Once the First World War bogged down in static trench warfare, life on the front was a series of daring trench raids, terrible losses in ill-conceived battles and constant torment from snipers, rats and lice. Yet throughout, the men could somehow find humour in it for themselves. As historian Jonathan F. Vance notes in his introduction, “There is a cliché that old soldiers never like to talk about their wartime experiences–unless it is to other old soldiers. These stories are just that–First World War veterans talking to each other.”