You follow the other men of your platoon to the forward observation post, where a large number of spades and shovels have been piled on top of hundreds of large, empty bags.

"All right, you men!" bellows Sergeant Wilkes, "you know what to do. Fill the sacs with sand and then pile them up along the trench wall."

Luckily for you, the Sergeant picks a dozen men, including yourself, to stand sentry while the others begin the arduous task of filling sandbags. It is back-breaking work and you are grateful to wait the following hour before having to pick up a shovel.

The work progresses for nearly fifteen minutes while you stand along the firesteps, scouting No Man's Land for any sign of the enemy. Peering over the parapet, you notice a tin of tobacco, half buried in the mud and just beyond arms' reach.

    Date created: May 14, 1999 | Last updated: October 7, 2009