This week’s postcard is a fine image of a temporary military tented camp, probably taken at some point in the interwar years:This camp seems to be set up somewhere in England and is possible part of the Territorial Army’s summer manoeuvers. The tents consist of a mixture of bell tents and large ridge tents:The two largest tents however belong to the NAAFI, as can be seen from the letters painted onto the canvas:The second of these tents has a set of chimneys and smaller tents behind which may well be a small kitchen preparing food for the troops:This site seems to have been a semi-permanent location for troops to pitch camp as there are a row of more permanent buildings in the foreground which seem to possibly be latrine and wash blocks:This excellent description of a Territorial Army camp comes from the Daily Mail in 1938:
The holidays-with-pay idea might almost have been conceived in a modern Territorial Army camp. Veteran sergeants probably say of the stuff they give the troops today: “we do everything for them but tuck ‘em up in bed.”
That of course is exaggerated, but a visit to Lympne, Kent, yesterday, where the 1st and 2nd London Infantry Brigades are under canvas, showed me more forcibly than ever how the new common-sense attitude to soldiering and the very real steps to improve conditions are popularising the Service.
Close to 3,000 officers and men of the London Division of the Territorial Army are enjoying their annual fortnight’s camp in the vast fields beside the Lympne aerodrome with the Kentish Downland around them and the sea a mile or two away.
Military training and discipline may sound far removed from sun bathing and tea and biscuits in bed- training in the use of the Bren machine gun and gas-mask drill may seem unreconcilable with concerts and cricket matches, yet the twain meet at camp.
It was not always so. Conditions are better than ever this year for officers and men. For instance the men now have five meals a day instead of four- a lavish supper has been added to the daily diet sheet.
I saw men in “civvies” being taken for a bather in Hythe in army lorries. All boys under 18 get a milk allowance of a pint a day. Every man, from the newest recruit is paid. Now the marriage allowance has been increased, enabling even those “Terriers “ out of employment to go to camp light-heartedly.
How is this for a “day’s work” in the British Army?
Reveille at 6 a.m:
May sound early, but a “gun fire”- the distribution of tea and biscuits- takes place before one even leaves “bed.”
The poor Company Sergeant Major is responsible for the carrying out of this new routine.
Breakfast at 7; Parade at 8; Field Training until 1.
Then the day is your own.