Letters from the Front

Captain T. Magladery

Letter from England

New Liskeard Speaker published Friday, February 11, 1916

Saturday, January 22, 1916

Transcribed by: Dion Loach

Note: any spelling errors, etc. are as they appear in the original article.

Letter from Capt. Magladery

               Jan. 20.
     Inspection is all over and passed off beautifully.  The Brigadier certainly said some extremely flattering things about the 37th and as he is a soldier all the way through, having just returned from the front, we are naturally rather pleased at what he had to say.  It will however only be the means of making us keener than ever to watch every little point so as to bring the Battalion up to an even higher standard.  At a meeting to-night we decided to officially name ourselves the 37th Northern Ontario Battalion.  Headquarters informed us that we should have a distinctive name, so as soon as they approve of the name chosen, then we will be so called.
     Yesterday the two Majors (Ansley and Morphy) and myself started proudly away for Netley to see Jack Munro.  It was necessary to change cars at Portsmouth but as our train was five minutes late and the other train was on time, we found our trip broken in the middle.  Anyhow we went to a picture show and then back home.  We were sorry not to be able to get all the way as Old Jack would have been glad to see us and it would have cheered him a bit.  Then it certainly would have been interesting as well as instructive for us for he sure has seen a lot and we greatly enjoy the talks.  The only trouble is that it is almost impossible to make one of those fellows, who have been in the thick of things, talk much about it.
     Every second day between four and six I either go for a ride or for a good hard long walk.  This has been carried on only since I have been in the orderly office as I feel it necessary in order that my head get cleared of letters, figures, reports, etc.  To-night I walked to Liphook and back and when I breezed into the office again I felt like a new man.
           Saturday Jan. 22, 1916.
     This is really Sunday but I am dating the letter Saturday as no letter went out yesterday and it may be that I will find time to write two to-day.  Our troubles this week, that are keeping the orderly room awake at nights, are that we are duty Battalion for the Division.  Perhaps that does not mean much to you but to us it means that all the guards, jucquets, orderlies, fatigue parties for the whole camp are supplied by us.  These all have to parade at different hours, but as there is an exact time laid out for each, you can easily see that we are almost at our wits end.  So far exactly 707 men have been detailed for these special duties so we can not supply many more.  Last night Mr. Peplar and I worked until nearly twelve getting these duties divided evenly between the different companies.  At it again this morning at 7.30 seeing that all our different parades moved off on the dot.
     Well the big inspection is over and who do you think did the inspecting?  Nobody less than our old friend Hon. Frank Cochrane, plus Lord Brooke, plus the Premier of New Zealand.  Really it was rather a fine sight to see those fifteen or more thousand men (dandy fellows all) march past.  The colonel put me in command of D. Company as Major Ansley was away and it was a very great pleasure indeed to me to march ahead of the Company, salute and give “Eyes Left” to the man whom I so highly regard.  When he saw me, his face twitched a little so I knew he recognized me among the bunch but of course I dare not move an eyelash.  We passed on and back to our own parade ground and dismissed.  From there I went to the orderly room, for although I greatly wanted to see Mr. Cochrane, still I dare not butt in among the big bunch of Headquarters Staff, composed of Generals, Colonels, etc.  However I had not got settled at my desk when in rushed the Colonel to say that I was wanted and to beat it as fast as I could.  Away I scurried, the Colonel following, though the mud, on the run but just before we arrived, the autos started to move off.  Not to be done out of my seeing the Minister I abruptly help up the first car, thereby bringing the whole procession to a halt and luck was with me for Mr. Cochrane was in the first car and gave me the heartiest possible kind of greeting.  The Colonel was busy talking to someone in the front seat of the same car but I paid no attention to whom.  You can imagine how I felt when he told me after that is was Lord Brooks, the General Officer Commanding the Division and a very big gun in military affairs.  However they were moving off only to come to our mess to pay us a visit (as Mr. Cochrane explained) and so the Colonel and I beat it back to our quarters, and informed all the officers on the expected visit.  They arrived in due course and all were very kind.  Our B N was very proud of course to have this known and succeeded during the afternoon in sowing considerable jealousy among the other BN’s.  Lord Brooke proved to be a very genial, happy go lucky chap and when I apologized for so abruptly stopping his car, pleading ignorance of who was in the front seat, he only clapped me on the back and laughed saying it was all right as they were coming up to see us any way.