These quarries, less than a kilometre from the front line, were occupied and equipped by French soldiers. They formed an ideal refuge for men returning from the trenches. A hospital was set up with room for up to 400 wounded men.
A few hundred metres to the west, other quarries were used as shelter by the “1st Zouaves”, with room for about 300 soldiers. Quarries were gradually put to use in several sectors:
- hospital zone in the east, with beds and a first aid post.
- A common dormitory for soldiers, with straw beds on the floor, in the western zone.
- A underground warehouse for food and munitions in the western zone.
- Between these two sets of quarries a number of officers' quarters were built along the rock face. They had fireplaces and were fitted out with furniture from neighbouring villages.
To make munitions transport easier, a section of railway was laid and equipped with small tipper wagons. It can still be seen below the quarry path. A carved chapel with steps to one side led up to the trenches, like a final act of faith before battle.
The Confrécourt quarries contain rare examples of traces left by soldiers during the First World War.
Visits can be arranged, on request, by the Soissonnais 14-18 association.