The First World War affected the lives of a whole generation of people in Britain and the Commonwealth. Most people living today will have an ancestor who fought or died in the conflict, and as the 90th anniversary of the conclusion of the war approaches, there has been a rush of people trying to trace their ancestors and understand what life for them was like during World War I.
While the familiar images - the photographs, film, poetry and prose of the First World War focus on the hellish trenches, mud and death, there is another dimension to the soldiers life in the war - that of everyday life at the front. The Tommy was only in the trenches for at most one-quarter of his time overseas, and when away from the front, vigorous routine, training and order soon took over. Peter Doyle addresses this, describing the lives of British soldiers while not in the trenches at the front, exploring the life of the average soldier of the First World War and answering the question: what was it really like to be a soldier in the trenches on the frontline.