Witley, April 27, 1917

Friday     A great day today tho’ not so much sun  Cleared up today this evening we went gunlaying & I just passed out winning the laurel I’m in the best of health

16a Gunners.JPGWell done, Percy. “Passing out” has a variety of meanings, but in this case Percy has successfully completed his course of instruction — and at a high standard too, winning the laurel. Interestingly, the Oxford English Dictionary gives its first citation of this meaning in 1916, in the Daily Colonist of Victoria, British Columbia. That other common meaning — to lose consciousness — is contemporary; its first appearance is dated 1915. Perhaps celebrating one form of passing out led to the other, particularly among military men?

The back of this photo from Percy’s large album says, “Witley Camp, awaiting orders. Nos. 2 and 3 in action.”  Number 3 on the right looks like Percy, but it is hard to tell.

Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”
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