Wednesday Last night we changed positions falling back about 200 yds, we slept in the open, a heavy dew fell. I woke up as fresh as a lark, we left the common [Hankley Common] about 2 P.M. getting back at 5
Archie’s battery spent six hours fighting a fire in the heather that had been ignited by the charge from one of the guns. The fire came within fifteen feet (less than five metres) of one of the guns. “It would have made a nice mess,” wrote Archie afterwards. (1)
The whole exercise remained in Percy’s memory as a kind of country idyll. On a page marked “Cash receipts, January 1917” at the end of his pocket diary, he penned the following summary: “The 3 days we spent out on Hankly [sic] Common Surrey Eng bivouacing will live long in my memory. The weather was all that one could desire hardly a cloud crossed the sun and the nights were just perfect to sleep out in the open at night and to wake up covered in dew and as fresh as a lark with a clear head and throat tis the life I like I would that it had lasted longer It was great the birds replacing the trumpet.”
The photo from Percy’s small album is entitled “A bivouac while training.” The horse in the centre has his nosebag on.
(1) Wills, Archie. Diary. 4:50. May 2, 1917. Archie Wills Fonds, University of Victoria Archives. Copyright 2007, University of Victoria.
Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”