Thursday Did not go out today as expected[.] on Fire piquet so stayed in and white washed the stable t’was warm work. some artist[.] the weather is great rec’d 3 letters from J. May 22, 24, 29 heard today that Alf is wounded
Even when most of the artillery are out on Battery tactical marches, bivouacs and Brigade Schemes (1), someone has to stay in camp on fire picquet and other essential duties. A bivouac on the common where the horses and men might both enjoy the water sounds preferable to whitewashing the stables, even if the water was rather muddy. (2)
It seems as if anything that doesn’t move is being subjected to whitewash. “What are they trying to make our huts look like with so much whitewash?” was one of the lines in the OPip section of in-jokes called “Things we would like to know.”(3)
Janie’s three letters written over eight days would be cheering. Less cheering is the news about Alf. Percy does not give us any more identifying information about Alf, but he is almost certainly Alfred Edward Richards. Originally from Gillingham, Kent, Alfred Richards lived on Miller Street about a mile from Vine Avenue in Toronto where Percy lived. He was a car repair man for the CPR and he, too, enlisted in January 1916. (4)
(1) War Diary of the Fifth Canadian Divisional Artillery. Vol. 5 (June1917): 2 June 14, 1917. Library and Archives of Canada.
(2) Wills, Archie. Diary. 4:80. June 8, 1917. Archie Wills Fonds, University of Victoria Archives. Copyright 2007, University of Victoria.
(3) The O.Pip. 1:3 (June1917). 6
(4) Attestation Paper: Alfred Edward Richards. Library and Archives Canada.
The photograph entitled “Watering, Frensham Pond” is from Percy’s small album.
Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”