Author Topic: 'Barrack room'? WW2  (Read 762 times)

Offline Brewins girl

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'Barrack room'? WW2
« on: Monday 06 November 17 15:49 GMT (UK) »
I have letters from a REME soldier which indicate that his sleeping arrangements varied as the Unit moved around during WW2 - for example sleeping in the lorry (which sometimes doubled up as his office - he was a clerk), sleeping on the office table, sleeping on straw palliases in a barn. Sleeping in commandeered premises ranging from Butlins Holiday Camp chalets to private houses. It seems that sometimes he shared his sleeping accommodation with only one or two other men, at other times there were many men. In the latter case, I do not know if this was in a barracks, or whether it was in a temporary camp (with tents?). Can someone advise me how to describe group accommodation that may or may not be in a purpose built building, or may/may not be in tents? Does the term 'barrack room' cover both of these scenarios? Thank you
Brooking (REME)
Robinson (RAF)
Southall (Pedmore, nr Stourbridge UK)

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Offline MaxD

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Re: 'Barrack room'? WW2
« Reply #1 on: Monday 06 November 17 16:04 GMT (UK) »
There'll be  number of thoughts I am sure but I'd say that barrack room has an air of permanence about it that wouldn't apply to tents.  "Accommodation" would cover everything if you aren't able to spell out the particular type.

MaxD
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Offline John915

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Re: 'Barrack room'? WW2
« Reply #2 on: Monday 06 November 17 18:18 GMT (UK) »
Good evening,

When in tented encampment it was normally referred to as being "living under canvas".

In my early days we had food and accommodation allowance. When in barracks it was stopped, ie you didn't get it in your pay packet. But "under canvas" it was paid to you. That changed mid 70s and they kept the accommodation because we still had a barrack rm accommodation in camp.

They very kindly allowed us free food under canvas because it was mostly ration packs, tinned everything.

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Offline Brewins girl

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Re: 'Barrack room'? WW2
« Reply #3 on: Wednesday 08 November 17 10:13 GMT (UK) »
Thank you MaxD & John915. I've been using the term 'accommodation' as I thought barrack room had, as you suggest MaxD, a sense of permanence. The problem I have is that I'm trying to describe a situation where there were clearly a group of soldiers together (in his letter my uncle described some 'horseplay' amongst the men) but there is no hint as to what sort of accommodation they were in. 'Accommodation' seems a little too vague - I think maybe 'sleeping quarters' - does that fit into military jargon?

John915, thank you for your interested insight. I presume you are talking about post-WW2? And post-rationing?
Brooking (REME)
Robinson (RAF)
Southall (Pedmore, nr Stourbridge UK)

Offline John915

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Re: 'Barrack room'? WW2
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday 08 November 17 10:44 GMT (UK) »
Good morning,

I think the term accommodation describes it perfectly. It would have been one of three types.

Barracks, permanent or semi-permanent. Wooden barracks were built during the war which were later dismantked or sold off. This was to supplement permanent brick built barracks.

Tented, temporary for training or gathering large numbers in close proximity, ie before D Day.

Billets, rented accommodation such as holiday camps, private homes etc. Used often for troops based in the UK where not enough barrack space was available close to place of work. AA sites, radar sites etc.

John915
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Offline MaxD

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Re: 'Barrack room'? WW2
« Reply #5 on: Wednesday 08 November 17 11:09 GMT (UK) »
The vagueness of "accommodation" is what makes it suitable to cover all types.  Sleeping quarters, while a perfectly understandable term, also has a ring of permanence and, perhaps, is more found in "the officers' sleeping quarters", conveying the impression that they have somewhere else to sit, dine, wash etc. 

Rather rude question but is the type of accommodation germane to the story.  "one dark and stormy night, while most of the men were asleep (does it matter what they were sleeping in??), a fight broke out when Smith took exception to Brown's loud snoring"   :)

MaxD
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Offline Brewins girl

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Re: 'Barrack room'? WW2
« Reply #6 on: Wednesday 08 November 17 13:34 GMT (UK) »
MaxD & John 915,

Thank you both for your thoughts. In response to your question MaxD, I don't consider the question rude at all, but yes, the type of accommodation is germane. The book I am writing is non-fiction & I want to try & convey the range of accommodation my uncle (& other soldiers that he was stationed with) experienced. Maybe 'billet' is appropriate (thanks John915)

The reference to AA sites is interesting John915, my uncle's REME unit were with 109 HAA for a long period - I guess as Heavy Anti-Aircraft these were often in relatively remote places?
Brooking (REME)
Robinson (RAF)
Southall (Pedmore, nr Stourbridge UK)

Offline Brewins girl

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Re: 'Barrack room'? WW2
« Reply #7 on: Wednesday 08 November 17 15:06 GMT (UK) »
Well, I checked the word 'billet' & that's got problems too! Having taken a break away from my writing, I've re-read the section that I was agonising over, with MaxD's question in mind, and I've realised  that all I need say is "the room"! But thank you both for the clarification & information - it helped greatly, and something I wrote earlier (where I used the word "accommodation") can be amended with these definitions in mind. Now back to the next puzzle!
Brooking (REME)
Robinson (RAF)
Southall (Pedmore, nr Stourbridge UK)

Offline MaxD

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Re: 'Barrack room'? WW2
« Reply #8 on: Wednesday 08 November 17 15:43 GMT (UK) »
109 HAA Regt RA formed Sep 1940, was part of the London Inner Artillery Zone until March 44 then 2nd Army in UK then NW Europe in Jun 44.

 http://www.anti-aircraft.co.uk/HAA_gun_sites_map.html shows the UK sites, some more remote than others and many just down the bottom of the street (which is where the private houses would come into the picture), 109 Regt was among those clustered around London until 1944.

MaxD.

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