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Date: October 21st 1917

Maresfield Park
Sunday 21/10/1917

My dear Gertrude,

Sunday again - our first weeks work finished & ten days in all of our time here flown by. We had two continuously wet days on Tuesday & Wednesday - but the rest have been fine though cold - but to-day is glorious. I carried that letter card I wrote in mid-week about with me for two days - kept remembering it at inopportune times.

I think I promised you a specimen days program - Here it is Reveille 6 am Parade for roll call 6.30 - ( a waste of time of 15 mins & very annoying on a wet morning as it serves no useful purpose) Parade 7.15 to 7.45 alternate mornings for Physical exercises - Parade 8 for breakfast then full parade & inspection at 8.45. First Drill or lecture at 9 - 2nd at 10. [?] third at 11.45 to 12.45. Lunch one oclock. Ist afternoon drill or lecture 1.45 2nd 2.45 3rd 3.45 to 4.45 - then tea & on day when no 7.15 am parade we have a further 5.30 to 6.30 lecture. Dinner 7.30 & over by 8 which does not leave a great deal of time for writing out notes etc. A big nuisance are the meal parades - we have to be on the parade ground five minutes before the time for each - form up & be marched by companies into the Dining Hall - a waste of time & a means of getting very wet.

I will enclose you a letter I had from Muriel. Mother tells me that Berk has reached his old Battalion & he has been sending home for mits already - so those you were making will be appreciated.

I haven't quite settled the problem of Sunday work here yet. On Saturdays, as we are free after dinner (on Saturdays & Sundays dinner is at one o'clock & we have a meat tea at 5.30 - with nothing later) and on Sunday only read through notes already written. Of course the first weeks work has been rather easy as far as theoretical work goes. In the first two weeks there is far more physical training than later & we have had a lot of morse signalling & Rifle drill etc which is purely a matter or practice - although unfortunately the "morse" work is quite new to me.

In many ways conditions of discipline are rather happy-go lucky here - except the 8.45 parade there is no inspection so one does not have to worry about keeping boots cleaned. At Woolwich there was morning & afternoon inspection - whilst in the Infantry units with any reputation at all - they have to be cleaning up all the time - & the Infantry O.C. schools are the same.

When we got here, we were told that all our Commissions were to be in the Special Reserve of Officers - which means as far as I can learn, or did mean in the days before the war, that as long as the Government require your services - you receive a sort of retaining fee of £25 a year - for which you have to serve for one month each year with a Battery of the regular army - free travelling of course. I believe officers were allowed by arrangement to put in their time with the overseas permanent artillery - if it turns out such are the obligations & I can arrange it for the winter time it won't probably mean much loss from a professional point of view. However I think they will have so many officers after the war that a great many will be able to get their full discharge. However I have not got a commission yet.

Yesterday after "Jerks" (Phys Tr.) in the morning - & one lecture those of us who were inoculated - went to the M.O.'s hut for our second dose - & were excused duty later, so had plenty of time for writing notes. My arm was very stiff at night & this morning - but almost normal now & no other effects.
In the evening I walked into Uckfield with two others - Cameron a Scotch schoolmaster & a M.A. of Oxford - and Baker - a Londoner. A clear star light night with a young moon - the people at Woolwich will be expecting air attacks nightly again - it is a change to get where one is not very likely to have a disturbed night.

Sundays there is no reveille here - & as our 2nd breakfast is not till 8.40 I made inoculation an excuse for staying in the blankets until 8.20 & washed & shaved afterwards. Did various things during the morning including reading up notes & am writing this afternoon & hope to go to Church this evening.

Considering this is a school were a lot of studying has to be done we have - on the top of very little time - the poorest facilities for doing any. Each hut has a table & forms to hold six men but there are about 25 men in a hut. Then no fuel has been issued yet & as between the roof & the side walls of each hut is an open space of 6" running down the whole of each side - an excellent means of ventilation - still on these cold nights it is cool without fires (there are 2 stoves in each hut) to make much work possible. The lecture huts are allowed to be used but they are the same in regards cold - have only a few tables & bad lighting. The Anti Room (as the Canteen is called) is the best but that is overcrowded & a lot of noise - billiards & other games on. The Writing Room in this hut is also overcrowded by the time our 2nd shift dinner is over. However there is mostly a solution to a problem & the notes get done somehow. We will be better off when we get up to "D" company & first shift meals - at any rate in having 30 mins longer in the evening & a possible chance to get at the available accommodation before it is all taken.
Mother tells me she has just written to Miss Jean after owing her a letter for some time. I have not heard from any of the Creightons since they went to Sand Lake.

I wonder if you have seen anything of the Watsons lately. You will see Muriel's remark about Pauline.
Gordon Bennett has asked if he can come for Christmas this year - rather far in advance - Mother told him yes. I wonder if they will let us away from here for a day or two - as Christmas Day is on Tuesday - a long week end would cover it so I am hopeful they may do so.

Did I tell you there is another man in the hut I am in called Beck & J.F. too - Robin's initials. We had our laundry very much mixed up this week - although both our lots were clearly marked & are likely to get letters mixed too. He is in "C" Coy I think so he will only be here for five weeks. It is 4.55 already & I must get dressed (puttees etc) before 5.30 tea if I am to get off to church after - so will close-
I suppose the Jordan people will be with you now. Best wishes to everyone.

With my very best love to you.

Yours Jack