Learning Curve, The Great War
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Useful notes: Source1
Photo of the 12th East Yorkshires washing and shaving in their dugout near Roclincourt, January 1918
(Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum, Q10623)
  • This image shows British officers in a dugout near (but not in) the front line on 9 January 1918. They are probably junior officers.
  • Officers enjoyed a number of privileges over ordinary soldiers. They had their own separate toilet and washing facilities. They also had their own common rooms and relaxation facilities behind the lines.
  • Some ordinary soldiers (privates) could become batmen. This meant that they looked after an officer's clothing and equipment in return for being excused other duties. Officers and batmen often became good friends, as far as the difference in their ranks allowed.
  • Relations between officers and men were generally very good in the British Army. Discipline was certainly tight, but in general the officers and men saw themselves as very much on the same side against a common enemy. Junior officers (subalterns, lieutenants) fought alongside their men and suffered losses that were just as high as the ordinary soldiers.
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