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Experiences of the Great War

Trench warfare

George Ramage's introduction to the trenches coincided with one of the great battles of the First World War. The Second Battle of Ypres was raging in April 1915 — the ninth month of fighting.

Troops on both sides were still coming to terms with the new war technologies, and the thought that they could be killed in an instant was never far from their minds.

In his diary Ramage describes the many facets of modern warfare in the trenches.

He was confronted with heavy artillery bombardments, shrapnel, machine gun and sniper fire, and razor wire defences. There was the threat of attack by air attack from above and by mines from below.

The latest innovation — gas warfare — was first unleashed by the Germans at Ypres on 22 April 1915.

Ramage saw the effects that trench warfare had on his fellow soldiers: bullet and blast wounds, asphyxiation or shell shock. The mental and physical strain on the common soldier was great indeed.

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