Rum Rations at the Front. Letter in Luton News May 1915
From "A Lutonian in the Trenches" Sir - Will you please allow me a small space in the Luton News re a protest against the issue of rum to the troops at the front. By the way the petition form reads for persons' signature, it would lead anyone not acquainted with the amount we get, to think we get about half a pint per man, instead of one and a half to two tablespoons per man, never more and only once a day at that. I feel sure you will agree with me that the amount we get makes very little difference to our shooting. Now take the climatic conditions. We have had this last four months, hail, rain and snow, not forgetting being wet through and up to our shoe tops in mud, standing for two hours sentry in it, come in a wet dug-out for four hours and then out in the nice mud again for another two hours, with very little chance to make a drop of tea or cocoa. It is not a very nice job to try and light a fire with damp wood. If we kick up too much smoke the enemy know exactly where we are and of course, they let rip with a few of their souvenirs, which are not nice at the best of times. I can assure you they have got some smart snipers and it does not do to keep out of cover any longer than necessary. I am a teetotaller myself and I refused my issue of rum when I first came out here in August but I soon learnt to have it and I can assure you I have been glad of it and I can safely say it has saved me having a severe cold. If the organisers of the petition want a good lot of signatures, let them come out here, near the firing line and ask the Tommies opinion. I am afraid they will not have many filled-up forms to take back with them. It would be better if they stop criticising Tommies' doings when all we are doing is defending our honour. I am not allowed to add my name or address but sign A Lutonian in the Trenches.