News from
the Front


Art & Inspiration No. 4: French Uniform

05/06/2014 05:00 AM

French uniforms from the beginning of World War I are illustrated here in this fourth edition of our series, "Art & Inspiration".

Do you know who the "munitionnettes" were? It was the nickname for the 400,000 women working in weapons factories!
Did you know that the writer Agatha Christie nursed soldiers from 1914 to 1918, in a hospital in Torquay. She attributed her knowledge of poisons to her experience dispensing medicines.
Do you know who the Godmothers of War were? The operation, launched in 1915, transformed letter-writing from personal support of loved ones into an act of patriotism for soldiers on the battlefront.
Did you know that 10 billion letters and postal cards were exchanged during the war? They were the principal means of communication with the homefront, with radio and telephone being used only for military purposes.
Did you know that WW1 soldiers invented an original language? "Trench Slang" is full of nearly 2000 words and expressions.
Did you know that weapons and explosives used in WW1 made so much noise that attacks from artillery barrage and mines in 1917 in Ypres, Belgium could be heard all the way to London, over 200 kilometers away?
Did you know that during WWI, British tanks were initially categorized into “males” and “females.” Male tanks had cannons, while females had heavy machine guns.
Do you know how the word "tank" came to be used? Initially called “landships”, the British decided to code name them “tanks” in order to disguise them as water storage tanks rather than as weapons.
Did you know that more 500,000 pigeons were used during the Great War? Some even received the Ring of Honor, a decoration for services rendered.
Did you know that thousand of dogs served during WW1? Used as messengers, they carried orders to the front lines in capsules attached to their bodies. Dogs were also used as guards, as well as ammunition and gun suppliers.
Did you know that elephants were used during WW1? Since the military purchased most of England's horses and sent them to the Western Front, many farmers and traders had to find alternative beasts of burden, like the exotic elephant.
Did you know that a real, working cello was made from a box of ammunition? The famous soldier-musician Maurice Maréchal, called to the front in 1914, played religious scores on it throughout the Great War.
Did you know that on Christmas Eve of 1914, soldiers on both sides of the Western Front sung carols to each other? On Christmas Day, troops along 2/3 of the Front declared a truce. In some places, the truce lasted a week.
Did you know that wine was distributed to french soldiers every day? Distributed as an important elixir, each soldier received 37.5 CL of wine as daily ration in 1914. The quantity increased to 50 CL in January 1916 and to 75 CL at the beginning of 1918.
Did you know that the famous color "blue horizon", symbolizing the French uniform, was given by the newspaper "L'Illustration" for its similarity to the color of the sky?
Did you know that more than 65 million men from 30 countries fought in WWI and that nearly 10 million of them died? The Allies lost about 6 million soldiers, while the Central Powers lost about 4 million.
Did you know that a trench is 2.5 meters deep ? Trenches were dug in zig-zags to avoid shooting in rows and damage caused by shrapnel.
Did you know that the Eiffel Tower was used during WW1 ? Provided with one of the first Wireless Telegraphy equipements, the famous monument received the victory message.