21 Feb 1915 – Drake-Brockman

21 Feb

Drake-Brockman described the “Indian Village” near Vielle Chapelle. There may have been more than one, the one I have located was near Festubert.

At Vielle Chapelle, like Lillers, there were Corps baths in a brewery, where the men went by detachments for a clean up and issue of clean underclothing. …. The Battalion relieved the Highland Light Infantry in the trenches on the evening of the 21st February and occupied the trenches in front of a village, which had been given the name of “Indian Village,” in the deep bend where the line curved round to Festubert southwards.  A portion of the line here consisted also of isolated piquets in small separate breast-works which were styled “butts”, as they were like grouse butts. They were eventually linked together. ….

The so-called “Indian Village” was in a dirty condition, the ruined houses, such as they were, having been used by some unit, or units, as latrines, in default of a more suitable place. This was a legacy left for us to see to, so I had all the battalion sweepers, and applied for a lot of others, which were sent to me from the Division, and had the whole place cleaned.

We improved very considerably the breastwork and defences of this part of the line while we were in occupation. We endured some heavy shelling while we were here.

… We were relieved by our 1st Battalion in the front line and occupied some houses behind the Rue de l’Epinette as reserve for three days when we were relieved by the Scots Guards, whose Commanding Officer was good enough to say the billets we handed over to him were the cleanest that he had ever taken over. Sometimes units were not always as particular as they might have been in unoccupied houses and did not always leave them clean on their departure.

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Posted by on 21 February, '15 in About


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