Witley, March 27, 1917

Tuesday    I must miss these days as I’ve no record of them with the exception of the weather which has been cold & raw

The mobilization checklist referred to yesterday includes inter alia the following:

(1) All ranks to be medically examined.
(2) Officers and other ranks to be inoculated and entry of this to be made in the Pay Books of other ranks.
(6) All horses to be examined by the V.O. [veterinary officer]
(9) Shoeing to be brought up to date and all horses branded and numbered.Brown will.jpg
(17) Wills to be completed.
(22) Arrange for disinfection and handing in of all blankets (retaining only two per man).
(27) Allot to every man his place and duty and to every article of stores and equipment its place on man, horse, or vehicle.
(31) Dispatch men’s surplus personal kits to Surplus Kit Depot. (1)

Preparing a will was not too complicated: a tear-out sheet was provided in the soldier’s pay book, with space for minimal instructions. This is the will Gordon Brown wrote before his 54th Battery went to France a week ago.(2)

William Calder told his mother what it was like to have no surplus items:

“I have no cloths [sic] except what I stand up in as we are on draft now … I managed to keep that good underwear you sent me & I have your shirt on me the rest were handed in, – have a pr. of socks in my mess-tin (take them out when I eat) a pr. in each pocket of my overcoat & a pr. in each nose bag for my mules, down at the stable, I had to give the rest away to some of the boys who had room for them. Am taking my big boots instead of army ones as I do not like the puttees, we have our steel helmets now & our bandoliers loaded & believe me they are heavy.” (3)

Some of the items deemed surplus would have been things received in Christmas parcels, such as these which Calder helpfully itemizes:

“a nice big turkish towel (which I had to give away as I have no room)… a musical top (which the boys had great fun with) & a little Xmas tree (kind of foolish)”(2)

(1) War Diary of the Fifth Canadian Divisional Artillery. 2 (March 1917) Appendix 5: 3.Library and Archives of Canada.
(2) Brown, Gordon. Will. March 5, 1917. Available from the Canadian Letters and Images Project.
(3) Calder, William. Letter to his mother, March 28, 1917. Available from the Canadian Letters and Images Project.

Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”

 

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