4th March 1917 (Sunday)

St Matthews was not large enough to accommodate the greatly augmented 3rd Battalion and the overflow, consisting of one or two platoons, were denied entry.  There was much jockeying for the last position in the parade and the 'lucky' ones were dismissed for the day at the Church door.  So far as the ‘Other Ranks’ were concerned their ambition to forego devotions was not an indication of a heathen attitude but mainly a problem of swagger sticks.  These were not carried on Church parade but were compulsory with normal walking out dress and the billet was at the other end of the town.  This was an irritation that could not be overcome.  We thought we had found the solution by stuffing the thin cane sticks inside the trouser leg, supported by the closely bound puttees.  The idea was good for standing on parade, even for marching, albeit with some difficulty – but the ear-splitting noise produced by the congregation on seating was disastrous.

Initiative in the ranks was not encouraged and the experiment proved expensive to both pride and pocket because it was necessary to seek replacements from the quartermaster and disclose our enormity and we had to pay for the replacements.  The end of the day marked our half way period of training.

Original diary entry