Monthly Archives

April 1917

Even a horse that once fought for it is in armour

April 29, 1917

Dear Mother

This old pot is about three or four feet deep and is used for making punch when big Balls we are given in the castle. It’s in the corner of the Great Dining Hall.

The old armours on the wall have been warn by diffreent defenders of the Castle even a horse that once fought for it is in armour there.

Love from Stid

The old towns are very solid

April 29, 1917
Warwick Castle Postcard

New College, 29/4/17

Dear Daisy,

The old towers are very solid. There is only a small winding stairway up inside to enable the defenders to get up on top so in the days of bows and and arrows it was a pretty safe place to be.

A few modern shells would convert it into a rubbish heap and this sort of thing has been destroyed in France.

Love from Stid

Warwick Castle Postcard

Warwick Castle Postcard

 

The dear old castle walls were pretty solid

April 29, 1917
Warwick Castle Clock tower

New College, 29/4/17

Dear Father,

The dear old castle walls were pretty solid. The doorway shows the thickness between the two where light comes down from above and where pikes and boiling tar could be used if invaders succeeded getting past the first door. Anyone may go through the place for 2/-

and there are post card books of views on sale inside run by the Countess of Warwick. It’s pretty narrow (?) for people so wealthy to have tourists as part of their income, isn’t it?

Love from Stid

Warwick Castle Postcard

Warwick Castle Postcard

We us and Co. have been at Warwick

April 27, 1917
The Courtyard Warwick Castle

Post Card, (Warwick Castle)                                                      Warwick, 27/4/17

Dear Amy,

We us and Co. have been at Warwick for a week target shooting. On Wednesday we celebrated Anzac Day with a dinner and generally gay evening. We Australians visited the castle in force in the afternoon. It is quite the finest in existence with very fine views from the top of its walls. The interior is very luxurious. Its owners live in it about three months of the year. I got your February letter this morning.

Love, from Stid

AnzacDayatWarwick

Anzac Day at Warwick menu

The Courtyard Warwick Castle - postcard to Amy

The Courtyard Warwick Castle – postcard to Amy

Enjoying it while it lasts

April 22, 1917

New College Oxford

Dear Mother

Every thing is old about Oxford even the new College. I got a book of views of the college that I will send home in a day or so. We got a group photo of the Australian Cadets taken and when it’s printed I’ll send a copy. I had intended getting a photo of self but will wait until I can put the Star on my tunic. Now the course has about 5 weeks to go and I’ve been getting good passes on the exams lately. So I hope to get through all right. We are having a huge picnic here plenty of work and a fair amount of play. So are enjoying it while it lasts.

Love from Stid

Spent the afternoon at the zoo

April 22, 1917

New College, Oxford, 22/4/17

Dear Nona

I went to the Albert Hall to see the Good Friday concert while on leave in London but the doors were closed about 20 people in front of me. It holds 1,500 people and there were as many outside on this day. I was among the disappointed so I wandered off and spent the afternoon at the zoo. It claims to be the best in the world. It is certainly a big one. The old elephant who carries little boys and girls about has done it for about 100 years.

Love from Stid.

Little boys like the Mechanical Museum

April 22, 1917

Post Card (Albert Hall)                                             New College, Oxford, 22/4/17

Dear Ock,

You probably haven’t been in a museum yet. They are places for putting everything in – birds, sheep, horses, fishes, snakes, pictures, engines, books from every part of the world. In one I was in they have the sledge that was taken to the South Pole and a gun that shoots big shells that was made in Kimberly during the Boer War. Little boys like the Mechanical Museum because there are so many moving toys, but little chaps are only let in with somebody who signs a book and must see that nothing is ill used.

Love from Stid

I spent some of Easter Monday at the park

April 22, 1917

New College, Oxford

22/4/17

Dear Amy,

I spent some of Easter Monday at the park. There were some good bands playing and thousands of people and it hasn’t been filled up with gardens as most parks are. Flowers are pretty, but in a big city a piece of tree covered ground that is all open is a godsend. When the Duke of Wellington gave it to the public he was wise.

There are thousands of seats which pair off in the evening.

Love from Stid

Post Card

IMG_20170820_0032

I was surprised to see so many horses

April 22, 1917

Post Card                                                                  New College, Oxford

22/4/17

Dear Daisy,

Rotten Row is the fashionable drive of London. It’s just near the zoo. I was surprised to see so many horses because horses are very few in other London streets. The busy streets are packed with motors and the traffic is well organised. There’s the Tube railway which runs underground. I don’t like it because I couldn’t see anything.

Love from Stid.

Postcard to Daisy

Postcard to Daisy

We mix with the best people

April 22, 1917

“A” Company

No. 4 Officer Cadet Bttn.

22/4/17

Dear Amy,

I had a letter from Daisy yesterday. My letters have been coming regularly, so I am lucky.

Many of the lads have not been getting their mail. They messed it up somehow altering the address when they came here.

The weather is lovely now- haven’t seen snow for a week and it’s getting quite warm. Ice-cream carts are working the streets already and the evenings are drawing out. The place is growing pretty too.

We got our photos taken – the Australians in a group. I’ll send it and the book. I had intended getting a picture of myself to send but will wait until I get my harness on.

This course has about 15 weeks to run so I expect to be a commissioned officer. I’ve been getting through the exams OK. At first I was a bit dubious about them but am used to the work now.

I’ve been getting my teeth fixed up too while in England and as we get ten days leave when we get through looking forward to having a look around. Any of us who have been sent here from France get free railway passes too so I am thinking of looking at the map and going as far as the train goes. We got five days leave at Easter and I used it to go on top of a motor bus and went wherever it went. When they put it in the sheds I got out, went for a meal somewhere then to the theatre. It was a pretty good day. London is fine for theatres and so far as I could see is just as gay as if no war was on except there are so many military men about. The lights are fewer and shaded but people who know the city say it is just the same as it is in peacetime. I suppose there is no need for the city to be down in the dumps until it really is bad.

We have plenty of work here but it is very pleasant to take and being a schoolboy is good fun.

Socially we mix with the best people and are treated as officers and Br. officers are treated well.

They have a great reputation as gentlemen and I feel the three months or so I spend here will do me good when I go back to France. I’ll have a better trip than before although the latter part of it I hadn’t an officer over me and can manage the work all right in the Field but three months schooling will give me a lot of useful knowledge. Wearing nice clothes and gloves and seeing others work is very easy to take. We get twenty five pounds to spend on clothes when we get through. I’ve had eight pounds of it in the uniform I wear for walking out. The Tommies get fifty pounds but only draw seven shillings per day pay. We Australians get one pound a day and it’s easy to spend, too. From what I have learned we don’t get any clothes issued when we get commissioned, but our pay will clothe us. We will get 3 shillings a day Field Allowance when on active service. I think it is so we can get a few extras from the mess. In the town they ask for the address when we buy anything although we have very big pockets in our tunics it looks untidy to make ports of them.

We get put in charge of this place for the day (Acting Orderly Officer) Every cadet must salute the OO of the day. We have an old hand to go about with us to save us from being too foolish while on the job which is the inspect quarters generally, take charge of the parades attend court.

We must do the job properly, too, because if we pass a place and it’s not in order we get on the mat the next day and may get awarded no evening out – C.B (Confined to Barracks) or extra duties which maybe carrying a pack up and down on sentry when we could have been having a good time. The Orderly Officer of the day must see everyone is home when he should be.

If someone comes home late and isn’t reported AWL the Orderly Officer gets his award. (punishment?) I haven’t learned yet why it is called an award.

On parade we are taught to be in charge. Some of the lads get a wee bit more officious than is necessary for the job. A Tommy was put in charge of the Australians. He “shimied?” us up and made us do it several times. He got a stage whisper telling him not to be so foolish – which he ignored, lost his head and invited the nearest man to him to fight after the parade, got a good thrashing and lesson too and some advice from a Dinkum OO on handling men.

It’s a pretty good education taking charge in turn because if the job is handled well, all the lads want you to succeed, but if someone is foolish and fancies himself too much he gets a lesson he’ll never forget.

A favourite trick is an organised raid by a Section (12 men) against some other Sect, rooms when buddy gets heaved out of windows etc and flying water is used for ammunition. If we who are raided have caught any prisoners of the Enemy, Lord P. do the clean up under direction of the Victors by good tactics. A section awarded in recent raid got raiders trapped in passage and with fullicious fire trapped the section who had to surrender then clean up.

Love to all, Stid.

page 5 of letter from Oxford