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Remembered Today:

"Bell" Tents


ackimzey
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Another diary puzzle......my great uncle (a doctor) writes:

April 9, 1918 – School dismissed at noon. Ordered to Strozule to attend French civilians who were evacuating. No train from Steenwerck. Met a Canadian, Capt. Kendall, who had charge of RR. Came to Strozule c[with] two orderlies in his car. Spent night in his hut.

April 10, l918 – Reported to concentration camp. Many “civies” but none sick. Later was called to RR station. Found a woman in labor. Could find no room for her in houses. So put her on bell tent bags and delivered her before many onlookers. Did not have time to wait for soap and water before delivery. All done under very septic conditions. Blanche Francois, baby boy, born 2:15 p.m. Very little hemorrhage, placenta delivered 2:30 in tact.

I thought at first that he wrote "full tent bags" but the longer I work on the transcription, the more the word looks like "bell" so it's "over to y'all" for help. I wish I had a scanner, but I don't. All ideas and suggestions appreciated.

Thanks,

Ann

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Yes, there was such a thing as a bell tent.  [

Yes, the picture is as I remember them when I was in the Boy Scouts, (yes I am that old!)

Sleeping arrangements were in radial fashion, feet towards the centre pole and heads towards the outside. Anyone who needed to go outside during the night invariably made themselves unpopular by trampling over several of the others.

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That is what I would call a bell tent. I too remember camping in them with the scouts. The sleeping arrangements being as described by Roy.

Come to think of it, they were probably ex-army.

Rich.

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Yes, there was such a thing as a bell tent.  I remember a discussion about it here .

Perhaps this is such a structure.  I pinched it from the Canadian Archives site here .

They were also favoured by The Boys Brigade and other youth organisations.

The wall of the tent could be raised during the day to allow air to circulate. Very keen on air in these days. I remember that the centre pole was as heavy as hell. We slept on palliasses.( Hessian sacks full of hay.)

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Camping with the BB as a boy in the sixties, we would go raidiing another BB site with Bell Tents. If you loosened all the guy ropes you could take out the central pole whilst the inhabitants slept on. The aim was to get clean away with the pole and "parade" it back to the site the following day with our band leading.

Unfortunately ? camp raiding is now banned

Patrick

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We slept on palliasses.( Hessian sacks full of hay.)

Damn, I should have joined the B. B., in the scouts we just had groundsheets. :P

Roy

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Presumably the baby was delivered with the mother laying on a mattress of Bell tents still wrapped in their bags.

Bob.

I'm sure that's what he meant. That's why my first interpretation was "full tent bags" instead of "bell tent bags". I should have included this part of the next's days entry as well:

April 11, 1918 - Above lady & child doing well. Sent to Hazebrouck to hospital....

Thank you all for the posts and detailed information. Never before have I been able to ask a question one day and have the answer appear like magic the next day.... :) I really appreciate it.

Ann

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From my days in the Scouts we used to call the palliasses friendly donkeys.

John

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  • 1 year later...

sibley tents and stoves,

the pic. remindes me of a sibley tent,

does anyone know if the u.s. army was still using

the cival war sibley tent?

from what I can gather the army used the stove up untill 1941,

when the m-1941 barel stove came out.

BB

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The Bell Tent is mentioned in the 1914 Infantry Manual.

IIRC the "allocation" for occupying them was as follows:

One Senior Officer

or

Two Junior Officers

or

Two Sergeant Majors

or

Four sergeants

or

Twelve other ranks

There is a description of o/r's sharing these tents in the book "Combed Out" by Fritz August Voight. Crowded and uncomfortable; prone to leaking rain and airless when fully occupied.

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Tents, bell: if twelve slept in, with kit, very crowded... At a cadet camp in 1948 we were six to a tent, on a slope, which meant that the proper 'feet in, heads out' did not work, as blood rushed to the heads of those on the downhill side.

Not recommended but they look pretty in the old photos.

Daggers

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