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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Contributed by 
Neath Port Talbot Heritage Group
People in story: 
Harry Barnsley
Location of story: 
Background to story: 
Royal Air Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
06 August 2004

World War 2 memories from Harry Barnsley
as told to Christine Pearce of Neath Port Talbot Library Service and added to the site with his permission.
Life in the trenches

When we were dug-in in the trenches food was supplied by a man crawling along with a sackful of tins and throwing them out one between two men. We then opened the tin with a bayonet and dug-in with our fingers to the stone-cold food. Sausage and bacon was very tasty. It was possible to heat up the tins by lighting a fuse attached to a tube in the centre of the tin, however this often resulted in casualties.

At the beginning of the war, no bread was received for 6 weeks, only army biscuits. When the bread arrived there were 2 slices, one was eaten straight away and the other kept until the next day. When newspapers were dropped by air the headline read “British troops get white bread on second day of invasion”! Letters from home and newspapers were received about once a week. Free cigarettes were supplied in tins, 50 in each, the lid of the tin contained a tin-opener. 24 hour ration packs were supplied for 12 men at a time containing food and even toilet paper. Sometime these were opened and found to be full of bricks, ------ they had been looted by the dockers !

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