Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Group of Poilus


PhilB

Recommended Posts

This photo appeared in the Sunday Telegraph in an article about J K Rowling`s ancestor. I was struck by the very French appearance of the men - quite different to British soldiers. Not surprising :rolleyes: , but a couple of queries;-

1/ The poilu seemed more attached to his greatcoat than his British counterpart and usually had it pinned back at the bottom - was that by choice or not?

2/ The man on the left is in a different order of dress. What do the presence of boots on the pack indicate?DSCN3000.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At the start anyway, there was no tunic. The dark blue coat and red trousers were superseded by Horizon Blue which was surprisingly less glaring than it might sound. As to the boots, a spare pair? He seems to be carrying much more kit than the others. Sentry on duty in FSMO perhaps?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The French Greatcoat was the upper uniform item. They had a tunic (Varueuse) but this was rarely worn on its own in the trenches. There is photographic evidence showing that the Vareuse was worn but normally the coat was the principal garment.

The coat was pinned back for obvious reasons ie keeping the front skirts away from the legs for ease of movement / free of dirt / smart appearence. There were buttons to facilitate this. As for boots simply normal spare pair.

Regards

TT

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He is in full marching order in which he carried

Pack

Mess tin

Blanket

Half Shelter

Spare boots

3 Haversacks

Gas mask

Water Bottle

Axe

Rifle

Bayonet

He would not wear this on sentry duty

Correction - 2 haversacks and 3 ammo pouches.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Perhaps he was on jankers (janqueurs). :P

Did any other army adopt the buttoning back of the greatcoat? I never found them restricting and I assume they`d be less warm buttoned back?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

QUOTE (Phil_B @ Feb 11 2009, 07:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Perhaps he was on jankers (janqueurs). :P

Did any other army adopt the buttoning back of the greatcoat? I never found them restricting and I assume they`d be less warm buttoned back?

The Belgian army in 1914 and, I think, the Danish (but I'll need to check on that)

BTW although Poilu (meaning hairy one) had been used of French soldiers for several centuries (and was some times used by some officers and NCOs) it was not liked by French private soldiers who prefered Les hommes or Les bonhommes, they thought poilu patronising (a bit like Tommy)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...