Witley, May 24, 1917 – Empire Day

Thursday   Nothing doing today Holiday  I slept all morning[.] in the eve I went to the Pictures, cleared up in the afternoon.  The weather was windy & fair[.] 2 years ago played cards at Torrences Joliette left [Janie] at corner[.] last year was at Joliette on sick leave after 8 days in hospital today am in the best of health

Archie says it is a real holiday — reveille at 6:30 and only morning stables to be done. (1) Percy is certainly taking his leisure and seems to be enjoying thinking back to earlier holidays in Joliette, now all linked with the memory of Janie. The “Torrences” were Harold Torrance and his sister Catherine.

Other soldiers are more active: in honour of Empire Day, Divisional Sports are being held at the Recreation Ground in Godalming, and since shops in Godalming are closed, there aWitley_Camp_WWI divisional sports May 1917re several thousand spectators.  Track events are followed by a ball game and boxing matches.  The sports editor of the O-Pip reported:

“Athletes from every unit in the camp competed in the events. The artillery had a splendid squad of a track performers and they did justice to the senior branch. Out of ten events they captured three firsts and five seconds. The track was in excellent condition and the times made were very fast.” (2)



Next year, in the face of continuing shortages, the Recreation Ground will be turned into allotments to grow food.

Godalming recreation ground G Museum.jpg

(1) Wills, Archie. Diary. 4: 65. May 24, 1917. Archie Wills Fonds, University of Victoria Archives. Copyright 2007, University of Victoria.
(2) The O.Pip. 1:3 (June 1917) 14.

The Sports Day programme and the  photograph  of the recreation ground both come from the collection of the Godalming Museum.

Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”



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