March 1st 1.30 am. Entrained by half Batt. arrived SOUTHAMPTON 8.15 am detrained on Wharf. Transport sent straight to Rest Camp. 72 horses and only 21 men allowed to remain to look after them. Batt. remained in Wharf sheds for night.
English Horse Trucks unsuitable for Clydesdales unable to pack them close enough , as the animals are too long, consequently 5 horses fell & got trampled in the trucks on the journey, this caused this delay.
March 1st 1915 S———ton .
Arrived 8.30. Marched on the Quay.
The bright blue sky overhead – the big ships at the quay side and the choppy water made everything breezy and pleasant. There is a Red Cross Steamer in the harbour, painted with white and red.
Everyone is trying to write letters – on each others hats, against walls & seats & boards – seated anywhere. Others are drinking coffee. I had a cup – tasted as though it had been made with sea water! Had one of Mrs Penning’s cakes to take the taste away. Mrs Penning* was very kind and made us sausage rolls – lovely pastry. She is sending my parcel carriage forward.
This morning reminds me of Ernest Lagden*. I had a letter from him. I believe I told Mother he is ill with rheumatism.
Sid and I were on guard the Thursday he heard of Leave (2) & I heard Sid was the smartest and tallest & neatest. He had his bayonet shown on high as an example of cleanliness.
I will close now. Look out for a censored Field Postcard. I do not know when we shall embark.
Ta Ta. Best of luck in the exam. Bert.
PS Yes I remember you saying that it was a year ago that you were confirmed. Thank Mrs K. Brookes* for her PC and tell her we are not allowed to say where we are in the field, but I will send a Field P.C.
I bought some apples, oranges and bananas, as well as biscuits so I shall be all right. I shall not be able to say much, if anything at all, except that which is on the P.C.
All good wishes, Bert.
(1) Clydesdale: draught farm horse to drag heavy guns & equipment. (Usually bay colour with white marking /cross between Scottish mare & Flemish stallion). Photos: website: The Role of Horse in World War One.
(2) Sydney must have been on very short Home Leave when Bertie wrote Ida’s PC. 24th Feb.1915 & hoped he could bring the Eng.French Conversation Book.
NEXT POST: 3rd March 1915: Havre Rest Camp.