October 14, 1916
Shortly on returning from his landing leave, Percy found himself in a new battery and a new brigade, at least nominally.
The 48th battery in which he had enlisted, part of the 12th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery, overnight became the 81st Battery of the 16th Brigade. The change was made at the stroke of a pen on his file, but it was not an easy transition.
The men were concerned about getting their mail, for one thing. Since the soldier’s address included his unit, there was some concern, though as long as they were in the same camp, the post office could surely redirect letters which arrived with the old numbers. On October 14th, Percy’s address was 316988 [Regimental number] Gunner PF Theobald [rank and name] 81st Battery, CFA [Canadian Field Artillery], Witley Camp, Surrey, England.
Correctly addressing mail was one concern; another was that everything belonging to the battery had to be renumbered: every gun, every wagon, every piece of harness, and every piece of equipment had to be relabeled. (1) That included, for each battery: 36 shovels, 18 pickaxes, 6 felling axes,18 billhooks, 12 handsaws, 12 reaping hooks. I am leaving out the equipment that was carried on general supply wagons, and the equipment belonging to the signallers, and the telephone crews. (2)
(1) Nicholson, G.W.L The Gunners of Canada: The History of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery. Vol. 11534-1919. Toronto, 1967. 205
(2) Canadian Militia. War Establishments (Provisional). 1914. 11. The British Government updated its War Establishments publication annually.
The post card comes from the collection on the site of the 202nd (Sportsmen’s) Battalion.
Copyright 2016. See “More about this project.”