A member of the Rushden Urban Council, now an offlicer in the Army (and a former headmaster in Rushden) writes:
The hut I dwell in appears from the outside as though it were a bungalow that had settled down in the mud so far that the roof was ready to be submerged. In reality it is a.hut constructed so that the walls are two feet high find the ridge of the roof about seven feet. The doors are at the gable ends, which are a framework of wood, with canvas stretched across. However, the wooden floor is acceptable, for there, is much mud about, and we have, to walk on "slats"wooden framework put end to end to form a continuous path. So near are the guns that the roof shakes when the firing takes place, yet just behind, not 100 yards away, the ploughman is guiding his solitary horse as calmly as in peace time, and the furrows are being made as regularly as if no.battle would ever disturb them.
Not much to do in the way of drill. Physical exercises to keep men fit, inspection of rifles, of ammunition, goggles, and gas helmets (for it is essential that there should be no defects in case of gas attack), these and similar duties keep one busy during a part of the day. Yet there is plenty of spare time. No one seems to think of the battle raging so near, though from time to time the guns speak. What's the use of troubling about it? When our turn comes, in we go. Till then, carry on as usual. Being a long way from any town, we can get no opportunity of shopping or seeking amusement. The canteen will supply whatever is really necessary in the way of extra food. For articles of clothing and for food luxuries, we rely on the parcels from home.
No furniture is provided for the hut, we sleep on the floor and straw beds would certainly be welcomed. A few industrious officers have already fixed up crude beds with wire netting on short wooden supports, but the majority are disinclined to trouble about this, as we may be off at any moment.
We get English papers the day after publication, but letters do not reach us much under three or four days.
Our roughly-made table, is being used for meals, so I lie on my back to write. There is no need to complain about ventilation, as a good breeze blows through the hut. The nights are not very cold, but the breeze in the early morning is somewhat chilly. During the night there is a loud report from time to time and the hut shakes a bit. But there is not much doing in our immediate vicinity. Plenty of mud there is, but most of us were accustomed to it before coming across. The electric light is wanting, so we use candles. Somehow we manage without all the modern improvements. Bang again! Now I'll stop for a while.