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WAR NOTES, Issue 15666, 3 December 1914
LONDON, October 16.
—Sporting Recruits. —
’ With such a large percentage of sportsmen among tho new army now being 1 trained, it is quite in tho regular order 1 of things to find that various pastimes J aro in much favor. Appeals are being made for footballs and boxing gloves, so 1 that tho troops may have exercise of other than a military nature. At this ’ season, it is natural to find football hold- ’ ing chief place among the popular sports, and every camp is the scene ot many spirited matches. -Some officers recognise the value of football fully, and it is no uncommon sight to find a match arranged as part of the regulation exercise for a squad. —Very Keen. — One particular about tho new army which close observers are quick to notice is the extreme keenness ot the soldiers. Their determination to learn their drill quickly results in astonishing progress, and .when tho new battalions parade in full kit critics will be astonished. They are keen in other respects, as an instance, related to the writer by an officer, goes to show. He was instructing a few details in outpost work, and told some of tho men to hold a given position. They amused themselves by making a barricade of chairs, but this proved no obstacle to tho attacking force, which wont over it like champion steeplechasers. The officer was not quick enough to stop tho attackers before they wore “on top” of the defenders, and the keenness of all concerned led to some hard knocks given and returned. —Old Soldiers Score. — The Territorial battalions are nowdivided into Home Service and Foreign Service men. The former are mostly composed of married men, some over the regulation ago (35) for service battalions, whilst the “Foreign” men are, generallyspeaking, the younger members. A sham fight between tho two sections of a famous regiment now quartered in Herts recently showed the old . > Ichors to advantage. They managed to surround the, “ Service” section, and the umpire decided that the latter were out of action. The Homo men were rather jubilant over their “ victory,” as some of tho “Service" men aro apt to chaff them because, they have not volunteered for foreign service. —“ Well. I Am Off.”— When stories of German outrages first commenced to roach England, many of tho people were naturally slow to believe tho reports, though their anger was intense when satisfied that the stories were not without foundation. A good tale is related by a farmer, who was chatting in tho fields with one of his workmen. Tho latter asked his governor if it was really true that the Germans had burnt many open villages and towns in Belgium. The farmer replied : “Oh. yes; it is official.” whereon tho workman replied : " Well, if that’s the case. I am off to join the army,” and he throw down his hedge tools and marched off. —Americans Impressed.— Many Americans now in London, who were in tho seat of conflict for a time, are surprised at the mild and calm statements made by British soldiers regarding outrages by tho enemy. They assert that in many instances they have first-hand knowledge of happenings which astounded them, and which in some cases will be widely published in the United States. —A Prophecy.— In May of 1900 tho garrison occupying Bloemfontein organised some military sports at a place known as the Willows, to the north-west of the town. A feature of the sports was an exhibition of tentpegging by some Bengal Lancers, attached to the Remount Department. A group of elderly Boers among tho onlookers appeared to be much impressed, and on the writer hearing them speculate as to who and what they were, ho volunteered the statement that they were Indian cavalry, of which there were many thousands, and that they would be used if England were, ever engaged in a really serious war. At the time the writer had little idea that the prophecy would prove correct, though the likelihood of it coming off lias’been plain for the last five or six years. —Our Sailors’ Share.— Nearly all the talk is about tho soldiers, and only a few seem to grasp the significance of the great victory gained by the Navy. That our brave sailors command the sea, and have virtually shut every German warship and merchant ship up in harbors, means a greater blow to the enemy than is yet understood. “ Vanoc,” of the London ‘ Referee.’ who deserves to be considered England’s greatest writer on patriotic subjects, puts the case splendidly in the following words; “Germany is bleeding to death, but does not know that the British Navy has delivered the stroke of the Matador of the was. Her commerce is stopped, and the inflow of life blood to Germany is as surely cut as when a water company cuts off tho water of an insolvent customer.” —Natural.— Among tho many good stories coming from the seat of war, the following takes somo beating: A reservist of the 7th Fusiliers fell out exhausted and dropped j off to sleep by the roadside. The Germans came along shortly afterwards, and an officer shook him roughly. • Tho soldier opened his eyes, stared at tho man in uniform, and murmured “ .Season.” He evidently took tho German officer for a railway inspector, and fancied he was ■ in a railway carriage. Poor fellow, he . was soon undeceived, though luck was with him, the Highland Light Infantry routing tho Germans tho. following day, . which enabled tho Fusilier to escape. Writing home to his wife, a 3rd King’s Own Hussar says that his regiment have ] named a certain gun opposite their position “ Dirty Jane.” It • fires a shell stated to weigh 1,2001b (evidently a siege gun), and it “salutes” the Hussars at < regular intervals throughout tho day and : night. ‘ '
WAR NOTES, Issue 15666, 3 December 1914
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