Imagine this: It is World War I, and you’re one of the soldiers on the Western Front having to stay in the trenches filled with rainwater that would, later on, turn into creamy mud. It’s the same place where you would sleep and spend most of your time fighting the enemy forces. Changing your clothes is not a norm, and don’t even think about bathing. Your boots and feet are soaked in the murky water the whole time, and you don’t have much choice but to stay there and endure the entire situation until your muck-soaked skin starts to get wrinkly… and more.

That was the situation of the soldiers during the Trench warfare of World War I, so harsh that many suffered a disease called “Trench foot.”

The Trench’s Muddy Situation

In general, the trenches of World War I were dirty and dangerous, to say the least— the threat of your enemies bombarding you with heavy firepower or sneaking in the night to silently kill you with their melee weapons like trench knives and trench clubs. The trenches were built to shelter the soldiers from the enemy fire. It was a great idea until the heavy rain in Belgium and Northern France started pouring down. As British Officer Joseph Price, who served on the Western Front, said, the water was “always over your boots.”

“When you take your boots off, [your feet are] like a washerwoman’s hand, all wrinkled, cold, and everything was shrunken, terrible,” he added.