Witley, February 23, 1917

Friday   went into quarantine Tpr [Trumpeter] Kidd took mumps Route march in the morning Rec’d 2 letters from Janie

Didn’t Percy say just yesterday that this life grows “sickening”? I don’t think he meant it literally.

Quarantine! That keeps Percy’s subsection (who shared a hut) away from the today’s inspection. Quarantine doesn’t mean rest, obviously, if they are sent on a route march.

Geo V at Hankley DOC_595042 crop.jpg
Meanwhile, the rest of the division is subjected to inspection, on a clear, fine and crisp day.

The War Diary reported the occasion as follows: “Brig: Genl: G.B. Hughes G.O.C. 5th C.D. inspected the 4th C. DIV: ART: in Field Service Marching order on HANKLEY COMMON. The DIV: ART: afterwards marched past. The turn-out, steadiness and drill were splendid,” and Hughes said he could not “sufficiently compliment” their commanding officer. (1)

From Archie Wills’s perspective, it was a long day.

“We were up at 5:30 and groomed our horse and threw on the harness. After a hasty breakfast we hooked in and were ready for inspection. The battery looked splendid, the steel and leather being in fine shape.  The major complimented our sub. … At 8:30 we moved off and lined up on Hankley Common in review order. After a lot of ceremony we were inspected and then the B-G took the salute as we marched past.” (2) And then they marched back to camp, to unhook, unharness, groom and feed the horses.

The photograph above is of an earlier occasion, July 1, 1916, when King George himself inspected Canadian troops on Hankley Common. It gives an idea of the extent of the common and some idea of what am exercise it was to organize a divisional inspection.

(1) War Diary of the Fifth Canadian Divisional Artillery.Vol. 1 January 23, 1917 to February 28, 1917.February 23, 1917. 5. Library and Archives of Canada.
(2) Wills, Archie. Diary. 4: 7-8 February 23, 1917. Archie Wills Fonds, University of Victoria Archives. Copyright 2007, University of Victoria.

Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”

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