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Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Military manoeuvres

Monday, March 20th., Thorpe-le-Soken.

The Am. Column received the order to depart on Friday night at 10.30 - to leave on Saturday. The O.C. spent Saturday morning in trying to get the order rescinded, because the Weeley position is too far back for a battery at Frinton, especially with a R.A.M.C. and an A.S.C. in between. He failed. The actual departure, which we witnessed between 5.30 and 6.30 p.m. on Saturday, was a striking proof of the vast inferiority of horse and mule traction to motor traction.
One mule wagon had to be unloaded twice as the mules wouldn't or couldn't draw it. General mix-up, and dinting of gate posts. Part of confusion may be the fact that the O.C. had lost both his subalterns and had to do everything himself. However, he had an excellent sergeant-major. On one wagon was perched his servant holding his dog under one arm and a parcel of a large photo under the other. The departure had the air of a circus departure badly managed. Then of course on arrival at Weeley (2 miles) they had to take everything to pieces again.
Meantime new units were coming in, and it was getting dusk, and an officer's mess was being fixed up roughly at Culver House. The melancholy of evening over it all; but it was a warm evening. Few drops of rain. Then in darkening village you saw groups of men with piles of kit bags lying in front of them waiting to get, or trying to get, into Workmen's Club, where a lot of them billeted.
Lovely night. Bright moon. Trot of a horse occasionally till late.

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