It was into this environment that the 27th Field Ambulance was initially posted.
Two weeks after their arrival (12 May 1915) in the area, Sir John French decided that the battle had attained, for the moment, its immediate objectives and ordered his troops to consolidate the ground they had won. Judging by the entries in the War Diary, Albert seems to have missed the main battles in the area although casualties are recorded through the early August period. Most of the unit's time seems to have been spent in basic sanitation work. Hundreds of troops in small rural villages obviously lead to some fairly dire sanitary conditions. On 19th May 1915, just after their arrival, the entry, in summary, states "Sanitation of the village is in a terrible state, the accumulated filth of hundreds of troops. Start sanitary work".
During the latter part of August, things seem to have quieted down. The diary entries concentrate on the troop's bathing. There are several tetchy entries about troops arriving at the bathing areas with no soap or towels, and on one occasion they even expected a clean change of cloths! There is considerable satisfaction on 23 August 1915 when "Average of 50 men bathed in 1hr 10mins".
As for Albert :-
"We had two hospitals in this place and one was situated at the right of this church. The building with the white shutters was our company office or orderly room as it is called. Our camping ground was about 100 yards from this corner. It was only a small village and you can see practically everything in these three photos. I have got these cards from a chum of mine and they are a fine souvenir."
I presume that the other two cards referred to are either catastrophically censored, or lost in the intervening 83 years.
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