Thursday I intended going down town tonight but went to a class pending an exam on the 19 inst
Percy seems to have been a serious young man. This is the first mention in his diary on any outings except to church — and then he passes it up in favour of preparing for the exam. According to its War Diary, officers of the new Fifth Division were determined that merit would be the only criterion for promotion through the ranks. A Memorandum regarding the upcoming examinations (both written and practical) begins with the warning that for F.C. [fire control] ranks “promotion will in future be only by merit tested by examination and that a man holding a rank and not attaining its standard must revert.” All NCOs “must be examined irrespective of their position in the seniority list.” (1)
Batteries were to identify and examine “promising” men and keep a list. However, everyone was reminded that the examinations were “not competitive but qualifying,” that is, “although the knowledge shown by a high place will be taken into account, the selection for promotion will not necessarily be from the top of the list.” (1)
In keeping with its emphasis on merit rather than, say, background, the Memorandum specifies that those responsible for setting the written exam questions should ensure that “their meaning may be clear to those men of less education.” (1)
Perhaps Percy has been identified as one of those promising men.
(1) War Diary of the Fifth Canadian Divisional Artillery.Vol. 1 January 23, 1917 to February 28, 1917.Library and Archives of Canada. Appendix 5.