Learning Curve, The Great War
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Transcript: Source3
Memories of Lieutenant-Colonel M E Hancock on life in the trenches
(Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum, 007396/14/4)

… any kind of dugout or rest place had to be dug out of the back of the trench. That's in the front line. In the communication trenches it wasn't too bad. But it meant that you'd got to hack it out with a pickaxe and get some sort of shelter to get out of the trench. You couldn't lie down and go to sleep because people were walking over you. And you had to get yourself over the back somewhere, which most people did. …

… the commanding officer had a pretty good dugout there. Yes, he did. He and his servant I remember seeing them both hacking away at this underground shelter with a will. And he constructed quite a good place. …

… it was a sort of a square. It could have been six foot square I suppose, that kind of thing, pretty well down underground so you've probably got two or three feet of earth above and unlikely that a shell would crash through it. And he quite rightly did his best to preserve his own life, apart from the fact that he was responsible for the work of this battalion. And it was vital that he should be as safe as could be made.

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