World War I in Cambridge: Home and Front Line Contrast

Two features published in The Cambridge Chronicle in the early months of 1915 provide a sharp contrast between life at home and at the front. The first is a letter from ‘A Cambridge Lady:

“Sir – While the streets are so dark I think perambulators should not be allowed on the pavements after sunset, as they add considerably to the danger. I myself nearly had a fall owing to them, and several other ladies have had the same experience. There is, in addition, the risk of the perambulator being upset and the child seriously injured. When there are no lights every care ought to be taken to prevent accidents. Yours, etc.”

Hell’s Nannies would have been a small problem for F. Wootton, a Cambridge man in the Sherwood Foresters, who wrote home about his living accommodation:

“The dug-out I share with another fellow has a fireplace in the clay with bars across, a chimney made of an old pipe and bully beef tins, and a boiler on the top of this for shaving, etc. Our bed is a large barrel placed sideways in the ground …”

There were consolations, however:

“It does not seem possible, but shops and ‘pubs’ are open 700 yards behind our firing line”.

Leave a comment