A special case: Percy gets his transfer

At long last, Percy Spencer’s long-awaited transfer from Kitchener’s Army, in which he had too hastily enlisted at the start of the war, to the Territorial Unit he had been ‘temporarily’ attached almost ever since, made it through the red tape – just in time for him to go to the Front with them. (Technically he wasn’t transferred – he was discharged with the understanding that he would automatically re-enlist.)

9/London Regiment/97
Sir,

I am directed to inform you that if Private Spencer of the Gloucestershire Regiment were allowed to remain with the 2nd Battalion, the London Regiment, difficulties might arise in connection with the issue of his pay, especially if the Brigade of which the Battalion forms part whould be sent overseas.

In these circumstances I am to state that sanction is hereby given for the discharge as a special case of Private Spencer from the Regular Army in order that he may be enlisted into one of the Battalions of the 6th London Infantry Brigade.

I am
Sir
Your obedient servant
Gerald Adshead, Captain, for Director of Recruiting

The General Officer Commanding,
London District,
Horse Guards, SW
8/3/15

Letter permitting the discharge of Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/12/31)

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A Christmas party for soldiers’ families in Wokingham

St Sebastian’s Church in Wokingham held a Christmas party for the families of local soldiers, who must have been particularly lonely at this time of year:

‘On Service.’ The following is a complete and amended list of those from this Parish. Any additions should be notified as soon as possible.
Akers, Frank, Royal Berks
Annetts, Samuel, HMS Minerva
Annetts, Arthur, 8th Royal Berks
Bingham, Wilfred, Royal Engineers
Bunce, Joseph, 4th Hants
Butler, John, Grenadier Guards
Butler, Thomas, Grenadier Guards
Carter, Col. Duncan, Remount Depot
Casserly, Corpl John, RFA [Royal Field Artillery]
Chaplin, Sidney, 4th Royal Berks
Chamberlain, Charles, 8th Royal Berks
Clacey, Sergt Frank, 7th Queen’s Royal West Surrey
Collar, Robert, 6th Inniskillings
Darbourn, George, 4th Royal Berks
Englefield, William, 4th Royal Berks
Frost, Capt. Frank, S & T Indian Corps
Fisher, Alfred, 4th Royal Berks
Hurdle, James, 2nd West Yorks
Hurdle, Herbert, RFC [Royal Flying Corps]
Hurdwell, Alfred, 4th Royal Berks
Jewell, James, Royal Berks
King, Egbert, ASC [Army Service Corps]
King, Sergt Edwin, Royal Irish Fusiliers
King, William, RFA
Littlewood, Herbert, 7th Queen’s Royal West Surrey
Milam, Ernest, 2nd Royal Berks
Munday, William, 8th Gloucesters
Newman, William, HMS Assistance
Parker, Alfred Charles, 3rd Royal Berks
Perry, Alfred, 21st Lancers
Perry, James, 2nd Hants
Perry, Charles, 2nd Lincolns
Phillipps, Francis, HMS Lancaster
Povey, Frederick, 2nd West Yorks
Povey, William
Povey, Ernest, Royal Berks Yeomanry
Prater, Daniel, Royal Engineers
Prior, Gerald, 4th Hants
Rance, Albert Victor, 4th Hants
Readings, Charles, HMS Talbot
Robertson, John, 5th Royal Berks
Rose, Charles, RFA
Stafford, Lieut. John Howard, Royal Engineers
Townsend, Charles, 7th Queen’s Royal West Surrey
Townsend, Lance-Corpl Albert, 5th Queen’s Royal West Surrey
Tucker, Sergt Harry, 5th Royal Berks
Tyrrell, Edwin, 4th Royal Berks
Waygood, John, Royal Berks

A Prayer Book, in a special binding, was sent to all these at Christmas, as a little remembrance from ‘their fellow Parishioners,’ and judging by the letters received, the gift has been much appreciated.

On Wednesday, December 30th, the wives and children of those ‘on service’ were invited to the Parish Room. The arrangements for their entertainment were undertaken and admirably carried out by Miss Radcliffe, to whom, and to those who assisted, hearty thanks were given.”

Wokingham St Sebastian parish nagazine, January 1915 (D/P154C/28A/1)

Very different from Kitchener’s Army

At last, Percy Spencer secured his transfer to a territorial unit at St Albans, working for his peacetime boss. Or had he?…

In a letter to his sister Florence, Percy reported the good news:

Kildare
Hart Road
St Albans
Oct 2.14

My dear Florrie

You’ll be glad to hear that, if we go to the front, I should probably be with the staff at headquarters, well away from serious danger.

Soldiering here is very different to that of Kitchener’s Army, but I hope to do some of the rush [sic] and tumble work shortly. This office job exclusively is getting on my nerves. I’ll feel in sorts at all directly, if I don’t do my training and musketry course.

Yours ever
Percy

But it wasn’t the end of the story, as this menacing letter reveals:

The OC Depot
Gloucestershire Regiment
Bristol

In reference to the attached correspondence, I am directed to inform you that this transfer cannot be sanctioned.

Clerks are urgently needed in the Regular Army, and the services of Pte P J Spencer in that capacity can be fully utilized in his present Corps if he so desires.

G Hill
Staff Capt
Salisbury
2nd Oct 1914

[On the reverse page is the following note:]

The Officer Commanding
6th London Infantry Brigade

Please see decision of Headquarters Southern Command … and arrange for the return of Pte Spencer accordingly. Please return this correspondence.

C L Barnes, Lt Col
Commanding Depot Gloucesterhire Regiment
Bristol
3/10/14

Letter from Percy Spencer of Cookham to his sister Florence (D/EZ177/7/3/9) and letter demanding his return (D/EZ177/12/7/14)