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Camp Devens - Relieving the Guard - WW1 Cantonment 1918

According to the ordinary procedure of guard duty, a man is on duty for two hours and off for four, until the prescribed twenty-four hours have elapsed. Each shift is under the control of a corporal -- the well-known "corporal of the guard." After one shift is over, the corporal of the guard who is to go on duty and the corporal whose men are about to be relieved, visit each post with the relief. At Post No. 1, they pick up Smith and leave Jones, and so on. When the corporals return to the guard-house, they have an entirely different set of men; those they started with are now scattered at the various posts.

Relieving the Guard at Camp Devens

Photo: Relieving the Guard at Camp Devens

This picture shows the relief of the guard. In the quadrangular group, the man on the left is the old guard at Post No. 6 ; he has been on duty for two hours. Facing him is the relief who will take the post for the next two hours. The first one is explaining to his relief the limits of the post, and is communicating any orders which may have been given him. The man with his back towards us is the corporal of the old guard; facing him, with the smile, is the corporal of the relief. The six men are partly of the old guard and partly of the relief. When the column moves on, the man who has been relieved will fall in at the rear and return to the guard-house for four hours of rest.

In case of any trouble on a post, the guard summons assistance. If he is undecided what course to pursue in a minor disagreement, he cries, "Corporal of the guard; No. 6!" If the sixth post is distant from the guard-house, the man on the next post passes on the cry and eventually the corporal arrives to settle the difficulty. If the guard is taken ill, he cries "Corporal of the guard; No. 6; relief !" The corporal then comes with a man to relieve him. If there is serious trouble, the guard cries: "The Guard! No. 6." The corporal at the guard-house reports to the commander of the guard (usually a sergeant), who turns out the entire guard and rushes to the scene of disorder.

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