4th August 1916

[Second Anniversary of the declaration of war on Germany by Great Britain.] Arthur is busy preparing to leave the Army School tomorrow; the day is taken up by various displays and competitions, followed by a march past and closing words from the GOC. Arthur has an understandable “grouse” about the Major leading his syndicate – he feels they did not do their best in various competitions due to inadequate briefing at the start.

Arthur to Dollie

Friday. 7.20pm

…There was a letter for me after all last night – the post was very late. How happy I was to see your dear handwriting. To-day, alas, no letter came for me. I hope to-morrow will make up for it. We leave here at 2.50 in the afternoon. I’ll do my best to get you off a letter, dear, with my news. I’m rather afraid if I leave one here, it won’t be collected until the other mess gets in on Monday.

To-day has been another glorious day. There was an early parade at 7.20: but it was a Church service in the lecture hall, so, of course, I didn’t go.

After breakfast the — Division (46th) passed (the Division we were in at Christmas last year). We paraded at 9.15. Had a team bayonet competition. Immediately after that we went further up the hill & took part in a skirmishing competition. That finished the morning’s programme. This afternoon we had a wiring competition. Then the Third Army Commander came along & there were various displays. I think two syndicates did Physical Drill, four bayonet fighting & two the skirmishing. We were one of the latter as we had come out top in it in the morning. After that, dear, we marched past the GOC & so on into the lecture hall, where he spoke to us.

I wonder, little one, if you’ll be surprised that I’ve rather modified my ideas of Major T. He is a good chap enough, & his position as second in command at the school and as a syndicate commander is of course a difficult one; nevertheless we all rather feel that as a syndicate he has neglected us & rather let us down.

For instance in the team bayonet competition, other syndicates had the rules explained to them; in particular that there was a time limit for the course. We were pushed into it without knowing: as a result, although we did well, we lost an absurd number of points for overtime. But there, darling, that’s only a soldier’s privilege – a “grouse”.

Well, dear, you see that my news is all local …I am longing to hear from you to-morrow.