Page 16 - Fort Burgoyne
P. 16

Fort Burgoyne                                                                                                  Dover Defences

                                                               responsible for the washing of the crockery and tables.
                                                               After tea he cleaned his mess tins and after they had
                                                               been inspected by the non-commissioned officer in
                                                               charge of the barrack his duties for the day were
                                                               practically finished. Once a month an inspecting officer
                                                               visited the barrack rooms and consequently each room
                                                               had to be spick and span. In preparation the floors,
                                                               forms and tables were scrubbed to the last scruple of
                                                               cleanliness; grates and coal box were black-leaded;
                                                               walls whitewashed; every bed and every kit was
                                                               arranged according to regulations, and in the neatest
                                                               possible order.
         A typical Victorian barrack room
         The ‘usual barrack room fittings consisted of an iron  Cook House
         framed barrack room bed that folded or telescoped back  In the centre of  the two north faces on the salient of the
         during the daytime to allow wooden trestle tables and  fort, either side of the tunnel to the north caponier was
         benches to be arranged down the centre of the room.   the men’s cook house, canteen, a bread and meat store
         In the barrack room each man was allocated his bed,   and tap room.
         above which was an accoutrement rack with shelf on
         which the soldier could place his kit and hooks beneath  The Victorian soldier received a shilling a day from
         for hanging items,  including shirt, trousers,belt and  which was deducted threepence a day for messing and a
         helmet. He could adorn the walls with personal items,  half-penny a day for washing. Out of this threepence a
         photographs and pictures to make his bed space his    day, a portion was used for extras which on weekdays
         home. In addition each solder was issued with a wooden  consisted of about an ounce of butter a man, to do his
         barrack room kit box or trunk, which was placed at the  breakfast and tea. On Sundays they might have liver and
         foot of each bed.  Most barrack rooms also had a rack  bacon for breakfast or two boiled eggs. The mess fund
         beside each bed for placing an infantry rifle or artillery  was kept by the Non Commissioned Officers. If the
         carbine. The barrack room N.C.O. often had  the best  barrack corporal managed to get the mess book in debt it
         bed near to the fire!                                 meant dry bread for breakfast and tea until it was back in
                                                               order. In 1870 the  Army opened a ‘School of Army
         Life in a barrack room                                Cooking’ at Aldershot to train cooks so that the
         The barrack room served as a bedroom and recreation   individual soldier was no longer responsible for cooking
         room. During the day the beds, which folded back on   his own rations. This resulted in a more balanced diet
         themselves or telescoped back on wheels to take up half  and less likelihood of the soldier gambling away his
         the space, would serve as chairs whilst tables were   rations or swapping them for more recreational delights.
         placed along the centre of the room with benches to   Meat was issued to the barrack room and taken to the
         allow the men to sit at them to eat. Each barrack room  cook house for cooking. Each barrack room would send
         was under the charge of a corporal. He was responsible  a man to cook at the cook house. For this he would be
         for the cleanliness, order and discipline of the inmates  struck off regular duties except night guard.
         and is supposed to see that the men in each room were
         duly supplied with their rations. The full strength of the
         room lent a hand in cleaning it down every morning.
         Once or twice a week the  floor was thoroughly
         scrubbed down and on Sunday white-washing and
         black-leading were rampant, but these duties were the
         special province of the orderly man. He drew the room’s
         daily rations and collected the breakfast from the
         cookhouse. Breakfast over he washed up and then
         assisted in the general clean up of the room. He
         collected  dinner and tea and after each meal was     A typical Victorian barrack cookhouse

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