Monthly Archives

March 1917

This is a fine old place

March 20, 1917

New College 20/3/17

Dear Ock

This is a fine old place my room is just about cut in two it’s in the part of the buildings that look a long way over on the right of the picture. They are about 100 years old. From the right of the principle part of this building there are about 250 cadets here and rooms I think for a thousand. The foreground of the picture is used for army wounded. Soldiers now building behind the camera part are used as a hospital.

The wall built by the Romans and between this part where my room is and I can see the whole of it.

Love from Stid



The organ is said to be the finest in the world

March 20, 1917

New College Oxford

Dear Amy

This is a magnificent place. The organ is said to be the finest in the world. So is the chapel we have church. Parade once on Sunday. But here all Services through the week when we may or not go as we like. There are lots of memorial stones on the floor and walls of people dated back a long way. The windows are very fine everywhere about the College. I got a letter from you today.

Love from


The Coffee pots Silver are very old

March 20, 1917

New College Oxford


My Dear Mother

This is a fine place for nice windows it’s a constant puzzle to me the fine state of preservation the place is in. The walls look old outside but inside everything is fine. Every piece of wood is Oak. The old trays they use at meals are all about four feet long, two wide and have sides four inches high. The Coffee pots Silver are very old. Teapots and milk jugs the same.

Love from Stid.

This is where we have our meals

March 20, 1917
Oxford New College Dining Hall

New College Oxford


Dear Maude

This is where we have our meals. We must put on our best uniforms at dinner time 7 P.M.

The pictures are of different men who were masters here and they are so life like. I have seen men standing with their back to the wall near them and the pictures seemed to stand out almost as far from the wall as the live man.

Love from Stid

Love from Stid

Post Card to Maude from Oxford

Post Card to Maude from Oxford

It is an education just to live in Oxford

March 20, 1917

New College, Oxford

March 20, 1917

Dear Father,

This marks the spot where Latimer, Ridley, and Crammer were burnt. The building they were taken from (St Marys) is a fine one. (Crammer was the Archbishop of Canterbury, the other two were bishops) -burned at the stake, 1555- orders of Mary, Queen of Scots.

The place generally is old fashioned. It is an education just to live in Oxford, but we get too much work to spend too much time seeing the place.

Love from Stid.




Hell with a capital H

March 10, 1917

No.4 Officer training Bttn.

New College, Oxford.


My Dear Amy

I’ve just got through my second exam. The first one I just scraped through. I had a wee bit to spare this time but I’m feeling more confidant.

I am in splendid quarters, good food and a really nice room with a fireplace. It’s a change from field work.

(???) is very nice ??? hobb??? comfortable not always ??

We have had several falls of snow but cold is not half as bad under good living conditions. I can admire it much more than under Field Service where it is Hell with a capital H. Yesterday snowflakes an inch across were falling or waddling down – very pretty. The ground gets very slippery. The kiddies make snowballs and usually take up positions at corners to throw them.

We are supposed to be officers in the making and some of our chaps see it as an insult to get a snowball thrown at them. it hurts their dignity and then they get more of them.

There are twenty six colleges in Oxford, twenty two represent the university New College. The other day we saw a picture of Sir Walter Raleigh when he was a student. Cecil Rhodes went to the same college. Students with square-shaped caps and black gowns are more common than ordinarily dressed people. Pictures of the Old Masters are here, too. They are quite familiar to me from reading “Boys’ Own Paper.”

Sunday today and all the colleges have their bells. There are some very fine chimes.

We go for a route march all day tomorrow. We don’t see much sun now. The little of England that I’ve seen is very pretty. There are some very fine gardens and lanes about. We get invitations to dinner where the butler takes our hats and sticks and kowtows so it would be very easy to feel quite big.

Love to all from Brother Stid.

Playing tin soldiers

March 3, 1917

No 4 Officer Cadet Bn

New College Oxford


Dear Amy

This is a fine place I am in now. Life is first class and clean. We get plenty of work and study and after a month I am a little more confident than I was at first at getting through but will have to work at it. They expect us to know a good lot about military things. There are so many things ??? with it. But I am not real ???

I haven’t got into good working order yet to study. It’s pretty dry learning drill movements to do them to the letter. So as to take charge of a unit. It’s learning to be M.C. for military ?? Should be where we Slope arms etc. The ?? we had a day out in the country (and open as could be found near her at “Cowley” and it was as good as a picnic. We carried packs – much lighter ones than we carry on Service but still it’s monotonous playing tin soldiers after a couple of years more or less Active Service

But buzzing about drilling I am not keen. The game is worth the candle though. So if I can get keen will be able to get through. But it seems wasting time drilling drilling day after day. I sometimes I’d be as well employed at home.

N Ogilvie is in England still drilling so he has been at it a long time without seeing action. I haven’t seen him. He can’t get leave or can I but by his letters he is sick of drill drill drill and feels he would have been much more useful had he kept at the plow of course he will probably get into action to clean up the job and may even see a lot of active service… man when get gets there. But doesn’t it show what a great experience it is to train men in war time. And there are many hundreds of thousands still training. I think England will be strong when the weather gets warm enough to go ahead (next summer). Hasn’t next summer been mentioned a lot like tomorrow. Still the war goes on. I think I will and this coming season is … will be a Godsend. 22 m the union that represents the university mentions picture galleries. There are plenty so it is a nice place to live in. Mortar board caps and gowns are much worn. Old men, women and youngsters all don them. They seem a bit quaint at first. There are lots of officer schools here too and the lawn is full of khaki. Principly cadets in skin tight uniforms. By the way I got my tailored uniforms yesterday and had to put it on for be inspected by the Captain before taking delivery from the tailor. It seemed a skin fit to me but I had to go back to be taken in at the knees. It must be skin tight in places and as big as possible in others and it seems odd for a while. Claptrap finishes. Love to all.

Your Loving bro Stid

(Stick to my old address)


It is better to be born lucky than rich.

March 1, 1917

Perham Downs, England. 1/3/17

Dear Amy,

By the address you will see I am still in England. I am having a splendid semi – holiday playing soldier in this camp, drilling men etc. etc. It is a huge picnic. There is a lot of work but I’m getting to know a wee bit about it so it’s easy or what the boys call a soda job.

I am about the luckiest boy in the world- it has been proved so many ways to me. Very recently I was sent to AIF headquarters London for a day’s work on some finicky little paper matters that finished about 3pm. I spent the evening in town – went and saw “High Jinks” at a theatre and purely by accident met a soldier who had 15,000 men under his control. He took me to dinner and later to his home. He has some young people who he calls his silly big kids. He accused me of being as irresponsible and made me part of the family with free entrance to his home which is a very fine one, quite as fine as any in England. It has been the means for me being able to to get the weekend off duty twice since and as the camp is one of the many in his districts invitation is practically as good as leave, so while my loved ones at home are thinking I’m in the midst of the trenches etc I am having a good time in England. I spent my birthday with him and have orders to go there this weekend. In short I’ve been given it as my home while in England so it is better to be born lucky than rich.

Heaps of love to all, Stid.


I haven’t had a letter from home since May so there is a heap of them somewhere.