Noel Downing to Mary Letter, Oct 1914

Letter from Noel Downing to his sister Mary Downing – Oct 1914.  Noel describes his new billet in Ashtead.

"6 a.m. No luck! Get up; It's a fine morning!" by E. Stoneley. The Pow-Wow, the Unofficial Journal of the U.P.S. Brigade, No. 3, 2 Dec 1914

“6 a.m. No luck! Get up; It’s a fine morning!” by E. Stoneley. The Pow-Wow, the Unofficial Journal of the U.P.S. Brigade, No. 3, 2 Dec 1914


A Coy, 4th PS Batt.,
Ashtead, Surrey

My Dear Mary

I hope you are all well at home. I am having a fine time here at present, but expect we shall have some hard work later on. There are six of us in this house. It is called Ashtead Lodge and belongs to a Mr Drew. The family consists of Mr and Mrs Drew, an aunt and daughter. The latter is very pleasant but rather plain. They are all awfully nice to us. There is a large garden and two motors and they do us very well. We have cocoa and biscuits in the early morning, a large breakfast, an enormous lunch, a vast tea and a cold supper. Today our host came in with a decanter of port!! I really have been lucky to get here as we hear of other men who have onions and cheese for breakfast and nothing else till night. Some have to cook their own breakfasts and have a rotten time. The daughter knows Bots having met him out hunting.

They do not work us very hard so far. Early Parade 7-8, 2nd Parade 9.30-12, Afternoon Parade 2.30-5. This morning we had a church parade and the rector gave us a short address and welcomed us all to Ashtead. It is quite a small place and you should consider yourself lucky at Hagley and no recruits are billeted there, because most the men are a terrible lot and kick up an awful row in the evenings. But we have nothing to do with them and play auction bridge at night.

I went over to Epsom yesterday but found Aubrey out. His billet is a villa in a row of houses. I am going over to see him to-morrow evening and shall be able to make his mouth water by telling him of a few of the luxuries I have dropped in for. What I could see of the Epsom lot they were a much superior class to the Batt. here.

I think it is quite likely I shall get leave to come home for a weekend some time as we do nothing after midday on Saturday. I shall very likely fetch my car down. Will you please let me know when they send the damaged headlamp back from London.

Have you heard anything about the man at Kidderminster Infirmary? Perhaps you will ring up Molly Wilson one day and ask how he is. I should like to know how is the boy, father shot in the eye? I hope he has not had to have it out.

The weather has been lovely all the time and very hot & at the present moment the other five are seated on the lawn round the daughter of the house. One man from Cambridge thinks himself rather a dog and is always running after her, but for myself I think she is very plain, rather ancient but quite pleasant though rather affected. Her clothes are very few and far between & you can see clean through most of them.

I hope you will be sure and wash Billy and that he is wrapped up well this hot weather at night.

With Love, Noel

It is Ashtead not Ashstead as I wrote before.