Wednesday 31st May 1916 (Military Camp-Life at Twezeldown)

//Wednesday 31st May 1916 (Military Camp-Life at Twezeldown)

Wednesday 31st May 1916 (Military Camp-Life at Twezeldown)

1605-31_EDBefore moving on to Bramshott the unit was billeted at Twezeldown for about two weeks. In the few days spent at Twezeldown they enjoyed the relative comfort of huts; this would not be normal “camp-life.” At Bramshott they would be living in tents. The Dairy of the Eleventh records this time;

The camp at Twezeldown proved to be an excellent one in every respect … Friendships between the Imperial medical men and those from across the water were struck up almost at once. The former, some of whom had already taken part in the eastern campaign, gave entertaining accounts of their experiences at Salonika

[October 1915] and the Dardanelles [March 1915].

At Twezeldown regular training was at once imposed, but on looking back, the training seems incidental when compared with visits to surrounding towns such as Farnham and Aldershot, not to mention the village of Fleet itself where the more amorous quickly acquired sweethearts to be taken out on the canal. During the weekend spent here some of the boys whose homes were near were lucky enough to secure leave. A hut of less fortunate ones was isolated and C. B.’d for measles.

(Diary of the Eleventh, 14-15)

James was one of those “lucky enough to secure leave.” Not every pass applied for, however, was granted. On 3rd of June James wrote “I applied for a pass until Monday noon but did not get it.” He wrote;

Today we started camp life in earnest and for my part I like it. All the boys think the scenery round here is grand. I certainly is pretty.

Noble and I walked to Hale. I was trying to find some relations of Mr. Stockdale of fedora. I didn’t find them but made other friends and we received an invitation out to tea for Sunday next.

The routine for the next week and a half is quite busy, although not without it’s leisure. On Thursday 1st June James wrote;

We have reveille at 5.30 then hot tea is served while we are in our huts. At 6.15 there is roll call. Then we have physical exercise etc. at 7.30 breakfast. At 9am we have drill which lasts until 11.30 or 12 noon. At 12.30 dinner.

At 2.pm fall in for more drill and at 4 pm we are free.

After drill etc. Noble and I went for a row on the river and enjoyed ourselves for an hour.

Although the war for these men had not begun in earnest, there was the continual reminder of death. on June 28th James wrote “A military funeral is just passing by the camp. There have been three funerals today.” On 3rd June he wrote;1606-28_ED

Today a fellow was struck by lightening and died shortly after. We sometimes think we are safe here and that danger lies on the battle front; but this instance emphasizes the uncertainty of life even here in England or elsewhere.

(Personal Diary)

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2017-02-23T18:07:14+00:00

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