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Remembered Today:

Long Innings - autobiog of P.F. Warner (cricketer)


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Picking up my dusty copy to skim through before deciding on keeping or Oxfam, I found that PFW [best known today perhaps for his role as manager of the England team in the 'Bodyline' series in Australia] joined the Inns of Court Regiment in 1900 while reading for the Bar, and became a lance-corporal. He does not say when he left, but it may have been when the Boer War [as he would have known it] ended.

He was commissioned in 4th Royal West Kent in 1908 and spent a month at Chelsea Barracks in 1910.

'Every morning except Saturdays and Sundays we were on the square from eight to nine, and in the evening we had more drill and lectures..... We used to drill with the Guardsmen...

'There were about sevety to eighty Territorial officers at this course, and at the end of it we were examined in drill, both practical and on paper, in infantry training etc., and we all managed to pass.'

'Both in 1909 and 1910 I went on Army manoeuvres, being attached to the Northamptonshire Regiment in the first instance and the Worcesters in the second...'

He suffered much from ill-health and was invalided out of the Territorals but states:

'during the winter of 1912-13, when I had to go very slow, I went in for two subjects - organisation and military law - in 'Q', and managed to pass...'. Does anyone understand this today?

In August 1914: 'I went down to the Inns of Court in Lincoln's Inn and was shortly afterwards given command of the "Waiting List" as it was called. ... Cricketers, footballer, both Rugby and Association, rowing men, hunting men, hockey and lawn tennis players crowded the orderly room... At one time I was in command of some 1400 men... and many an attack did we make on the Mappin Terraces [Regents Park][ where bears, ibex, goats etc. were garrisoned...'

Warner had been invalided out of the TF in 1912 but was commissioned into the regiment, moving to the War Office, attached to the General Staff. His task was to interview potential officers for the Special Reserve, and 5588 passed through his hands by the end of 1915.

Warner comments on Kitchener's distaste for the Territorial organisation, but felt that TF soldiers could point with considerable pride to their record in both world wars. He was once again invalided out, but felt that his experience as a cricket tour manager came in useful when he was attached to the Foreign Office and asked to look after 'American, Dominion, Colonial and neutral correspondents who were in this country on visits to Dover, prisoner-of-war camps, and Aldershot.' He also became involved in organising cricket matches at Lords and elsewhere, for service charities.

Having read the book avidly for its cricket content many, many years ago, I found this part of the book far more interesting in recent days! There is more about his 'fringe' military career, but I have condensed it for this account.


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