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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Which unit was dirty?


Chris_Baker
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I'm studying the doings of the battalions of 91st Brigade, 7th Division, and a war diary entry amused me. I've seen similar ones before.

According to the Adjutant of the 2nd Queens, on March 2nd 1917 "Battalion moved to Bolton Camp, at P 17 a 9.4 after dinner. Outgoing unit left camp in exceptionally filthy condition".

Now I know it wasn't a battalion from the Brigade, and I doubt it was one from the rest of 7th Division.

Can anyone identify the mucky battalion?

Bolton Camp is somewhere west of Mailly-Maillet, on the Somme.

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Chris - I haven't checked but I know that there were complaints from units taking over from some of the Portuguese units due to the state they left the trenches in.

I can't remember if I read it in a book or saw something at the Military Museum in Lisboa with regards to this.

Incidently, if you are ever in Portugal go to the Military Museum, it is virtually opposite the main rail station in Lisboa and it is pretty impressive. A knowledge of the lingo is helpful as the women on duty don't speak English, I was fortunate as my (now EX!) fiancee is Portuguese. :rolleyes:

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Bon Dia Chris - My ex tried to teach me the lingo and all I learned was the swear words :rolleyes: and how to ask for beer, fags and coffee!!

I was impressed with the beer vending-machines on railway platforms, but little things always impress me!

Yes I did see the memorial (along with a million other memorials and statues!), I still have a photo somewhere.

Did you go into the Military Museum? There is a great display downstairs of minature, working, artillery pieces. They were made by trainee gunsmiths and although small are capable of firing.

I was lucky when I went as the local Army unit had a display in the basement area, my ex told them that I'd been in the RMPs and they let me 'play' with their rifles etc, they have a great respect for the British Army. A lot of people forget that the Portuguese are our oldest ally.

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Chris,

I can't help with the identity of the unit concerned, but weren't all units that had just left a camp criticised for leaving it in such a state?

Rob

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Yes, that's true. However the reason for my asking is not just out of curiosity as to a unit that would be considered exceptionally dirty ... I am trying to put together a detailed schedule of unit movements around this time, so if anyone does come up with this I would be very grateful.

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  • 3 years later...
Chris,

I can't help with the identity of the unit concerned, but weren't all units that had just left a camp criticised for leaving it in such a state?

Rob

Just discovered this thread, and the above post:

When the 14th Royal Warwickshire arrived at Codford in August 1915 (apparently detraining at Wylye Station) it found the huts in a filthy condition. On leaving in November, Second Lieutenant G F Bennett, just discharged from Salisbury Hospital, was put in charge of handing over the battalion’s huts. The barrack warden (perhaps a civilian?) tried to confiscate private property, much of which had been donated by the citizens of Birmingham; eventually most of it was sold to Salisbury tradesmen, but there was a long argument with the warden over the battalion flag.

Jacko Thompson noted that when the British 45th Training Reserve Battalion moved to Perham Down Camp in October 1917 its members had clean up the huts after the Australians: "They ARE a dirty crew! … Apparently the term "discipline" is new to them - they seem to do just what they think they will."

I've come across several more disparaging references to units moving into training camps, but in 1914-15

the Canadian medical services were allowed to use Netheravon Cavalry School, enabling 342 beds to be provided. When the Canadians handed back the accommodation in mid-March, an RAMC colonel refused to accept it until the guardroom had been holy-stoned to snowy whiteness.

Moonraker

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Chris,

Military units and organizations always blame each other and point the finger at other units.

When you read things like that take them with a grain of salt. That kind of thing is as old as the army itself.

Pete

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