Problems with an ‘old buffer’ of a clerk in the Orderly Room

Percy Spencer was still desperately trying to organise his transfer from Kitchener’s Army to work with his old boss in a territorial unit, and being stymied by army bureaucracy, as today’s letters reveal:

Pte Spencer, No:-11814
The Gloucester Regiment
Horfield Camp
Sep. 21.14
Staff Captain R J Holliday
Dear Sir
I was very glad to get your wire today, and again thank you for all the trouble you are taking in the matter.

I had not made an application in writing, as I was quite unable to obtain a form for the purpose. The officers are all very sympathetic, but once in the Orderly Room they seem to curl up before some old buffer of a clerk there and merely repeat his assurance that nothing can be done.

So today I have myself written a formal application to Lt. Col. C J Baines, who is in command of the depot here – the GOC so far as I can ascertain is a General Knox, and if that is the man you want to get hold of, I’ll try and get his full name and address.

I will remain here as long as I can, or until you advise me that you can do nothing further, and in the meantime I’ll try to push matters at my end.

Yours faithfully
Percy J Spencer

Horfield Camp
Sep. 21. 14
Lt Col C J Baines
Staff Captain Holliday of the 21st County of London Battalion, 6th London Infantry Brigade (whose confidential clerk I was) wishes me to transfer to his regiment, and I am desirous of doing so.

I understand, however, from the Orderly Room, that there are difficulties in the way.

I have informed Staff Captain Holliday accordingly, who has wired me in reply that the General commanding his division has today applied to you in writing for my transfer. At the same time Staff Captain Holliday advised me that I should apply in writing for my transfer.

As I was unable to obtain an application for transfer from the Orderly Room, I beg to make my application by letter, and trust I am in order in doing so.

I am, sir,
Yours faithfully

Pte P J Spencer, No. 11814
The Gloucester Regiment

From Brigadier General The Hon. H D Willoughby
Commanding 6th London Infantry Brigade
To The Commanding Officer, the Gloucester Regiment
Horfield Camp

Red Lion Hotel
St Albans
21st Septr 1914

I shall be glad if you can arrange for the transfer of No. 11814 Private Spencer, from your regiment to the 21st Battalion County of London Regiment. He has been private secretary to my staff captain for many years, and in view of his having been in touch with the various battalions in my Brigade, he would be of considerable assistance to us.

I know of no order which interferes with such transfer provided you are willing, and if it could be arranged, I should consider it a favour.

Yours faithfully
H D Willoughby
Brigadier General
Commanding 6th London Infantry Brigade

Letters from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/12/6-8)

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