Rue du 8 Mai
Camp Ruchard just north of the village of Avon-les-Roches in the department of Indre-et-Loire, became operational on December 31, 1914 and was conceived as repair camp for wounded and sick soldiers who were in the last stage of their recovery.
The camp remained in service until July 14, 1917 and 9,586 convalescent soldiers were treated here.
It was at the same time also a training camp. Recovering soldiers, approved good for service by the doctors, were given a solid (re)training before they were sent back to the front.
Winter and summer, they stayed in the tent camp, whereof a picture on an old postcard is shown hereunder.
Ruchard had a bad reputation because of the strict discipline prevailing. Testimonies of surviving soldiers described the camp as a place where people became ill if none was, and sicker if one was already.
Every month at least two soldiers died. The death records of Avon-les-Roches indicate that in the 30 months of the activity of the camp 79 soldiers died. Despite the fact that the convalescents who arrived there were considered being able to return to the front in a minimum of time.
In the cemetery of Avon-les-Roches a fifth of the total area is occupied by the hereunder shown monument in honor of King Albert I and the graves of our fallen soldiers. When we got there late November 2013 to take photographs we counted 76 gravestones, including two known to God.
The tombstones are of a model that was chosen by the local authorities.