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Remembered Today:

Two Men - One Memorial


stiletto_33853

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The Savernake wood country at dawn, the stars over the night march, the water of the Avon, the church by the canal, the five minutes in the lane, the dear Vicar and our return to his home, the bugles as we entered Pewsey from Wilcot on the last morning, the morning in the 'Ebenezer' school, - Wilcot above all, above all Wicot: those are the things which make the Wonderful Week, and which ion any future inconveniences (such as I might be excused for expecting) I hope and pray for courage to remember.

He' storing up memories - I wonder if he had a premonition?

Marina

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For the ditch (it is theirs, I suppose) is very deep and regular, and I for one was glad I had not to attack over it.

Premonition again?, considering the ditches he's heading for? Permission to shiver...

Marina

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stiletto_33853

I do not remember anything quite so definite since the days of Lichfield Chapel (1), when I was hardly less old at 11 than I am now. Of course I took the Motre-Dame seat, half way up on the right and against a pillar; but hardly in Paris, I think, was it that so greatly

The deep peace burned by me alive.

It was St. Peters day, by the way, and the lessons were, to say the least, not insignificant.

Well, 'out of the little chapel I burst', as they say, and found it raining steadily but almost invisibly. Sidbury Camp through a Scotch mist was really rather more fun that I had bargained for; so I have seen Holyrood Palace, almost completely hidden in August at a few hundred yards.

And so home, and this walk has been a great cure for anything like depression, which I was faintly beginning to feel before I went away on Friday. Now I am, I believe, completely recovered.

But not a word of Bapton Manor(2); and that was what I had in minds to set down, when I sprang up the chalk and flint of the early journey, drived and drawn along its veins by the inconceivable power of the long, throbbing Plain.

(1) The Chapel of the Theological Collage (his former home)

(2) His mother's home.

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July 3, 1915.

Like to some niggard drowsy cupbearer

Slighting a wither'd queen in Babylon,

Some proud, lost love of Asia, lonelier

Than his lone lord, she falsely lean'd upon:

And oh! her cheek is hollow, and her eyes

Watch him, yet hope no favour from his turning:-

So Death, appriz'd of your teacheries,

Shall hold his glass from old lips palely burning.

Then let me taste in time his golden stream,

Not idly traffic with lean years to be;

And out beyond the banquet, I shall see

Where led my chosen journey, and my star's gleam,

And know, who set no limit to my dream,

No house of doubt in my Astrology.

______________________________________________

The Hungerford Road - Collinbourne Ducis Round, Again.

This has become my usual haunt; and in many, many journeys I have come to perceive a certain glorious sureness about this scene.

I have seen that road, or the right edge of it rather, from the top of Windmill Hill at 7.30 in the morning, when I have been up there to look at the Plain before a long day; and I have noticed the curious differences of light on a road at different hours. Am I wrong, or is the white road only white when you stand between it and the sun?

Then there was that long day of rain, when the Brigade Sports were ruined, and when I hade been rather faithfully reprimanded at Orderly Room in the morning. It was quite worth while my going round, that evening, all alone in the downpour and a leaking Burberry. Quite worth while clambering up that slope, though for some reason I was so occupied with cacophonous encores of

Who so beset him round

(we had it at Shrewsbury the previous Sunday) that for a mile or so I hardly realised where I was. Then suddenly I became aware of the top of the hill, and began to make phrases, as I watched it in the wind, about the sheepish, irresolute demeanour of the stripling corn. It was on that6 evening, too, that I got into the hollow to the east of C.D. and excited myself to a great state of delight by loud and much varied declamations of John Masefield's 'Sea-Fever'

I suppose it was two days later that I discovered the dingle which leads through the corn to C.D. from the hill, a shoreter and equally delightful way; marked, and I think wrote to Ross about the flints on the black plough, like cut glass on a mrble table - they are to be seen on the right as you descend that lane; saw the wind playing at hill-country with the grass at the top of the road - it is only in real hill-country that the short grass pulls like a dog on a leash; and finally, after watching the moon fall like a rocket behind Windmill Hill, slept gloriously outside my tent under the stars.

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More of 'My Sunday at Home'

It is 11.0 on a boiling July Sunday morning, and I am Orderly Officer. The view of my duties I take at this moment leads me to plant a chair just outside the Mess Tent, facing north-west, and to take in a little of my surroundings. A good chance: everything is standing still for my admiration. The horses of the 10th R.F. are motionless, as usual, on the side of the hill; they hardly flick their tails, those lean, wooden Sabbatarians. Nobody troubles his head now about the dreary bayonet-gibbets on the left skyline near the wood, nor about the rather silly looking wire entanglements to their right. Except perhaps the sentry over what I keep calling the Water-Tower(1): I dare say he holds strong views on other men's Sunday's; at any rate the flash of his bayonet this morning (during the 'Benedictus', I remember), when he turned his corner, looked as if he had decided to tolerate no competition.

Not much movement in our lines, nor from the 10th and 13th facing me; and I expect the 60th are equally sleepy in the hollow. An occasional car strolls over the green; and as I write some easy cricketers saunter out to their game.

On the near brow of the hill across the road a few sheep proclaim the Downs; to their right is the Everley Road, so easy of marching; and I can just see the cross-roads, where the N. Road runs up towards Collingbourne, shaking our little worries off its heels............

And so the time passes, until I go on my rounds in half an hour. A lazy transport wagon rolls by; a dazed looking passenger train puffs up the line; the green flags wave sleepily in the cooling breeze which is just arriving from the South; the great slopes ahead of me call 'N. West, N. West' through the blue; and all around me rises the slow incense of the Downs, to remind me with a choke in the throat of the stillness that is only a few miles away on two sides, at the very foot of the adorable vale.

(Read to V.b on my week-end visit to Shrewsbury, Sunday, July 11th; with a change in the last two lines)

(1) A reminiscence of Shrewsbury.

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July 25.

We have just come back from what is almost certainly the last church parade in England of the 111th Brigade. There was a celebration this morning, in the big C.E. tent for the first time, at which I dare say sixty attended. The week before in the little tent there were six. The 10.0 service was not quite the best, as we had not the brass band of the 10th but only their fifes; and these, besides sounding a little shrill and unstately, played far too slowly.

However, there we stood, singing the same chants, making what we could of 'Onward Christian Soldiers' and 'Fight the good Fight' and 'Praise to the Holiest'. It was not well done, but it did not really matter. I had only to look round, and the Plain at any rate was in Sunday mood. All as before; the old hill, and the Water-Tower, and the still sentry watching over it; over the 10th's tents hung the memory of the Northern Vale, and to the south-east the grey summer over Kimpton and Cholderton; and, to our left, the great white clouds came tramping up like all the armies of heaven in palpable dust, swooping up with a cry of triumph, over our old familiar hill from the little, loved western river.

___________________________________________________

The Last Sunday of Term.

It was about 9.0, or a little sooner, that I started out for a lonely walk to the hill on the Hungerford Road. It would be about the time of C.A.A.'s final address in Chapel, and I thought it would be very probably an unuasually good one. And when I saw it in The Salopian, as I wrote to him later, I was not disappointed.

They would be nearly at its beginning when I turned back and made across the open field to the foot of Sidbury and the slow, sad camp songs of our galloping artillery; and I sat there with them to listen, and the hills and the songs faded quite away. There were some scores of eyes that were none to dry in that Chapel, and I remembered that they must not be stared at while they came down the aisle. And yet there would not be much real unhappiness there; for there is a kind of sadness that reaches higher than joy. So we listened all together, until finally the thing was finished and we rose; and as I said in my letter to C.A.A., at last 'you came out of Chapel, and I came back over the hill'.

Well, I will not pretend I returned in what the sentries call a very 'rifleman manner'. And yet I do not know. I am ready to believe that between the hours of 'Rouse' and 'Retreat' a man should be about his business and not twitch so much as the corner of his mouth, for all his longing. But I think if ever there comes a time when a British officer may be allowed to be a little more thoughful than usual, a little dimmer of eye, it is on such a night as this; a night, in two of his soul's homes, of sad endings and glorious beginnings, very long after 'Last Post', when the day's lonely, lonely play-acting is over.

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The Last Night of the Battalion in England.

Wednesday, Jult 28.

The 37th Division has shouted itself hoarse for days, and was not going to stop now. The 10th R.F. seemed especially hearty, but all did well, as the saying is. And let no man dare to say he knows of what songs the British soldier is really tired. In ordinary moments he will give you 'Here we are again!' 'Who were you with last night?' 'The old garden wall', and lately the almost national 'Keep the home-fires burning','When this bloody war is over', and the rest. Indeed we had thjem all last night from regiment after regiment on the Plain. But, as I said before, I hold it truth that in this war the British soldier, when really moved, will surely give you

'Tipperary'.

Well, naturally I paid a visit to the guardian hill of the Division under a marvellous moon. Some strange, watchful planet stood over us to the east of the moon, and Cassiopeia - surely the lady was on her knees! Ah well, even if one lives very far up there among the everlasting stars, one does not see a sight like this every night: one does not indeed.

The tumult and the shouting were dead when I reached the top, and the silence was extraordinary while I stood, disbelieving the possibility of that moon landscape, like streaks on a madmans canvas, or renewing old friendships among the obscurer stars. All in fact was silent save one dog, who, I swear, barked from Hougoumont Farm, over a mile away, and was plainly audible. Magic fires climbed the darkness in the hollow; the white tents pointed upwards like the soul of all Arabia; and so I stood, first towards Shrewsbury, then towards the outgoing Division, like some bewildered prophet whom a curiously doubtfully minded parent has temporarily dis-inherited. So I stood on the hill; and after that I came back on my own, through deep lanes in the tents which might have been cloven by the hoofs of a Titan. It is very cold, and I think my feelings are a little numbed with work@ but I shall be alone tomorrow and after, and when my rushed period is over I shall know that the Battalion is gone, and that I am left alone with their memory and nothing but the will to say 'God bless them'.

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Sunday, Aug. 1.

We have had two or three (I almost forget which) strenuous days. One thing is impressed on me which I shall never, on evacuating any other camp, be likely to forget; and that is that the whole Battalion must be turned on to fatigue duty before going. An hour's hard work with 1,000 men - I can hardly imagine the glory of it without emotion! Why, they would have left the whole place as clean as a board. As it is, I should never have got through without help.

Well, but I am going to fast, for I forget to mention my flying visit to the station on Thursday, which was all I had time for. The first half, B&C, went off from here at 6.20; rather typically early, for the train did not go till 8.20. I, expecting to be back by 7.0, marched with Bamford at the head of No.8 and saw them into the train; but though I stayed long enough to shake them all by the hand, I could not wait to see them off.

When I did get back I found D&A just ready to march off to the station. The Division was still shouting, as it had done for a week; and the colossal enthusiasm all round was rather in strong contrast to the mechanical, dumb content into which, after a few hours of really hard labour, I soon found myself dropping. For nearly forty-eight hours I hardly realised that I was going to be left alone with the Plain, while my Battaion were whirled away to Flanders. Indeed, till this morning I have hardly remembered that there is a war over the water: for I have seen no paper till to-day since Wednesday; and I now find that Warsaw is about to fall..........There is food for thought in that.......

Some of the small incidents that followed I described in a letter to Bamford covering the razors for No.8 platoon. We are a happy party in our way, I said, though horribly lonely; and I must not forget to repeat solemnly here what I said about the value of a good N.C.O.; it is only in cases like this that one really learns what he is worth, in England.

(Later) I rummaged out of the tent the English Review, with F. Harrisons article on translating Virgil (of which more, shortly), and read some of it outside.

________________________________________

in the matter of Virgil. This is not the place to remind myself of what I think of him; though I did send a manifesto to M.G.W., J.O.W., H.E.E.H. that I read Homer with gesticulation, while over Virgil I kneel. All I want now is just to write down the two adorable lines that sang through the misty sunrise on that summer morning. See the 'lonely world',,,,,,!

Quisque suos patimur Manes: exinde per amplum

Mittimur Elysium, et pauci laeta arva tenemus..........

Thank you: I can carry on now very well with A.F. 91033.

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Sunday, August 15.

'God hummed a tune and made the Wiltshire Downs', as I thought on that day when I walked to C.D. to breakfast. To-day I went to the 8.30 Celebrations at Ludgershall, and later to C.D. at 11. This was my last visit to that village...............The harvest, then, was nearly reaped, but 'not all', I reflected,

'Not all is reap'd, and they wait awhile

The Reaper's coming with patient smile';

I watched their myriad order, and knew

That sigh to the Plain where the brothers grew.

'Eodem cogimur, dears', I said;

And they tenderly bowed their head

That I cheered them and waved, with my heart a-breaking

To see such a gallant show a-making.

And they waved me back, with their long necks swaying,

'Twas easy to read what they'ld be saying:

'We're happy enough', they made the reply,

'Too happy' - and so by God am I!

________________________________________

15th R.B., Belhus Park, Purfleet.

Thursday, Aug. 19. (Arrived 16th)

I hardly know how to write of this camp yet, for I do not seem to have arrived here quite completely. As usual, I have left a large - lieber Gott, How large! - part of myself behind on the Plain. Time is probably short; and that is why I have not the time to linger and dream over that adorable country. But I will give myself just five minutes very occasionally; and those will be the times when I will remember the two home signals of the tree clumps on Windmill Hill: and the finest and first and most alive Downs-Road in all the world which leads from its foot; and the very British Village to which that dear road flies; and the very Roman Guard that is kept at the top of Sidbury; and the little church spire of Chute, little known and never visited, though there was that supper in the house of the old lady, of Wiltshire, one night very late in my stay; and the night of bivouac at Fenner's Firs; and Wilcot - but I should be a fool to trespass on that sacred ground; and Ludgershall Church and village, and my first billet there; and Salisbury Close, peaceful beyond all bearing; and Church Parade under Our Hill; and for love of that country I will even include Bulford Ranges (though I cannot go so far as Perham Down, its huts and its trenches); and the most glorious College of Marlborough must find a memeory; and the Andover Road, which found me so strong (!) amidst the 'fall-outs', though so powerless to help them; and the slopes that used to call me. day after day, I well knew where, I well know where; and my own, my very own Details, whom I see, thank God, with a wistful and most worshipping affection day by day, the remnants of the 13th, ah yes! the 13th R.B. in a very strange land.

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The Old Ship At Purfleet.

It was from the top of the dyke that I saw her, that long high dyke which marks the Essex marshes. Immediately below me the tide seemed on the ebb; and that was why I knew, after a glance at the angles of the river, that the real tide was flooding in, far out in mid-stream.

Clough would have had said some pretty things to say about that; but I had other business on hand. It was not those half-dozen fishing boats that caught my eye, though they looked happy enough as they drifted in with the tide, too sleepy to care whether the wind would help them along. Nor the strange, dark promise of the great city, proclaimed by the clustering chimneys a little further to the north-west. Nor did I linger over the prospect of the other bank; though I did not forget that Wrotham and Sheerness (1), with their memories of two remarkable men, lay only a few miles from where I stood, lonely and dreaming as usual, an object of some suspiicion to the sentry farther along the dyke.

It was the old ship to my left that made me stand still and remember my country; for every mast and yard upon her seemed an unforgetable signal to all who fought under her ensign. I do not know her name; it is probable that even the ancient mariners, who of a certainty were not far from her that evening, are too busy in this glorious time of trouble to remember for very long what strange harbours they visited on board her, or what famous days are entered in her log.

But I liked the way she stood motionless beside the drifting craft out there on the river. I left it to the peot to imagine her

Queen of the strange shipping,

for that was not how her image came to me. As for me, I thought of some old, old servant, whose years were many and her faithfulness unshakeable. And there, I think, she watched with an indulgent smile the young seagods, the children of her ancient lords, as they come crowding in all together, chin high on the homing tide, very dear and very eager, to see the Port of London.

(1) He stayed at Wrotham in Oxford days with C.R. Cudmore. White at this time was at Sheerness.

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________________________________________

to write down the two adorable lines that sang through the misty sunrise on that summer morning. See the 'lonely world',,,,,,!

Quisque suos patimur Manes: exinde per amplum

Mittimur Elysium, et pauci laeta arva tenemus..........

Virgil, Book VI - Aeneas in the land of the dead.

Roughly, very roughly, the lines allude to the spirts of the dead and how after the trials of hell, the few will enjoy the airs of Elysium.

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ALFRISTON Sunday, Sept. 26.

It was not without reason, then, that the 'Nunc Dimitis' was read twice that evening in the hollow of the Downs; or that the preacher made a thrilling sermon out of Caleb and the Harder Thing.

________________________________________

WORCESTER Sept. 30, 1915; midnight

'As one that findeth great spoils.' Things have not gone very well: I have plenty to get, matters to settle with 'Details', and my week's final leave to whistle for. Yet the phrase sprang, I do not know wence, to my lips this morning and rang through my head all the day. For after breakfast I heard I was for the Front at once; and, as the Psalmist said, 'I was glad'.

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The Memorial book now moves on to M.G. White for the same period.

Malcolm Graham WHITE (M.G.W.)

April to October 1915.

When Southwell first went to the Plain, White was still at home, impatient for definite work. For two months he made efforts in many quarters to find the place which he wanted and which was due to him in view of his experience in the O.T.C. On May 31 he eventually joined the 6th Battalion (Special Reserve) of the Rifle Brigade at Sheerness, with Lieutenant's rank. Though he found it harder than Southwell to adapt himself without regrets to the new life, his influence was great, as his fellow officers well knew. His sense of humour won him friends, and he was always human. But he did not surrender the many interests that had been his before he entered the Regiment. He could stock the shelves of his Mess with volumes of Tolstoy and Galsworthy, yet no-one resented this as academic; it was accepted as natural and won him respect. One of the officers said of him later:- 'I can imagine no one who was better form, better company, or better anything, than White.'

And another of his friends there writes of him:- 'What everybody liked about hims so much was that, although he was considerably older than many of us, he was always free and easy with us.' At one time he was imitating the Battalion Sergt.-Major, at another the Paddington Express entering Birmingham station. He would leap the settees in the Mess; and his adventures on his motor-cycle, which (for the first time in his life) he had just brought, delighted every one. 'He knew nothing about the bike,' the letter goes on, 'and I think rather prided himself on the fact. If ever, when we were out together, something happened and "the thing" would'nt go, we could only push it along the road - I've done several miles with him! - or fling it in the nearest ditch........He was so wonderfully simple in his tastes. He used to find endless enjoyment in going over to Hollingbourne of a Sunday, having a good lunch with excellent beer, and a walk after with his "pijp" (1) in his mouth. I remember, when I took him to Sheerness Theatre, how he was bored to tears. He said what he really enjoyed was a good blood and thunder drama. So when the Rosary came down I took him again. He was highly delighted with parts of it, because the tragic acting was so ludicrous. Of course his violin playing was ripping. The fellow next door to us had a gramophone, and he had Bach's Concerto for two violins. The Man would tune his violin carefully and play to the gramophone.'

Another friend says:- 'Do you know that from the day I arrived to the day he went to France he gave up almost everything to make things pleasant for me? He had been in the Battalion then for a good many months and had a lot of friends, and yet he always was ready to go for walks or bicycle-rides or anything with me. I know that he was fond of me, but above and beyond that lay his inherent unselfishness to please others.'

The rest of the story of his life there follws in his own words.

(1) On the analogy of 'Mijn' for 'mine', used of the Dutch forces in the game of L'attaque.

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LETTERS.

To H.E.E. Howson

Mere Cottage - Oxton

April 12, 1915.

Thank you awfully. It's a haversack, and a beautiful one as you say. Thank you awfully (This in the Psalms commentaries would be called poetry, bacause of repitition of the sentence above).

With regard to the War and me, things are proceeding slowly.

I am having a slack time. Sleep isn't the word for it, nor eating neither.

_________________________________________________

To His Sister, Mrs. Reid.

Mere Coyyage - Oxton.

April 26, 1915.

I got an awful shock to see Frank Chubb's death in The Times to-day; also Rupert Brook. There are no words for this news.

(With reference to your tea-party of babies) I never can understand the idea of massing babies. Surely babies are only nice when taken seperately? It's absurd to suppose they appreciate one another.

__________________________________________________

To H.E.E. Howson

Radlett.

May 5, 1915.

Man, it's a mistake to let the War divert one from the good things. One ought to be reading poetry and studying music and all the other things with more stimulus than in peace time. What I mean is that there is a tendency for 'us who sit at home' to say, 'Well, we're not fighting and we can't realise the War, but let's sit as motionless as possible and try to imagine it'. An attitude forced and 'appropriate' sympathy, in fact. In so far as O.T.C. will allow of it, I think there ought to be more art and thought at Shrewsbury than ever.

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LETTERS.

To H.E.E. Howson

Mere Cottage - Oxton

April 12, 1915.

Thank you awfully. It's a haversack, and a beautiful one as you say. Thank you awfully (This in the Psalms commentaries would be called poetry, bacause of repitition of the sentence above).

(With reference to your tea-party of babies) I never can understand the idea of massing babies. Surely babies are only nice when taken seperately? It's absurd to suppose they appreciate one another.

__________________________________________________

:D:D

Marina

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Must admit I did have a good laugh at that, my sense of humour :D

Andy

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To C.A. Alington

Mere Cottage - Oxton

May 17, 1915.

I think very longingly of Shrewsbury now that term has started again. I do hope I shall have a chance to come down, some time this term.

Yours ever,

Malcolm White,

Capt. S.S.O.T.C.

Lieut. 13th R.B.

Lieut. 6th R.B.

2nd Lt. 12th Manchesters

2nd Lt. K.S.L.I.

'and many, many others, he added with drunken solemnity'.

(I signed myself thus(1) to a man at the W.O. recently, and I hope it has now been filed.)

(1) The letter was written at a time when his future Regiment was still unknown.

__________________________________________________

To H.E.E. Howson

Oxton

May 19, 1915

I'm getting very depressed with all this writing - can't read even, though I'm trifling with Garibaldi and the Making of Italy. Also feeling unfit now, and altogether I have a premonition that something will prevent me ever going into any Regiment.

_________________________________________________

To His Father

Sheerness

June 1, 1915.

It has been a georgeous day here. This afternoon West and I walked along the sea front watching the destroyers darting in and out across the blue.

Militarily I have done very little work, - taken a remnant of a Company for one hour's route march, inspected the lines, signed a number of cheques, and spent a fearful hour with the Quartermaster-Sergeant over a Pay and Mess book, the figures of which I don't understand and never shall. Fortunately the Company accounts are only closed once a month, and a month hence I shall either know something about it, or I shall be doing different work.

Drafts left for the Front at 4.0 this morning, from the 5th and 6th, each with a different band to play them off - so with that and the Zeppelins and animals (sheep, cocks, horses and larks) who woke with the dawn, I did not sleep as well as I shall to-night. The Mess-room is very nice, also inhabitants, and, in this fine weather, the camp (about 10 mins away). No news. I think this is going to be good.

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...and spent a fearful hour with the Quartermaster-Sergeant over a Pay and Mess book, the figures of which I don't understand and never shall.

he has my sympathies.

Marina

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To H.E.E. Howson

Sheerness

June 2, 1915.

I will tell you all about this place in another letter when I have time to describe things as they deserve. I am moderately happy. I feel young for my duties and old for my fellow-officers. I am in charge of a Company of 24o invalided men (mostly), back from the Front.

We have a very prosperous Mess at the Sheerness Conservative Club, which is like a good many Conservative Clubs, I should think. Large and 'beefy' pictures of Lord Roberts and Buller and a large and rich saloon bar below our Mess-room suggest the soundest political views of the members in peace time.

I should like a Salopian.

_______________________________________________

To His Sister.

Sheerness.

June 5, 1915.

My Company have nearly all been to the Front and wounded, and are now convalescent and doing light duty. I feel almost ashamed to pretend to command men who have been at the Front, but of course we do very little work and my chief job is signing cheques and passes, and paying the men, and general administration, at which I'm very bad.

I feel that, having not long awakened from three hour's deep sleep, having had the same number of hours last night, owing to having to walk round visiting the guards 1.0 to 3.0, the farthest limit of which was a coast-guard overlooking the sea from cliffs. It was mysterious coming suddenly on a view of the sea, grey and vague in an uncertain dawn.

This isn't really at all a bad place, but the Isle of Sheppey is rather smelly and low-lying at times (well, it's always low-lying). I hope to get out for a walk in mid Kent when I get a little time. The sea front and the destroyers are fun.

I had to go to Church Parade this morning at 9.20. It was good having the free use of one's lungs in the hymns; the men make a terrific noise. We had the band to play us there and back with musical comedy and the regimental march, a splendid thing, which I've known for a long time. The band is quite good. It's glorious weather here, and I am sunburnt and fit.

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To H.E.E. Howson

Sheerness.

June 9, 1915.

All about myself. I came here ten days ago and am moderately happy. I am in command of a convalescent Company of men, men back from the 3rd and 4th Bns.. There is little work connected with it, as the men are on light duty. The work is all that of administration, signing cheques, failing to understand documents and signing them etc., and condemning men to various punishments at 9.0 a.m. in my Company office. I am beginning to understand a little about it very slowly. The N.C.O.'s are inaudible and allusive in connection with everything I don't understand. (Do you know, a luggage label is A.F. 1205 - a fact.) I am bullied by my C.S.M. and C.Q.M.S. and hopelessly in their power. West is my only subaltern. I've been orderly officer and am at present Captain of the week - rather strenuous, especially as the guards we provide, find, or furnish, are all over the island of Sheppey, and inspecting them at night means a cool walk of two hours, 1.0 to 3.0 a.m.

I don't suppose I shall get to the Front for a long time. One has to go through a good deal first - e.g. I have to do a fortnight's musketry, firing chiefly myself, when the Range-Finder course is over. Semms rather absurd. The I expect I shall go over to Queenboro' for definite Field Training, whan a Captain is available to command my 'F' Company. The N.C.O.'s here are very fine and give me an idea of the greatness of the Rifle Brigade.

___________________________________________

To H.E.E. Howson

Sheerness.

June 9, 1915.

I am getting to know really all about the Infantry No2 Range-Finders - the first mechanical toy I've ever appreciated. I am nearly going to get a motor-bike and a cigarette case.

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stiletto_33853

To H.E.E. Howson.

Sheerness.

June 23, 1915.

Your wire tore me into two or more parts: 'The perturbed mind flies hither and thither through all parts' (Virgil). I do not want to see the Corps drill awfully badly; I thought it would be very fine. But do you really think it would be sound for me to come on speech day? Think of me wanting to see Men and boys and to hear turns, in the middle of Speech Day, with everybody taken up with parents, etc. Am I not right in this really? But how am I to see the Corps drill? Can't you have a parade on Saturday instead of Tuesday or Friday when I come? Can't it be worked somehow?

Ut's possible I may be shunted from here on a special job of very special interest, about which I expect I oughtn't to talk. I am again in two minds about this. I can give Virgil points in this respect after the experience of the last four months.

________________________________________

To H.E.E. Howson.

Sheerness.

June 23, 1915.

I am now cricket officer for the Battalion (i.e. I was present by chance when the Colonel was discussing cricket. I am a cricket expert). We want bats, pads, etc., and all the panoply of cricket.

Oh! and I want my Chaucer. Man, I'm sorry to be such a nuisance.

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stiletto_33853

To H.E.E. Howson.

Sheerness.

June 27, 1915.

I've left my invalid Company as an invalid Captain has now turned up to tkae them, and I've gone over to a more active Company, which is good, or will be when this shooting is over. It is a funny business here. I command Platoons, Companies, and this morning I took Church Parade and yelled 'Stand to your front, - 'Talion', in the middle of the Sheerness traffic, and had a large and rich band in front of me.

Chaucer a good man, especially after the open air fatigue. On Thursday a west wind blew all the good smells of England in June on to this blasted island, and I went a glorious walk on the Kent Downs.

__________________________________________

To His Sister

Shrewsbury

July 11, 1915.

Oh! the joy of this visit! To look out of the window at Wellington for the Shropshire hills,blue and beautiful in the late evening as I arrived, and to reach the School gates just as the boys were streaming clamorously out of Top Schools, and to haul oneself into the middle of masters and boys, young, kind, brilliant, and apparently glad to see one again. Southwell arrived on Saturday morning. He has written some lovely stuff, prose and verse, in the intervals of militarism on Salisbury Plain, and he is in good form. So is everyone, considering all things. The Corps mightily efficient. The head in great humour, and Know and Bainbridge being incredibly brilliant.

Oh! It is a place. And I return on Tuesday, and tomorrow I shall have to say 'i leave tomorrow'. However, I've nearly 48 hours yet, and only have to catch the 7.45 from Victoria.

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