Fourth Army Standing Orders: Adjutant-General’s and Quartermaster-General’s Branch 1917

Now this all sounds a bit dour, doesn’t it? 

Kitchens and latrines, sanitation in general, the most fundamental of all army requirements, without which the whole British Expeditionary Force would have fallen flat on its proverbial face.

So get yourself on this staff course in Cambridge, learn all this stuff by heart, and don’t forget to hand the manual back at the end.  And, dear BigNote reader, I think you’ll actually find it far from dour.

Brilliant, eh?  More another time.

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10 Responses to Fourth Army Standing Orders: Adjutant-General’s and Quartermaster-General’s Branch 1917

  1. Nigel Shuttleworth says:

    Another fascinating insight into the minutiae of life in Kitchener’s Army Magicfingers. The Fly Proof Trench Latrine looks just like the moveable chicken arc with nest boxes I made 20 years ago – just wish I’d had these plans to go off!

    • Magicfingers says:

      Cheers Nigel. I think these little pocket books are fascinating – it appears that everything was considered and that there was a method for everything – although I’m not so sure whether the whole concept of fly-proof actually translated to combat conditions on the Western Front!!

  2. Sid form Down Under says:

    Magicfingers, thank you – I love it. This is one amazing Pocket Book.

    I’m sure you will recall that just over one year ago I asked you to “Keep ’em’ coming please” and here you have given me (and your other readers) a wonderful Christmas gift

    Reminds me of my National Service 10/45 printed Training Pictorial for various weapons – I still have and treasure the 15 page Manual given to me by our Korean War NCO trainers – being too modest I won’t say here why I was the chosen one but I can say most of those weapons were used in the Great War

  3. Chris says:

    Remembers me of my 35 years in the Army; we had a manual for everything!
    But I’ve never seen one for “fly-proof latrines”.
    In fact, in the early years of my career, we just had to find a nice cozy spot in the woods and take our field shovel with us to dig a small hole and cover it up after we were done.

    Later, when we went on exercises (after the fall of the Wall), they hired porta potties, to not upset the (German or other) natives.

    Fun story; On an exercise, a long, long time ago, as a fresh 2nd Lt, I was (temporarily) assigned to Battalion HQ. They had all the luxury, including a bar tent. One night, our RSM (Regimental Sergeant Major) (who got pretty drunk) had to go for “the big one”. With two friends, we followed him and managed to get close enough to to but a shovel under his but without him noticing it (again, he was pretty drunk).
    When he was done, we quickly withdrew and watched how he turned around to look at his creation with his flashlight, but there was nothing to see. So he started panicking and searching his trousers to see if he hadn’t accidentally done it in his pants. He checked everything, but couldn’t find it anywhere. After a while he gave up and went to his personal tent, I guess to do a more thorough search of his clothes.
    Needles to say that we had a good laugh, and when the story made the round of the Battalion, it was referred to as ” The night of the Ghost Turd” 🙂

  4. Magicfingers says:

    Porta potties! Brilliant! But not as brilliant as your turdy tale! Cheers Chris! Love your anecdotes.

  5. Margaret Draycott says:

    Actually M an interesting post. For a lay person like me I’d not really thought of the logistics and equipment provided to feed an army on the move. And fly proof latrines…..really mmmmmm nah!!!!

    • Magicfingers says:

      Couldn’t agree more M. Everything was considered and there was a proper way of doing everything, it seems. The whole logistical operation must have been a huge responsibility for those involved.

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