Hugh S. Calverley - A Man at War...
2nd Lieutenant, 12th Essex
WWI Scrapbook - Hugh Salvin Calverley
WWI Scrapbook - Hugh Salvin Calverley Details
Letter – Michael is taking – On Primrose day

Michael is taking a car to Chantilly to the trench near Paris next week and is coming back after he has delivered it. I saw Joan and they were very nice too. I just went there for the afternoon and came back. More after when I am not so sleepy. I got a 2nd hand light weight motor bike to save the 2st class fare everywhere, ½ a mile instead of 2d. I biked back from Bodmin to London through Plymouth, Exeter, Ulminster… Salisbury, Whitchurch, Reading, Henley, London – deveil of along way, biking all through the night. The birds sang like they did at Overstrand when the light showed grey. I went to early with Michael and Theo. I marched at the head of the battalion, in front of the signalers, in front of the band, Colonel and everyone to and from Richmond Park. This was the first time the signalers had worked with or gone with the battalion. Fancy me in front of everybody.

Yours Hugh


I am going to start taking some soon. These are the last of the Canadian lot. I lost some, which is a great pity.

Letter – We are on early picquet – November 30, 1914 9282 2 Coy 3 Bat O. Ex

Dear Mum

We are on early picquet today and are in our tents, (its pouring), waiting to be called on. I went to Rockport Church, 18 miles there and back by foot, for ..mud and coming back it ….against a gale and rain. The Squire’s red cushion seat was empty. The congregation was made up of villagers and farmers, prosperous people.

Last Sunday, Ken and I went to Devizes over Saturday night, bought Christmas presents, put up at the “Crown” in feather beds for a change, (I prefer boards I think). We went to 11. It was a lovely church and the service was beautiful, St Mary and St John’s, the first real service since I came to England. There is an old Yukon Parson with the Newfoundlanders, Chaplain Pringle, a Presby. He went right through the gold rush in the earlier days as a parson, pretty rough at times.

Hori and Shorty got hold of some Johnny Walker and kept up awake till two, each wanted the last word. The tents around were cursing us aloud. Enough booze in this joint to float a battle ship, but of a cheap brand, rum, whiskey, and brandy acquired by stealth.

I think Gen. Alderson was wrong in insisting on a canteen. What do you think? Would they have busted as much when they did strike if they had not had one? Trouble is, it unfits them for fighting and marching.

Been proved to lessen efficiency in shooting, dull the judgement, and make the shock of wounds greater, lesser endurance, (even 1/2 gill of rum), according to Barlow and the Docs who know what’s what. Besides it is a dam nuisance. They don’t give a hang about making …. Funny bunch in this tent, a Hydro electric clerk, me, an Eaton’s driver, and I don’t know what, a sign painter, (paints flagpoles, and towers), a son of a grocer, (rich guy), his chum, a man of all jobs to a …about 25, innocent lad, in spite of being in queer places. Seems to have come through with a tough gang and yet not be a tough himself, also an old carpenter, who hits it up. They all seem to have funny ideas about women, (according to their own boasting). Told ’em I wouldn’t touch that if I could help it Guess they think I am a simp.

Gran sent a hamper to me, plum pudding, nuts, and sausage and coffee. Very good feed it was. The tent is cozy, and we appreciate it’s being made more comfortable. We, (Ken and I), had to buy a lamp and a stove and our own hook, and started something. We have educated them up to Quaker oats, of a morning and up to Welsh Rarebit and omelets, and now they are taking it up themselves. Only 2 in the tent touch much of the canteen …

I wrote to Princess Christian and told her I was here. Hoped my being with the 1st Cont. would partly repay her for her kindness etc., a chance shot, it won’t do any harm. The papers for my commission are all filled up and are in the war office now, signed by everybody.

I don’t know anybody military, (any O. C. any Infantry Regt.), and it is no fun being on the unattached list, with no pull, so Dad pulled me into the 12th Essex as 2nd Lt. There is enough money to fix it up. The pay is enough to live on and put some in the bank, free billet, also giving you some. What more can I ask for? Better than sticking here as a Signaller, you would learn more, Guess I know most all about this end of the job. Winters is with me as the Adjt. -the big tall fellow, whose Ma I met by chance in Brentwood. Call me Sir next time you write!

Gran is very well and most cheerful. I hope you get her photos of me and the bundle of maps I sent. The Xmas presents are strictly to be put in the corner till “des tag”. I have still to get Agg and Am’s presents. I saw the Varsity Honour Roll. Seale was on it; ( I wasn’t for some reason or other). I have not seen Richards, or Hendy to find out their address. Have seen Lennox and J.S. Glover. I got your letter about Hans’ papers. I hope he gets them soon.

Your loving Hugh

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