Vintage Video - British Troops Pumping Water from a Trench, 1914

With the end of the rapid war of movement on the Western Front following the First Battle of the Marne in September 1914, and the conclusion of the so-called 'Race to the Sea', static trench warfare became the norm.

These hastily constructed trenches - although the German Army built trench systems designed for extended periods of use, whereas Allied commanders assumed that their own trenches were temporary pending resumption of the war of movement - were the subject of constant repair work.

In particular, following heavy rainfall trenches could quickly accumulate muddy water, making life ever more miserable for its occupants as the walls of the trench rapidly became misshapen and were prone to collapse.

Pumping equipment was available for the draining of trenches.  Use the player above to view brief film footage of British soldiers pumping water from a trench in the autumn of 1914.

A 'corkscrew' was a metal post for supporting a wire entanglement, with a twisted base enabling it to be screwed into the ground, removing the need for a hammer, the use of which could attract enemy fire.

- Did you know?

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