Railroad

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Railroads were used to transport troops, ammunition, food, water and other supplies to the front lines, as well as wounded soldiers from the front to medical aid posts. Supplies were loaded onto trains and pulled by small locomotives.

Mr Vale describes the setup and vulnerability of ammunition dumps.

Transcript

The ammunition train boys - there'd be four and two carts cinched behind them, you know, bouncing and there would be places - of course, when they want to put up an ammunition dump, maybe just behind the ridge, pretty close to the bloody lines, where they couldn't get because of them, they couldn't take the casings in because of the confounded shell holes, can you. Well, then they knew they didn't like light railway troops people and some battalion fellows filled in running these light railways you know, the bloody thing is about that wide, so then they could run the cars along these light railways and set up an ammunition dump. And so help me, and it wasn't uncommon, by God, for guys after all the bloody working, some confounded observation balloon would be watching them all the time. And just after the working was all finished... Boom! They start piling shells on the damn thing... blowing it up. What I am trying to get at, the type of fighting I was in anyway wasn't trench warfare. It was more movement, more guarding other chaps against, because when these poor buggers were running these lines through they couldn't... They too were armed, you know, but they stacked their rifles. They couldn't be laying down these bloody railway lines and at the same time carrying arms so that's our job is, if the Fritzy ever broke through and one thing or another it's our job to make damn sure he didn't like it.

Images

Caption: German prisoners and Canadian Red Cross men assist in the despatching of wounded on a light railway. Vimy Ridge. April, 1917.

(Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-001035)

Caption: Loading ammunition on light railroad. September, 1916

(Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-000676)

Caption: Constructing a railroad through captured territory, April, 1917

(Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-001175)

Caption: The first train over the new railroad on Vimy Ridge. April, 1917

(Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-001215)

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