January 16th 1915 to The Committee of the County Battalion
The Durham Light Infantry
Owing to a press of other important business, and to there not being very much at the moment to consider, I have postponed the meeting of the Committee for - at any rate - a week.
The Battalion has at last been united; and I hope great improvement will be noticeable before long. All the best N.C.O’s had been sent, of course, to Hartlepool. They will now - as also the men - be restored to their original Companies; and in the end I hope the time at Hartlepool may not be altogether wasted.
I have authorized the erection of six new huts. I have received the sanction for this from York.
I hear the band is a great success; and will be very welcome on route marches. On Thursday the battalion marched about 22 miles, without any greater inconvenience than a few sore feet. They always manage about 20 miles once a week.
Miniature Rifles are still a difficulty, as we want to get them as near as possible the weight and pull of the Government arm. This is being attended to. The range is working excellently.
Brigadier General F.G. Hunter inspected the half battalion at Cocken on Thursday the 7th inst: and I think was fairly pleased with what he saw. It was due to his action that the battalion was re-united. He appears to know what he wants, and is likely to get it; and I think we may congratulate ourselves on his appointment.
The roads are still a great difficulty; everybody seeming in this wet weather to want ashes at the same time; but Mr. Kirkup, the Manager of the Lambton Collieries, has been good enough to help us; and a few dry days would make a great deal of difference now.
There were 100 cases on the sick list yesterday (the 15th) but nothing serious. Colonel Bowes is in communication with the Canteen Contractor with regard to the prices now paid for feeding the men. He is asking - and will probably obtain - a rebate from the Contractor of five-eighths of a penny per head per day. The Contractor to include biscuit and coffee in the early morning. In view of the large number of men being at present supplied this appears to be quite reasonable; and
the sum obtained will be of great assistance, as representing the privy purse of the battalion.
The last of the latrines were not left in a very satisfactory state; but owing to the men coming back we have made the best of it, and I think it will answer the purpose for a sufficient length of time. The frosty weather might have had something to do with this. I am glad to say the drainage appears to be working fairly satisfactory.