Witley, January 25, 1917

Thursday  Cold Weather not at all good Piquets & guards are a thing of the past have done none since Xmas

I wonder if the exemption from these duties was the result of the confusion that must have resulted from the amalgamation of batteries as the practical implications of the reorganization filtered down the chain of command. Percy isn’t complaining that he is not on watch for soldiers late coming from their nights out in Godalming.

godalming-pepperpot-1903-frithArchie Wills described what one such piquet was like:  one sergeant, a corporal and 16 men were assigned to 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.”(1)  Having started at 6 pm, they were back at camp at 10:30.

The Pepper Box or Pepper Pot, seen in a Francis Frith photograph of 1903, was indeed built in 1814 to serve as meeting chambers above an arcaded market space. The photograph shows that the arcade was walled in at some point and provided space for a public toilet or “public convenience.”

Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”

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