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The current time is: 2/22/2018 1:42:28 AM
 (1914-1918) WWI Battles    
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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Inglorious Etaples
Posted on: 2/1/2018 10:48:23 AM
he Étaples Army Base Camp, the largest of its kind ever established overseas by the British, was built along the railway adjacent to the town.

It was served by a network of railways, canals, and roads connecting the camp to the southern and eastern fields of battle in France and to ships carrying troops, supplies, guns, equipment, and thousands of men and women across the English Channel. It was a base for British, Canadian, Scottish and Australian forces.

The camp was a training base, a depot for supplies, a detention centre for prisoners, and a centre for the treatment of the sick and wounded, with almost twenty general hospitals. At its peak, the camp housed over 100,000 people; altogether, its hospitals could treat 22,000 patients.

With its vast conglomeration of the wounded, of prisoners, of soldiers training for battle, and of those simply waiting to return to the front, Étaples could appear a dark place.

Wilfred Owen [Collected Letters. Oxford University Press] described it as -

"A vast, dreadful encampment. It seemed neither France nor England, but a kind of paddock where the beasts are kept a few days before the shambles … Chiefly I thought of the very strange look on all the faces in that camp; an incomprehensible look, which a man will never see in England; nor can it be seen in any battle, but only in Étaples. It was not despair, or terror, it was more terrible than terror, for it was a blindfold look, and without expression, like a dead rabbit"

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3846

Re: Inglorious Etaples
Posted on: 2/1/2018 12:43:04 PM

Étaples Army Base Camp

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 6285

Re: Inglorious Etaples
Posted on: 2/1/2018 12:45:37 PM
Not a lot of happy things to say about Étaples which is near Boulogne. What is that, about 50 km to Dover from the ferry at Calais? So close to home.

The CWGC military cemetery at Étaples is the largest in France.

11, 517 Commonwealth soldiers are interred there and over 10,000 soldiers of WW1. WW2 soldiers are buried there too but I do not know how many.

There are German soldiers buried there, about 650.

There are 20 women buried there who were nurses working at the hospital who may have died of disease or of bombing by German aircraft.

Some worked for the YMCA or other auxiliary organizations.

So no wonder it was considered such a bleak place.

If the doctors could fix you up at one of the many hospitals at Étaples, all was well.

If not, there was a ready resting place.



[Read More]

Cheers,

George


anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6217
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: Inglorious Etaples
Posted on: 2/1/2018 12:54:13 PM

Later, the big battles of the war would depend on transporting huge stocks of shells and reinforcements for both attackers and defenders. France's defense of Verdun, for example, was sustained during the great 1916 assault by a light-rail line paralleling the Voie Sacrée. And when the great rollback of the Western Front occurred in 1918, the Allies staged their battles either to protect their own lines such as at Amiens and near St. Mihiel or to attack the

German network as in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, which successfully closed the strategic Metz-Sedan-Mézières line. For all that is written about the tactical excellence of the German Army, it is not an exaggeration to say that the Allied leaders consistently showed a higher appreciation of the importance of railroads for their armies throughout the war. With our Centennial point of view, this year we will be featuring material on the American participation this year.

One of the greatest contributions of the still-arriving American Expeditionary Force would be a massive expansion of Allied rail capability. They would bring over 1,000 locomotives and 20,000 cars, add 1,200 km of lines and provide tens of thousands of engineers and laborers to operate and maintain the rail network.


Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 6285

Re: Inglorious Etaples
Posted on: 2/1/2018 1:03:09 PM
I hope that someone has some information on the mutiny that occurred at Étaples in 1917.

We don't hear that much about it here.

Apparently British and Canadian soldiers objected to the restrictions placed upon them while stuck at the Étaples base.

As I understand it these were men who had been fighting and were disinclined to put up with what they considered BS enforced by officers who had not fought.

Whether fair or not, they were upset that they could not go into the nearest town and were not allowed on the beach.

There had been a few fights between soldiers and military police and a few of those had been beaten up.

So the authorities sent in the troops and intimidated the rioters who did back down.

In the follow-up investigation, my memory tells me that some men were earmarked for execution but I do not know whether it was carried out.




There were several mutinous events if you want to call them that.

The Kiwis famously rescued a man who had been yelling at a British sergeant about something. The sergeant was going to take the man to jail but his mates grabbed him. All were sentenced to death but I believe only the first man suffered that fate.

Cheers,

George

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6217
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: Inglorious Etaples
Posted on: 2/1/2018 1:13:25 PM
Diuarised description of entry into the camp-

We reached the Base soon after 12.00 noon disentraining at a small station called Etaples. The Camp was a very large one composed of tents, the dining halls etc. being large, marquees with one or two wooden buildings dotted about which were the YMCA's and such like. There were also one or two large Hospitals adjacent to the Camp and these were composed of several wards, each ward consisting of 3 marquees.

From the railway, looking up, the whole place presented one mass of white on the side of the hill, looking clean and white in the sunlight.

From the train we made our way to the stores where we drew rifle and bayonet, both brand new, and then made our way to that part of the Camp allocated to the Welsh Regiments known as the 38th I.B.D. Here we were ten in a tent again but I was lucky in getting in one with only five in it.

After dinner of bully beef stew we showed kit, had the regulations of the Camp read out to us, drew blankets and were then dismissed for the day.

While on parade the officer from Kimmel Park who had brought us across took leave of us much to our regret for although very young he was one of the most popular officers in the Camp.

Unrest would eventually lead to a mutiny

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6217
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: Inglorious Etaples
Posted on: 2/1/2018 1:24:09 PM
Étaples War Cemetery, the largest of its kind in France, overlooks the Canche Estuary. The six-hectare site is the last resting place for some 11,500 soldiers who came to Europe from throughout the British Commonwealth to fight in the Great War and who died as a result of their wounds or of disease.

It was here in 1915, on this narrow strip of land behind the fishing port, that the British Army set up what was to become the largest field hospital complex of its time. At its height the site comprised more than a dozen hospitals and over 20,000 beds. The hospitals were specialist units and included one which treated infectious diseases, another which cared exclusively for German prisoners working in the British bases, yet another which was manned entirely by volunteers, and so on.

In 1917 the field hospital received 40,000 wounded and sick soldiers every month. They were brought to Étaples on a dozen ambulance trains which ran everyday.

[Read More]

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 6285

Re: Inglorious Etaples
Posted on: 2/1/2018 3:58:08 PM
The Germans did bomb the hospitals at Étaples in 1918.

I wonder whether there was confusion about what the place was. Yes there were hospitals, several of them but soldiers were transiting through this camp and training at this camp.

From an angry nurse:


Quote:
‘if there is any truth in what they say about the bombing of hospitals – that in German territory the flying men have seen what are without doubt aeroplane hangers and ammunition dumps marked with huge red crosses. They are not near a railway and are so placed that they simply cannot be hospitals. I suppose they think we do the same and they bomb us on the chance of it. Of course we bomb their hangers and dumps – we should be fools if we didn’t! I am quite sure though that they do know what is a real hospital. They can see the wounded men walking about and some lying out in beds.’


Queen's Hospital (General Hospital #7)

This hospital was sponsored by Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.

Suffered some damage



George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 6285

Re: Inglorious Etaples
Posted on: 2/1/2018 4:01:03 PM
Étaples Training Camp

Apparently these are British soldiers. I don't know whether they are replacements fresh from the UK or fellows who are rehabilitating.

They look so young and while the camera may lie, short and not that fit.



Cheers,

George

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3846

Re: Inglorious Etaples
Posted on: 2/2/2018 2:08:06 AM
 I wonder if it was bombing that smashed the destroyed buildings seen in the photo I put up of the camp.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6217
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: Inglorious Etaples
Posted on: 2/2/2018 3:11:46 AM
Mutiny Untro

It appears that relations between personnel and authorities at the camp continued to deteriorate. They came to a head on Sunday 9 September 1917, after the arrest of Gunner A. J. Healy, a New Zealander belonging to No. 27 Infantry Base Depot. He and others bypassed the police pickets patrolling the bridges that gave access to Le Touquet, which was out of bounds to enlisted men. His son recalled:

It was the practice for those who wished to visit the township to walk across the estuary or river mouth at low tide, do their thing and return accordingly. However in my father's case the tide came in, in the interval and to avoid being charged as a deserter, he returned across the bridge and was apprehended as a deserter by the "Red Caps" and placed in an adjoining cell or lock up.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 6285

Re: Inglorious Etaples
Posted on: 2/2/2018 6:45:17 AM

Quote:
 I wonder if it was bombing that smashed the destroyed buildings seen in the photo I put up of the camp.

Cheers

BW
--BWilson


I took a second look at your photo Bill. It certainly looks like damage from something. Certainly not a construction photo.

Is it common for a military base to combine hospitals, reinforcement depots and training facilities, all so tightly packed together?

Cheers,

George

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6217
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: Inglorious Etaples
Posted on: 2/2/2018 7:02:56 AM
Étaples 8s 15 miles (24 km) south of Boulogne-sur-Mer, was a coastal fishing port with a fleet of trawlers. It also attracted artists from around the worl After 1014 Boulogne was developed to receive largwer vessels to come and go

Regards

Jimd
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6217
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: Inglorious Etaples
Posted on: 2/2/2018 11:40:25 AM
Francis Percy Toplis (20 August 1896 – 6 June 1920) was a British criminal and imposter active during and after the First World War. Before the war he was imprisoned for attempted rape.

During the war he served as a private in the Royal Army Medical Corps, but regularly posed as an officer while on leave, wearing a monocle.

After the war he became notorious following the murder of a taxi driver and the wounding of a police officer who attempted to apprehend him. The manhunt was major news at the time. He was tracked down and killed in a gunfight with police.

In 1978 a book was published which claimed that he had a big part in the Étaples Mutiny from 9–12 September 1917, as "The Monocled Mutineer". The authors suggested that he was pursued by the political establishment in a vendetta and may have been innocent of the murder. The book was dramatised by the BBC in 1986 as The Monocled Mutineer, creating considerable controversy.

Critics say that there is no evidence he was present and official records show that Toplis' unit was en route to India during the Étaples mutiny. No evidence exists to show that Toplis was absent from his unit; neither is there evidence that Toplis ever went to India and may only have got as far as Malta. It is now believed highly unlikely that he returned to Europe in time to participate in the mutiny.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

 (1914-1918) WWI Battles    
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