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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Andy Robertshaw Trench


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Hello everyone,

I wondered if anyone had been on a trench experience at Andy Robertshaws trench ?

I ask as I am interested in experiencing life or attending a lecture although being a university student on a music course I do not have a clue about how to go about this.

Looking forward to hearing your experiences.

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One member of my WFA branch went and was impressed. Equally he is bonkers.

Why not a hole in the garden with trowel, in winter fill it water, use it as your latrine, stock up on coned beef, fill an old petrol can with water, get a corpse - a dead cat or dog will do - but forget about whizz bangs they do serious damage - you could take some old love texts, since students have forgotten how to write letters and wouldn't know an indelible pencil from a joint and anyway (they are probably banned by safety elf). Stay for six days and rotate out after a week report to local hospital with trench foot - far cheaper.

Or better still forget the whole insane idea and get a ticket to Glastonbury.

Just my view of course

Regards

Olf Art

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Your reply did make me smile. Reminds me of something I read a while a go written by a soldier home to his parents describing what it was like.

I think equally I am bonker.

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I went to a lecture given by Robertshaw a few years ago on his garden trench. Obviously a labour of love it looked very realistic, but he seemed very reluctant to entertain any critisism as to the authenticity of the whole experience. He seemed to think that spending a few days there gave young soldiers a genuine feeling of 'what it was like'. The absence of rats, lice & any sort of danger whatsoever he seemed to regard as needless carping. Of about as much value as that daft BBC program 'The Trench' of a few years ago.

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I remember the trench from when I was younger wish it had been reproduced to give me my own opinion.

I think to a certain degree it would be interesting to find out more. What did the weekend entail with lecture ?

Just to add I think there is a certain degree to authenticity that you can get towards anything these days especially with health and safety. But I think possibly it's the furthest that you can get to realising a small percentage of what an individual soldier went though on a daily basis.

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I like AR vey much. But I think this is trench too far. Not least pictures show house nearby. You would have thought he could have got the sappers an miners to blow the bu* er up. Not sure about lecture but I understand that you get bo**ked if you kip on stag. I'm thinking about opening a NAAFI in Wimbledon or better a branch of Skindles with hot toty - sorry bright young things. Much more fun and you won't get muddy, unless you want to of course. It will be a broad minded church.

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Many thanks for your comments. I am interested to see this trench in all honesty out of curiousity. Does anyone know much about the tv series the trench that aired in 2002 ?

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Hello Norman,

Thank you for the pictures. I remember the TV series but it's vague as I was young then. Wish some clips or videos existed

Somewhere.

Thank you

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I wanted to add is there an oficial contact for Andy Robertshaw ? I would love to get involved somehow although I am not a reenactment person and don't have any information. Lot of thanks for your help.

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I heard Andy's talk recently and he doesn't claim it to have been a fully-authentic re-creation. He wanted to try and get a handle on what it was like for soldiers in the mundane periods. As he said in the talk, we have an image in our minds that being in a front-line trench automatically equates to going over the top every five minutes. The reality was much more mundane but, unsurprisingly. few questions were asked of the veterans about these 'quiet' episodes when their experiences were being recorded. To that end, a small group were made to go through the routines of a 24-hour period. The trench had not been occupied for several months after being dug so their first task was to dig it out and revet the walls. They had to cook without much in the way of equipment and use fuels that didn't make smoke, which could have attracted 'hate'. They had to sleep at odd hours to be able to work efficiently overnight. They had to 'stand to'. No, there were no rats or lice but it gave an insight into what life was in a trench the majority of the time.

Keith

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But were there ever any periods in a front line trench when the threat of death was completely absent? OK, they didn't go over the top very often but if they stuck their heads above the parapets they were likely to get shot at any time & the odd shell might arrive unexpectedly. Playing soldiers in a muddy ditch in someone's back garden without that constant fear seems to me to be interesting but rather futile.

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What do the neighbours do for a 'hate', throw rubbish over the fence? You should have asked if you could see the supplement prices for rats, lice and trench foot. Bet you didn't see any Germans, that would cost a fortune.

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  • 1 month later...

One wonders if Health & Safety might have reservations about an excess of realism? There was a modest representation of a trench at last weekend's Wylye Valley 1914 event, but the local authority restricted its depth lest it flooded.

Moonraker

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He is a reincarnation of Uncle Toby from 'Tristram Shandy', who refought Malburian sieges in an elaborate complex of fortifications built in his garden aided by his servant Corporal Trim.

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Andy dressing up Avril Williams' son a few years ago.

post-100478-0-45105300-1406884060_thumb.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I`m sure I saw an article on the news today about another chap who has just built a trench system in his back garden, looked pretty good, unfortunately I can`t find any online links to the article.

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