Mud

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Days of rain could change the marshy battle ground into deep mud and fill the trenches with water until the wet soft earth made them collapse. Wounded soldiers sometimes suffocated in the mud of No Man's Land or drowned in deep shell-holes filled with water.

Mr. Stevenson describes trying to move around in mud caused by heavy rain.

Transcript

I remember one session up the line coming on towards spring there, couldn't call it an adventure, I don't know what you would call it. But they had periodically done a little shelling up there, you know, and we had a lot of rain. Sometimes we had some snow. It never lasted more than, you know, snowed at night and went the next day. But it created a sea of mud in this No Man's Land and everywhere else. Actually, I don't think there was much chance of either side attacking over there or you wouldn't be able to get across No Man's Land in this sea of mud. But we had a really wet period. One period we were on the line and the trenches were about half caved in with the amount of rain they had. So they were a ditch full of mud instead of a trench. They pulled everybody out of the line except for the Lewis gunners. They could have pulled us out too. I think, because like I said, I don't think anybody could have come across, left us in there. That was about the third day in about seven days. We had about four days pretty rough there really of the weather conditions not, you know, not the fighting conditions, but weather conditions. I remember they had issued us all with hip rubber boots, the machine gunners. We needed that to walk up and down the trenches and when we were relieved coming out of there, I can remember getting stuck. Now this may sound kinda like some of these tall stories fellows tell but, actually, it was the truth, getting stuck in the trench and somebody having to pull me out, walking along the communication trenches. There was so much mud there you'd get in there and you couldn't - you'd try and lift one foot out and you just couldn't do it. You had to have some help.

Images

Caption: Mud and barbed wire through which the Canadians advanced during the Battle of Passchendaele

(Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-002165)

Caption: Soldiers in mud

(Credit: VAC2000.709)

Caption: Water in trench up to the knees.

(Credit: Col. Philip Robinson/VAC2000.519)

Caption: Canadian Pioneers laying trench mats over mud. Battle of Passchendaele

(Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-002156)

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