Back in Camp – Saturday, 30th June (1917)

In the afternoon I formed one of the pall-bearers to a deceased Tommy.  We marched into a very squalid part of the town and carried the coffin out of a room full of sobbing femininity; then did slow march for about a half-mile beside the hearse, shouldering deceased to the graveside.  This evening I went into Oldham and visited the Market Place.  It was highly amusing – a regular Fair, with booths under canvas awnings in which were displayed wares, fruits, goods and cheap jackery of every description; and Merry-go-rounds of monstrous design braying out the most ear-splitting music; cock-shies; quack-doctors; in fact all of the motley you see in old prints of country fairs, except alas, the country.

At the Oldham Art Gallery to my astonishment I found a number of very good and even famous pictures, e.g. Turner’s “Phryne going to the Bath as Venus”, an Alfred East, several of Turner’s sketches, landscapes by men like Parsons.  Finished the evening with a supper of eggs and toast and walked 2 miles or so back to camp.  As payment for doing pall-bearer today will get a half-day off next week, and a pass to Manchester.  Three months since we sailed out of Wellington Harbour.

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