We can assume that George’s training with the 9th Ox and Bucks now began in earnest. Unfortunately, apart from a machine-gun course on Hayling Island in March/April, it is difficult to ascertain what exactly the training consisted of.
We know that he came home most weekends, but he probably still wrote to Kittie at least once a week. Yet no letters from him or her have survived between now and his embarkation for Egypt in May 1915. After that, all his letters to her are extant.
There is definitely a mystery here. It is possible that Kittie destroyed George’s letters from Brockhurst because they reveal that he and she were bickering over why he was putting himself in the firing line rather than on the home front; why, in fact, he was destroying her health with worry. I shall present the evidence for that over the coming months. Another possibility, as I shall explain tomorrow under a different heading, is that he was not at all happy with aspects of life in Fort Brockhurst.
The regular officers who were completing his training were very pleased with him. The Adjutant, Captain Maxwell Labouchere (another cricketer, who features in Wisden on the Great War) wrote later that George ‘took everyone’s heart by storm’. His piano playing also made him popular.
Next entry: Apple apple apple apple apple