Provincie Antwerpen

Military life in the Railway Fort

Daily life as a soldier in the Railway Fort was not easy. During peace time the fort was occupied by one legion of artillery. Such a legion consisted of 3 officers, 8 non-commissioned officers and 58 soldiers. The soldiers would stay together in small confinements with insufficient washing facilities. They were ordered to wash their face every day, their feet weekly and their body every fortnight. The officers were not bothered with unpleasant body odours because they were housed outside of the fort. The non-commissioned officers also had to deal with the body odours, but they did at least have a separate dining hall with a kitchen.

During the working day the soldiers guarded the bridge and the gateway building and would hand make projectiles in the ammunition room. That was dangerous and an unhealthy job. The worst part of being a soldier though may have been the boredom of waiting. A big part of the working day consisted of waiting leading to frustration and arguments. The officers would try to control their men by giving very strict punishments such as imprisonment or even worse, annulment of leave.