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.
Original reads: ‘OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT. Kitchens in a trench.’
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