During the First World War the YMCA established 10,000 recreational centres in France, Italy, the Mediterranean, and on the 'home front' to cater for the welfare needs of the troops. Over 40,000 women answered the call for volunteers, with the ones serving in France even paying their own travel and accommodation expenses.
This is the story of one such centre 'HUT 15' at Harfleur, France, close to the great reinforcement camps at Le Havre through which many thousands of servicemen passed on their way to deployment in the trenches of northern France. Here, the "Lady Volunteers" ran canteen facilities, entertainment, organized games, lectures, and discussion groups.
If your grandfather, family member or ancestor served in France during WW1 he is very likely to have visited one of these establishments. Read how the troops spent their leisure time behind the front lines in preparation for the next big push.