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Dreadful Living Conditions

Heroes Remember

Dreadful Living Conditions

What you can't understand is the conditions to start off with. You're filthy, you're muddy, you're lousy, you stink and that's the way, everybody else stinks too so you don't notice it. But there's lousy rats, the food is very, very poor. Rations came up in sandbags, sure you got white bread occasionally but it's in the bottom of a sandbag, sandbag all of the fibers off the Hessian ground into the sand well the bread you never worried about that. Then you have the ration party brings all the rations up there, the way it works out, see the beef for instance a side of a beef could start at base, at core base, it goes to division well division takes a crack at that it goes to from division to brigade, well the officers got a crack at that one too. By the time it gets up to battalion you're lucky, all the best parts of that side of beef are gone. Officer's messes got them all the way back right back to steaks, who ever heard of a steak. We got stews.

Mr. Henley discusses being filthy, living with louse infested rats, and having last dibs on rations if you were in the front line.

Roy Henley

Roy Henley was born in London, Ontario on September 29, 1898. After enlisting in Toronto in 1916 with the 166th Queens Own Rifles, he was discharged with suspected tuberculosis. Mr. Henley re-enlisted, sailed to England aboard the horse transport SS Welshman, and joined the Quebec Regiment. Mr. Henley's recollections are detailed, sometimes graphic and occasionally humorous. His experiences spanned many battles; the Somme, Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, Cambrai and Arras.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Roy Henley
War, Conflict or Mission:
First World War

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