As we commemorate the ending of World War One and remember all those who gave their lives, troops not only had to survive the horrors of going over the top but also had to combat many aspects of pest infestation. Body lice were often the cause of trench fever, but perhaps the worst encounter was having to live with rats.
One soldier wrote in his diary of the experience of living alongside rats in the trenches.
“Rats came up from the canal, fed on the plentiful corpses and multiplied exceedingly. While I stayed here with the Welch, a new officer joined the company and in token of welcome was given a dug out containing a spring-bed. When he turned in that night he heard a scuffling, shone his torch on the bed and found two rats on his blanket tussling for possession of a severed hand”
One cannot imagine the living standards of the trenches during this horrific time.