‘Knowing nothing about a rifle, they can’t put me in the firing line’

The camping stove Florence Spencer sent to her brother Percy had one flaw – he couldn’t make it work! The time of his going to the Front seemed to be approaching…

Silverdale
Belmont Hill
St Albans
Oct 28.14

Dear Flo

How do you work your stove – should there be a wick or a piece of gauze over the oil well? Or should the oil well be filled with a wad soaked with methylated?

I’m off to Essex on Friday for a short time. Then back to St Albans, and then I am informed, to France.

That last will be a jolly game for a raw recruit who hasn’t handled a rifle yet – it will at least reassure you that I shan’t run any risk, as, knowing nothing about a rifle, they can’t put me in the firing line.

Excuse this brief note.

Yours ever Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer to his sister Florence (D/EZ177/7/3/18)

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‘If the Germans have a cut at this coast, we may see service here’

Florence Spencer had an unusual but most useful gift for her army brother to take to the Front when he was eventually deployed there – a portable camping stove. He writes to thank her and keep her updated with his situation.

Silverdale
Belmont Hill
St Albans
Oct. 26.14

Dear Florrie

Thanks so much for the stove. My Quartermaster and I hope to take it in our mobilization stationery box, and tomorrow I am depositing it with my kit at our headquarters here.

Tomorrow, in all probability we shall all be leaving here for another station in this country for certain work.

In about a month or so we expect to return here, prior to going to France. Or, of course, if the Germans do have a cut at this coast, we may see some service here. Anyway, I think we have had sufficient time to prepare, supposing our fleet can’t stop them.

I shan’t know until tomorrow or Wednesday if there is any secrecy about our destination, but if not, I will write as often as I can.

I’m sorry to hear of the attack on Miss Holland, but we all anticipated it – I’m afraid she’ll be forced into war, if she does not promptly take sides.

Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer to his sister Florence (D/EZ177/7/3/17)