3rd August 1916
A rather detailed account from Arthur of the bayonet fighting assault course; after three paragraphs of close description he asks: “I hope this is not horribly unintelligible dear, is it?” More competitions and displays are planned for tomorrow, in the intense heat. Arthur’s thoughts turn to leaving the school at the end of the week: “ I’m feeling very fit D.G. but not very keen on leaving civilisation (of a sort) on Saturday”.
Arthur to Dollie
The heat continues unabated: and I see vaguely from the papers that it is very hot at home. I only wish we could be spending these fine days to-gether, darling; they seem so wasted when we are apart. No post at midday to-day – I was disappointed.
This morning there was no early parade. After breakfast we had a lecture; then spent the rest of the morning bayonet fighting. Each Syndicate (of which, as I expect you remember, dear, that are 8, each containing about 30) conducted competitions. The best three of each were chosen for an individual bayonet fighting competition this afternoon.
This afternoon each competitor had to make a point at a ring about 2 inches wide at the end of a stick held by the instructor – 3 points. Next 6 rings were set up on posts at various heights about 10 yards apart. Jumps were arranged (i.e. sandbags & benches) so as to make one jump and point at the ring at the same time. For each ring brought to the finished post on the bayonet, 2 points were given. The rings of course are detachable. This had to be done twice. A time limit was fixed.
Lastly there was an assault practice. You leapt out of a trench, ran about 10 yards, made 3 points at discs of paper affixed to sandbag dummies; ran another ten yards, jumped into a trench, at the same time prodding a disc on a dummy the opposite side; another 10 yards or so and another dummy – then on again, a deep trench this time, a dummy at the bottom. Turn to the right, along the trench about 30 yards then out & down a communication trench prodding two more dummies in dug-out entrances on each side & so back to the start. Time limit of 50 seconds. I hope this is not horribly unintelligible dear, is it?
I was second best in my syndicate this morning but only fifth or sixth this afternoon. I think I was over-eager to start, for I finished up all right. Jove, it was hot, darling. Tomorrow all manner of competitions and displays: putting out barbed wire, bayonet fighting & skirmishing by Syndicates, physical drill! help.
I’ve heard there’s a mail in. I do hope there is news from you, darling. This evening I’ve been across to the barbers & had my hair cut. I don’t think there’s other news, little lover; I’m feeling very fit D.G. but not very keen on leaving civilisation (of a sort) on Saturday.