Noel Downing to Mother Letter, Mar 1915

This is the only war letter that has survived written by Noel Downing to his mother Hannah Pitt Downing.   It has no date but it seems to recount his early experiences at Ashtead as a private with the Royal Fusiliers and that would make it most probably around Mar 1915. It would seem to post date the other letter address-headed Ashtead to his sister Mary as the Public School boys are being moved from billets (like Mrs Drew) into the new camp. 

"This is the happpy warrior, this is he!!" by E. Stoneley. The Pow-Wow, the Unofficial Journal of the U.P.S. Brigade, No. 14, 5 Mar 1915

“This is the happpy warrior, this is he!!” by E. Stoneley. The Pow-Wow, the Unofficial Journal of the U.P.S. Brigade, No. 14, 5 Mar 1915

21st (service) Batt. Royal Fusiliers,
Ashtead Surrey

My Dear Mother

We came up to the huts yesterday. Everything is in a most awful muddle and we have done nothing but clean up since we arrived. It is far from pleasant so far but of course we shall settle down in a day or two. It has been raining hard which makes it much worse. There are 50 in each hut and we have our meals and live in them as the other places are not finished. Four of us are going to try and get a room in a cottage outside where we can go to and keep our things. We have four blankets each and two sheets so are quite well off and quite warm as there are three large stoves in each hut. I shall not want anything more.

Mrs Drew has very kindly told us to use the house whenever we like and have a bath which will be very convenient as the accommodation for washing up here is very scanty.

I hope you got back all right on Thursday. Did you enjoy the theatre? I am not certain what my address is but think the old one will reach me for a bit. I will write again when I have time but as far as I can see all one’s spare time is taken up putting your bed and equipment tidy. How we find time to parade I cannot imagine! I enclose a copy of our paper which has rather a good skit on the life up here.

With love to all

Your loving son