British NCO served with 1/4th Bn, Cheshire Regt in GB and Gallipoli, 1915; served with 12th Bn, Lancashire Fusiliers in Salonika, Greece, 1916; served with 22nd Training Sqdn, RAF in Ireland, 1918
REEL 1 Recollections of background in Rock Ferry and Birkenhead, 1889-1908: Irish family origin; nature of area; servants; Scottish influence of Laird ship building family firm; attending Tranmere Higher Grade School and syllabus taught; inadequate headmaster at nearby school; question of payment by results system for schools; attending Liverpool Institute School, 1901-1905; seeing Edward VII, 1904; impressions of Boer War, 1899-1902 and reaction to relief of Mafeking, 5/1900; quotes to illustrate admiration for Disraeli. REEL 2 Continues: quotes to illustrate admiration for Disraeli; town processions; question of position of working class; travelling through Liverpool to school; Liverpool commerce and industry; recollections of staff and disciplinary methods at Liverpool Institute, 1901-1905; work as clerk in marine insurance office in Liverpool, 1905-1906; period as pupil teacher in Birkenhead, ca 1906-1908. Recollections of attending St John's College, London University, Battersea, London, 1908-1910: position as non conformist in Anglican college. REEL 3 Continues: syllabus and daily routine; staff members; recreations and sports activities; activities on recruitment to St John's Coy, 10th Bn, Middlesex Regt, 1908-1910, including ceremonial uniform, drill, rifle practise at Bisley and summer camps; attending Edward VII's funeral parade and seeing Kaiser Wilhelm, 1909; examinations and story of difficult teaching practise assessment. Recollections of work as teacher at St Anne's Church of England School, Birkenhead, 1910-1914: reception; story of hitting insolent pupil. REEL 4 Continues: story of hitting insolent pupil and reaction of boy's father; opinion of headmaster and staff; swimming lessons; working class origins of pupils; disciplinary methods; academic standards achieved; post war position as headmaster in new school; view of pre war international situation and GB political scene; question of joining territorials. Recollections of recruitment to No 9 Platoon, E Coy, 1/4th Bn, Cheshire Regt at Birkenhead Grange Road, Drill Hall, 5/8/1914: cycling back from Landudno; successful insistence on posting with friends in E Coy; issue of uniform; insistence on returning home; reasons; parents' reaction. REEL 5 Continues: parents' and fiancees' reaction; reasons for not applying for commission. Recollections of moves via Shrewsbury and Church Stretton to Northampton, 8/1914: send off; story of dispute with officer; training; train journey. Recollections of period at Northampton, 8/1914-9/1914: opinion of billet accommodation; supplementing rations at cafe; continuation of pay from civilian employers; relationship with civilians; discipline; training; cancellation of posting to India. Recollections of periods at Backton, Royston, Cambridge and Bedford, 10/1914-7/1915: Backton billets; digging coastal defence trenches; relationship with civilians; reads songs performed at concert parties. REEL 6 Continues: promotion to lance corporal and corporal; relationship with other ranks (ORs); story of wealthy private's dispute with officer over unnecessary extra kit inspection; relationship with officers; kit inspections; billets; football matches; question of swearing; march to Bedford; story of civilian offering billets at Bedford; qualification as marksman; story of fighting caused by old feud with Royal Welch Fusiliers at Biggleswade; story of giving bribe to NCO to avoid punishment fatigues when confined to barracks for being out late. REEL 7 Recollections of voyage out aboard Euripedes to Mudros, Lemnos, 7/1915: question of Gallipoli destination; sleeping in lifeboat; story of guard duties illustrating power at sea of ship's captain; code employed in letter to GB; story of unit's ex-dockers assisting in unloading at Alexandria, Egypt; effects of superior pay of Australian troops during visit to Port Said. Recollections of period with C Coy, 1/4th Bn, Cheshire Regt at Suvla, Gallipoli, Turkey, 8/8/1915-13/8/1915: situation; equipment carried; landing from lighters at A Beach, 8/8/1915; soldier's premonition; naval bombardment; situation; advance across Salt Lake towards Chocolate Hill; digging in in vineyards at foot of Chocolate Hill; situation. REEL 8 Continues: loss of patrols and casualties; Turkish sniper in tree; problem with false teeth in eating biscuits; water shortage; shell fire and calling up naval support bombardment; failure of attack on hills, 8/8/1915; conditions of service; opinion of officers; story of being wounded and fears of Turks bayoneting wounded during attack on Scimitar Hill, 10/8/1915; belief Turks bayoneted wounded friend who had been partner in comic act aboard Euripedes, 7/1915; story of rescue by friend and evacuation to beach dressing station, 9/9/1915; shellfire during period at dressing station, ca 10/8/1915-12/1915. View of Anzac and Helles during evacuation aboard HMS Astor to Mudros, Lemnos, ca 12/8/1915. Period at 3rd Australian General Hospital at mudros, 8/1915-10/1915: overworked doctors; medical treatment. REEL 9 Recollections of period on Chocolate Hill, Suvla, 8/8/1915-10/8/1915: situation; abandoned equipment; Gurkha raid; latrines; smell and burial of corpses; personal morale during two attacks on Chocolate Hill, 10/8/1915; reaction to evacuation wounded; question of adequacy of training; question of value of active service experience prior to major operations. Period at Mudros, 8/1915-10/1915: story of meeting Merchant Navy friend. REEL 10 Continues: attack of dysentery and treatment in Scottish Lowland Hospital. Evacuation aboard Caledonia via Royal Naval Hospital at Malta to GB, 10/1915-12/1915: treatment; question of contacts with GB. Period at Bristol Military Hospital, 12/1915-1/1916: unsympathetic attitude of staff; relationship with local civilians. Convalescent leave in Birkenhead, 1/1916. Period with 3rd Bn, CR at Park Hall Camp, Oswestry, 1/1916-4/1916: promotion to sergeant; dispute over pay and ruse to resolve it; application for commission and vetting procedure. Recollections of attending Officers Cadet Bn at Gailes, Irving, 4/1916-6/1916; relationship with local civilians; story of meeting friend; nature of training; origins of cadets and question of working class cadets; etiquette and mess protocol; VD warnings; apocryphal story illustrating inexperience of new officers. REEL 11 Continues: drilling squads; assessment of cadets; question of casualty rate amongst junior officers. Period with 14th Bn, Cheshire Regt at Prees Heath, 6/1916-7/1916: reception; accidental knee injury preventing draft to Western Front; story of meeting Arthur Proctor during leave and circumstances of his being awarded VC; origins and opinions of Bantam units. Journey out with draft to Salonika, Greece, 7/1916: reactions to posting; send off; conditions aboard Franconia; period at Suummerhill Camp; purchase of Browning automatic pistol; journey to front line and posting to 12th Bn, Lancashire Fusiliers. Recollections of conditions of service, lifestyle and daily routine in front line near Smoll, Doiran area, 7/1916-11/1916: nature of terrain; wiring party in No Mans Land; climate. REEL 12 Continues: front line positions and nature of trenches; dugout; patrols; mule transport; advanced post; visits to supply depot; food and water rations; quinine doses; parcels from GB; story of censoring soldier's letters; letter contact with GB; shaving; latrines; condition of French trenches; lice problem; tortoises, snakes and flies; prevailing health problems of jaundice, malaria and dysentery; stand to; story of patrol into Smoll. REEL 13 Continues: story of night patrol into Smoll; story of raid on Bulgarian front line; officers' rounds; story of acting as guide to Sir Henry Wilson whilst improperly dressed; training; intermittent shell fire; rest periods; comparison with Gallipoli; question of officers living conditions; relationship with officer's servant; story illustrating relationship between Methodist and Catholic padres. Evacuation with minor shrapnel head wound and dysentery to Canadian Hospital in Salonika, ca 11/1916-12/1916: story of meeting Venizelos; wrongly suspected jaundice; removal of shrapnel; opinion of Greek civilians. Period in Imtapha Hospital at Malta, ca 12/1916-3/1917: visit whilst aboard hospital ship by Lord Methuan; relationship between VAD and army nurses. REEL 14 Continues: story of civilian patient who was expert on dysentery; convalescence and excursions; medical and orders to return to GB; story illustrating sympathetic attitude of doctors. Return to GB, ca 3/1917. Recollections of period with 51st (Young Soldiers) Bn, Manchester Regt at Prees Heath and Yarmouth, 3/1917-7/1918: story of medical inspection, posting to Western Front, late return from embarkation leave and eventual cancellation of posting as medically unfit; duties as musketry officer; role as senior subaltern; mess protocol; use of teaching skills in tactical instruction; playing for battalion football team; ban on treating in mess; gambling activities; adequacy of private means; question of becoming regular in Education Department; story of football team outing with colonel. REEL 15 Continues: story of football team outing with colonel; quality of recruits; reaction to prospect of further active service; relationship with officers of neighbouring Royal Naval Air Service Squadron; view of Sampson's efforts to take off from barge, ca 4/1918. Background to transfer to RAF, 7/1918: application; prior medical; colonel's send off. Recollections of flying training with 22nd Training Squadron, Gormonstown, Ireland, ca 8/1918-10/1918: prior theoretical and machine gun courses; first dual control flight and instructor's demonstration of inherently stable qualities of Avro 504; initial instruction in basic flying techniques including landing and taking off; first solo flight; introduction to acrobatics. REEL 16 Continues: method of looping, stalling turn and spinning; formation flying; informal mess; story of warning from prominent republican whilst walking in dangerous area of Dublin; stories illustrating republican activity; successful measures to avoid flu epidemic; story of scattering Sinn Fein meeting from air; armistice, 11/11/1918; relationship with Irish civilians; question of adequacy of training and story of friend abandoning flying due to his inadequate training prior to service on Western Front, ca 1916; opinion of DH 9 aircraft. Demobilisation and return to school teaching, 3/1919: continued pay as teacher during war service; opinions of war; question of attending university.