Stephen Warner Diaries, Volume IV, April, May June, 1917

Sunday 8 April

“The company is discovering (as trained men on the front will do very quickly) that the officers in charge of us do not know their work very well. They are not masters of their subjects and this instruction is therefore rather halting. Our COs chief wish is that we should play games and clean our leather gear with “kiwi” (an ox-blood polish which turns the leather a horrible purplish colour!) and that seems to weigh more with him than anything else!”

Saturday 19 May

“Rations are gradually getting shorter and shorter and with all our brain and body work it means that more often than not we go hungry – one hard boiled egg, a spoonful of hard hardly cooked peas, 2 spoonfuls of rice and a piece of bread are hardly a decent lunch for a healthy man.”

“A little while back there were some German submarines in the firth and two ships from somewhere fell victims just after they had left the harbour one day.”

Sunday 3 June

“We have the loss of the field behind the hospital to which I referred last year as being one glorious case of Viper’s Bugloss, Lichen vespertine and poppies – this is now become a training ground where hoarse voiced Sergeants case and drill the unfortunate Tommy and when they can think of no more objectives wind up with saying, “Well, thank God we got a navy.”

Sunday 10 June

“Today I’ve had my first bathe and very nice it was.”

Wednesday 20 June

“Battalion sports on Saturday – i’m not very keen although in the others that were held three months ago I came second in the bomb throwing with 43 1/2 yards and so I am obliged to enter for the event again.”

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