Page:EB1911 - Volume 03.djvu/446

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429
BARRACKS

is centrally placed, with ward blocks on each side, and accessory buildings placed where most convenient; the isolation wards are in a retired position and divided off from the hospital enclosure. Ward blocks usually have two storeys, and the ordinary large wards provide 1200 cub. ft. of air space per patient. A due proportion of special case and other special wards is arranged in which the space per patient is greater or less, as necessary.

Army schools are built to give slightly more liberal accommodation than is laid down as the minimum by the Board of Education, but the principles of planning are much the same as in civil elementary schools. Schools are usually placed between the married quarters and the barracks, so as to serve both for the instruction of the men, when working for educational certificates, and for the education of the children of the married soldiers. Garrison churches are built when arrangements for the troops to attend divine service at neighbouring places of worship cannot well be made. Only two military prisons now remain, viz. Dover and Curragh, and these are for soldiers discharged from the service with ignominy. For ordinary sentences detention barracks and branch detention barracks are attached to the military commands and districts: these are constructed in accordance with the home office regulations; but crime in the army fortunately continues to decrease, and little accommodation has recently been added. Barrack expense stores for the issue of bedding, utensils and other stores for which the troops depend upon the Army Service Corps, are necessary in all barracks; and in large stations a supply depot for the issue of provisions, with abattoir and bakery attached to it, may be necessary. An engineer office with building yard and workshops to deal with the ordinary duties in connexion with the upkeep of War Department property is required at every station, and for large stations such as Aldershot, it may be necessary to undertake special water supply schemes, works for disposal of sewage, and for the supply of electricity or gas for lighting the barracks. The system of roads, pipes and mains within the barracks are in all cases maintained by the Royal Engineers, as well as the buildings themselves. District and brigade offices are necessary for the administration of large units, and quarters for the general officer commanding and the headquarters staff may sometimes be required.

Location of Barracks.—The selection of a healthy site for a barrack building or new military station is a matter of great importance. In the earlier days of barrack construction, barracks were, for political reasons, usually built in large towns, where troops would be at hand for putting down disturbances, and cramped and inconvenient buildings of many storeys, were erected on a small piece of ground often surrounded by the worst slums of the city; such, for example, were the Ship Street barracks in Dublin, and the cavalry barracks at Hulme, Manchester. Worse still were cases where an existing building, such as the Linen Hall in Dublin, was purchased, and converted into barracks with little regard for the convenience of the occupants, and a total disregard for the need of a free circulation of pure air in and about the buildings, which is the first condition of health. In the present day, except in a few cases where strong local influence is allowed to prevail to retain troops in towns, where their presence, and perhaps the money they spend, are appreciated for patriotic or other motives, every opportunity is taken to move troops from the vicinity of crowded towns, and quarter them in barracks or hutments built in the open country. Due regard can then be given to sanitary location, and military training can more effectively be carried out. With improvements in communication by rail, road and telegraph, support to the civil power in case of disturbance can always be afforded in good time, without permanently stationing troops in the actual locality where their assistance may be needed. It has been recognized ever since the Crimean War, that the leading principle of barrack policy must, in the future, be to facilitate in peace time the training of the army for war, and that this can only be done by quartering troops in large bodies, including all branches of the service, in positions where they have space for training, gun and rifle practice, and manœuvring. The camps at Aldershot, Colchester, Shorncliffe and Curragh were accordingly started between 1856 and 1860, and the same policy has since been continued by the acquisition of Strensall Common, near York, Kilworth domain, near Fermoy, the lease of a portion of Dartmoor and a large area at Glen Imaal in Co. Wicklow, and the purchase of the Stobs estate in Scotland and of a large part of Salisbury Plain.

Barrack Construction.—The history of barrack construction in Great Britain is an interesting study, but can only be touched on briefly. As long as operations in the field were carried on by troops levied especially for the war in hand, no barracks apart from fortifications were required, except those for the royal bodyguard; and even after the standing army exceeded those limits, the necessity for additional barracks was often avoided by having recourse to the device of billeting, i.e. quartering the soldiers on the populations of the towns where they were posted. This, however, was a device burdensome to the people, subversive of discipline, and prejudicial to military efficiency in many ways, while it exposed the scattered soldiers to many temptations to disloyalty. Hence barracks were gradually provided, at first in places where such an arrangement was most necessary owing to the paucity of the population, or where concentration of troops was most important, owing to the disaffection of some of the inhabitants. The earliest barracks of which there is any record as regards England, were those for the foot guards, erected in 1660. Among the earliest of those still existing are the Royal Barracks at Dublin, dating from 1700, and during the 18th century barracks were built in several parts of Ireland; but in England it was at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century that most of the earlier barracks were constructed. So long as barracks were mainly in connexion with fortresses their construction naturally fell to the duty of the King's Engineers, afterwards the Corps of Engineers, working under the master-general of the ordnance. About 1796, however, a special civil department was formed under the commissioners for the affairs of barracks, to deal with barracks apart from fortifications. In 1816 we find a warrant appointing a civilian comptroller of the barrack department to deal with the erection and upkeep of barracks and barrack hospitals not within fortified places. This warrant gives one of the earliest records of the nature of accommodation provided, and a few extracts from it are worth notice. No definite regulations as to cubic or floor space per man are laid down; but in the infantry, twelve men, and in the cavalry, eight men are allotted to one room. "Bedsteads or berths" are allowed, "a single one to each man, or a double one to two men," or "hammocks where necessary." The married soldier's wife is barely recognized, as shown by the following extract:—"The Comptroller of the barrack department may, if he sees fit, and when it in no shape interferes with or straitens the accommodation of the men, permit (as an occasional indulgence, and as tending to promote cleanliness, and the convenience of the soldier) four married women per troop or company of sixty men, and six per troop or company of a hundred men, to be resident within the barracks; but no one article shall on this account be furnished by the barrack-masters, upon any consideration whatever. And if the barrack-masters perceive that any mischief, or damage, arises from such indulgence, the commanding officer shall, on their representation, displace such women. Nor shall any dogs be suffered to be kept in the rooms of any barrack or hospital." Another regulation says: "Where kitchens are provided for the soldiers, they shall not be allowed to dress their provisions in any other places." In about 1818 the civil barrack department was abolished on account of abuses which had grown up, and the duke of Wellington as master-general of the ordnance and commander-in-chief transferred to the corps of Royal Engineers the duties of construction and maintenance of barracks. In 1826 a course of practical architecture was started at the school of military engineering at Chatham under Lieutenant-Colonel (afterwards Sir Charles) Pasley, the first commandant of the school, who himself wrote an outline of the course. Wellington interested himself in the