My grandfather in a trench during WWI (on the right)

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Not particularly. Artillerymen were often only a few hundred metres back from the front line. They were still well within range of the enemy and had to occupy trenches and dugouts just like the front line infantry. Some had to observe the fire of their guns and so ended up about as close to the enemy as was possible. Being an artilleryman was still about the most dangerous job to do after being an infantryman.

On the other hand, being in the front line didn’t necessarily mean you’d look disheveled. Depending on the sector in question, front line trenches could be very well built with deep dugouts with furniture and electric lighting. Naturally the men occupying the front line did their best to make it as clean and comfortable as possible. Moreover almost every army had some system of rotation so that the ‘front line infantry’ might spend as few as three or four days of the month in the front line, with the rest spent in support lines or out of the line entirely. The front line itself would comprise multiple lines of trenches and the very front trenches would be held very lightly, basically only by enough troops to keep an eye on the enemy, while the majority were further back in the second or third trenches. Not every trench was filled with mud up to the knees and not every infantryman would have to man it.

So basically I don’t think you can judge their arm of service by the state of their appearance. It would be as unsurprising to see infantryman in perfect uniform as it would be to see artillerymen covered head to toe in mud.

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