Friday Cleaned up this am after the bivouac had a Holiday this afternoon but being on duty I worked and got ahead of tomorrow. Div sports this afternoon went to pictures last night
The War Diary called the afternoon’s games an “Officers’ Gymkhana,” and it was a social event as much as a sporting one, taking place in the grounds of a private estate, with music provided by a military band. Dodds’ scrapbook shows us only the cover of the programme, so we don’t know what races and games were undertaken.
The photograph below is only described as “Sports at Witley,” and is hard to make out, but it does show a great deal of rushing about on horseback and thus — together with the presence of spectators under parasols on the edge of the field — we can infer the photograph was taken at the Gymkhana.
A race seems to be in progress, one that requires rounding markers at the end of the field. At least two horses in the photograph have lost their riders, perhaps because the officers are not using their stirrups. Either they have lost them in the excitement, or their use has been proscribed in order to increase the challenge.
Percy doesn’t seem too unhappy to be on duty rather than a spectator.
The programme is on page 59 of Brigadier General Dodds’ scrapbook. The photograph is also from the Dodds’ Fonds in the Special Collections and University Archives, University of Victoria.
Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”