Gazetteer of the Western Front: Rinxent

Rinxent is a village in the department of Pas-de-Calais, France
Long: 1.721767 Lat: 50.812819

rinxent_geoportail

Map sourced from Geoportail, with thanks

Although it was many miles from the trenches of the Western Front, Rinxent was of considerable importance for military operations. It was, and still is, the site of very large quarrying operations. During the war, stone from Rinxent was used for the laying and maintenance of roads and railways and as such was a key element in the logistic support for the British Army. The quarries were worked by a variety of civilian and military organisations, latterly the Quarrying Companies of the Royal Engineers.

Prisoners working in the marble quarries at Marquise, 25 November 1918. Imperial War Museum image Q9712

Prisoners working in the marble quarries at Marquise, 25 November 1918. Imperial War Museum image Q9712

 

Aerial photo sourced from Google Maps, with thanks

Aerial photo sourced from Google Maps, with thanks

The quarries lay north and north east of the village, as can be seen in the aerial image above, and date back many centuries. The stone is recrystallized calcite, a hardened form of chalk, although it is often described as “marble”. The Mayor of Rinxent throughout the Great War period was Charles-Désiré Hénaux, a quarrying businessman.

Exterior of the Swansea and District YMCA hut in the Happy Valley near Rinxent, 24 May 1917. Imperial War Museum image Q5425

Exterior of the Swansea and District YMCA hut in the Happy Valley near Rinxent, 24 May 1917. Imperial War Museum image Q5425

Links

Gazetteer of the Western Front

Quarry Companies of the Royal Engineers

Link to Rinxent map at Geoportail

Ville Rinxent website