Hugh S. Calverley - A Man at War...
On the Salisbury Plain

The camp has been “dry” (at Valentines). They could not get much booze- it was so far from anywhere. They only got what they could with passes when in Quebec, which was not much between 33,000 men. But here every village has a pub (although they have guards on them), and they get it anyway, so Gen. Alderson says that they are to have an open daylight drink-on-the-spot-beer-only-canteen, which I think better, as they would raise Cain anywhere they passed through if they had had none for a long time. Fact they did after 9 or 10 weeks abstinence at Valentines, and on the boat. There are 2 out of 9 that don’t touch it in our tent, me and Linds, the rest do, 3 more than necessary at present. The Q.M. is getting after them with tea, coffee, and buns; hymns, sing songs, and games every evening and a big dry tent which is crowded in the evenings. They sing really well, all the old songs.

What were the colours like. I planted the list. I will go to London tomorrow to Gran’s. Three days leave is what we get, no more. Mr. Norman wrote to say he had seen Dad and wanted to see me and put me up. Aunt Sybil said Lizzie wanted to put me up. The programme was to have lunch with A. Sybil and go to tea at 18 Chesham, to tea with Uncle Horace and Maimie. I am scared.

I will see Dad in London. I hope he is with the New Army Kitchener is raising, and gets his ‘Major’ and will get more pay as he knows his job. I don’t quite see how to get out of 18 Chesham but will. I have only a couple of free days so there will be no time. Leave is very hard to get. I doubt if we get more than this 3 days. We may get another presently if we are here for the winter. We are a pretty good bunch now and are quite smart and drilled and a good lot physically. They have opened a ‘wet canteen’ which at present is doing a lot of harm.

I enclose some P.C.s Wills Navy pics for Dick, and some roses for the rest. They are on other peoples, not mine. I will write when I have come back from London town.

Your loving Hugh

Practice Route Marches
Practice Route Marches Details
WWI Scrapbook - Hugh Salvin Calverley
WWI Scrapbook - Hugh Salvin Calverley Details
Letter – I got your letter – October 30, 1914 2 Co, 3rd Batt. (Salisbury Plain)

Dear Mum

I got your letter. The last one arrived tonight with the pictures of the green house in it. I thought that the bread had been thrown away on the waters when I put that pea seed among the spuds as they seemed to come up so slowly.

There is a splendid young private here, a converted Christian called … He is very strong and has been starting things on Sundays ever since we left Canada. He is in the Christian and has a sort of control over the men. He must have had a hell of a time when he turned from being a Jew to a Christian. No one would have anything to do with him who he knew, beat him and ill-treated him, but he stuck through it. It makes us look feeble, and half hearted, and cowardly, being so afraid of being seen doing, or saying anything for fear or right. The swearing is enough to bust your eardrums.

We do signal practice on route marches every day – helio or flags. There are all kinds of tumuli “British villages” old ditches in the plain. This is a copy from a mile to an inch ordinance map. You can see how many barrows and earthworks there are here, but the clouds are lovely and the country is lovely with the distant woods and fields and the clover patches – old houses and haystacks and bits of woods and copses. We saw 3 hares today when hiking, and set up a “Hollah”. There are flocks of starlings and woods full of rooks. This place smells good. There are old shepherds grazing their are sheep on the hillsides.

Mrs. Milne wrote and said they were not coming down here. I never asked them, but said I could come and see them if I was not infectious. Eric Milne has a commission and is in India. They hope he stays there over winter as he has a delicate tum. It was a cold calculating frosty epistle. The blazes with ‘em. Maybe she is worried about Eric and the old man so I will answer nicely. I showed it to Seale, and he wondered what I had been up to! I go and see him as often as I can, and we go to the Church and amuse ourselves on Sunday. I asked him and Gran asked him to go to 50 St George’s, and he accepted, but could not get leave at the same time as me … It rains day and night

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