Official Brothels in World War One

I recall reading that official brothels were set up behind Allied lines during WW1 (The Great War) for the use of front-line soldiers… I also remember a photograph of an incredibly long line of soldiers in battledress in a bombed out landscape waiting for the door of a small cottage to open so they could have their turn. I suspect the image remains in my memory because of the implications of the information that ‘the girls would return home after a month or two, exhausted and sore, but with enough money to retire’.

I’ve been unable to find the reference in my library, or to find any confirmation of this on the Web. Can anyone provide me with further information of any kind on this topic?

I don’t recall seeing any photos of lineups, jiHymas, but the quote you gave rings a bell; I think it is either from Sassoon, or Graves; both wrote bestselling (and brilliant) autobios of their WWI frontline experiences (although Graves never did let the bare facts stand in the way of a good story, either…)

Let me look into this a bit.

Reeder: “Well done, that man!”

Hmm…so far:

The Germans (and Austro-Hungarians) did, apparently:

(The above link obeys the two-links-from-nudity rule; be aware that there are links to period graffiti that may not be appropriate for your workplace).

If I read this passage form John Costello’s “Love, Sex & War” (about WW2 values) right, the British didn’t:

As to the memory of the photo; is it at all possible that John Singer Sargent’s dramatic “Gassed” is lurking in your unconscious?

I remember walking into the room at the Imperial War Museum where the original was on display, and the effect was stunning.

Here’s a translation of a treatise on the subject written (in thoroughly Teutonic detail) in the 1920s, which quotes Graves’ “Goodbye to All That” on the subject of French Army brothels, and gives much information on the running of the German counterpart (you’ll find the Graves quote on page 3 of Chapter 8):

I love this board! Full confirmation and additional detail within 90 minutes! Rodd Hill and Reeder, thank you!

No, the picture I’m thinking of was not “Gassed”; perhaps it was included in my edition of “Goodbye to All That”, which I can’t find. The link from the eric.stamen page above, says on page 3:

I’m sure the picture I’m thinking of was of one of those scenes.

NOTE: Accourding to this conversion site

which cites: John J. McCusker, “Comparing the Purchasing Power of Money in Great Britain from 1264 to Any Other Year Including the Present” Economic History Services, 2001, URL :