Years of artillery fire in both directions had cratered the Ypres salient into a lunar landscape. And remember these craters rapidly filled with water from below and rain from above. The rain at Passchendaele went on and off for the entirety of the offensive. August historically a dry month, in 1917, full of rain and damp, moist weather. Everything and everyone was wet all the time; even on rain-free days, the men couldn't dry-out because they were sitting in muddy holes. Robert Sherriff of the East Surrey Reg wrote, "The living conditions in our camp were sordid beyond belief. The cookhouse was flooded, and most of the food was uneatable. There was nothing but sodden biscuits and cold stew. The cooks tried to supply bacon for breakfast, but the men complained that it smelled like dead men...At dawn, on the morning of the attack, the battalion assembled in the mud outside the huts. I lined up my platoon and went through the necessary inspection. Some of the men looked terribly ill: grey, worn faces in the dawn, unshaved and dirty because there was no clean water. I saw the characteristic shrugging of their shoulders that I knew so well. They hadn't had their clothes off for weeks, and their shirts were full of lice."