This week we have another of the Daily Mail’s series of collectable postcards published in World War One. This postcard depicts a British labour battalion repairing a section of road near the front line:
In the foreground men can be seen busy at work with pick and shovel repairing the road:
Whilst this work goes on, more men can be seen marching down the centre of the road in the distance:
On the embankment beyond sappers work at repairing the telegraph wires:
The British Army expended huge resources in maintaining the roads of France and Belgium in order to keep the routes clear for the constant deliveries of supplies needed to keep the army in the field. John Bagot Gubb wrote in his memoire ‘Into Battle’:
The 50th Division are going out to rest, but the gunners and sappers will stay in the line. We extended the tramline back from High Wood to Bazentin-le-Petit to relieve the road. The roads in the forward area are becoming incredibly bad. They were originally required in a tremendous hurry on 15th September, behind the advancing infantry, and so the shell holes were filled with any old rubbish. Bricks from ruined villages are the best material, but sometimes bits of wood or logs were used, earth, dead horses, or even human corpses.