2nd October (1917)

THE HAT TRICK (A Military Mystery)

To wit:  At 5 p.m. instead of our being dismissed, the Sergts. were sent off to round up all hands on the Parade ground.  The cooks, gardeners, bootmakers and candlestick makers, the sick, the lame, the weak-sighted, came trapesing in bewildered rows, whilst officers walked around examining the inside lining of our hats – without one word of explanation.  No doubt it was an attempt to identify some man or some hat.  One man suggested that it was to see whether our hats harboured any life.

Blackberries (brambles) only just beginning to fall off, have been very good; also plenty of nuts about.  A large percentage of my hut-mates are inveterate gamblers and I leave them at it when I go out and find them still at it at 10 p.m. and there they sit until lights out – even then they will finish off with the aid of lucifers.  J. ricked his gizzard doing physical jerks and got 2 days light duty.

[Image – NZ Artillery troops on parade, Ewshot Camp, c1918, Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association: New Zealand official negatives, National Library 1/2 014100-G]

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