Too refined for the rough army?

The saga of Sydney’s attempts to join the army continued, as he was contemptuously turned down for being too weedy:

Sept 7th
Fernlea [Cookham]
In answer to my letter to the Secretary of the OPS&U Force I received the following letter this morning

Victoria Street
Westminster SW
Sept 6th 1914

Dear Sir
In answer to your letter, we regret to say that you would have no chance of passing the medical examination on your chest measurement.
Yours faithfully
Hector J Boon

When I got home from Epsom yesterday – I started at 2 pm, called at the Birches, went as far as Ewell with Willie Birch, & saw the Stevens, & got home here to Cookham at 5 o’clock – I found a letter from Jumbo [Sydney’s friend Kenneth Oliphant] proposing that I should join him in a YMCA camp for three weeks. As I have just had this letter from the OPS&U Force people I feel free to take on such work which not only will be doing something, but will be much more in my line of work.

Dear old Willie Birch is by now gone off to do his drilling. I am so sorry that he has joined the East Surrey as it is the most rough of all the corps – so Percy tells me! Percy [Sydney’s older brother] volunteers today & will soon telegraph us as to whether he will be accepted, & whether he has passed his medical examination. God go with him if he is accepted. I must write a line or two to the Ruscoes, & to the Birches. Poor Mrs Birch, I fear she will be very unhappy – her only son being gone. Am I wrong to hope that he will be invalided out? He is so refined a boy, as is also dear old Percy, to bear the brunt of being thrown among such men so vastly differing from them.

(Diary of Sydney Spencer, 7 September 1914 (D/EX801/12)

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