Witley, February 9, 1917

Friday     Weather remains the same. Rec’d a letter from J today

The training scheme in effect for February required that “all arrangements be made for Supply, Transport etc, organization of wagon lines, horse care, gun positions, communications, routine reports, and Returns, and everything that a section working independently on service might have to do.” (1)

However, strenuous that sounds, at Percy’s level the responsibilities don’t change a great deal: training scheme or not, he follows his orders as to those things that fall to him in the wagon lines, in the gun positions, and in caring for horses.

The scheme plans call for a night operation at least once a week — and some of the artillerymen are finding it all a bit tough. William Calder wrote to his mother during this training period:

calder-with-mules-photo-aug-1916-front“They are shooting it to us pretty stiff now, are out all hrs. of the night with all our worldly belongings – some night we will never come back, that is how we will leave here very likely. But you will get a card or something from me if possible before we sail for France.

“You know Mamma I would love to role [sic] into my nice little bed upstairs at home with clean sheets & night shirt, it would be such a change from my dirty old grey blankets that are half full mule hair & ect., [sic] as when we go out we pack our blankets on the back of our off mule.” (2)


(1) War Diary of the Fifth Canadian Divisional Artillery.Vol. 1 January 23, 1917 to February 28, 1917.Appendix 4. Library and Archives of Canada.
(2) Calder, William George. Letter to his mother, February 17, 1917 Available from the Canadian Letters and Images Project.
The photograph shows Calder with two mules in August 1916; the left one, King, he describes in the same letter as a “fine looking animal but tricky & he has to be watched he is the one that bust my watch, he is taller than I am at the withers so it is an awful stretch to get on him (I ride him) .”

Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”

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