Category: trench warfare

Captured French soldiers being escorted to t…

Captured French soldiers being escorted to the German captivity, date unknown.

A dead French soldier in a captured trench on …

A dead French soldier in a captured trench on the height of Mareuil-sur-Ourcq during the Third Battle of the Aisne, June 1918.

British gunners at parade outside their huts…

British gunners at parade outside their huts near Saint-Leger-aux-Bois, 2 August 1916.

A trench club made from the wooden handle of a…

A trench club made from the wooden handle of an entrenching tool and a cast lead head.

This trench club was made and used in 1915, by Private Harold Startin of the 1st Leicestershire Regiment. He subsequently left it at home while on leave from the Front and donated it to the Imperial War Museum in 1964, along with details of its manufacture and use. Startin and other members of his Company’s bombing section made clubs because they were unable to carry rifles when using their hand grenades. They made them by fitting entrenching tool handles with lead heads made in clay moulds. Startin calls them ‘a most effective weapon, especially when used on listening patrols between the trenches’. He goes on to say that ‘the first victim’ of his club was a Sergeant in a Württemburg regiment whom he killed near Hooge in Belgium in July 1915.

A British soldier in a reinforced German gun…

A British soldier in a reinforced German gun pit at Audignicourt, 23 June 1917.

Captain Macauley, in Bovril Alley, an old, Fre…

Captain Macauley, in Bovril Alley, an old, French communication trench, August 1916.

A German trench club consisting of a square me…

A German trench club consisting of a square metal head attached to a wooden handle by a thick coil-spring.
This is one of a number of identical German trench clubs collected by for the IWM during the war.  The fact that three were collected as official trophies indicates that this pattern was produced in some quantity. They appear to be the product of a German military workshop, rather than a commercial manufacturer. 

A French DR grenade in position at the Ordna…

A French DR grenade in position at the Ordnance Department at Mauvages, 10 May 1918.

What an ingenious little thing. Now is it for firing one at a time or a whole barrage?

A French officer operating a mobile shield f…

A French officer operating a mobile shield for machine guns at Neuvilly-en-Argonne, July 1915.

An officer of the French Army Engineers list…

An officer of the French Army Engineers listening to the sound of enemy operations with a microphone in the underground tunnel.