Saturday 30 April 2016

Tommy’s Four Legged Foes

Sunday 30th April 1916: A rather blood-curdling account has been sent home by Corporal J Partridge, the ex-secretary of the Toddington Social Club, who is now serving in the Signal Section of the 7th Beds Regiment, of alarming, if amusing, experiences in the trenches with swarms of wretched rats, which, he says, “run all over your body at nights”. “The other night” he writes, “I got the fair pip and creeps with them running about me, so I covered my head up with my only blanket. I couldn’t bear the ugly brutes on my face. I looked like a frightened nipper hiding from ghosts, I guess. Anyhow, to breathe, I left my nose exposed and I’m blessed if in the middle of the night one of the saucy bounders didn’t pin my nose. I woke up with a start you can guess and then flew all rods round the dug-out and out of it. I put my hand to my nose and it was covered with blood. I didn’t get into bed again that night (I said bed, but ‘tis only wire-netting and a blanket). In the morning I saw a doctor to see if it was likely to be poisoned. He put some stuff on and it is nearly better now except for a small cut-like scar, which will disappear in a month. My officer ordered wire netting (very small mesh) to be put all round the dug-out to keep them out, so things will not be so bad. I can tell you they were beginning to get on my nerves”.

Source: Biggleswade Chronicle 28th April 1916

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