Witley, March 12, 1917

Monday   No mail from Janie yet mail is very irregular, am not doing much work these days Am feeling fairly well.

No one was getting much mail: a letter written in Canada on February 8 reached Witley on March 4. “If I did not know that nobody was receiving any Canadian mail, I might be worried a little,” Gordon Brown told his mother, “but of course, it is just held up somewhere and one of these days we will likely be getting a big mail.” (1)

The men theorized that their mail was going to France before being rerouted to Witley, because they had expected, before all the reorganization, to be going overseas. (2)  “But, we may expect delays both ways maybe from now on.” (1)

An odd entry in the War Diary leads me to picture a logistical factor of dealing with all those horses that I had hitherto not considered:

“Owing to hinderance [sic] to training. G.O.C. R.A.[General Officer Commanding, Royal Artillery] issued orders that no more manure from horse-lines was to be sold at a distance from camp. A ‘dump’ has been arranged at Lord Pirrie’s Estate.” (3)

I imagine that delivering manure to various sites (farms, presumably) would indeed take men and time from training, even if it provided a little cash for the coffers. Trucking it to Lord Pirrie’s estate (Witley Park) would still require time as well as horse- and man-power. A manure dump no doubt proved Lord Pirrie’s pariotism, and, tucked into a remoter corner of the grounds, would be not too offensive.

(1)Brown, Robert Gordon. Letter to his mother, March 18, 1917. Available from the Canadian Letters and Images Project.
(2) Brown. Letter to his mother, March 4, 1917.
(2) War Diary of the Fifth Canadian Divisional Artillery.Vol. 2 (March 1917):3 March 12, 1917.Library and Archives of Canada.

Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”



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