Imagine being up to the waist in the water in trenches for days on end, hungry and trying to fend off enemy soldiers.
Braintree resident Lesley Killin’s grandfather, Reginald Smith, lied about his age to join the 2nd Middlesex Regiment and wrote a short account of his involvement in the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917.
On the evening of July 30, Reginald - who lived in Witham - and his troops arrived on the frontline to prepare for attack early the next morning.
Over the course of the next few days, they tried to dig trenches but the rain was so heavy that “in less than two hours we were up to our waist in muddy water.”
They had “nothing to eat or drink and no ammunition as this had all been swamped in the mud. We didn’t even have a cigarette between us.”
See next week's Times for more of Reginald's story and get a glimpse into the life of a local soldier on the frontline.