Images That Show Us Life in a World War 1 Trench

French trenches.

Images That Show Us Life in a World War 1 Trench

What was life like in a World War 1 trench? The Great War started 110 years ago, but the scars it bears across much of the world are still felt. Today’s list looks closer at the living conditions of those on the Western Front.

Mud and Blood

Trenches were filthy and teeming with disease.

Life in a World War 1 trench was anything but idyllic. While the Western Front was in the scenic French countryside, much of the fighting was relegated to trenches. This image depicts English troops at the Battle of Somme, one of the deadliest engagements of the entire war.

Slightly Quaint

World War 1 Trench
Wooden reinforcement could alleviate some of the issues of trenches.

A World War 1 trench could vary in appearance and construction, depending on the time available. This trench was also done by British troops and looks a bit cozier than the haphazardly dug mud trenches you’ll see through much of the war.

Packed Like Sardines

world war 1 trench
Combat was claustrophobic when looking at how trenches played a part on the Western Front.

The Great War is often called the first real modern war. Artillery and machine guns were more accurate and available to armies. The old ways of combat would result in thousands of deaths, as seen during the German invasion of Belgium. As such, many of the soldiers living in a World War 1 trench would be packed tight.


World War 1 trench
Combat would be less static in subsequent wars.

I’ve heard it said that times of war are mostly occupied by boredom and punctuated by sudden and terrifying bursts of violence. For these soldiers, it appears to be the former. These Italian troops are taking a moment, albeit rattled from fighting.

A Moment’s Respite

Men shaving and cleaning
It seems strange, but keeping with regulations helps with mental health for the average soldier.

No matter the conflict, there are regulations and hygiene to consider for troops. Even if you were living on top of one another in a World War 1 trench, these troops are taking a moment to tidy up, with what I presume is an officer in the foreground shaving.

A Four-Legged Friend

Tableau, men, uniform, trench, walking cane, dog, posture, gesture, First World War, soldier Fortepan
The First World War saw a tragic amount of life lost, both from people and animals.

As fighting ravaged most of Europe, civilians and their pets would be caught in the crossfire. Thankfully, these troops seem to have adopted a wayward dog. A trench might make for poor conditions, but it certainly beats the poor animal roughing it in No Man’s Land.


World War 1 gas mask
Chemical warfare would change things forever.

The Great War saw the rise of chemical warfare, thanks to the usage of mustard gas and other agents. This made for an even tenser tour of duty, living under the threat of both shells and gas.

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