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It  would be wrong to suggest that all those who served in the Armed Forces during the Second World War shared the same experiences.


Even within one specific branch of the military, the Army for example, there were many different Regiments each of which would contain hundreds or even thousands of men whose jobs were very different to one another.

There were some experiences that would have been similar, though.


These experiences would include living in barracks when assigned to a particular base. When not on a base they would live in tents or even in foxholes (holes dug in the ground).

Out in Europe, in the war zones, meals would consist  of  compo (composite) rations accompanied by whatever else the soldiers were lucky enough to scavenge or scrounge.


The rations were supposed to include breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as chocolate, boiled sweets and even cigarettes. The further from the supply lines you went, however, the less likely it would be to see the luxury items like chocolate.

Another thing that all service men and women would have experienced would have been PT or Physical Training. It was recognised that for an Army to be successful it had to be healthy and keeping fit was an important thing, especially since the food that the soldiers ate was not always of the best quality (see below).

With the advent of rationing Britain was often lacking in fresh ingredients like fruit and vegetables and soldiers felt the pinch like everybody else in the country.


Those living in the UK were the lucky ones as they would have regular meals.

Of course, there was always the risk of death when serving in the Army overseas. For some of those who escaped death there was a different fate in store and they ended up as POW's or Prisoners Of War. These were soldiers who were captured by the enemy and taken to POW camps. There were many attempts to escape from these POW camps involving tunnels and disguises. Some worked, most did not.

One thing that people the world over came to associate with the British Army was the great tradition of 'brewing up'.


After a long day marching  or building bridges or even fighting most soldiers would boil up some water, break open their rations and have a nice cup of tea!

A nice cup of tea - just what the soldiers wanted!