Witley, April 20, 1917

Friday          I go down for my photo’s today had them taken last Sat. no mail this week am feeling in the Pink

Which photos these are I don’t know — presumably a studio photo worthy of being sent to Janie, but it doesn’t survive in any identifiable form.

rifle range valcartier CWM 19710261-0810While Percy seems to be focused solely on personal matters, Archie Wills is pleased to report that he took his turn at the musketry ranges at Mytchett and was “high shot out of 300, scoring 83 out of 105.” (1) They were tested in “grouping,” rapid fire, and in accuracy at 200, 300, and 400 yards. Grouping is the firing of a series of shots at a target without re-aiming. (2) Measuring how closely the shots land reveals whether there is a gun error, or a fault in the rifleman. “His eyesight and nervous condition should be examined. Unsteadiness may be traced to lack of determination, or to illness, or to some habitual excess, such as cigarette smoking.” (3)

Where the successive shots land may indicate very particular faults: flinching from the discharge sends shot high; if the trigger is pulled by a wrist action rather than by the finger alone, “shots will usually strike low right.” (3)

(1) Wills, Archie. Diary. 4: 37. April 20, 1917. Archie Wills Fonds, University of Victoria Archives. Copyright 2007, University of Victoria.
(2) Training, Musketry and Rifle ExercisesAustralian Military Senior Cadets. Melbourne, 1917. 61.
(2) Training, Musketry and Rifle Exercises. 62.

The painting of recruits training on the rifle range at Camp Valcartier, Quebec, in 1914 is by Homer Ramsford Watson, and is held by the Canadian War Museum, item .

Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”



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