Witley, July 10, 1917

Tuesday          We passed a pleasant night on cot spring beds[.] we went on a small route march this a.m. grazing the horses while out. The rain cleared & its great weather again After lunch we cleaned up the guns[;] drivers on their harness[.] I went down town this P.M.

Those spring cots — by contrast with the paliasse spread on planks at Witley — made such an impression on Percy that he returned to the theme in his note at the end of the diary.

East Street Horsham  Robert Shrotreed photo.9d.1917.jpgWe passed a pleasant night in spring cots We saw a bunch of [Portuguese] officers having a course in the R.G.A. school.  The rain finished about 4 pm on Monday & continued good thru’out  Went into the town on Tues night & got back at 9:30 & slept in the open 

Others had a wilder time in Horsham. “Half a dozen would-be criminals were caught in the desperate act of staying out after ten o’clock. They were put under close arrest and forced to march twenty miles back to camp. They might have been seen for a week later applying whitewash to the stables.” (1)

Back at camp, the War Diary records the visit of the Inspector of Messing, whose report Bombardier bacon O Pip 1.1.JPGon messing, cleanliness and economy was “generally adverse.” Most of the men could have predicted that result, though the ranks were probably more concerned with the quality and quantity of food than with the economy.  Headquarters offers the explanation or excuse that the “organisation of artillery does not suit the accommodation & appliances provided.”(2)

The cartoon is from O.Pip. 1.1 (April 1917). 10. The caption reads as follows:

“There he goes with that bombardier bacon.”
“What kind is that?”
“One stripe.”

(A bombardier is one rank above a gunner and, like a corporal in the infantry, wears one stripe on his sleeve. This is surely a case of the organization of the artillery suiting the economy of the mess.)

The postcard is among the Robert Shortreed materials in the Canadian Letters and Images Project.

(1)  MacArthur, D.C. The History of the Fifty-Fifth Battery, CFA.  1919. 9.
(2)  War Diary of the Fifth Canadian Divisional Artillery. Vol. 6 (July 1917): 3. Library and Archives of Canada.

Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”



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