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Monday, 17 January 2011

Letter Home - 17th January, 1916

Dear Father,

There is very little to write about this week, as I am behind the firing line in a fair sized town, on an Infantry course, which I am sorry to say I have not been able to raise much interest in. I left the battery last Monday morning, reaching here about nine forty-five a.m. and proceeded to the school to report. There are 18 officers and NCOs on the course, making 36 in all.

The first day was very soft, as we simply had to be shown our Mess and billets by an interpreter. I was lucky to get both a good billet and Mess and, bar one wash out, we are all comfortable, but I must say I do not think much of the type of Infantry officer one meets on this show. There are some good chaps, but the majority of them are pretty average rotters. There is one other R.F.A. man on the course besides myself. He is a very good chap. We are usually out all day and leave the school at ten a.m., after an hour and a half Infantry drill, which is not hard to me and I can do it as well as some of them. They give us two lorries to pack into, and we usually have some wonderful scheme to work out. It is usually an attack and you are told off as Company Commander and have half an hour with the Sergeant to think out your best line of attack. At the beginning of the week, I could generally raise enough enthusiasm to have a crack at the business but now it is getting monotonous and I leave it to the Sergeant, who is an Infantry man. After lunching on sandwiches, we have to do practical engineering, which consists of digging trenches, machine gun emplacement or erecting barbed wire entanglements, at which most of the Infantry officers are pretty good at directing the job and doing nothing themselves. We are jolted back to town again at three thirty and the day ends with a lecture at five p.m.. The man who Bee had trouble with is ill and there is a harmless sort of chap taking us. There is another week of this and then I go back to the battery, which will be in a position further north in a wood.

I'm afraid this will miss the mail but as long as it gets gets there, that is what matters.



  1. Lordy, I am glad he is not part of the US contingent in the current squirmish. Men have through the years felt obliged to join the infantry because scare other employment offers are open to them.

    His 'practical engineering' is my 'labouring' ...
    never know when the u should be in that word ...

  2. Yes, I think even I could have an engineering degree, if that is engineering

  3. 'squirmish' is an interesting error on my part.