp

Everett Sharp is a subject expert on the World War One Centenary: Continuations and Beginnings project. He has worked for the University of Oxford on a series of other First World War Projects including the Great War Archive and First World War Poetry Digital Archive. He is also currently working for the Europeana 1914-1918 initiative with the Oxford. His retirement in 2009 didn't go quite according to plan!
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