Sunday. Nov. 11 - 1917
My dear Gertrude,
Have been indulging in an inexpensive pad of paper. It is not always easy to "YM" paper here - & it is not often used by Cadets anyhow. They have some special "school" paper. but it is rather expensive - the Leading taken up a lot of room & comes on each sheet - they ought to bind it up with alternate sheets of blank paper I think. I will perhaps get a pad to use for Christmas letters - each one will have to be very short as I am going to write all on my week-end leave - at mid-course.
Have just finished Mothers letter & put Doncaster - England on the letter - I nearly always get the "England" written before I realise what I am doing.
I will enclose you Mother's letter at mid week - Father returned to duty last Sunday - all the better for his months rest. He will have had better weather to go out to France in then he had a year ago.
The Storrs would enjoy them Thanksgiving at "13q". I passed through October this year without thinking of the day. - the third I have missed.
I can't put my hand on your two letters that came on Monday - one I remember was after your flight ("flitting" as the North country people call it) from Grimsby. It sounds as if it must have been rather an awful affair - but such times always seem to be big muddle. It was unfortunate that Spencer had so much trouble with his accounts at such a time. Still you all got through it eventually. I wonder how the Spencer tries are settling in Toronto. From the way you speak they evidently dont intend going into one of the flats above the shop.
We are still having very mixed weather - very quick changes from sharp bright sunshine to dull mild cloudy weather - with quite a lot of heavy rain. On the whole however it has not been a bad week & it has passed like lightning. It has certainly been a record week for theoretical work & notes & I got quite behindhand with the latter but caught up yesterday afternoon - thanks a little to having no notes to make yesterday morning - it all being practical work - "Jerks" as usual 7.15 to 7.45. & from 8.45 to 10.45 - practical map work - a march out to a good observation point & then finding places & distances & angles between them from the map - one part of the training that naturally does not bother me at all - a splendid sunny morning too - altho' a little cool standing about - but I found it not uncomfortably so although I was one of the few not to take an over coat. Then from 11 to 12 was the weekly Battalion Parade - which I had never been on before - although this was my fifth Saturday - rain prevented two & Doctors or Dentists visits the others.
Much the same manoevring of course as when Roberston inspected us - but the Commandent of the school at the Review point. More fortunate weather than the former time.
In the afternoon I wrote notes & at night had a dark walk down to Maresfield for the week's shopping. I will enclose a Post card of Maresfield Church - it was the only one I could find at the time - two weeks ago - had misplaced it since - or you would have had it before. But found some good ones last night at Weekham's (the Village Store). Send this however first as it would be eclipsed by the others - the rose window is rather good & the whole church very interesting. Trancepts are rather unusual features of small village churches. This photo is taken from our Safeway - the church being just across the road I don't think the Censor will object & the adjoining sketch. The road forms a very wide "circus" in front of the safeway. The entrance to the field where we have our Battalion parades & reviews is just above the "Uck" in Uckfield. The band plays us from our parade ground to there & of course during the manoeuvres & back again. All the officers wives & the wives of the marvel cadets, with not a few children - turn up to admire us collectively & their own unit in the doings, in particular of course.
Last Sunday evening I walked down to Uckfield to service - not so interesting a church - a very bare interior - with heavy galleries over each aisle for the full length of the nave & also at the rear. A fairly good congregation - & a cheerful service but not as enthusiastic as here - two very elderly ministers & not youthful old men like the Rector here - although the preacher preached a fairly "live" sermon. I see I will name go ask a [?] envelope to put the card in -
Saturday & Sunday's doings comprise the week's adventures for me these days.
We have been learning a lot these last two weeks of the mechanics of the guns & fuses - The guns of course I knew from experience at our motor Hospital in France - Few people realize what a lot of intricate mechanism there is in them. - all kinds of automatic motion & safely devices. The fuses are very intricate also & of course very delicate - more on the lines of watch construction. We have to know all the parts with their uses & names & be able to dismantle everything & put it in working order again. Fortunately we are only expected to know one gun-although we might get actually & a Battery armed with different ones - however the ones we use is by for the most likely - as probably four out of five of the siege artillery Batteries use it.
It may interest you sufficiently & give a list of the main subjects that our course includes.
Physical training ("Jerks") (Should come first)
Administration & Military Law.
First Aid Lectures.
Telephone- Construction & Use.
Map Making etc.
Theoretical Summery - Mathematics etc.
Ammunition (Explosives - Shells & Fuses etc)
Use of Tackles - Derricks etc (for moving guns etc)
Anti-Gas Training (use of different Masks & Respirators etc - & drill whilst wearing them)
Motor Bicycle - (Riding & care)
Which are about all I think - although not giving a very clear idea of our work - For instance Theoretical Summery covers a multitude of subjects in itself entailing much work, whilst "First Aid" is confined to four lectures in "H" Co- which no one ever worries about or takes seriously. Field Engineering is not taken very seriously either. The theoretical work does not amount to much & the practical work is a sort of holiday in the open. We had 3 hours of it one morning this week & fortunately it was fine. They are constructing a practice Battery Position - dug outs etc - & get the work done by putty a Company on occasionally for half a days work - & call it practical field work - It really amounts to a [?] - although those who had not learnt or seen any before - naturally learn something.
It is so near tea time & I am not dressed for Church yet so I must close in a hurry.
Went through all my notes this morning & think I have all my theoretical work well in my head - Our mid exam in two weeks - seems a good time ahead but it soon passes.
Hope all is well. Best wishes to everyone - including the Storrs went time you see them.
With best love