Tuesday (14 August 1917)

Ewshot.  After arrival last night we had about a 5 mile march in the rain, through Aldershot (which is peopled with soldiers and their families, but has fine rows of giant chestnut trees along the main street) and over hill and dale to this camp – situated on the top of a hill miles from anywhere.  I like the look of it.  Well wooded in every direction, a complete contrast to Oldham.  In Aldershot we saw a large Gypsy camp, but not near enough to study the gypsies.  These huts are built of corrugated iron outside; walls and ceiling lined with painted match-lining and floored.  Each hut has two fireplaces, in main room and another in N.C.O’s cubicle, ablution and lavatory.  It is a permanent artillery camp, and the stables are solid covered-in buildings and the usual canteen Y.M.C.A. and other institutes.  Went out with R. and did sketches of a rye-field.  R’s were quite good.  The countryside is beautiful, but nearly all the men hate it and go miles to get into the nearest towns – Aldershot and Fleet.  We found winding lanes with great trees growing everywhere, often meeting overhead; fields of corn; of hops, pretty old cottages, pebbly streams winding about the meadows.  Found two toads, the first I have seen, like big frogs but with dry skins and their toes separated.  I patted them.  In one lane I was so thrilled that I did a sort of cake-walk highland-fling down it, much to R’s amusement.

[Map below of NZEF in England 1916-19, is sourced from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage website https://nzhistory.govt.nz.  A useful description of the Ewshot camp is provided in H T B Drew’s ‘The New Zealand Camps in England’, in The War Effort of New Zealand, Whitcombe and Tombe Limited, Auckland, 1923.]

nzef-in-england-1000

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