“The troops at Witley Camp lived in groups of wooden huts, thirty men to a hut. Each man had a wooden ‘cot’ and a paliasse, and a portion of shelf for his effects. An Orderly Officer inspected the hut each morning, and the “hut orderly” was responsible that the place was clean and every man’s bed, blankets and kit were as the law required.” (1)
A paliasse is a straw-filled mattress which would have helped make the wooden platform (which MacArthur euphemistically calls a “cot”) somewhat more comfortable. Looking carefully at this photo, you can see bedding rolled up at the end of one cot, greatcoats and a swagger stick hanging on the wall, and a shelf above the row of hooks. Windows are opened at the top for ventilation, and the door looks straight across the lane at the door of another hut. The group of soldiers pictured is less than half the regular number who shared Hut B22.
In the photo from September 23, you can see the same arrangement of table and benches near the door, but the beds are arranged differently, and rifles are neatly hanging on the entrance wall.
(1) MacArthur, D.C. The History of the Fifty-Fifth Battery, CFA. Toronto, 1919. 7
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