A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 229

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THE CAMPS AT BOULOGNE


quartered in the old barracks behind the post office. None knew that they had landed until they came swinging along the road past the tidal dock and the Central railway station, over the bridge and lock gates opened by Napoleon III, and round the little square to the barracks, khaki-clad, and kilted, with knees bare and pipes skirling. Preparations were hurriedly advanced for the reception of the main body. Five camping grounds were laid out on the hills around Boulogne. There was the Marlborough camp on the Calais road, almost under the shadow of the great column which commemorates the massing on these heights of Napoleon's grand army for the threatened invasion of England in 1804. There was the St. Martin's camp, in two secldons, on the road to St. Omer, and the St. Leonard camp, also in two sections, on theroadtoPontdeBriques. Allthisgroundhadhistoricasso- ciations,havingbeenusedbyNapt)leonforhistroops. French territorials were employed to .prepare these camps, to make a rapid harvesting of growing crops, to dig trenches, lay water pipes,anderectstandpipes. TheHighlanderspitchedthetents, and in a few days the fields v/ere covered with canvas. Near the Marlborough camp, in the grounds of a building once a convent, a base hospital for the British was prepared, at first with only a few beds, but afterwards with many. date, in the first two weeks of the war, it was apparently thought that Boulogne would become a permanent base, through which troops could be poured, and to which the sick and wounded mightreturn. Howquicklythatideawasabandoned,thosewho watched the arrival and departure of the troops realized. entlmsiasm with which the French civil population greeted the arrival of their allies was a memorable and pleasant feature of theseearlydays. Crowdslinedthequaysandvisitedthecamps to welcome the British soldiers, and by order of the mayor the whole town of Boulogne was decorated with bunting in the colours of Great Britain, France, and Belgium. The invasion began in great force on August 13 and continued for ten days. The Bassin Loubet was the scene of the disembarka- tion. Into this commercial harbour swung ships from 2,000 to 5,000 tons burden, piloted by tugs, and berthed with great ease alongthequays. Manyofthemborenameswhichshowedthat they had been taken from Transatlantic service. All were crowded with troops, and their decks cumbered with wagons.

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