Puslapio vaizdai

gentleman cadets of the last- in the Great War, and who, joined term,” this last word as far as I know, is the only being ambiguously used for a soldier in the Army who has period of time- viz., that which won the bronze medals for the lasted from one vacation to Kabul-Kandahar march under another-in the usual way, Lord Roberts and the similar and to the whole body of medal for the Great War operayouths who, working together tions in 1914-15. Another cadet and passing together from the in the same term is now Sir embryo stage of " last joined ” Jocelyn Wodehouse, of Sudanto the full-fledged officer, be- ese fame. came a sort of clan or family, All this, however, is anticiwith mutual bonds of comrade- pating, though the stately memship for life. When I state ories of old campaigns that that in July 1914 no fewer surrounded the beautiful diningthan eighteen of our “Old hall naturally raised thoughts Term” dined together at “the of whether we too, prosaically Senior," it will be realised eating breakfast or dinner, would that the above is no exaggera- ever have the honour of serving tion.

in the field under great leaders Food and housing in those like Marlborough and Wellingbygone days were problems ton. which were plainly and ade- Dinner was at 1.30, after a quately, but certainly not lux. very strenuous morning's work. uriously, solved. We break. Roast beef and plum-pudding, fasted in a beautiful dining certainly twice a week, and good hall at 8, after the chaplain, substantial fare always, with or the subaltern on duty, had plenty of wholesome beer; and read prayers. As on the his- lest drowsiness should follow, toric occasion of the burial of we went at once to gymnasium Sir John Moore, “few and or riding-school, or heavy-gun short were the prayers

drill. We had tea after evensaid," and then we tackled ing lectures at 7, and then our breakfast with youthful were free to amuse ourselves appetites. The senior class of as we chose, and generally as cadets smart, efficient, young described below. soldiers, with booted overalls, As far as accommodation spurs, and swords-attended went, each cadet in the three prayers, but marched off at senior terms had a room to once to riding drill, presum- himself in the very attractive ably having had breakfast al- “wings the Academy. ready. Over them was the These buildings, very like those “Responsible Under Officer,” in our great universities, were the senior cadet, Ronald Max- charmingly arranged for sleep well, a model of soldierly effi- and study. They were simply ciency, who was Quartermaster- furnished, and it was customary General of the Army in France for each occupant to add to


In any

this official provision a few soldier, of the age that we were luxuries.

then, is far better living in The junior cadets for about cheery fellowship with a few the first year were housed in comrades than having a cubicle barrack - rooms, each holding to himself. four occupants, very barely

Our servants were old gunfurnished. This might be very ners, many of them with Criobjectionable, for there were mean and Mutiny medals. One, ancient customs of practical who looked after Jock and me, jokes on the last joined, some had a ghastly scar in his hand of which were merely childish from a Russian lance at Inkerand others coarse. The “ Old man or Balaclava. These serTerm" considered the question vants had hard work, for they when the opportunity came looked after the cadets in four round to us, and we decided rooms, and that meant (besides to discontinue them entirely cleaning boots and belts for as barbarous relics of an age sixteen lads), in winter, lightgone by, and unworthy of ing four fires at 7 A.M. or thereEnglish gentlemen.

abouts ; for this was our one case, living with other youths great luxury, and it enabled who are strangers can be dis- us to dress in great comfort. agreeable.

The bathrooms were situated But there is another side to in a little shed on the far side the question. For four chums of an open court behind the to live in the same room may house, each bath being of cirbe far pleasanter than for cular form, about four feet each to have a room of his own. diameter and a foot deep. During the winter of 1872-3 Every morning it was the inShirres and I applied for a variable rule for each cadet, room, together with two others juniors first, to rush to the of the Old Term,” and we baths (of which there was one had a most jovial time. We for each room), splash all over, worked together, fed together, and flee back again, dressed lived together, and, certainly in a sponge, to dry in front of on one occasion, we fought the fire. Hot water was absotogether. Study, of course, lutely unknown. I have often was out of the question with in winter crossed the yard in four buoyant spirits, but after snow and in the dark, and all we had every day six hours found the bath partially frozen, of bookwork in lecture-rooms. but I never heard of any one This side of barrack life was being harmed by the exposure. extremely pleasant, and I have Naked dripping bodies fleeing often remembered it since, for dear life along the corridors, when in the course of my or up the stairs, used to flash career as an engineer officer past in the semi-darkness, but I have had to design barracks, shirking this daily ordeal was being convinced that the private unheard of, even if extra drill made one turn out half an hour As regards those who ruled earlier than usual.

over us, there was, most imOur uniform, which was worn portant of all, the Governor always, except when on leave (I believe that theoretically at of absence, was comfortable, that time he was only Lieubut not very practical. It tenant - Governor, the Comconsisted of a dark-blue tunic, mander-in-Chief being the titwith red collar, and blue trou. ular Governor), Sir Lintorn sers, with a narrow red stripe. Simmons, afterwards a FieldWe had no pockets, so could Marshal, Governor of Malta, not carry even a pencil or pen- and Envoy to the Pope. He knife, and a tight tunic is not was then a vigorous, capable a very suitable garment for rid. man in the prime of life, with ing or heavy-gun drill. How- huge red moustache and whisever, it was the practice in the kers, kindly shrewd eyes, and Army generally then to have all beetling eyebrows. Of course clothing made for appearance we only saw him on rare occarather than utility. We wore sions. When discipline dea round cap, with gold lace of manded, he would (and did) the artillery pattern, on all speak to us like a father. But ordinary occasions, but in full I know he had warm symdress we had the artillery pathy with exuberant youths, busby, with a white plume on and his brilliant row of medal the left side and a scarlet bag ribbons showed that he had hanging over the right. This the hall-mark of war service, head-dress was worn chiefly which we all respected. There on Sundays, when with much were also the colonel and the ceremonial the cadets marched adjutant, whom we saw

saw on down to the Garrison Church parade weekly. But the offiand took part in the general cers with whom we were most parade of the garrison, being concerned were the subalterns officially the First Company of who daily inspected us and the Royal Regiment of Artil- taught us drill, and the inlery. Of this I personally saw structors in various technical nothing, as I paraded with the subjects. And there were the "heretics and papists” (Pres- sergeants, a few of them fat byterians and Roman Catho- and ludicrous, some very smart lics), who marched down amic- and alert. I used to like to ably together to the chapels chat with them, just as one of these persuasions, which hap- would do with a coachman pened to be situated alongside about his horses, or a gameof one another. There were keeper about the prospects of no Wesleyan cadets or any shooting ; but comparatively other denomination ; do few of them were responsive. not know why, but I never An exception, however, was met an officer belonging to the sergeant-major, whom we them.


“Thunderbomb, VOL, CCXV.-NO. MCCCI.



though his name was some badly. I did not mind that, , thing like Cochrane. To him, but I did mind the uncertainty I believe, the acme of human of temper displayed, for it bliss was to command a horse was not playing the game. artillery or field battery. Both these men taught us all Smart and dapper himself, with the regulation physical traina splendid voice and perfect ing exercises, but they were knowledge of all minute details too big and heavy for much of a gunner's life, it was a gymnasium work. treat to stand by him when After our day's work was there was a field - day going over, about 7.30 or 8, most of on. Not a detail escaped his as went to the gymnasium and eagle eye. “ Did you see that larked about the various bars 'o88 artillery battery, sir; the and spars. Two or three times officers did not come quite to a week the Artillery Band the salute together, whereas in came there and played, genethe next battery they was rally dance music, to which perfect," &c., &c. He told me we danced with one another once he would rather instruct in our flannels, and certainly six squads of ordinary gunners learnt all the usual steps then than one of cadets.

“ You in vogue.

I believe later young gentlemen are up to ladies were asked to certain such a lot of tricks, but you evenings there, but in those do learn the job, I must say, days we never saw any of the in 'arf the time."

fair sex about the place. There Then there was a sergeant were two billiard-rooms, to whose business it was to take which some fellows went, and us on in heavy drill. * This, capital workshops, where, if gentlemen,” he would say, “is tired of gymnastics, one could a weel This is the nave, work with lathes or other tools, these are the spokes, this is and have a little help, and the felly. This 'ere is hoak, much scorn, from a crusty old this is hash, and this is helm "; mechanic there, whom some of and then possibly (to some us loved to draw. At 10 P.M. grinning cadet), “Mr — sir, the trumpet sounded the “ Last take that smile off your face; Post," and we had to be in you make the 'ole squad un- our rooms and answer the rollsteady.”

call of the corporal on duty, Two more sergeants must be and lights were out at 10.30. mentioned, huge Horse Artil- “But what did they teach lerymen, who taught us sword you?” is the question which drill, fencing, single-stick, &c. Professor George Saints bury in With one of these I used to one of his charming scrapbox frequently, as I was fond books ” puts in the mouth of of that form of exercise. But an inquirer relative to Oxford ; one day he fairly lost his and it is one which was often temper and pummelled me asked relative to our time at


Woolwich. It must be re- saw the guns made in the membered that the era was one Arsenal, and we fired them of profound significance in the at Shoeburyness. It was exArmy. The old order was cellent and up-to-date.

-We changing. The Franco-German also learnt something about War had caused many seriously military surveying and how to to examine and question the use sextant and compass, though existing system. The new I think we wasted a lot of time school of thought, of which over antiquated methods of Wolseley was the chief ex- representing slopes of land. ponent, was expressing its We learnt (from Captain, afterviews with emphasis, and the wards General

Sir Henry, old school was saying that Brackenbury) the fresh story of the Army was going to the the recent war, of Worth and dogs. The Cardwell Reforms Gravelotte, Bredow's charge at had come to stay. Among Mars la Tour, and Kameke these possibly the most signi- marching to the sound of guns ficant was

the abolition of at Colombey. But the milipurchase and the consequent tary engineering was ancient, demolition of the wall which old as the days of Marlborougb, separated the Cavalry, Guards, and redolent of the pompous and Infantry from the Artillery jargon of French pedants. We and Engineers. Yet, strange were not taught anything useto say, one of the first effects ful about the field defences of this was to close Sandhurst of positions and villages, and for something like three years, very little about the passage and thus, at the time of which of rivers, the mining and deI write, Woolwich was our molition of obstacles. This, I only military school in actual think, was one of the weakest being. As this was the case, features of the whole instrucsurely some general education tion. about all arms was impera- It will possibly be amazing to tive. Yet I am bound to say those who read this to learn that the teaching at Woolwich that we were allowed to take

too restricted, far up as voluntary subjects Latin too much

one subject and Greek. For the entrance only. We learned nothing examination these were quite about cavalry and infantry in order, for knowledge of tactics, but we did learn all these languages showed at least about artillery. This was

some smattering of a liberal taught thoroughly, in all its education. But it was quite details, theoretical and prac- another thing, when one's militical. We learnt how guns tary training and education were made, and how they began, to make marks gained were used. We learnt the for knowledge of these ancient science of ballistics and the tongues equal to those for chemistry of explosives. We French or German, or for artil


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