I have a really neat document to share today, generously sent to me by a reader named Chris in the United Kingdom. These are the notes from a 1915 course on trench warfare as recorded by his grandfather, one Harold Rayner. Harold was born in 1885 in Surrey, and survived the war to live until 1973 (although his brother died on the Western Front). Corporal Rayner (of the 2/5 Queen’s) attended a training class on trench warfare from January 10th to the 22nd of 1915, to help prepare him for combat, and he took about 60 pages of handwritten notes on a variety of topics including:
- Service Grenades
- Trench Engines
- Trench Fighting
- the Stokes Gun
- Open Warfare
The notebook included several mimeographed diagrams of grenades, mortars, and other pieces of equipment. Several of those have faded quite badly, and I did my best to bring up the images in the scanned copy below. Apparently Chris offered this notebook to several museums, and none were interested. Well, I am happy to be able to scan it and make it public for anyone to see – thanks for thinking of me, Chris!
If you are interested in this aspect of World War One, take a look at the document – I think you will find lots of interesting details. And remember: