‘Ain’t it marvellous’: promotion for Percy

Percy Spencer finally got his transfer – technically a discharge so he could re-enlist as an NCO in the London Territorial Regiment to which he had been informally attached for months just in time to go to the front:

Belmont Hill
St Albans
[Postcard postmarked 9 March 1915, sent to Miss F Spencer, Kemsworth, Belmont Park Av., Maidenhead]

Dear Florentia

Probably we shall not be going for a few days yet, so send me a few of the photos here, will you.

I’ll try and pack up my things here, & perhaps Gil [younger brother Gilbert, an art student] will come over and see about their despatch.

The War Office has granted my discharge – in fact I’m out of the army – tonight at 7 p.m. I shall be Private Spencer, & at 7.1. p.m. Sergeant Spencer, not Lance Sergeant – ain’t it marvellous!…

Yours ever

Letter from Percy Spencer to his sister Florence (D/EZ177/7/4/8)

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