Noel Downing to Mary Letter, Apr 1915

Letter from Noel Downing to his sister Mary Downing – April 1915. Noel is confined to the huts in Woodcote Park, Epsom.

"April showers (the most appreciated thing in the Camp)" by H.C. Mumby. The Pow-Wow, the Unofficial Journal of the U.P.S. Brigade, Issue 19, 9 Apr 1915

“April showers (the most appreciated thing in the Camp)” by H.C. Mumby. The Pow-Wow, the Unofficial Journal of the U.P.S. Brigade, Issue 19, 9 Apr 1915

Woodcote Park, Epsom

My Dear Mary

How are you enjoying Easter? You’re back in the hospital now I suppose. We are having a deadly dull time here. Half the men have been allowed to go on leave for 4 days (we drew lots who should go) and the rest of us have to stay here with nothing to do. So far we have not been allowed out the camp but we hope to go out to-night, but then we shall not be able to go beyond a 5 mile limit. It is all about some stupid idea about manning the rifles, which are no use whatever for firing purposes. Today it is pouring with rain which makes matters worse.

Whether we poor devils get any leave has not been decided yet. I think they are bound to give us a little at some period. The trouble is that we have to consider this a holiday as we have no parades, for myself I would far sooner we could do some work. However it is no good complaining about anything that happens in the army, so lets be merry and bright, we are going to try and have a cheery party to-night if we can get away. “A hair in the head is worth two in the brush” as I heard the other day.

Please thank mother very much for the butter and pork pie. The latter was very useful this morning as the breakfast unfortunately evaporated while it was being brought from the cookhouse. The cooks have nearly all gone on leave and those that remain do not have enough time to dig up sufficient food for us.

A bit of news for you. [Christopher] Hawarth Burne is engaged to Bobbie [Barbara Olive] Page Turner!! I think you remember her at Brighton. They had been very thick for a long time, but I never thought anything would become of it. Jabey has been in bed with the ‘flue’, but is all right again now. I was to have met him to-morrow but of course I cannot get away now. He has not got his commission yet and wanted to know if he could get in here. However I advised him not to try as he would have such a rotten time with the new recruits and would not be able to be with us for a long time.

The Belgians have been dropped haven’t they? Have you been able to drive my car yet or is it broken again? I hope the new man understands the lighting of it. If it isn’t kept fully charged it was [sic] go wrong.

This total prohibition looks rather bad for the business what does father think about it? I can’t see how they can possibly do it myself. What has happened to the Brazilian Diamond field? I will have mine made into studs please.

Our new hut is rather leaky. This is the first time it has rained since we moved, fortunately my bed is in a dry position but the man next to me has a window broken and has just discovered his kit bag is rather damp.

My washing has just arrived and I will send it back to-night.

We have got a big week next week when the others return. On Wednesday we are going to do our 30 miler. I will let you know as soon as we hear about any leave. Hoping to hear from you soon.

Yrs ever Noel

PS Have just had a letter from Webber. He seems to be getting on all right. He is billeted.