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MADE IN ENGLAND.
Sept.8th. Friday) Up at 5.15 am
and were busy all day on fatigues,
cleaning up the camp before we left.
At intervals we stole a few moments
to clean up our kits and discard
whatever things were not essential as
light packs were the greatest consideration.
We had our last meal
in Petewawa at 4.30 pm and it
was mainly odds and ends and
stale ones at that.
Our last duty to our faithful
horses was then performed. We thought
a lot of our <del>f</del> noble animals, for
despite the fact that most of the
boys carried marks of some of
their sharp hoofs, we thought the
world of our pals. They carried
us many a mile over broken ground
at break neck speed and never faltered
once. We hope they pass into good
hands and have a happy end.
At 6.30 pm. we fell
in with the brigade to be 'shunned'
and 'stood at ease' by our adjutant
and to have a few words
from our colonel.
Our good old colonel
told us he was glad to command
such a fine brigade and complimented
us on our behavior in
Petewawa. Then came his words of
warning against any breaches of
military law. 'If you're going to
do it boys for God's sake don't
do it,' he said.
Then our major
took charge and we advanced in
fours from the right of batteries
with our kits slung over our
shoulders. The kits were darn
heavier and we welcomed the
order 'march at ease' when we
whistled and sang and helped to
relieve the weight of our burden.
But soon this merriment died away
as we required all our wind to keep
moving. We were glad to catch sight
of the station for our knees were knocking
together and the sweat was
trickling down our backs in little
We found a train
with 18 coaches waiting for us and
we good (sic) orders to 'pile in'. At
7.30 pm. we took final leave of
Petewawa and from the steps and
windows the boys cheered lustily.
At last we were leaving Petewawa
with all its sand, wet, cold and
heat. Then we sand the chorus to
our old camp song:
Oh Petewawa! Oh Petewawa!!
Oh Petewawa down where the Ottawa
We'll never fo there any more, any more;
Never go there any more, any more,
Down where the Ottawa flows.
We watched the
plains and woods over and through
which we had road in the saddle
and on our bumping guns, limbers
and ammunition wagons for the past
three months, until darkness blotted
out everything, except an
occasional fire-fly darting by.
Our attentions were then turned to
our new surroundings, and we were
just ready to turn in when the
train stopped at Pembroke and as
there were 100 of girls on the platform
to say good-bye to us we
made a hasty jump for the steps.
The kisses and parcels were flying
around in great quantities and we
all fared well. The toot of the
engine whistle came all too soon.
Then we returned to
our bunks and rolled up and went
to sleep to the tune of clattering
Sept 9th. When we awoke at
6 o'clock this morning we were just
pulling into St.Henri Station, Montreal,
and as there was a large
number of people on the platform.
We hurriedly dressed and went outside
and dropped on some fruit
which was being passed around.
After a profitable
stay in Montreal we pulled out behind
an Intercolonial engine and crossed
the famous Victoria Jubilee bridge.
which is <del>a</del> 1 1/2 miles long.
Quebec is a poor province.
It is away behind the times.
There is some fine farming country, but
the implements used in pursuit of
their vocation were antiquated and
roughly improvised. The women were
employed in the fields, old as well
as young, while the men sat around
and smoked. This disgusted all
We were appalled
by the seemingly wonderful power of
the Roman Catholic church. In
some places we saw the priests in
their spotless robes of rich material,
while close to them were the
ragged children and women of
the 'flock'. Then in small farming
communities where one would think
the people would have a hard
enough struggle to keep body and
soul together, there stands a magnificent
stone church with a brilliant,
tall steeple pointing towards the
heavens. It is too pretentious. It is
out of place in the midst of miserable
little farm houses
In order that we
might exercise ourselves our train
was ordered to stop at 'Riviere du
Loup' for half an hour. We arrived
at 5.45pm just after supper.
We were formed up and marched
through town. One would have
thought the place was in mourning.
As we swung along the streets
the French-Canadians did not
appear to notice us and scarcely gave
a cheer. We found a few English
people and they were like an oasis in
the desert. One produced a cornet
and played a few good tunes which
helped us along. Then we passed
the Bank of Montreal and the
manager and his family threw us
some roses and dahlias.
Some of the boys who
did not do on the route march
went up town to buy a few articles.
They got into a store and they
couldn't speak <del>English</del> <sup>French</sup> and the
store-keepers couldn't speak English
and then there was trouble. The boys
started to swear and gestulate but
this did not improve things so
they picked up a few things, threw
a quarter on the counter and walked
Sept 10th. Sunday) When we
awoke this morning we found our
train in New Brunswick. There are
some pretty girls in this province
and we found an agreeable change <del>in</del>
It remained for
Nova Scotia to furnish our most
exasperat[inserted]ing experience. We stopped
at Amherst and found a very gay
lot of girls there, who treated us to
a good deal of 'eats' and plenty
just after we
pulled out from Amherst orders were
issued that 'no one should hold
communication with the outside
world from now on under penalty
of severe punishment.' Futhermore.
all windows were to remain closed;
no one was to leave the train under
any circumstances, and at Windsor
junction all blinds were to be drawn.
We did not pay much attention to
the order, but on reaching [1 word] we
understood what the order really
meant. At this station there were
some of the prettiest girls we had
yet seen. They wanted to talk to us
and made signs to open the windows,
and we were equally anxious to speak
with them. But orders are orders. So
we sat inside and raved and swore
and from the outside must have
looked liike a lot of caged animals
The girls offered us parcels and we
wanted the boys on guard to take
them for us; but there were those damn
orders. We were in the station ten
minutes and the language used in
our car was the choicest I have ever
heard. Finally the whistle blew
and with a violent jar (for I think
we had a freight engineer driving)
our train started to roll along to
On reaching Windsor
Junction down came the blinds and
we ate our supper in semi-darkness.
The object of this new move we knew
not, but were of the opinion that
they were pulling some Sherlock
Holmes stuff. We punched a few
holes in the blinds in order to see
things. Enshrouded in mystery we
pulled into Halifax at 4 pm.
We were not allowed off the train, so
turned in early.
Sept 11th. This is my 24th
birthday and it was like any other
We were up at 6.30
am. and after breakfast had orders
to have our kits ready to embark at
any minute. While standing by we climbed
up on some freight cars to have a
look at the harbor. There were seven
cruisers in an the 'Olympic' was
riding at anchor in the stream.
at 10am we got orders
to turn out with our kits and accordingly
'fell in'. After some dilly-dallying
we marched to the dock and found it
surrounded by wire entanglements and
guards. Of course arrangements <del>we</del> for
our embarkation were not completed so
we had to sit about on the cold dock
for two hours.
Then we filed on to
a boat, which we found was the
'Cameronia', of the Anchor line. We were
ushered - at least rushed-into our
quarters, of which we had various
opinions. In some cases 20 men were
put in a small cabin to sleep and live,
and goodness knows what will happen
when they get sea-sick. I was fortunate
in getting a cabin which only had four
bunks and have with me Kelly, Dowell
and Mason. It was not long before we
had christened it the 'pig-sty'. It
was a disgrace to treat men who
are going to fight for their country and
probably sacrifice their lives, in such
We were mighty sore
when the 12th Brigade filed on board
and were taken to second-class
quarters. Trouble brewed but we were
promised that when half way over
we would exchange quarters.
We went down for
our first meal at 1pm and there
was a wild scramble. There was no
system. There was only accommodation
for 300 men and the whole brigade piled
down for the first sitting. No one wanted
to take a chance on the second
At 5.15 pm we went
down for our second meal and experienced
the same trouble in getting our
meals. To ensure getting everything their
was to eat, which was not much-you
had to take it when it was passing;result.
marmalade on sausages and bread
and butter in tea. It was an awful
This evening we
shifted to a buoy in the stream. We
do not know when we are going to sea.
Sept 12th. Tuesday) Weather
fine. 'Reveille' at 6am. Ship still
lying at anchor awaiting orders.
Today most of the
boys have been looking about for
jobs on board the ship for the voyage
across. In order to make a few pounds
and ensure good meals. We tried
to get Johnnie Hedley to go stoking and
told him it would be fine for him to
land in England with �� four in his
pockets instead of nothing. He thought it
would be a novelty. It would be
some novelty when he was feeding
the hungry furnaces as we made full
speed through the danger zone.
Anyway off he went
to see the chief engineer, but I guess
he thought Johnnie was too small and
turned him down.
The feeding arrangements
are getting better, and the
grub is not bad.
This afternoon we
were busy buying 'eats' from dealers
who came alongside in boats. Like
everyone else they stung us good for
anything we bought.
This evening we lost
our chaplain, who was ordered back
Sept.13th. We were just dressing
this morning at 6 o'clock when we
heard the swish of water and on looking
out through the port-hole found that
we were moving. At last we are on our
way to dear old England. The gates of
the submarines nets of the harbor <sup>opened</sup> and
we skipped out.
We got out on deck as
quickly as possible. and saw the City of
Halifax disappearing rapidly behind
the hills. We found that we were not going
across the water without company.
Away out ahead of us was a cruiser,
H.M.S. Drake, then the troopships
Northland, Scandinavian, Cameronia
and Metegama. A little torpedo
boat came out a short distance with
us and then raced home. The weather
was good for our departure.
Of course natural
tendencies and failings got all the
boys talking about the prospects of being
torpedoed and sea-sick. To the old
sailor the prospects were good for both
as we left on the 13th. Then the crew
spread some yarns. In New York the
betting was fine to one that we would
never get across. Also the Cameronia
had been chased on her two previous
trips with troops and got away, but
this was the third trip so 'good-bye'
'Well I guess I'll get
into Liverpool with sore feet,' said
'I guess you're a good swimmer,
hey boy?' put in Kelly,
'Yes! I'm the best sinker on
this boat,' responded Lomas. 'I'll go
straight to the bottom and then
I'll have to walk. Pretty tough alright'
We had not been out ten hours
and were all basking in what was left
of a good day's sun on the [illegible]
head, when we heard four whistles
dead ahead.We all jumped up and
saw a boat dangling by the forward
falls of the Northland, and a
couple of patent life preservers go
overboard, strike the water and throw
up little puffs of smoke. Up came
a head. Then three whistles from the
Scandinavian told us that she had
reversed her engines so we hauled
off a couple of points to starboard.
The Scandinavian soon launched a
boat and as the sea was smooth the
fellow was soon picked up. Two sailors
went into the water when the after
falls gave way, but one must have
been hit by the propellor as he
never showed up.
There is plenty of sea life,
porpoise, whales and other fish. The
water is very clear and one can see to
a good depth. The only bird we have
seen is a little Kestrel which seems
to have got lost.
This evening we all gathered
in the second class lounge room and
had some singing, the kind of singing
which does the heart and soul
good. All lights were doused at
9.15, which left us running with
only our headlights and side-lights
Sept 14th. When we awoke this
morning we found the ship enveloped
in mist and were informed that we
were off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.
About noon some 'knowall'
said that this was the exact
spot where the 'Titanic' struck an
Some of the boys have
already felt the gentle heave of the
ocean and find solace and relief
either in their bunks or in deck.
chairs. The glass has fallen so I
guess we're in for a bit of a blow.
Our quarters are in
the streeage forward and the stench
is frightful so I should not be surprised
if we have a lot more boys
down with 'mal-de-mar' before
long. In order to avoid the stenches
below a lot of the boys are living
solely on deck, taking their beds up
and sleeping with their life belts
handy. The cold and spray is easy to
the smells below.
Sept.15th. (Friday) This was
a day of sadness for nearly all the
boys. The sea was quite rough and
the Cameronia had a real good
pitch. It was a funny deck we put
our feet on. First up then down. When
you advanced a foot you stubbed
your toe. Then when you put forward
the other other there was no deck and
a vacuum was created in your
mid-section, similar to the sensation
experienced in the drop of
a fast elevator. Of course too much
of this was detrimental to weak
stomachs and there was no place
like the bunk or the deck.
Understand, however, a lot
of the boys managed to make the
messroom for breakfast. This, however,
spelt 'finish' for many of the boys.
The smells upset the poise of many
stomachs. One by one the boys started
to file away. some having eaten part of
their meals others none at all. They
tried to smile and past it off as the
remainder laughed at their misfortune,
but the somewhat disciplined retreat
usually ended in a wild rush for
During the day the boys
went down one by one. The greatest
tradition of the British Empire was
broken many times: 'What we have
One of the unfortunate
boys said it reminded him of
Spring: 'The return of the swallows'.
Nobody cared whether a
German sub caught us or not.
Existance is merely an agony.
Sept 16th. There was a
'Reveille' this morning and there
was a 'Cookhouse' but both were
ignored. This was one time when
discipline amounted to naught.
Many of the boys ventured
up on deck. There was a heavy sea
running and we were poking our nose
into it in fine style. The boys all
look pretty seedy.
Sept 17th. This is the
first Sabbath we have spent at sea.
We have a grammaphone going in the Lounge
Room alternating with piano selections.
There are more boys on deck this morning
than there have been for some days. They
are all shaven and their color is being
restored likewise their appetite. The
weather is not bad.
Concerning our grub. The
mush we get in the mornings is the
only good things we get on the ship. At
times we get eggs and whatever may
be said in their favor, they are most
For lunch today we
were given some meat, which had a
terrible kick to it. We refused to eat
it. We all refused to eat it and
kicked. The bread is mouldy and
we kicked about that.
For supper tonight
we had what looked like the same
meat we had for lunch, served up to
us, so we complained again.
We have been greatly
amused the last few days to see
our sergeants strutting about their
own deck (for they have a special
section for themselves and are really tingods)
with their moustaches waxed
out in long thin streaks. Its a good
job their is no 5.30 'fall in' or
they would never get fussed up.
Now that the boys
are getting over their sea sickness all
talk is turning to the war zone
and our chances of getting through.
Sept. 18th. When we went
down to breakfast we were all as hungry
as bears as we had had very little
to eat for a few days. All that we
ate was the small ration of mush.
Then they served
us with hash and it smelt like ----
It was apparently the same meat they
had tried to pass off on us yesterday
without success we sent for the orderly
offices and complained about the food,
but it did little good. The fellows
did not touch the meat and wagered
that we'd see it in lights yet.
The weather has been
very foggy and the fog horn has been
sounding with dull monotony. All
the boys are on deck and there is
plenty of life.
Sept. 19th. We expected that
we would have changed quarters
with the 12th Brigade as we are
now half way over. It had been promised
to us, but for some unknown
reason it was not forthcoming and
we wanted to know why. The whole
brigade was up in the air and paraded
to their officers, who said that they
would see what could be done.
At 9.30 am. we
were ordered to stand by our bunks in
full dress, bandoliers and spurs, which
did not improve the attitude of mind
in the 'pig-stye'. At this time the
smell below was as pleasant as a
boneyard. The officers got so far on
their tour of duty and inspection
when the equilibrium of their stomachs
was upset and they had to make a
hasty retreat to the deck to our
great amusement. We remained below
long enough to get our equipment off
and do a little fervent swearing,
then made for the deck to give our
lungs a spell. We are all chuck
full of coughs and colds due to the
drafts and poor ventilation, and
we will all be glad to see land and
set our old feet on it again. Some of
the boys who still retain that pea-green
coloring are praying for an early
This morning we had
a boat drill and it was some mess.
Just as we are nearing the danger zone
and everything <sup>should be</sup> <del>was</del> working smoothly,
along comes a change: men have been
changed from boats. To make sure that
we knew our position we had another
alarm this afternoon. Some lunatic
went through the lounge room and
said that 'a periscope had been
seen' of course there was a rush to
the deck to see this strange eyepiece.
When it was learned that the
report was incorrect <del>there</del> the boys
hustled off to their berths to get their
life belts and then on to the boat
are the usual scenes on board. All
the tables are being used for cards,
poker, 500, whist and Banker. In
a game of Banker just now $30.00
was made by one fellow on a hand.
The lounge room finds many who
find peace in sleep, while on the lee
side of the saloon deck, the sick,
near sick and those who look for
'subs' and are nervous find refuge.
There are a few lusty-throated youths,
whose worries are nil, now that there
are no girls to flirt with, who are
entertaining the ship's company to
some werid interpretations of many
Our ships doe
not carry any guns but the others
do and the gunners engage in a
little practice. The leading ship
dropped a barrel with a broom
handle sticking up through it, to resemble
a periscope and the men on the
second ship thought they would
see some fun. There was a report and
the periscope vanished. It was a
'hit.' For breakfast this morning we had sausages.
Sept. 20th. I forgot to set
down on Monday that a big complain
was made to the colonel that day to
about the excessive charges made
by the crew for things we purchased.
When we came on
board we had a large list of things,
telling us what we should and should
not do, read to us and among them
was the following:
'No man shall
barter in any way with members of
Then the boys
were recovering from their sea-sickness
their appetite demanded something
tasty. They could not stand
the aroma of the messroom so
looked to other quarters for their eats.
Hunger knows no law so the boys
took to buying things of the cooks.
The first day sandwiches were sold
for 10 cents a piece, but the canny
Scots on finding that the boys
wanted the grub, immediately raised
their prices until we were paying
25 cents for a sandwich; $1.00 for
4 lemons; the same price for the
same number of oranges and $2.50
for 4 bottles of beer, and 30 cents
for a piece of cake.
The fellows became
angry and discovered that the whole
crew were in a ring to do them and
were cutting down our rations to make
us come and purchase more from them.
Although knowing that they were in
the wrong the boys decided to put
an end to the game and complained
to their officers. An investigation was
held and some of the cooks punished
We have been turned
into a bunch of kickers by this trip.
At breakfast this morning we hollered
about the meat, mush, bread, butter
and tea but the orderly officer said
that he had eaten worse. So what's
I am sitting in
my little bunk with the dead light
screwed down over the port-hole so
as to assist in making the ship
conversation is going on in the
next 'stye' to mine. The partition is
thin so one can hear everything. A
Scotchman with a most tiresome voice,
is talking in a penitent mood and
one would think he was endeavoring
to take up the mantle of a
cherubim. He has been painfully informing
the other fellows that there
is probably no boy in the world who
thinks so much of his mother.
'I have brothers'
he said and I reached for my
handkerchief for it was sad indeed,'
but they don't take near the interest
in mother that I do. I don't drink
or smoke or swear or chew. I
don't know how it is, but it is'
the man groaned in his bunk and
muttered something. So did I and
only wished there had been an opening
large enough to admit 'one military
That voice. It's killing.
A cross between a whistle and the
last mutterings of a man with his
Well my old bunk
<del>though</del> thinks it is time I was crawling
inside. My bed-mates are no doubt
wondering why I am late tonight, so
I had better slip in between my
blankets. I am enjoying the company
of the little fellow and have most of
The only thing
I don't like about my lower bunk
is that my red-headed Irish friend
above persists in sending down a
shower of sand on top of me
every time he rolls in. He says it's
just a reminder of Petewawa. What
the sand is doing in the mattresses
I don't know. We didn't get it
this trip as we haven't struck any
dust as yet.
This afternoon we
changed our positions. The Northland
dropped out from the head of the
line and took up a position astern
of the Metagama.
Sept 21st. As we were due
for the first sitting this morning
at breakfast, we had to rise early.
When we got on deck as usual we <del>saw</del>
looked seaward, and saw the ships
cutting all kinds of capers. They
were zig-zagging, then steaming in
eschelon. The Drake was well off
our port bow. We are now shifting
along at 13 knots.
At 9.30 the S.-M.
came around looking snipers and took
the best shots in the battery. I
happened to be picked. We had to
get fully dressed and on top of all
this adjust our life. belts. All the
boats were swung outboard so we
piled into them and had a rifle
and 50 rounds issued to each of
us. We were to look for inquisitive
submarines or periscopes. If we saw
one we were to report to the orderly
officer, who in turn reported to the
bridge who then sent down a
range to us. What would have
happened if we fulfilled this no
one can tell.
We came off our
first shift at 1.30 pm, cold, wet,
tired and hungry. We didn't get
a shot but hope for better luck
on our next watch.
At 3.30 all
the boys were on deck anxious to see
the destroyers which were due at 4
pm to accompany us to our destination.
A few minutes to
4 six black specks showed up on the
horizon in the form of a fan and we
were right in the centre of it. At
4 the little ships were tearing about
in amongst us. It was a striking
example of the efficiency of the British
Navy. Right on the dot! They singled
out their respective ships. The 74 came
to us, another went to the Drake,
a third to the Metegama, another
to the Northland, a fifth to the
Scandinavian and the sixth went off
on <del>our</del> her own.
It is a pretty
sight to see these little wasps tearing
alont in a light sea. When steaming
head on they throw two cataracts
from their knife-like bows. They slip
along so easily. They are low and very
narrow and anything of a sea washes
right over them. They almost seem to
bend. The boys on these [1 word] [illegible] [crossed out] midget
fighting ships must have a hard
life in a heavy sea and whenever <del>you</del> <sup>one</sup>
hear of a destroyer being sunk he
should se [crossed out] shed a tear for the boys
who went with her. They are real
With the little
vessels tearing around us we felt a
peculiar sense of security. We
got orders to work up our speed and
were soon knocking off 16 1/2 knots.
We rapidly drew away from the rest
of the fleet. It is now every ship for
herself. We still have a few knots up
our sleeve. As darkness came on the
Northland was just a speck on the
horizon and the Scandinavian and
Metagama were having a little scrap
between themselves for second place.
The Drake has hit well off to
This morning at
10 we got orders to don our life-belts
and keep them on until we arrived.
They proved very cumbersome.
Tonight we are
steaming without a light of any kind.
One fellow went about with a flash
light and was arrested. Fortunately
the snipers were dismissed for the
night and we didn't have to worry
about a cold vigil. No one was allowed
to sleep below and we were sprawled
about in the dining saloon, lounge rooms
It was a grand
night. The phosphorence was great
and some of the boys got quite a
scare. They were staying on the pool
deck and swore they saw a torpedo
coming. It came tearing along straight
for the ship and its course was
illuminated by the phosphorence. When
a short distance from the starboard
quarter it shot off and was lost
sight of in the ship's wake. It was
As we turned in the
Cameronia was hitting 18 knots.
Sept 22nd. Several things
happened last night. Some one broke
into the chocolate case in the
lounge room and stole $30.00 worth
of chocolates. It was about 2 am
and we hear some one sleeping near
the case say: 'When shall we do it.'
The reply, almost inaudible, was. '
There was a crack
and soon chocolates commenced to
find their way around. We all
shared in it. While not condoning
in the act of stealing we were glad
to have the chance of [heating?] this
Some fellows talked
most of the night. The eastern boys
were afraid to go to sleep for fear
something might happen. They wondered
what would happened if the
ship caught fire.
When we got on
deck we saw the North Coast of
Ireland and the next land we
saw was the Isle of Man, with its
picturesque fields and hedges.
Our destroyer is
away out in front of us. zig-zagging.
We are now well off the Isle and
running through at top speed on the
most dangerous part of the trip.
At 1.30pm we
arrived off the lightship at the north
of the Mersey and the pilot boat
ran along and put a pilot aboard.
We had only gone
a short distance when we felt our
ship tremble. We didn't know
whether we had struck a mine, the
bottom, <del>of</del> <sup>or</sup> a torpedo. Things were
soon explained. A ship was sunk
almost in the fairway and the
divers were working on her to clear
a passage. They had just discharged
two blasts and we simply
felt the vibration.
Then the customs
boat hailed us and wanted to
know 'Where we were from,' and 'What
the barI caught my first glimpse
of Liverpool. Its a great city. The
shipping in the river is enormous. Huge
ships in the docks, schooners running
up with a fair breeze and tide,
ferries flying to and fro, freighters
at anchor. Admiralty boats, tugs
and lighters give the place a
most animated appearance. <del>Ou</del>
has now left us and we have removed
our life belts much to our
to our lounge room to get 24 hours'
rations. We got three beef sandwiches
and two cracker sandwiches.
I guess we're not supposed to be
We docked at
Liverpool at 3.30 pm. and at
5.30 were on English soil. We were
glad to say good-bye to the Cameronia
and her crew of Scotch robbers,
which was the dirtiest and most
detestible crew which ever sailed
At 6 pm we entrained
on a [Le. N.W. train bound
for where we knew <del>L</del> not. They piled
eight of us into one of those dinky
compartments. There was Lomas, Kelly,
Newton, Leonard, Innes, [1 word], Lee
and myself in one compartment and
as all but two were six-footers we
had some squeeze. At 6.30 pm we
pul<sup>l</sup>ed out <sup>and</sup> were soon hitting it up at
45 per or so. As darkness came
on we were ordered to draw all
blinds. We were pretty sore that we
didn't get an opportunity to see the
country. Before dark we saw some
of the beautiful fields, and hedges;
some haying scenes; a few scampering
<del>harr</del> hares; fine sheep and
cattle and the famous oak, elm and
By 10 pm our
24 hours' rations had disappeared
and we were hungry. We stopped
at Birmingham and laid in some
We were darn
tired and our thoughts turned to
sleep. We curled up in all kinds of
shapes, but the knees and feet would
not keep our of the way. Things were not
too bad until one of the boys took
off his boots. Then we were nearly
forced to sleep against our wills.
Sept 23rd. At 3.30am we
were <sup>told</sup> <del>tolk</del> to turn out at the next
station. When our train stopped we
put on our equipment and turned
out. It was a cold, clear night.
We found the station to be milford.
We fell in and
awaited orders. Presently we heard
some one shouting 'Gripes' and found
an old chap peddling grapes.
Orders were for
us to move off to Witley Camp.
We slung along with our kits on
our shoulders and entered a dark
country lane with huge trees meeting
overhead and the hedge on
the sides. It was our first route
march in England. We had three
miles to go and of course we had
to go the wrong road. We reached
Witley at 5 am.
We spent most of
the day getting settled in our huts, which
are pretty good, about 20x45 and
wind-tight and fitted with electricity.
We have been issued with knock-down
beds and mattresses as well as
The place is
beautifully located. It is right amidst
the Surrey hills and the scenery is
This afternoon we
went down to Godalming and had
an interesting time. In this country
the soldiers have Saturday afternoon
and Sundays off, which was a
nice surprise for us.
Sept 24th. The Kaiser
must have known that we had arrived
in England for last night we had a
Zepplin raid. At 2 am. the brigade
orderly officer came into our hut and
woke us. He told us to dress at once
and lay on our beds and await orders.
We rolled over and went to sleep. We
were too tired to get up. The British
<del>brok</del> brought down one Zep last night.
This afternoon I
went for a walk and saw some of
The weather is very
cold at nights and early mornings,
but fine in the afternoons.
Sept 25th. We put
in most of today foot-slogging.
We have no horses or guns as yet.
so will have to put up with the
foot drill for awhile.
Sept 26th. This
morning we set out on a route march
to Godalming and as it looked like
rain we wore our great coats. Just
before lunch we returned almost
all in. It rained hard and our
coats got very heavy.
Foot drill this
Had another Zep
scare tonight and this time they
brought down two ships. We had to
<del>great</del> <sup>get</sup> up and dress this time.
Sept 27th. It
rained hard this morning, but it
cleared a little this afternoon and
we were turned out for a route
march. We wandered about until
our officers got lost. We ploughed
through wind and water and still
got no where. To add to our
dilemma it started to rain hard.
At last we struck the right road
and got back to camp just in time
Sept 28th. Foot drill.
Sept 29th. Today we
started our six-days' leave. Over
half of the boys left this afternoon
and before <del>we</del> the bunch left the
colonel got them all together and
gave them a little advice. There
is an easy time in store for us who
are waiting for <del>our</del> the second
Sept 30th. Had a bath
today. In fact we all had to.
It was an order.
This afternoon I went
down to Godalming to spend some
money. Godalming is an old town
and there is a church there which
was erected in the 11th Century. Then
there is the famous Charterhouse.
which ranks with Eton's.
Oct 1st. Sunday) Went
to church this morning. It was
the C of E. so I didn't understand
This afternoon I
walked to Bramshott, eight
miles, to see some of the 103rd
boys. It was all up hill and
tough going. The roads in this
country are good and <del>man</del> make
the going a lot easier than otherwise.
I saw the famous Devil's
Had supper at Bramshott
and started to walk home. Had
company for half way with a couple
of girls. Then I hopped on a Ford
and rambled home.
Oct 2nd. Had
another air raid last night and
some of the boys saw one of the
airships come down. We didn't bother
to turn our on the alarm.
It rained heavily
all day so we laid off.
Oct 3rd. Had a
route march to Godalming today.
We have good times on these marches.
singing, cheering and once in
awhile win a smile from the fair
Oct 4th. Another
route march today. Went to Wormley,
Hydestile and Hambledon.
We got into an orchard before
our officer noticed and filled
our pockets with apples.
There are huge
quantities of black berries in
the hedges and every so often we
are halted and get a chance
to wade into them.
Oct 5th. Went on
a route march to Hazelmere and on
the way stopped at an estate. We
were admitted to it and saw
the kennels and fine parks. The
game-keeper said that 'they only
had 4,000 acres here'. It belongs
to Lord Perry.
Oct 6th. Last night
a bunch of boys came home from
leave. They all had a good time
but were sorry to have to come back.
All day today we
were getting our kits into shape for
our leave. At 5pm we marched to
Milford and got on board a
train and hopped on to London.
We reached there at 8pm and
climbed on to a brake and started
off for our rooming quarters. On
emerging from Waterloo station we
found London's streets as black
as ink. We crossed Waterloo bridge
and picked our way through the
crush of traffic at a slow pace.
It was not long before our driver
got lost. On a dark night the
oldest of Londoners get lost. Finally
we landed at the lodging house
where it had been arranged for us
to stop but we had a nasty
surprise awaiting us. When they
found we were Canadians they
put up the price in fact doubled
it. We told them to go to a fair
land and made for the [1 word]
Y.M.C.A. Its a hard job getting a
room in London now. The 'y' was
full up, but offered to accommodate
us on the lounges and floor. Then
they found out that we could be put
up at the Shakespeare Hut so
we were shipped over <del>their</del> there in
a motor. After getting a shake-me-down
we went out on the street
at 10.30pm for a walk. We saw
some interesting sites. Plenty of
Janes on the street. A few can't
go two feet without being accosted
and its as much as your purse is
worth to stand still for a
minute in some parts.
we returned to the Hut and turned
Oct.7th. A bunch of us
made arrangements to have a brake,
a vehicle drawn by two horses which
prior to the war was rapidly losing
favor but which recently has reutned
as a public utility owing to
the government commandeering
most of the '[1 word]'.
At 8.30 the brake
reached the Hut and 21 of us
piled on board. We had a cheerful
fellow who had been driving in
London 'for the past 40 years, in
charge of us. With a 'pool-upp'
from the driver and a cheer from the
boys we started to move. We ran
down Tottenham Court Road, thence
along On ford street to Hyde Park.
We saw the Serpentine, Kensington
Palace, Rotten Row, and then passed
on to the Prince Albert memorial
erected by Queen Victoria in memory
of her husband at a cost of
[pounds] 120,000. It was started in 1864
and took several years to build.
Then we saw the Natural History
Museum and the South Kensington
Museum. Tattersall's was pointed
out to us; the Duke of Wellington's
Home; the Triumphant Arch and
the Rothschild's home. Our next
point of interest was Buckingham
Palace. At the time we arrived there
an investure was in progress, the
heroes of the last 'Zep' raid being
awarded their well-earned honors.
Then we saw the Victoria Memorial,
St.James Palace and the Marlborough
House. A thousand and one things
of interest were brought to our
notice. On nearly every corner there
stands a statute or a landmark,
with a lengthy history.
The most interesting
part of our trip was now commencing.
We neared the Parliament Bldgs,
and saw Big Ben in the distant.
We skirted around the Foreign
Office and <del>naval</del> Admirally on top
of which the naval men watch for
at the Parliament Bldgs and were
escorted through them. They are
beautiful. Then we crossed the street
to Westminster Abbey and were just
in time to see the colors of a
Canadian regiment being placed
on Wolfe's monument for safe
keeping. We saw all sorts of weird
tombs, and even some ghastly figures
and trod on graves of many great
men. The architecture of this
building is grand especially the
carved ceiling which is done in
On the Whitehall
we saw the building outside
which Charles I was executed.
Our course now
lay along the Victoria Embankment,
where we saw Cleopatra's needle and
the Bank of England. We next
stopped at St.Paul's cathedral
a handsome structure. We went
up to the whispering Gallery and
then climbed another series of
stairs up to the promenade, from
which we secured a beautiful view
of central London.
It was time
for lunch so we hustled into a resturant
and had a hasty lunch and
were soon on the move again. Our
afternoon was to be spent in the
Tower of London. We saw many more
creeping objects and heard such
creeping stores about the different
towers that we all came out with
creepy feelings running up and
down our backs.
Then we went over
Tower Bridge and London Bridge
and up through the Strand, we
had a noisy time on the Strand,
singing and cheering. The memorial
of the 1665 fire was pointed out
to us and we finished up with a
run through the Jewish quarters.
We arrived back
at the Hut at 6 pm very hungry so
after a fine meal we made for a
show, but never got into one as we
took too much interest in the
sights on the streets.
Oct 8th. Paid a visit to the
Peel House this morning. Sunday
seems just as busy in London as any
Left the Hut at
noon and by using a bus and a tube
I managed to reach Waterloo station
with a few minutes to spare to
catch the train for Devonport. Had
fine trip and reached Devonport
at 6.30 pm and was met by
Uncle Harry and Cousin Edith.
Saw a big train wreck at Hanover on
the way down.
For supper tonight
I had a <del>fast</del> famous Devon
dish and it appeared doubly good on
top of army rations. I had deep apple
pie and Devonshire Cream. It was
Oct 9th. Up good and early.
Saw the great dockyard and some
of the famous fighting ships. Then
went up on the Hoe and saw Smeaton's
Lighthouse, which stood on the
Eddystone for 103 <del>day</del> years. Saw
the breakwater, the Barbican and
went out to [1 word].
In the afternoon
went to mt.Edgcumbe and saw
Uncle Jim, Cousin Roland and
Louise. Then I roamed up to Aunt
Mary's and went into mother's old
home. Had supper with Mary and
Uncles Mark and Fred. After
supper I went up to Maker Lodge
and met some more relatives Aunt
Bessie, Uncle Harry and Cousins
Marjorie and Winnie. Spent the
night at Hoe Lake.
Oct 10th. Went to Cawsand
and Kingsand and met Aunt
Pollie and Cousin Dolly. I saw the
torpedo boats firing torpedoes and
they made some fine shots.
Went back to
Devonport at 2 pm and went
down to Saltash to meet Cousin
Annie, and saw the famous bridge
which the people of Saltash
call 'one of the seven wonders of
the world'. Went up to see Uncle
Ned and then slipped over to Cousin
Edith's to spend the evening.
I am having a
great time. I eat until I get full
and then they plaster down a plate
of some other delicacy in front of
you and you have to strain the lining
Oct 11th. Went over to Crenyl
this morning with Annie and saw
Uncle Jim, Aunt Bessie and had
lunch with Aunt Mary. Then I
went down to Cawsand and fell into
a wedding party. Had time to meet
the bride and drink her health and
then race off for Millbrook. Then
I met another uncle on the road,
Uncle Charlie. Met some <del>[1 word]</del>
distant relatives in Millbrook
and managed to bum a good
meal. Caught the 7.10 boat for
Devonport and got home at 9pm.
Oct 12th. Went up to see
Uncle Ned this morning and the
kiddies were kept home from school
in honor of my visit. Had lunch there
and caught the 12.20 train for
London, where I arrived at 6.6 and
at once hit for Milford. Arrived
in the bunk-house at 9.30 and jumped
into my dirty bed. Its some contrast
to the nice clean sheets I
had when on leave.
Oct 13th. Had a very easy
time today, thank goodness for I
didn't feel like <del>wr</del> working. Had
a compulsory bath this afternoon.
Tonight we had a
rare old pillow fight. We were
gradually getting settled in bed,
when some one let drive a pillow,
which hit Lee on the head and another
caught Sonle[?]. There was some
cursing. Before any one had a
chance to say 'Cease fire' a mattress
came sailing down the bunk-house
and lodged on Lee's head. He was
a bit under the weather and had gone
to bed with his boxing gloves on.
There was trouble
now. Grabbing a pillow Lee bounded
up to the other end of the bunk-house
bound on vengence. He made a swing
at one fellow and was met with
a salvo of pillow. Five boys sprung
to the rescue and drove big Lee
back to his bed. Some of the other's
got into the melee and just as it
was going good some one let some
drive which hit the switch and put
the lights out. In the darkness
some prune let drive a boat which
hit Goldie in the eye and closed
it. Then the fight came to a
'peaceful' conclusion, we had pray
and went to sleep.
Oct. 14th. We had little
to do this morning and this afternoon
arranged a rugby game. The
game had not gone long before I
got a bad tackle and was thrown.
I sprained my ankle and wrenched
the tendons of my foot. I was
<del>care</del> carried to the doctor and he
ordered me to Witley Hospital.
I was put to bed and ordered to
stay there so I guess I'm in for
a bit of a stay.
Oct 15th. Had very little
sleep last night, but ankle is
We only have male
nurses here so it detracts for the
pleasure of stopping in hospital.
Its the lady nurses who make
and provide the only pleasantness
in the place. There is the M.O.
old Dad, the cook. 'Colonel' the
male man and two orderlies, who
are always scrapping with one another
I had a funny introduction <del>for</del> to
the 'colonel'. He came in with a
stetoscope in this hand and came
up and looked at me with great
'Let me see your chest,' he
said in a solemn tone.
I thought I must be
dying and pinched myself to see
if I had <del>an</del> lost my sense of
feeling. In obeyance I beared
my chest and he placed the
stetoscope over my heart and
lungs. A dark look came over
his face and I thought there was
something seriously wrong.
I didn't have time to
look at the other fellows in the
ward who were smiling.
Then the colonel arose and
paced the room; with his hands
behind his back and his head
bowed as though in a serious mood.
Then he stopped opposite me and in
a slow voice said:
'By gad! I think he'll live
Then there were a lot of ha! has!
and I knew that I had been the subject
of a well-played joke.
Oct 16th. Monday) This morning
the colonel came into the ward
and his face was wreathed in smiles.
'Well, boys', he started, 'I
went to church last night with my
best girl. Yes! She's a dress-maker',
'A dress-maker?' we chorused
'Yes; she puts bands on
'Come along with that
breakfast' some one shouted.
'Just a minute now boys,' returned
the colonel. 'While I was in church
the parson says: 'Is there any one here
who would like to see the devil; if
so please stand up.' Of course I was
anxious to see the old fellow, so rose to
my feet. Then the pasrson said: 'Go
The colonel is an interesting
character. He is an Ontario man
of about 56 years of age. For many
years he was a railroad engineer
and said that 'no one could run
him as he had run an engine too
long'. He can take like a steam
whistle. He is supposed to bring the
meals in to us, but it is a slow
system. He brings in the first two
and then poses in the middle of the
ward and talks, while we
shout and holler to him to bring in
the rest of our grub.
Oct 17th. This was an eventful
day in the ward. The first thing they
brought in a fellow with a dislocated
knee. He was in great pain and cried:
'Give me something to put me to sleep'.
The doctor looked at the
leg, then seized it and made a few
violent movements <del>and</del> which caused
the chap great pain and nearly had
him jumping out of bed, and resulted
in a click, which meant that
the knee was back.
The next victim was a
driver who had been kicked in the
back by a mule. The beast hit him
with one hoof and before he touched
the ground the mule had made connection
with the other hind hoof.
Mule is the main topic
in camp just now. The D.A.L.
is to have all mules and each
battery will have ten for general
services. No one has any use for
mules and judging by general
principles they have no use for
any one. They have one bad habit.
That is, kicking and if they can't
reach you they bite you. They never
give you warning. A horse usually
throws its ears forward before it
kicks, but a mule makes sure of
its mark and then let go with
Two hundred mule
reached camp yesterday and everyone
was afraid to go near them.
There were grey mules, black,mules
brown mules, all colors of mules.
They kicked the feed pans out
of everyone's hands and ate
through their tie ropes.
The next patient was a
lad of 19 who had been stolen by
strangers when he was a baby and
was now fighting with the Canadian
forces. He advertised in the papers
for his parents and was informed
that both were dead.
A noisy yankee was
the next to appear. When the doctor
came in he started to cough violently
and groan. As soon as the
doctor went out he was alright and
started to tell us who he was,
what he had done and a lot of
other junk. Everything went well until
'lights out' when the yank started
his groanings again. He then got up
put his spread about him and paced
the Ward. He woke us all up and
if we had found any army slippers
he would have come to an untimely
We had no sooner got
to sleep that a fellow started to
shout and laugh in his sleep. We
all had to laugh and finally
he got tired and went to sleep.
Oct 18th. Still in hospital
Oct 19th ' ' '
Oct 20th ' ' '
Oct 21st ' ' '
Oct 22nd ' ' '
Oct 23rd ' ' '
Oct 24th ' ' '
Oct 25th This morning
I was discharged from hospital
and returned to my lines but my
ankle was very sore and I had to
use a cane to get about on. It
was raining bad and I ate in the
corporal's mess for the first time.
Oct 26th. I was ordered
to Bramshott Military Hospital,
which is 8 miles from Witley, for
special treatment as my ankle is
far from well. I made the trip
in an ambulance and above all a
I was given a bath on
arriving and issued with a blue
uniform and a red tie. I was
sent to Ward 18, which has two nice
This hospital was taken
over from the Imperial authorities
by the Canadians just a few
weeks ago. It is a new type
of hospital erected since the
outbreak of war. It has a long
passageway and the wards run
off this. There are 20 wards and
30 beds in each and most of them
I was assigned to a
bed between two nuts. I was just
figuring on a little sleep, when one
of the nuts started to belabor me
with a series of varied yarns
regarding his life. He told me he
had walked 22 miles in two hours
at 180 paces a minute. Then he
said he had been mistaken on
the street for King George and the
Czar and was after saluted in
He belonged to the Forrester
Battalion and was sent into the
woods one day with an axe and
with the first blow smashed his
ankle. Upon recovering from that
he went forth with a saw and
cut off his little finger and part
of his hand. Some woodsman!
After this array of
experiences I thought the man
must be suffering from some kind
of an hallucination. Just then
one of the fellow's across the
ward gave me the following sign;
he tapped the wall and then
his head: the nobody home sign.
I rolled over to avoid
his tales only to be met by a
sallow-faced fellow who apparently
was under a bad affliction.
<del>af</del> I think it was love. He
started to tell me about his girl
and asked my advice on certain
points. The fellows in the ward
seemed to enjoy my perdicament.
Oct 27th. In hospital.
Being fed fine.
Oct 28th. ' '
Oct 30th. ' ' The
sister <del>brog</del> bundled us off to
church, but as it was an Anglican
service I didn't understand or
Oct 31st. In hospital.
Terrific weather. Thought the place
would have blown over last night.
Drenching rains and hurricane
<del>Oct</del> Nov 1st. In hospital.
Weather fine. We have a band concert
every afternoon and a concert by
talented artists, sometimes from London
in the evenings.
Nov 2nd. Last night a
fellow was brought in suffering from
spinal meningitis. As a result
we are quarantined. We are supposed
to be here for two weeks.
Nov. 3rd. Ban on our
quarantine was lifted today.
Today there was supposed to
be a military funeral and the gun
carriage with four black horses was
waiting outside, but they were unable
to find a victim. A sargeant came in
with a worried look on his face.
'What's the matter?', we asked.
'Is there any one dead in
here?' he <del>a</del> asked in reply.
We looked at one another
but failed to see a dead one.
'Well' said the sargeant.
'there's a funeral arranged and there's
supposed to be a dead man, but we
can't find one',
We passed it off as a joke.
We had lunch today and had
some rabbit. There were 'naeows' <del>are</del> as
the animals were passed around and
many unsavory remarks.
The sargeant came in this
afternoon and announced 'physical
jerks' for everyone in the ward. There
isn't one of us who can stand up.
No. 4th. In hospital. Three
operations in the ward today. One
of the boys gave us no end of fun
when he was coming out. He said it
was just like being saved.
Nov. 5th. In hospital
Nov. 6th. ' ' '
Nov. 7th. ' ' '
Nov. 8th. ' ' '
Nov. 9th. ' ' '
Nov. 10th. Discharged from
hospital and returned to my lines.
Nov. 11th. It is good to
be back with the boys. The hats are
not very warm, but the noise and
yapping makes up for a lot. Did very
Nov. 12th. Took over the
duties of battery orderly for the week.
I have just been reminded
of one of the 'colonel's' yarns which I
forgot to set down in hospital.
'Are you a public speaker?'
asked one of the boys.
'A public speaker? Well I
should say yes. I once gave an address
and had to make out through a
window. The people wanted me to
come back and even took off their
coats and rolled up their <del>coa</del> shirt
sleeve's but I wasn't going back. Not
on your life'.
Nov.13-18 Battery orderly.
On. Nov 17 we saw our first natural
ice in this country. There were icicles
in our washroom. The weather is very
cold and we have to pile on all the
we can find to keep warm.
Today we had our first snow and it
was very cold. Over an inch of snow
Nov. 19th. Came off battery orderly
this morning and this afternoon I
went on my first ride. A bunch of
us went on a tear across country.
The ground was in fierce shape and
our horses were after up to their
knees in mud. We were covered from
head to feet in mud. One of the
boys came off and dropped right
in the muddy waters of a creek. He
was soaked. Another boy had a
bad spill. We had an awful job
cleaning off our horses.
Nov. 20th. Started on a
map reading course this afternoon.
I went on a quarantine picquet
last night. One of our huts has the
measles and the sargeants are also
quarantines. I was taken off picquet
and sent to school.
Nov. 22nd. Map reading
school. Went to Godalming this afternoon.
A heavy fog settled down and
I had a <del>n</del> fine time getting home.
You couldn't see 2 feet in front of
you. There are no lights in Godalming
owing to the zep precautions
and every now and then you would see
a bright flash dead ahead, which
indicated some one was trying to pick
their way along with the assistance
of a flash light. One was always bumping
into some one.
Nov.22nd. Map reading.
My brother Percy joined the battery
today, transferring from the 11th CMR's
We had a great time tonight
teasing one of the boys who
was trying to boil a little water
to have a cup of coffee before going to
bed. The boys knocked the lid off
and tried to throw things in the
cup and by the time he had it ready
for service it was about half empty.
He had previously made some toast
and cached it away, but some kind
friend promptly appropriated it.
He then looked for his coffee but some
one in the Saturday clean up has
placed it somewhere out of sight so
that the O.C. would not spy it
on his tour of inspection. In his
moment of despair he opened the
window and threw out the water.
Just at that moment the driver who
had hidden the coffee away presented
it to him. His wrath found
relief only in sleep.
Nov. 23rd. Map reading.
Today we celebrated the cutting of
one of the boys' hair. He had let
it grow until it was tickling his
shoulder blades. The boys offered to
pay the 3 pd for the cutting so he
went forth. The barber did a good
job as he always does, but some
mischeivious driver seized hold of
a pair of clippers and put the
finishing touches on. It was some
mess and the kid made a noise
like a tin full of horus[?].
Nov.24th. Map reading.
Went out to do some ground work
this morning. This afternoon we
received our papers and I secured
91% the best in the brigade.
We have a new
officer with us. He has started in
well and has managed to brush
every fellow the wrong way.
says that the only things he has
are a collar and a pair of boots
He has started
giving out the horses and everyone
is <del>desc</del> dissatisfied with
the teams. Then he came around
and said, 'who did I give that
team to?' and as receiving no
answer distributed them [1 word]
more. So each horse now has
are to hand over our horses and
teams to the 61st so we are to
have all our harness marked.
He came to us tonight and said:
'Look here you've
got to have that harness marked
tonight or you'll get
h.e.l.l and you know what
On of the boys
came in stewed tonight. Another
of the fellows was sick and
in the midst of his wandering
the inebriate came across him.
He offered him his blanket
and said he could sleep on the
floor. He then went out and
offered to relieve the picquet
One of his friends
said he had good intentions
of being a sport. He had been
drinking all night and just
when the bar-tender rapped at
9 for all to turn out he turned
'All right boys! Come
on and have one on me now'.
'Out you go boys'
said the grey haired bar-
Nov.25th. Turned out on
stables this morning for a turn
The drivers were put on
gun drill under our new officer
and there was plenty of fun.
One of the boys brought
down his wrath upon his head,
when he tried to swing the gun
with the brake on.
'Look! there's a man
trying to be a Sampson. moving
the gun with the brake on'.
The drivers were firing
the gun without loading it and
all sorts of queer things.
Finally a crowd gathered
around to witness the queer
antics and the sub turned and
'Have you fellows
nothing to do? If you want some
thing to do there's something
to be done over here.' he snapped.
Left at noon for
London. Arrived 2.15. Spent
afternoon in town and met Charlie
Nov. 26th. (Sunday) Spent
the morning at the zoo and
in the afternoon saw uncle
Peter. Left London at 8.15 and
reached camp just after
Nov 27th. Spent day
in exercising the horses.
Tonight three of the boys
went off on pass. They said that
<del>th</del> one of their sisters was going
to be married and wanted
to go to the wedding. They got
their leave and went and saw
their girls in Guildford.
Nov. 28th. On exercise
rides this morning and afternoon.
Tonight I went on
stable picquet for the first
time in England and it was
very cold. Slept in the hay. There
are some great rats in this
country. They're as large as rabbits.
Nov 29th. Came of
picquet at 6 pm.
Nov. 30th. On exercise
Dec 1st. Weather very
cold and plenty of ice is to be
seen and the parade grounds and
roads are very hard. This morning
we were on a ride and managed
to keep warm.
Just at present the
battery is acting as a contracting
outfit. The drivers are hauling
snd and bricks with which
the floors of the stables are
being lined. The gunners are
acting as bricklayers and between
this fatigue and other duties
the battery is doing no training.
Some of the gunners have not
yet been on our new guns and we
haven't a gun-layer. They talk
about sending us to Salisbury
Plains to do our shooting.
Dec 2nd. Weather cold
Went on a ride last night. Took
horses out for exercise this morning.
This afternoon I went
down to Godalming, had my picture
taken and purchased my Xmas
presents after some difficulty
in making a decision
Tonight 'deep-sea', our
batman, became stewed and
on his way back from Godalming
turned his flash-light on to
everyone riding a bicycle saying
'I'll blind ye ye bounders'.
'Lights out' was just sounding
when we had to go out and look
for him and found him with his
torchlight pointing towards the
'What are you doing?' one
of the boys asked.
'I'm looking for zeps.
Sh-o-o-o. Watch out.'
Then we lugged him
into his hut.
The officers had a flare
last night and one of our officers
came down and dismissed the
boys in quarantine. This was something
which could only be done by
the M.O. The boys, glad to be out,
visited the various huts, but
were soon rounded up.
Dec.3rd. Weather cold. As
a result of last night's orgy
some of the officers bear marks,
one has a black-eye and another
a gash on the head.
We spent the day on stable.
This evening I fell in at
6 pm. with the mouse Hill picquet,
consisting of one sargeant, a
corporal and 16 men. we assist
the police in keeping order in
Godalming. We were stationed in
what is called the Pepper Box,
a two-storey affair, erected in
1814 for the convenience of the
public. We remained there until
9 pm when we marched to the
outskirts of the town and then
started back, combing the main
streets and alleys for drunks
and men without passes. We
got back to camp at 10.30 pm.
Dec 4th. Weather cold.
Went on driving drill this morning.
This afternoon we went for a ride.
Dec 5th. Weather cold.
Bricklaying again. On a ride.
Dec 6th. Weather cold.
On a short ride this morning.
This afternoon went on
guard for 24 hours with one
sargeant, two corporals and 19
One of the boys, who
had been instructed during the
forenoon in what proper compliments
to pay to officers, was
visited by the orderly officer.
'Halt!' Who goes there,'
said the sentry.
'Orderly officer of the day.'
came the reply.
'Well what in h--l are
you doing out at night.' was the
In one of the infantry
lines last night the sentry was
approached by the grand rounds.
'Halt!' shouted the
sentry. 'Who goes there?'
'Advance one and be
recognized; Remainder about turn
and do on the hands down,' was
the sentry calm order.
The stable picquet was
visited last night by the orderly
'Halt! who goes there.'
said the picquet almost in a
The officer paid no
attention and walked on.
The sentry challenged him
twice and then ran up and halted
'Why didn't you halt me?'
'I did call out, sir.'
'Why didn't you shout
'Well, sir, the rest of the
picquet's asleep sir.'
Dec 4th. Weather cold.
Spent most of the night on guard.
and mounting sentries.' Some of
the boys spent the night in
cells as we had no prisoners
and the cells are warmer than
the big room.
Dec. 8th Weather cold.
Working around stables as
usual. Fatigues are the rule.
At the rate we are training
we won't get to the front for
a long time.
Dec. 9th Weather cold.
Out for a numnah ride and
for the first time our 'famous'
battery rough-rider was out
without a saddle. He is a
wonderful rider and was kicked
out of a riding school the
other day for which he thought
he was too good. He is supposed
to ride all new horses but usually
gets a gunner or driver to try
them out. He can sit on a real
This afternoon we
This afternoon we messed
around stables, which is part
of our training, according to one
of our officers. Any way it is
very trying on the boys.
Dec. 10th Sunday) We
managed to land the job of
duty battery today and consequently
there was no church parade.
All men who were not on
duty were chased down to stables
and set to cleaning harness
and the stables. I don't know
what would happen if our orderly
officer of the week managed to
give us a few hours off.
For the past two weeks
we have had cold, fine weather,
but last night it rained very
hard and this morning the <del>1 word</del>
camp is a sea of mud. Gun
boots are the rule.
At 6pm I went on
stable picquet and sleep amongst
the hay with the rats.
Dec. 11th. Weather wet.
At 1 pm the picquet had the
nerve to awake me and tell me
that a horse was missing. I
told him to wait till morning
and went to sleep.
Had a hard day's work.
Cutting hay, cleaning stable, etc.
Came of picquet at 6 pm.
Dec. 12th The camp is
getting worse than better. The
mud is knee deep in places.
And the numerous men, horses
and wagons passing through
have churned the roads into a
terrible mess. The drivers, especially
the lead drivers, get
smothered in mud.
The stable picquet had
a surprise visit from the orderly
orfficer and a pal, both under
the 'influence'. The picquet on
duty was well seated reading
a book and unaware of the
approach of his superiors:
'Where's the stable picquet?'
came the query.
'Right here, sir,' came
the hasty reply of the surprised
'What are you doing in
here?' said the officer swaying
from side to side.
Getting no answer he continued:
'If you're no good at this
why don't you get your ticket
home, you're no good here.'
'I wouldn't mind my
ticket home, sir' piped out the
picquet. 'We don't expect to see
you around at this time of night.'
By this time the whole
picquet had been awakened and
were gazing with opened eyes
at the two staggering officers.
A complaint was made
with the bombardier of the picquet
and the pair departed. They managed
to steer clear of all [1 word]
were in grave danger of
collision at times.
The weather is playing
havoc with the boys. All are
bothered with colds and
some are very sick. Its nothing
but cough, cough, cough, but still
the obys are driven to it and
some are just working on nerves.
Dec. 13th Weather damp.
Plenty of mud.
This morning after doing
stables we had some gun
drill, the first we have had for
a long time. We were inspected by
the general and goodness knows
what he thought of our exhibition.
At lunch hour old Bill
Newton was studious employed in
perusing a paper around the
fire, when some one pushed the
paper on top of the stove. In
an instant it burst into flames
and scared poor Bill out of
a years growth.
This afternoon I went
to a gun laying class.
Dec. 14th We had a great
change in weather. A thick fog
settled down last night and it
froze. This morning the ground was
quite hard. This kind of weather
is playing havoc with our boys
and whole bunches of them are
reporting sick. We have had
two deaths in the brigade so far
and a lot of the obys are pretty
We went to stables at 9
and had to groom the horses until
their coats were like silk. Then
we filed out to the parade grounds
to be inspected by a general.
It was cold and now (?) and
we stood their (sic) for two hours.
Gues there will be some more
colds as a result. And after
all the trouble the general just
flashed a passing glance at
It was a grand sight.
There were over 2,000 horses on the
parade grounds more than I
have ever seen before.
This afternoon I went
to the riding school and afterwards
turned to to (sic) get the sub (?)
in <del>safe</del> shape for a ceremonial
Tonight we are all busy
cleaning our harness and equipment
for the big event.
Dec. 15th We turned out
at 6 am found a mush of snow
on the ground and we shivered
as we climbed into our clothes
and the shower of coughing was
We spent an hour
grooming the horses and then went
for breakfast returning to stables
immediately to harness up.
At 9.30 we turned
out and hooked in: It as very
cold. We were just going to move
off to the gun park to hook into
the wagons when an orderly came
down with the news that the
parade was cancelled. There was
plenty of cursing on the part of
officers, N.E.O's and men. After
getting ready we might as well have
gone through with it, but its probably
just as well we didn't go as
it was terribly cold.
We spent the morning
<del>as</del> in stables and in the afternoon
there was a ride.
At 6 pm I went on
Dec. 16th Weather
cold and foggy. The <del>abd</del> ablution
room is all ice and it is too
cold to wash. The boys are all
feeling pretty glum and joshing
about 'dying together.'
'Wait till I tell ye, I'm
not much longer for this world,'
'Now listen, Im a gonner.'
says Dap (?).
'That's a good gun' says
In the afternoon I got
off picquet and road to Bramshott.
It was a hard job coming home.
The road was like glass.
Dec. 19th Weather cold.
Everyone feeling 1 word. Three of
our boys are in hospital and six
are in bed in the hut. The hospitals
are full and they are converting
our Recreation Hut into a
place for the sick.
One of the fellows
in the hut said he would fix the
boys up and accordingly made up
a mixture of hot water and
syrup. The sick invalids took
the concotion and in five
minutes were back in bed worse
then ever. The stuff which was
branded as 'Smiths Lightining
Cure' guaranteed to kill or
cure, upset the boys stomachs.
Not one of them rose until
about 12 hours after he had
taken the medicine and it was
a great relief to the 'quack'
doctor to find that his patients
were not going to succumb.
Dec. 18th Weather
cold. On duty today <del>in</del> as N.G.O (?)
in charge of mess orderlies.
Tonight we are having
a regular snow storm. The weather
is certainly fierce.
Dec. 19th Weather
very cold. Ground encased in ice.
Early in the morning it started to
snow hard. There was a ceremonial
parade on for today, and the boys
were forced to go as far as they
did last time. They got all hooked
in and were ready to move off when
the orders came down that the
parade was cancelled. Why they
couldn't have come to the same
conclusion earlier in the day and
saved all the trouble no drivers
know, but we're in the army.
I got the 'cold'
last night and am spending the
day in bed. This afternoon my temp
was 102 F. I am no fighting cock.
Few of the boys are infected.
The weather still
continues bad. At noon after all
the cold we experienced a deluge
of rain. The whole place is
To add to our
miseries during the greater part
of the day we had no coal, consequently
no fire. However, this
afternoon we got in about half
a ton by methods known only to
soldiers. We've got enough to do us
overXmas unless some officer drops
in and makes too stringent inquiries.
Dec. 20th Raining
like ---; its the only word. Still
sick in bed. Temperature down.
Weak as a kitten. Another inspection
due for today was cancelled.
Lo who has been
under the weather for a few
days, is getting better and has
been on the go and talking
all day. One of the obys got a
parcel from his former church
and wanted some of the boys to
help him word a letter of
thanks. Lo <del>was</del> volunteered his
'take this down,' he said
'Dear M. Skupilot: --
'The Xmas parcel
arrived OK but the cake was too
small. If you can't send a bigger
one next time, don't send one at
all. Surely you can do better out
of the Sunday morning collection
than that ---.
said the fellow.
Dec. 21st This is
the shortest day of the year. The
days can't be any too short for
us. It is raining out. We are all
disappointed at having to stay
home for Xmas. The three boys who
got the passes in this sub left
at 4 this morning - we all wish
we could go and hate the
thought of spending Xmas in
Still sick and in bed.
An old story from Petewawa
was recalled tonight. It was 'The
We were going into action
and happeend to pass through a
fine patch of strawberries. The
major has picked out his position
and had his target. He was
kneeling also in the strawberries
but his mind was occupied in
higher things than strawberry
'B-sub' was running
into take up its position and
when the gunners saw the strawberries
they halted and started
to pick them.
The major, wondering
what had happened to No 2 gun,
looked around and when he saw
the gunners picking strawberries,
he said a lot of things
'Get to hell out of it,'
he raved; and sent the battery
out of action.
Then we took up a new
Dec. 22nd Weather
fair. Up and on duty. Had two
exercise rides. The horses are not
getting enough exercise and are
kicking the stables to pieces as
well as branding a fellow once
and awhile (sic).
One of the boys found
a couple of goats outside and
brought them into stables and
the fellows had lots of fun getting
them to butt one another. Of
course an officer popped in and
the whole show was queered.
Dec. 23rd Spent the
day cleaning harness and getting ready
for the regular instpection. However, the
colonel did not come around.
Spent the afternoon
in a 'stand easy' way.
Dec. 24th (Sunday).
This is Xmas Eve. I went to church
in Milford this morning.
This afternoon a bunch
of us went to Godalming and
had a Xmas diner at the Ottawa
Cafe. We then took in a big concert
in the town hall.
Coming home we
found all kind of drunks on the
roads, some staggering, others
tottering and still others passed
all control of limb lying helpless
by the roadside.
We were allowed to
have our lights on indefinitely.
The battery behind us had a
whale of a time. They put 25
gallons of beer out of sight
and they were putting one another
out of their huts. It was
a great night.
Dec. 25th This
was the day of days. Xmas Day
in a Workhouse. For the best
part of the time it seemed like
Sunday. We were all wishing we
were out of the place.
We were not disturbed until 7 am. Which was
quite a concession for the army.
The only thing we had to do was
'stables' and they came around
At 5 o'clock we
knew it was Xmas for we were
ushered into one of the huts which
had been prepared for the battery
dinner. It was beautifully decorated
with papers and evergreens.
There were seats for 83 and they
were all filled. We had a fine
spread and got our belts well
Then we went to
a concert and raised cane. There
was plenty of booze floating
around. Not only glasses of it
but pails of it. Money is no
object: booze is the object.
Dec. 26th (Boxing Day)
During our celebrations last night
one of our sargeants (sic) drove up on
horse back and rode into the hut
we were celebrating in and asked
if there 'were any complaints.' On
receiving a negative reply he went
out. The sargeants (sic) and some of the
officers waited on us.
Today we are duty
battery and I am in charge of
the mess orderlies. Nothing to do
but sit around, look wise when an
officer comes round and write
Dec. 27th Weather wet.
We are due to go to Lark Hill,
Salisbury Plain, very shortly to
fire and the officers have discovered
that our gunnery has been
sadly neglected. Consequently we
are being rushed and they are trying
to make layers out of us at express
train speed.I guess we'll make
it. We have had to spend so
much time exercising our horses
and looking after our stables
that we have been unable to get
ahead with our gunnery.
Dec. 28th Weather cold.
There was a heavy frost last night
and we turned out for battery
manoeuvers. The ground was hard
and slippery and the horses had
a hard job keeping their feet.
we drove around getting into
and out of missteps to the horror
of our commander and finally
wended our way homeward.
This afternoon there was
an exercise <del>nah</del> ride.
Dec. 29th Weather cold.
Busy with our gun-laying and had
to take our tests today. It sure
has been a scramble.
There was a good old
poker game going tonight. The
beans went fast and there were
some great hands. Full houses,
tights, straights and flusher
coming up with frequency and
the pots were big. E(?0, Matlin,
Bowden, Innes, Hancock, Kelly,
Webb and Temple are known as
the 'poker friends'.
Dec. 30th Weather wet.
Heavy rains. Continuing our gun
laying. Regular Saturday inspection
of huts and stables.
The curse of our young lives was
carried. These inspections, especially
of the huts, causes considerable
torment to the boys. Everything
but our regulation kit has to be out
of sight somehow. A squad is
sent through the huts and if anything
is (sic) about it is <del>send</del> relegated
to any place at all, usually the
At stables we have to get
everything fixed up, stell shining
horses clean and the stables so
spick and span that you could
eat of the floor.
Tonight the boys started
their new year's celebrations and
six of them came home drunk
as lords. They sang songs for
us, made love to one another on
bended <del>on</del> knee, cursed one and
all and finally went to bed
when 'light out' sounded.
Dec. 31st Weather fair.
This is the last day of the old
year. We had a gun-laying class
this morning and then had
stables. We were free this afternoon.
Some of the poker friends
are on the job tonight and others
are down to Godalming to continue
Jan. 1st (1917) Monday
After the return of the boys from
Godalming last night we
all sat up and sang. 'Light
out' sounded but we paid no
attention to it and kept on
making merry. If there was
one night in the army when we
didn't give a whoop it was
New Year's Eve. We thought
we would be pulled up to office
as the prevost Marshal came
lumbering in a couple of times
an warned us but we gave
him a few choice opinions to
think over and carried on.
As Midnight rolled around
most of the boys fell to
sleep among their blankets and
sleep a sweet peace.
This morning we awoke
and saw the New Year dawn and
break and discovered that
we were due for a big ceremonial
parade with everything
packed, ready to move off to
France. No holiday in this
country on New Year's.
At 2 o'clock this
afternoon the battery took up
its position on the parade
ground and everything looked
fine, horses, gunners, harness,
and drivers. The colonel inspected
us and was well pleased.
Then we hopped off on a long
Jan. 2nd (Tuesday) Last
night we had a fine entertainment,
provided by the brigade
in our Recreation Room. Then
there was a big concert in the
Working in stables today.
Jan. 3rd Weather
fair. Testing sights this morning
and gun-laying this afternoon.
Jan. 4th Weather fne.
Sick with sore muscles in my
back. Stayed in all day. One of
these old back woods fights
realy recurred this morning.
Kaffin and a big fellow getting
into trouble over a boat (?) which
was thrown once too often.
They started off to fight it in
the sand pit so I got out of
bed and went and ordered
them backed (?).
Jan. 5th Weather miserable.
Stayed in again today.
Had another full marching order
Jan. 6th Weather wet.
On duty. Gun-laying this morning.
Jan. 7th (Sunday) We
were duty battery today and I was in
charge of mess orderlies. Heavy rains
Jan. 8th Weather bad.
Heavy snow storm all day. Had
a lecture this morning and then
turned in for stables.
Jan. 9th Snowing again today.
Turned out on a mounted parade
and went into action behind a
crest in Lord Perries estate. I was
in the wagon lines and the snow
flurries made things most uncomfortable.
It was very cold.
One of the boys in the hut
looks as thought he has the measles
and we are afraid that we may
get quarantined and rustled off
<del>to</del> with a sign on our hut and
have our trip to Salisbury cut
Jan. 10th Went on picquet
last night and came off this morning
in time to get my kit fixed up
for Lark Hill.
At 11.30 am we left camp
with full kit and four blankets
slung over our shoulders for Milford
station and embarked at
12.30. We made the trip via
Southampton and reached
Avesbury at 5 pm, and disembarked.
I was left at the station
to see that the baggage got up
O.K. We loaded our wagon but
the darn stuff didn't hang on
very well and kept dropping off.
We had 4 1/2 miles to go and it
seemed that the whole load came
off before we reached our lines.
It was a fine night and the boys
say it was the first fine one they
had had for some weeks.
Our lines are situated
in a fairly good mudhole. We
have our boots wet already. The
soil is sort of chalky and you
stick and slip like the dickens.
We were too tired to walk
very far and rolled inon the hard
Jan. 11th Up at 6 am.
Weather moderate. At 11 am we left
the gun park to fire. We had a
good chance to see the country. It
reminded us a lot of Petewawa.
It is a huge place and there are
60,000 troops here; Australians,
Imperials and Cannucks (?).
We went about five
miles to our firing grounds and
passed Bustard, where the
Royal Flying Corps is stationed
and saw a captive observation
balloon and the aerodromes.
We went into action
behind a creast and there was a
dozen red caps behind watching
us. We fired the first shot and
we were all anxious to see it go.
We rattled off 71 rounds and then
got the order to limber up and
retire. We were not interrupted
once by the red-caps and were complimented
on our performance.
We did darn well. Our <del>eye</del> ears
rang for quite awhile (sic) as a result
of concussion. We could watch the
shells for quite a distance from the
gun, like a huge cricket ball
We got back to our lines
at 6 pm and then had to turn in
and do stables. <del>Last</del> we turned
in early again tonight.
Jan. 12th Weather very
windy, wet and cold. Fuzing shells
first thing. Nothing startling happened.
Sort of an off day. Busy getting
<del>or</del> the mud off our clothes. We had
to take our turn at stables and
clean cartridge case fuze shells.
Jan. 13th Up at 4.30
Am in order to get horses harnessed
up and ready to move off at 7 am.
There was a snow storm at the time
and there was a very cold wind blowing.
We had breakfast at 6 am
a cold breakfast, and the boys moved
off again at 7 am for the gun park.
I didn't go out today so walked
over to Stonehenge to see the remains
of the famous temple, which is
enshrouded in mystery. It was built
in 1700 B. C. according to the most
reliable authority and although there
is nothing much to look at there
is a certain amount of interest in
the massive blocks of stone.
Tonight we found a canteen
where we could get ham and
eggs, sausages, etc. and believe
me there was some rush. However we got
our stomacks well filled and that's
a whole lot. Its as cold as sin at
night and we need plenty of clothes
to keep warm.
Jan. 13th Sunday) Up at
4.30 am again in order to help the
51st Battery get away. It was another
cold day and another off day for us.
We had a few fatigues, cleaning cartridges,
coals, fuzing shells, etc. We went to
sleep this afternon and were disturbed
in the middle of it by the S.M. We
had to fall in and take on the
horse from the 51st.
Jan. 15th Weather cold.
Up at 5.30 am and off from the gun
park at 9 am. It was frightfully
cold and I had a horse which had
a fit of stubborness. First he
<del>1 word</del> me in the stables, then struck
the barb wire and jumped about
four feet. <del>We</del> I finally reached the
gun park and then gave an exhibition
of rough-riding. It made
for an iron building and attempted
to drag me off, but I got my
leg clear and then got him into
a hard gallop and took some
of the starch out of him. The
battery moved off and when we
formed battery column this
gallant steed made for B-sub gun
and the wheel hit him in the
haunches such a (1 word) that it
moved him a couple of feet. Then
while moving off from our (1 word)
he split the lead lean of the firing
battery wagon and there was a lot of
trouble. When we got to the horselines
we gave the nag the hardest and
most exciting hour's work he ever
had and he went back to camp as
quite (sic) as a lamb.
Jan. 16th Another off
day. Up at 4.30 am. Weather very
cold. Cleaning shells and cartridges -
Grub rather scanty. Nothing stalling.
Jan. 17th Weather cold. Up
at 6 am. Got word today that we were
to move off tonight. Accordingly we
set to work to clean up our kit
and the hut. We had to have our
blankets rolled at 8 pm so there was
no chance for a sleep. We were marched
to stables at 10.30 pm and harnessed
up and slipped over to the gun
park, from where we moved off at
11.30 pm. We had a 2 mile march <del>f</del> to
Avesbury. There was a terribly keen wind
blowing across the Plains and it chilled
us to the bone. We reached Avesbury at
1.15 am and then had to stand about
in the cold until 2.30 am. It was a
(1 word). Cold as an ice house. When the
train pulled in we were shivering like a
lot of drunks and didn't know we
had any feet. We got the horses and
guns on in quick-time and then
piled into the cars ourselves. We
tried to go to sleep, but it was impossible.
We huddled together but
it was too cold.
At 6 am we reached Milford
station and were turned out. We
found an inch of snow on the ground.
We immediately turned the horses out
and unloaded the wagons and guns
and formed up in column of walk (?) and
started for camp. We reached the
lines at 7 am and after doing stables
marched to our gun lines and were dismissed.
We got 'mush' for breakfast
which warmed the cockels of our hands.
We didn't get any at Lark Hill. Then
we left to clean the guns.
Acting O.M.R. rest of day.
Jan. 18th Weather damp
and cold. Acting O.M.R. today.
Jan. 19th Weather cold. AM
now doing duty of mess maker.
Tonight there was an argument
between (2 words) and the
shoemaker as to who paid for the
washing. The shoemaker to show that he
wasn't splurging on the other fellow,
threw half a crown into the fire. And
just think how that would have
helped the war loan.
Jan. 20th Weather cold. On
duty as mess maker.
Today we heard that our
battery was to be split up. We were
greatly downhearted at the thought and the
only talk tonight was about the break-up.
We went down to Godalming and
tried to dismiss the subject some
tanking up with booze and others
amusing themselves other ways.
Jan. 21st Weather cold.
News of the break-up spread today.
The right section is to go to the
58th and the left to the 51st.
We are sorry to think that after
soldiering for 8 months together to
be split up just on the eve of going
to France. We were hoping to go
right through together but there appears
no chance now.
At church service this
morning the padre paid particular
attention to the split-up.
'It is sad to think
that you are to lose your officers,
the officers whom you have learned
to love and have confidence in,' he
Some one (sic) started to
cough and a smile went around.
The line above will be filled in later.
The confidence and love were words
which might have been better replaced
All day long the boys were
singing 'Pack up your troubles in
your old kit-bag.' but there was
little or no smiling.
Jan. 22nd Weather cold.
This was the day of the split up. We
received orders early to pack our
kits and stand-by.
At 10 am we were shown
to our new quarters and bid farewell
to our old huts and many of
the obys. It was hard work dragging
away from the old premises.
The rest of the day we
were busy getting settled and meeting
<del>our</del> the 58th Battery boys. It was
hard to think of having to start
off with strangers, but some of
them are nice fellows.
The whole division has
been reorganized and each battery
is to have six guns. There is to
be a Left Group, Right Group, and
a Flying Group. It is a new scheme
for the Spring offensive.
Jan. 23rd Weather cold.
Appointed mess maker for the
One of our boys had a
run in with one of the 58th fellows
today. He was in stables and is a
young elephant in strenght.
'YOu want to be good
around here now. We're some of the
toughest in the battery,' he said
and pointed to some more loafers.
'Is that so,' said our
fighter. Well, bring them on. I'm one
of the thoughest in the 62nd.'
'Don't peddle any of '
that stuff around here. That's the
'Alright come on then.'
Just then a horse started
lacing out with its hind feet. Our
fighter caught one of its feet and
got a good hold on the toe. He held
the leg right out, then doubled it
back and threw the horse on to
'There! That's a little of
what I can do. Is any one coming.'
No one stepped forward.
The bluff had been called.
It was a scold as sin
tonight and we nearly froze.
Jan. 24th Weather cold.
Nothing startling today. Duty
battery and plenty of fatigues.
Jan. 25th Weather cold.
Mounted parade. Concert in the
Jan. 26th Mess maker.
Weather very cold.
Jan. 27th Mess maker.
Jan. 28th - 31st Mess
maker. Weather very cold.
Feb. 1st Weather cold.
Everything ice. Mess maker.
Feb. 2nd Hard frost.
At 9 am we went out on a brigade
<del>and</del> parade and it was a great
sight. We were in full marching
order. At 11.30 we established
our horse-lines, running our piquet
ropes between the waong wheels,
unharnessed and feed and
watered. We had to draw water
through a hole we cut in the
ice. Then we waited for lunch after
which we had a race to see who
would get harnessed up and
hooked in first. It was some
It was a grand sight
to see the 600 horses picqueted
and all the wagons and guns.
We were on Hankley Common.
We returned to camp
after doing some brigade maneuvers.
Feb. 3rd Wether still
cold. Went to Guildford by motor
and saw the show 'Charlie's Aunt.'
Had a fine time in Brett's Cafe.
Lots of skating around,
but we have little chance to do it.
Feb. 4th Weather cold.
The temperature has been below
freezing for two weeks. Left
at 9.30 am for Bramshott. Put
up at Haslemere. Had a beautiful
trip. The huge trees were covered
with snow and there were many
partridge, pheasants and deer
about. Reached Bramshott at
2.30 and returned to camp at
4.30. Had a hard run.
Feb. 5th Weather cold.
Last day as a mess maker.
This afternoon we were
thrown into quarantine with measles
and have 14 days of detention ahead.
But wheres there's a <del>way</del> will theres
a way, so I guess we will get
Feb. 6th Weather damn
cold. Out on a three-hour bare-
back ride this morning through
the snow. Cleaning harness this
Feb. 7th Weather damn
cold. Everything frozen tight even
our socks. No bath for weeks, but
its too cold for bugs.
This morning we went out
on a parade by ourselves, and
took up a position in the snow.
Loafed this afternoon.
Feb. 8th Weather fine but
very cold with snow still on the
At 9 am we left on a
parade all by ourselves and took up
a position by a little house at the foot
of a bad hill, establishing our lines
some distance in the rear.
For certain reasons our B. C.
changed his position and went
about a mile and a half away and
took up a position on the hill. I
had to trace him and trailed his
steps to his post where he said
'Gad (sic) I'm glad some one
has come to see me.'
Then I hiked back to
the battery and it went up to go into
acttion and I returned to the line
to feed up. After the gunners had
fed, Mulligan, breat, tea, margarine
and jam, we went to relieve
the gunners at the battery.
I was posting one of the
boys at the O.P. went one of the
saddles slipped around and the
fellow went down and away went
the horse, kicking and jumping like
a broncho. We laughed ourselves
sore at its antics. Then I set off
and trailed the horse. I found
a ground sheet and the tracks lead
straight to camp, here I found
the horse. We returned to camp
after a fine outing. Lots of riding.
The cook who stammers,
started with another to chase a
rabbit. 'There --- it ---
goes,' he stammered and when
he looked the rabbit was on the
crest of the second hill away.
Feb. 9th Weather very cold.
Went to Godalming to get a load
of sawdust and had a fine time.
This afternoon we loafed around.
We are to be inspected tomorrow by
the Duke of Connaught.
Item is the third of eight diaries written by Archie Wills during World War I. The diary covers the period from September 1916 to February 1917: starting with his departure from Petawawa Ontario, his travel to Halifax, Atlantic crossing on the troopship Cameronia, and arrival and training at Witley and Lark Hill camps, England.
He describes the interactions of the soldiers with the local residents and excursions to London and Devonport. Wills' diary illustrates the hardship of camp life in increasingly cold and wet weather and the limited food rations. The diary includes descriptions of gun drills, exercise training, map reading courses, guard duty and caring for horses. Wills writes about significant events including zeppelin raids, an influenza epidemic, and the deaths of two soldiers. In 1917 his battalion is divided and soldiers are sent to the 51st and 58th. People mentioned include: F. C. Mason, H. L. Bowden, H. L. Innes, Stanley F. Hancock, Hugh Kelly, C. H. Webb, George Lomas.