William apologizes to his sister for what he considers to be terrible writing and explains that he is writing from a dug-out and there is not a great deal of room.
“No doubt you will think that this is terrible writing but really I am writing away & and I am all cramped up for room in a dug-out with three other fellows & we are rather crowded, in fact the dug-out will only hold two comfortably but any way, we try & make the best of conditions.”
William Garrow – May 7, 1916
Dug-outs, usually sited close to the trench line – often within or below the trench wall – were used as a form of underground shelter and rest for both troops and officers. Occupants of dug-outs would eat their meals, arrange meetings and often make their bed there.
Dug-outs were considered much safer than resting or lying in the open since they afforded some form of protection against not only the weather but, far more critically, from enemy shell-fire. However it was not unusual for direct shell hits to burrow through to dug-outs, killing or maiming all their occupants.