Arrival in Etaples
Etaples was a large British Expeditionary Force Training Camp.1 All the countries represented had their training camps and other services facilities there for managing the throughput of troops to the front line.
The image below is a depiction of Troops arriving at Etaples. The building in the foreground is the YMCA Gordon Hut. Here everyone drilled, however, did this really offer any preparation for the grim reality of the fight that would take place in trenches? 2
Training in Etaples was, in some ways, the last line of preparation before the action. The notorious “Bull Ring” held a number of training exercises such as
- Bayonet fighting,
- bombing (grenades),
- gas training,
- extended order,
- rapid fire.
The image below was taken at Etaples, France. 1916. Men of the 18th Battalion at the “Bull Ring”, an infamous training ground, kneeling behind a sandbagged trench during firing practice. 3
- This item is from The Great War Archive, University of Oxford(www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit/gwa); © John Blackburn, http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit/gwa/document/9127/4558 ↩
- ART19601 Title – Troops arriving at Anzac Camp – Artist Iso Rae – http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/ART19601 ↩