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Remembered Today:

Two Men - One Memorial


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stiletto_33853

Marina,

As you say, hardly suprising considering his life at Shrewsbury really.

Andy

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To H.E.E. Howson

The Hill-Top - Radlett

August 26, 1914.

At present I'm just sitting. The food and the beds are good. I have two beds. And I've read N. Angel on Balkan Wars and Peace, very good; Jane Eyre; Stalky & Co.; The Simpkins Plot; New Arabian Nights again (Providence and the Guitar is the best short story ever written. 'The great thing about the stars is that they belong to everybody in particualr.' 'Art is Art', he repeated sadly. 'It is not Watercolur Sketches nor practising on a piano. It is life to be lived'.) ; all Synge's Plays; Marshalls Economics, a little; Enoch Arden; The musketry Vade Mecum; Galsworthy's A Country House, a bad moral, but good as a series of turns and smart set conversation.

I've done a good deal of Harmony and am beginning the exercises on the diminished 7th. Brahm's Symphony in F is good, and so is the Schuman Concerto. Heard bith last week. We are going to a Beethoven and Bach programme on Friday. You would come too if you were in town, but I suppose you won't be. Ring up if you are (Radlett 56).

By Gad, I am hating this war. I hope things will go better soon. I wish we hadn't' got a week's extra holiday. The Man keeps ringing me up at home, in spite of the fact that I'm away.

I've been bitten by a fly in the leg, and can't walk - there!

________________________________________________

In September, with another Shrewsbury officer, he helped with the training of a battalion of the K.S.L.I. at Blackdown, having charge of a Company of 280 recruits, and stayed there till the beginning of October, when term began at Shrewsbury.

We were all of us glad to be back to definite work after the suspense and inactivity of the long holiday. That Michaelmas term there was much to be done, for while work and games continued unaltered, except in quantity, there was a whole new province on military work; new lectures to be given, field days to be planned, and squads of senior boys to be trained for service. Several masters left the school at the start, to join battalions. White was left in command of a Company, and Southwell, who had hitherto had no connexion with the Corps, joined as a private. In many ways the life of the household was unchanged, but what had before been leisure hours were largely given over to military work, and the days were seldom long enough for all that had to be done. Southwell found ceaseless amusement in the thought of himself in this new part, and was for ever drawing ludicrous pictures of the character of the 'practical man', and pretending that military science was beyond his grasp. Towards the end of the term he strained himself on a field day, and an operation was necessary. He put up with this cheerfully, and showed amazing equanimity, and afterwards looked back almost with pleasure on the time spent in the nursing-home.

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When he was convalscent many fictitious or neglected bottles of medicine were sent to down to him from the New House; for it had always been his habit to forget his tonics for a week, and make up for his omission by a comprehensive dose at the end. His cheerfulness was so infectious that his visitors became hilarious and almost endangered the speed of his recovery. The Christmas holidays were spent by him in convalescence, while White at home helped with the training of Bantam battalions, with intervals of relaxation, as on the occasion when - dressed in full uniform - he met a visitor on Birkenhead platform with a demand to pull a Christmas cracker on the spot.

During Lent term - their last at Shrewsbury - came the news of George Fletcher's death in the trenches. In his own words from an inscription, he was still 'Novae Domus socius'. And though for some terms he had been at Eton and then at the Front, it was impossible not to think of him as a member of the household. This is a part of a letter written by him from the Front shortly before his death:-

I have now had dinner - Irish Stew, Beer, Sardines on Toast, Marmalade. Also the sun is streaming in with some real warmth and I am feeling hearty. I will therefore make some general remarks on the subject of the War.

'There may be some excitement in it, but that takes the form of fearful strain on the nerves without any of the exhiliration one usually associates with danger. Perhaps a day attack can be exhilirating: in fact the only time I have been pleasurably excited was when the enemy attacked us by day and we knocked them down. Our attack is yet to come. The fact remains that war is a bore and we are all fed up with it.

'Death; one becomes a fatalist on this subject and looks forward to the prospect of extinction: "That moving Finger writes, and having writ, Moves on......"

'Fear and Courage; I think it was a man called Socrates who said that Courage was a right knowledge of such things as are to be feared: and to a considerable extent, he was right. When you know how little damage a high explosive shell does to you compared with the noise it makes, you don't fear him so much. But Socrates is only partly right. I know what a fool a shell is and what a fool a bullet is, and yet I am terrified of both. But a more insinuating and demoralising fear which seizes a man is an entirely illogical unreasoning fear which seizes a man is an entirely illogical unreasoning fear of the enemy as such; imagining him to possess superhuman qualities when he knows he is very human. Hence the great thing is, and will be, to make men realise that the enemy is much more afraid of you than you are of him.

'Hate; is non-existent - at all events on our side, I think on the enemy's too. He too is capable of being jovial in his enmity towards us, and will signal misses or bull's-eyes when we plug his loop-holes.

'Atrocities; I haven't seen any. All first hand evidence - even that gained on the retreat - goes to prove that the German soldier as a whole is capable of gentlemanly and chivalrous behaviour, and of this he has given numerous examples.

'The Future; in front of us there is a ridge on which we can see three rows of trenches, barbed, barricaded and cunningly dug. These we will have to deal with after his first line. They probably have several hundred of these behind those we see. In October the Germans, with unheard of courage, determination, and force, tried to break through a single line of ours and failed - Well what abaht it?'

At the end of the letter was a passage exhorting both the Men to join Battalions. Southwell himself said later that it was George Fletcher's death as much as anything which prevailed upon him to go; and White shows his feeling in this letter.

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To C.R.L. Fletcher

The New House.

Mar. 26, 1915.

The news which you sent us on Wednesday was to me the most terrible blow the War has sent me. George was absolutely the most splendid character I know; such a perfect honesty and directness in conversation, such a fresh and genuine temperament, made him the companion one would have chosen for any circumstances. I am telling you things you already know, but I can't help trying to put him into words, in every sense of his loss and our great sorrow. It was a great day in our life here when he joined us at the New House. That was my happiest term here. His personality lies stamped on all the little institutions of our life, and his name is mentioned almost every time we sit down together. He was our d'Artagnan. As I say that, it strikes me what a long way that comparison will go.....

I am leaving to take a regular commission this term. If I got out to Flanders, I hope I may catch some of his spirit and show one hundredth part of his courage.

March was spent in doubts and questionings; Southwell first decided, then White. There were many characteristic details towards the end. On his return from a visit to the War Office, White - a lover of'A.A. M.' - telegraphed from Birmingham station: 'People here live extreme simplicity chiefly upon products of farms'. One night, too, following upon a long field-day spent in command of his Company, he proposed and carried in the School Debating Society a motion that 'The Classics are an invention of Dr. Kennedy@, with its corollary that all archaeological remains were the work of a tourist agency. By a brilliant speech he made his arguement plausible to almost the entire house.

At the end there was a reminiscence of the earliest days at Broadlands on an evening (described by one of the performers in the following letter afterwards) when quartets were played in the Abbey Church:-

'White is simply splendid - he fairly revelled on the Tschaikowsky Trio. The last time he played with us, the string quartets, Dvorak in C flat and Schumann in A, were done in the Abbey here - and no concert room could compete with that building. We finished up at my house with the Dohnanyi P.F. Quintet and the big posthumous D mi String Quartet of Schubert's - the room was hot, we played in shirt-sleeves, and the small audience sat chiefly on the floor. We have a nothing now but the recollection, but that is great.'

And so they left Shrewsbury, leaving a gap that was felt by masters and boys alike. After White's death, one of his friends at Shrewsbury wrote of him:-

'Malcolm was quite by himself, the most lovable and sympathetic and splendid of men, and seemed to combine so many of the good points one has known in other friends, in a wonderful way, which one feels would make it impossible for anyone else to be to his friends what he has been. When I think that he may be dead, it depresses me dreadfully, for he was the one person to whom one always felt one could talk about important things that matter and find a sympathetic hearer, just in the same way as he was the best possible of people with whom to enjoy all the trivial moments of life'.

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And another said:-

'I think you know what he was to us - his music and his turns, and behind all that his wonderful unselfishness and idealism which seemed to grow every day, and always seemed to me to account for his humility and nervousness about whether he would do what was best'.

This is part of a letter written to White from Shrewsbury during the summer term of 1915:-

I miss you and the other Man very much this term. One misses all that sitting round in Phiz's room with the other Man sitting deep in a chair, and alternating between sleep and fits of exploding and unrestrained laughter over his form or "the use of the globes" or something like that, and terrific arguements going on. I wish you were both here. The other Man seems to be very happy with the 13th Rifle Brigade. I had a letter from him this morning enclosing one about the Bedford race. He has got an amazing faculty of being tremendously engrossed in one thing at a time, - a most enviable quality I think; and he writes as if he'd never done anything better than bivouacking on Salisbury Plain. It is very wonderful'.

And, after Southwells death, one of his former pupils said in a letter:-

'Unfortunately I was never in his form, but he took me for a term in French, and I can only say that those French hours were the most delightful hours I have ever spent in study. I liked them to such an extent that I often used to count the number of hours until the next one. I fear I am not a lover of books, and it was simply the personality of your son which made those hours so delightful. I don't think I have ever got to like a master in such a short time as when I began to know your son. I think his poems were very characteristic of him, and the book he arranged, "V.b", is one of the gems of my bookcase'.

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This part concludes their life before joining the Army, we now go on to the letters during their respective Military lives.

I thought that the first part was important to the overall picture of these two men and the names mentioned crop up again so it gives one a better understanding and adds to the story.

Andy

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Yes, I can already see that the background is necessary to get the quality of these two men. Their personalities come across very clearly: intersting, lively, likeable. Looking ofrward to the next bit!

Marina

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Marina,

As you have observed a very different type of book and layout to Robert Vernede's, but, a book of great merit in it's own right.

Andy

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Evelyn Herbert Lightfoot, SOUTHWELL (E.H.L.S.)

April to October 1915.

It was an unkind stroke of luck that prevented the two Men from joining the same Battalion. They made efforts to do so, but there was not room. White had a trying period of waiting before he could find work; but it was not long before Southwell was gazetted. On April 24 he joined the 13th Battalion of the Rifle Brigade at Perham Down. There was a memorable week of Brigade training, recorded in his diary. Then, for more than two months, in the course of which White and he were at Shrewsbury together for one week-end (July 10-12), he was at work at Windmill Hill Camp, near Ludgershall. He was very happy in his work. One of his former pupils, later an officer in the Rifle Brigade, says in a letter: 'I suppose we can't drag Mr. Southwell away from his military duties, which he seems to love. I can just see him stretching out his arm quite straight and stiff, palm of the hand turned upwards, fingers poiting up, so as to make a cup of his hand, saying "It's that, it's that. Very fine man"; or when some unhappy private drops his rifle, "Oh, not a good man. You stand there with a face like a plate of whoggy porridge, like some great owl"...... A pleasant reminiscence of V.b

On July 29 his Division left for France, but he was left behind as O.C. Details, since his training had been shorter than that of the other officers in his Battalion. On August 16 he was transferred to the 15th Battalion at Belhus Park, Purfleet; and on September 19 there was a re-union there of the Broadlands household for a few hours, to which White alludes in his letters. On September 20 Southwell moved to South Camp, Seaford; but he was not there for long, for while on leave at Worcester on September 30 he was ordered to the Front, and left on the following day.

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Letters

To His Father

Shrewsbury, March 1915.

You will have read of Fletcher's death. I think you will agree with me that the matter is now closed. I must go and take his place.

To H.E.E. Howson

Worcester.

April 14, 1915.

A most lovely map-carrying case arrived safely two days ago ( I've been half-imbedded with one of my monthly chills), with straps and harness and buckles and squares ruled on it and the dear knows who I'll marry. Thank you very much indeed.

To J.F.C. Richards

College - Worcester

April 22, 1915.

I knew the writing on your welcome letter at once; and you may imagine the delightful wonder with which, while still in bed and half asleep (in justice to myself I shall add -, 'and preparing to go for an appallingly hearty run before breakfast'), I opened the parcel that came with it. It is intended, you say, for fun, and it really does succeed in being most frightful fun: I am delighted with it: thank you ever so much. If I ever dine in Magdalen after the War, I shall spend half the evening (on second thoughts, no; two-thirds: they feed you rather well there) eating, and the rest whipping out your 'kindness' and saying 'Ah, yes; the year of the War, you know, the year of the War: a great friend: and the Magdalen arms too, you see', over and over again. I will indeed.

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To R.A. Knox

Windmill Hill Camp - Ludgershall

April 29, 1915.

This is a letter I began three weeks ago and never finished, about things for next term.(1) I do hope you'll be happy there with my children: I've no doubt you will.

_____________________________

To C.A. Adlington

Windmill Hill Camp

May 9, 1915.

We are having a great time here: there is as far as I can see nothing to complain of except dust, than which I have never seen any thicker in midsummer. It rises in almost solid clouds from a string of thirty or forty motor lorries, such as one mettes constantly; while the smallest party of infantry raise enough to make them very unpleasant to follow. But one feels, especially when choked with dust for the first time, that one has really got into the summer, and that this kind of show is the only really delightful way in which to meet it.

I have a feeling that some of the poems in that book of mine ought to be published in proof of the proposition that boys are not Philistines: do you think it a good idea? I thought some of the best ones might be strung up in a volume of 'Poets of the Fifth Form' or something of the kind. There is no reason why I should have anything to do with it beyond suggesting the poems.

At present I am in charge of a platoon in a very attractive Company (not Sir Foster Cuncliffe's; but the obvious place for me, in the Coy. of one of our Governors, was full already).

(1) R.A. Knox succeeded him for five terms as form-master of V.b

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To C.R.L. Fletcher

Windmill Hill - Ludgershall

May 9, 1915.

This letter is one you should have received long ago; it was begun at Shrewsbury, and it is not forgetfulness on my part that has made it so slow. For though, I suppose, no one but myself and you (now) will ever know of it, I quite lierally never entered the New House, after the news about George arrived, without thinking of him....... I doubt if any handful of men in any English house ever had from their friend a better lead than we........I suppose it must be some consoloation, that unshakable conviction that people like George and Regie were not really wasted. Thus, when I told my form of George's death and of his last feat, their answer was - what else would you have? - a loud burst of clapping. Surely he would have been no less proud of this tribute from babes and sucklings, whom he had roused to a frenzy by his exapmle, than of the French flag he risked his life to save. And of men there is countless number, I know, who thank God every day that the road ahead has been marked by so unforgettable sign.

_______________________________________

To T.E. Bartleet

Windmill Hill Camp

Andover

June 3, 1915.

One does begin to regard this place as 'home' after some weeks; and I have got very definetely fond of the two clumps of trees on the top of our @Windmill Hill', which one sights from a distance on returning from a long march. It is oerfectly gorgeous here; everything is looking splendid; the week's billeting tour we did in North Wilts a fortnight ago was certainly one of the best I have ever had anywhere; for when you do run into a valley with a river at the bottom of it in Wiltshire, as I know of old, the result is as good as anything I know; partly because the Plain as a whole is so dry.

There is no call yet, so I will risk another sheet. And indeed I would not let sheet No. 1 go by itself, talking about my own doings all the time and not saying a word of your very fine poem. Yes, I like it very much; it is most successfully 'creepy', surely, and I think I could have named the author if it had been unsigned: it is characteristic. I am sending it away to be put in a little volume of loose-sheet poems where I keep the 'posthumous' works of my poets.

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To H.E.E. Howson

Windmill Camp

June 10, 1915.

The Man sent me from home that June was with her glancing grasses(1); to which I replied that they didn'y really know except in (two places I now think; I said here only before). One is the route we used to go with all the Men and Hoj(2) when we went to see the 'battalions' on a Sunday afternoon. The other is the fringe of Salisbury Plain, where the ground comes down with a shout, one almost feels, to meet the water. For, as you no doubt know, the Plain is like South Africa in summer, rather, and the streams are almost dried up. Still we do keep a strip of green in the valley one mile off with one inch exactly of brook in the middle of it, which is enough to throw up the colour of the foot of the valley for a long way against the brown grass all round. This morning we went and dug trenches in it, which was rather a desecration and frightfully foolish, for of course we struck water two feet down, and the digging was much harder than even our ordinary chalk digging, and that is no joke. We dug - well, it's not a very interesting game.

But the bivoauc, oh Man, you would like that. Especially our last Brigade trip. We've had three now since I've been here. The first was the Hungerford - Pewsey trip on which I either did or did not expatiate at length to you, but at any rate I did to some Man or other. The next was a week ago; we marched about a dozen miles and bivouacked in a glorious old park.

If you please, we did Right Flank Guard through a very thick wood to half the Brigade on the road, and having been on protective duty by day (and rather stiff at that) we were let off again. So you can guess if we strolled round that field pretty pleased with life after a vast dinner listening to the Brigade full-fed.

Since writing the above, as Belloc would say, I've been to Marlborough, yesterday. The cahpel was, I thought, frighfully good, and, Man, there were boys about. It was perfectly incredible.....

Yes, but I must shut up this show now. This is a very wonderful place.

(1) Walter Headlam's poems; June

(2) George Fletcher. - There's a field near the schools, where we used to visit the 'battalions' of corn.

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Certainly does seem to change his tone frequently, makes enjoyable reading in this context.

Andy

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To M.G. White

Windmill Hill Camp

June 12, 1915.

Marlborough. I went over there yesterday afternoon and there were boys there. I looked at them for ages; the whole thing seemed incredible, and I must be dreaming; but there they were, priceless. We lay about and watched a cricket match, but I spent still more time on that steep bank nearst the College with my back to the match, watching the smaller people careering about on bicycles and shouting: that was very good. It looked very beautiful, the whole place, and I liked the chapel and the Masters garden, and the whle visit was good.

Yes, Man, Uricon(1) and June, and

Quiet are clan and chief, and quiet

Centurion and signifier.(2)

Good Man.

Good Lord, no, I'm not efficient yet: but one can, I think, teach oneself a certain amount, as we get a very fair lot of time after work's over. I have an idea the men want less work now: Musketry tests and that kind of thing in the sun in the afternoon, even for an hour or two, make them very slack when they've quite probably done a long march and bivouacked the night before. But the men are good, definetely: and altogether it's a good business.

(1) A.E. Houseman, A Shropshire Lad - 'On Wenlock Edge'

(2) John Masefield, Salt Water Ballads - 'On Malvern Hill'

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To R.A. Knox

Windmill Hill Camp

June 27, 1915.

Dear Super-Man,

Well, I sent a reply to you in rather a wild rush: unredeemed as far as I remember by the last touch of cheerfulness, but I happened to have made rather particularly nostalgic by a recent visit to Marlborough and your documents on the top of it, and I can only say that the lines were as sincere as I could make them and did not feel 'written to order'!

This statement of mine reads rather like that of the cook in Vice Versa, all from my own point of view.

Give all the men my love, and Whitfield shall have a letter, and V.b are very fine fellows, and so are K.'s Army, only they're rather tired just now, and so am not I, for keeping going is only very easy when you haven't left large portions of you in other places! I believe that this is rather rot, and it would read just as well with the negative out! It won't do, anyway, to consider the point.

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To C.E.N. Surridge (1)

Windmill Camp

June 30, 1915.

This is spledid of you: I was tremendously pleased to see your handwriting the other day (too olong ago, I'm afraid you're thinking) when I came into the Mess. I had, of course, received a large batch of documents from Mr. Knox, which I read very carefully; but the worst of it was that he demanded a reply in the same language. This may be all very well, but my ideas have been rather narrowed down to unskilful manoeuvres with my platoon; and the state of mind described in the song - ' "What's the next word of command?" said the Colonel' (and how I'm to know, if he didn't, I can't think), is not very good for sending messages in a foreign language. However, I happened to be feeling rather particularly lonely that evening, so I sat down and scrawled a rather solitary little message, which at any rate I meant rather dreadfully in earnest. I only hope some of it scanned!

I see the poets are still going strong: Mr. Knox sent me one of the 'works' of a new poet the other day. Crosfield's White House looks well in print, but I would rather have my own copy in the author's handwriting, and day.

We had our inspection by the King about a week ago; and it was rather impressive, naturally. About 15,000 men on a square mile or two make a sight well worth seeing. Of course I thought of my poets when the cavalry, with their distinctive (rather a good word, that; it looks as if I could tell any cavalry from infantry by their dust, like the Boers!) and rather thrilling dust cloud, came round the corner, a mile or two away from our position on the left of the line. John Masefield(2), I mean and the remarkable poems about 'the procession' they (3) wrote, and all that.

Well, you seem to be going very strong there. I suppose you do all exist really; but sometimes I have to think horribly hard, to believe it. As I told someone the toher day, I believed it hard all one afternoon when I went over to Marlborough; but of course the letters which reach me with the Shrewsbury post-mark, though I must say people are awfully good to me and I greet their letters with terrific delight, do sometimes seem to come from another world altogether!

Now then,, we can't have this sort of thing. If I'm going to get gloomy, I'd better shut up at once, and I will. Thank you a thousand times for your splendid letter, and please do it again!

(1) Formerly in V.b

(2) Salt Water Ballads - 'cavalier'

(3) The members of V.b

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To R.F. Riley

Windmill Hill Camp

July 1, 1915.

To-day has been rather fun in a lazy way. I took on the Orderly Office job for some one who wanted a Sunday off, so I was stuck in camp, first boiling in the biggest heat we've had, and then getting thoroughly wet all of a sudden while dismissing the Old Guard. It is rather good fun after a hard week, a week-end in camp, and I've put in all of them up to date except one, when I ran over to near Salisbury once. Good place, that; and I must try and see the town itself quietly one day.

I am becomming rather like a cabbage here. One goes on very happily, living a healthy animal existence, and the importance attached to one's food on bivouacs after a long march is rather scandalous.

I could make a good range-card of priceless memories on this landscape between lines N.W. and N.E. S.W. lies the sweating march to Bulford Range, and S. is Perham Downs Camp, which is all huts and therefore a beastly insult to the country-side. But I cannot think of what I regard as 'My Section' of our prospect without a thrill.

It is now Sunday afternoon, July 3rd; not very good therefore, for you should have had this before. Tell Kitch I couldn't by any device reach Henley yesterday; and I don't even know the result of the race. (1) For the first time, and, I suppose, the only time I wanted one, no Sunday paper is procurable.

(1) against Eton

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To M. G. White

Windmill Hill Camp

July 24, 1915.

Man,

Emotional Indigestion. Ah yes, Man: statement. Frightfully true, that. Yes, of course what you say about poetry is my experience too. Equally of course I refer facts to poetry rather than the other way. This is obscure and I will explain. Now R.L.S. in a lovely passage ('Apology for Idlers' in Virginibus puerisque - You gave it to me - Remember) says: 'Books are all very well in their way, but they are a mighty bloodless substitute for life.' Now if I believe that, it is because I have seen it in a book; and that I think is rather my attitude to pretty well everything. So that so far from agreeing with R.S.L. I seem more than ever in a position to contradict him.

Man, that is rather where do we come in, you know: I believe that everybody, who has his little finger in this pie, really is in a position to dictate to his favourite poets. Not bad. No

MANIFESTO

by 2nd Lieut. E.H.L.S.

Commdg. Details, 13th Bn. R.B.

(1) Situation. It's all right - I happened to see two lines of the Poet in a magazine, after 3 months.

(2) Statement. When I read Homer I gesticulate; over VIRGIL I kneel

E.H.L.S.

2nd Lieut.

Windmill Hill

2-8-15

Copy No1 to Lt. Whitfield.

" "2 to Lt. White.

" "3 to Lt. Howson.

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I suppose you do all exist really; but sometimes I have to think horribly hard, to believe it. As I told someone the toher day, I believed it hard all one afternoon when I went over to Marlborough;

That's sad, but not whingeing. Like it.

KNEEL to Virgil?

I KNEEL to Homer and YAWN over Virgil!

He's a very contrary person indeed, although he has redeemed himself over RLS -and the wonderful understatement about K's army being 'rather tired'.

MORE!

Marina

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To C.A. Alington

Belhus Park - Purfleet

Aug. 18, 1915

Out of the eight or so they had to pick one to wind up camp, return tents, receive Hospital discharged men, finish up accounts, and generally run a fatigue party to clean up the place and pass an 'exam' by the Sanitary Inspector - we did this with some success - and I was picked for the job. So long as it hasn't thrown me back more that a fortnight or so I shan't mind so much - though as you can guess it wasn't exactly funny to see the tail of the Division disappear, on the day of embarkation, round the corner to the station - because I've learnt more about administration of the Army in two weeks than in all the preceding months. This is some consolation, and as a matter of fact I can't pretend in the least that I didn't rather enjoy the fortnight in which I had sole command of about twenty-five men - a small handful, but an independent show. The worst days I ever knew before that, when (after being told within a month of joining, and again later, that I was going out) I just heard that it was all what the Army calls a 'wash out', and so I'd got to stay behind.

There is still a great deal to do (I've just started learning German - rather late, but I'm getting on), so I must wind up this lengthy explanation of my very curious movements.

I suppose it's needless to repeat to you what I said in a letter to Shrewsbury not so long ago, that I have for all these months seen everything in terms of Shrewsbury. I have seen a hill, perhaps; and I reflect that it would not do for the folk around the Wrekin, even though it did have a Roman Camp on the top. Or a path from the bed of the Avon, up towards Sidbury, and I remember that the track from the boat-house to the schools has a better curve upon it, and the feet of more adorable people.

Or I have been with 'B' Company on Church Parade every Sunday for months, and the wrench was an almost physical one with which I had to tear myself away from the belief that I was in Chapel, and had been there every minute of the service.

Or lastly, there was that last Sunday of the term. You were going, and my Battalion were going, in the same week. I started for a lonely walk, therefore, and the farther I went the more the 37th Division shouted. They shouted for three hours pretty well each night for the last week.

This time they just sang the simple refrain which goes

Here we are! Here we are! Here we are again1 (bis)

Hullo! Hullo!

Hullo! Hullo! Hulloh-oh1 (repeat)

This song went for just two and a half hours without change: it went on louder and louder, like a plot to break the hearts of the 'stay behinds'. It was about the time when you would be giving your final address (1), probably an extra good one (I was not disappointed: but how you could read the poem without a break I cannot imagine: I would not trust myself with a recitation of that beautiful thing in public for a fortune per line).

So I went on, not sorry on the whole to be alone, and blundered along towards the Artillery Camp, until finally you came out of the Chapel, and I came back over the hill.

(1) 'The Elm and River,: published in Shrewsbury Fables.

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Here we are! Here we are! Here we are again1 (bis)

Hullo! Hullo!

Hullo! Hullo! Hulloh-oh1 (repeat)

I recently heard that song sung by Eddie Dwyer VC on a Great War cd. An odd little ditty!

Marina

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Ta for that link Marina - what a magical little clip. The audio section of FirstWorldWar.com - somewhere else to waste my time, methinks :)

Jim

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