Scottish Women’s Hospital truck at Creil

A rare postcard sent to me by Francis Trailleur, of a Scottish Women’s Hospital truck at Creil train station on the outskirts of Paris. The SWH opened a canteen at Creil in 1917. The soldiers would arrive by train, bound for the front line or returning on leave. Often the men had gone days without food. The site of smiling faces with their 1200 litre basins filled with coffee or soup must have felt homely and welcoming, especially for the lads heading to the front. Trains arrived from all over the front, Dunkirk, Soissons and Fismes bringing troops from all over the world, French, British, Canadian, American and many from the French Colonies. Heavy work lugging the boiling cooking pots around, freezing cold as they were largely in the open and clouds of smoke coming from the six stoves usually stoked by the men. During December 1917, 194,000 soups and coffees were served in the canteens at Creil, Soissons and Crepy-en-Valois.

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