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My wife's grandfather went all the way through WWI riding the horses pulling the guns and talked about it. He remained on the reserve and was called up in 1939 and was evacuated at Dunkirk, and took no further part in WWII. He said no word about WWII and did not want his Dunkirk medal when my mother in law asked him (given out in the 1980s ?) When he was close to death in Selly Oak in the 1980's he told us he thought he was in hospital in Southampton and he had been rescued from the water in France that morning.
The original photograph was taken during the 3rd Birmingham Pals very first tour of trenches on the western front. They arrived in France on 21 November, 1915. These waterlogged trenches were in the vicinity of the village of Carnoy located on the Bray front (southern Somme sector). This is where the battalion gained it's first experience of trench warfare during December 1915 to January 1916.
At this time, the men were given rubber waders to wear in the front line. When relieved, however, they had to take them off for the next lot of troops to wear. It was quite common for a man to be stuck firm in the mud and when he got pulled out his waders remained!! An old veteran from the 3rd Birmingham who experienced these trenches told me (many years ago) that if a man got pulled from his waders he had to have empty sand bags wrapped around his feet and legs.
During this first trench experience the three City battalions wore their army greatcoats in these liquid mud trenches. The same veteran also told me that the bottom half of their greatcoats were thick with mud and became very heavy to wear. So.. they lopped of the bottom half of their greatcoats with their bayonets.