Witley, April 22, 1917

Sunday        Fine and warm Godalming Church P.M.

Percy’s diaries, we have seen, are generally very cryptic — an aide-memoire for his own purposes rather than intended for any other reader. Or perhaps he imagined sharing them with Janie, and censored them in advance! Certainly, his first reported excursion to Godalming  — to attend church — is an innocent one.  There were plenty of other attractions in the neighbourhood:

“In spite of gun guards, picquets, cookhouse and a hundred and one other fatigues we had many a good time in Guildford, Godalming and other towns not far from the camp. The Kitchener Club at Godalming provided dances, and there were others at Shalford for those who chose to brave the perils of M. P.’s, a conscientious and stony-hearted crew in those days. Wealthy people of the district financed weekly concerts at Godalming of excellent musical and vaudeville talent. It will always be pleasant to remember the kind and hospitable way in which the English people of the district treated us, and many of the boys have made firm friends there.” (1)

dance ticket 1917 04 20Archie had been to Godalming on Friday night, to a dance organized there for his battery.

“It was a grand affair and there were some grand dames. We quit dancing at 12 pm and got home at 1 am. Reveille came too soon.” (2)



(1) MacArthur, D.C. The History of the Fifty-Fifth Battery, CFA. Toronto, 1919. 10.
(2)  Wills, Archie. Diary. 4: 37. April 20, 21, 1917. Archie Wills Fonds, University of Victoria Archives. Copyright 2007, University of Victoria.

Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”




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