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Camp of Nissen huts behind the frontline
Image by National Library of Scotland
Camp of Nissen huts behind the frontline, during World War I. Surrounded by snow and branchless trees, this image shows a collection of Nissen huts. This would have been a billet camp, used by soldiers who needed a rest from frontline duty. Looking closely at the huts, one can see that they are built on thick wooden stilts above the ground. The chimneys above the windows would have been for the cooking and heating stoves inside the hut. Rather ominously, the cross beside the sheet of corrugated iron looks like a grave.
Despite this enthusiasm, it is important to remember that these billet huts would only have been used by resting soldiers away from the frontline. This image might have been deployed for propaganda purposes, in order to make newspaper readers back home think that the soldiers were living in a clean and warm environment. Whatever, it is certainly worth thinking about what sort of impression the words of the photograph's original caption were attempting to convey to the reader.
[Original reads: BRITISH OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH FROM THE WESTERN FRONT. A Nissen hut camp. These huts form splendid winter quarters for troops.']