Warfare enthusiast digs in for trench experience

FOR MOST people it is enough to visit the First World War battlefield sites and read the books, but David Curry, 35, wanted more. He has decided to dig his own trench network in North Humberside and live in it for six months, writes Stephen Ward.

'I want to recreate the experience of a soldier in 1914,' he said yesterday. He has the time to do so, since his business folded last year. So in September, the month when the first earthworking began on the Western Front, and assuming he can find an amenable farmer, he will move into a soggy field near his home in Market Weighton, taking a spade.

'I wish to understand how these men felt like when they were just about to go over the top. They were tired, they felt lousy and then they had to fight. If you told people today to live in trenches they'd tell you to stuff off. But people at that time did it. I want to know why.'

Sandbags, supplies, fresh duckboards, corned beef and bread will be brought to a supply trench a safe distance back from the front line. He plans to wear British Army surplus uniforms, carry a pack and possibly a couple of air rifles.

His French wife, Brigitte, was initially unenthusiastic about the project - 'she went for a walk when I first told her' - but has come round to the idea. In any case, he will be home for two days in every 24 for a bath.