There were many menial tasks to keep them occupied. These included filling sandbags, mending barbed wire, repairing the duckboards on the floor of the trench and the draining of trenches. Trenches had to be rebuilt after heavy rainfall or an explosion. Soldiers also had to take it in turns to be on sentry duty meaning they had to stand on the fire step of the trench and wait for the enemy to make a move. Due to the constant bombardments and the sheer effort of trying to stay alive, sleep deprivation was common. This was dangerous because if you fell asleep you could be caught and severely punished by your commanding officer or, if you were unlucky, you would end up dead.
Other things they had to look forward to were the regular troop rotation to take you off the frontline duty, cleaning of your weapon, daily inspections, patrols and raids into No Man's Land and mining. They also played cards, played football and read letters from home.While at the outset of the war, most soldiers were supplied with hot meals from Field Kitchens, but during the winters, there was a refuse in food available so soldiers soon had to rely on their rations. However, there was a daily allowance of rum to those on the frontline, and the Red Cross sent food parcels too, which was lucky, as rations were not very appetising.
Field rations consisted of hard, dry biscuits as opposed to fresh bread. The soldiers had tins of corned beef, which was named bully beef, after the French word for boiled - 'boillir' (pronounced boo-lay-err). They also had rations of jam and tea. Mostly the food came from tins or packets or was salted for preservation, as there was no way to keep fresh food properly. A good trench cook could hunt down something tasty though if all that was left were dry crackers.
Fresh water was often a problem. It had to be brought up to the trenches and often was kept in big tanks, which, as you could imagine, was not very hygienic. To make matters a little better, there were...