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Thursday, 13 December 2012

Military manoeuvres

Wednesday, December 13th., Thorpe-le-Soken.

Lieut. R. of a mobile A. Aircraft unit stationed at Thorpe, came for tea. He said he carried £15,000 worth of stores. He said that after big raid at Hull end of last year about, when Mayor of Hull had been assured that Hull was one of the most heavily defended places, and a Zep dropped 15 bombs in the town, the population afterwards mobbed officers, and A.A. officers coming into the town had to put on Tommies' clothes. Also that Naval Unit was telegraphed for and that when it came with full authorised special lights, the population, angry at the lights, assaulted it with stones and bottles and put half of it in hospital, and had ultimately to be kept off by the military.
He outlined complex administrative system of the unit, and showed how utterly and needlessly idiotic it was. He told me how he had been sent to some golf links with a big mobile gun, and had put gun into a good spot where it interfered with play on first hole, the officially indicated position being a bad one. The affair was urgent as a raid was expected that night. He successfully repulsed various complainants from golf club; but next morning an Infantry officer came specially down from War Office, with instructions (positive orders) that gun must be moved. R. gave reasons against. Infantry officer: "I don't know anything about artillery but that gun has got to be moved. It is my order to you." In order to fix gun in inferior official position, R. indented for railway sleepers to the tune of £127, and got them. Meanwhile the golf club professional had told him that it would be quite easy to modify the course.

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