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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Guns on the golf course

Arnold Bennett's war diaries - Wednesday, December 13th 1915 – Lieut. R., of a mobile Anti-Aircraft unit stationed at Thorpe, came for tea. He said he carried £15,000 worth of stores. He said that after big raid at Hull, end of last year about, when mayor of Hull had been assured that Hull was one of the most heavily defended places, and a Zepp dropped 15 bombs in the town, the population afterwards mobbed officers, and A.A. officers coming into the town had to put on Tommies’ clothes. Also that Naval Unit was telegraphed for ad that when it came with full authorised special lights, the population, angry at the lights, assaulted it with stones and bottles and put half of it in hospital, and had ultimately to be kept off by the military. He outlined complex administrative system of unit, and showed how utterly and needlessly idiotic it was. He told me how he had been sent to some golf links with a big mobile gun and had put gun into a good spot where it interfered with play on first hole, the officially indicated position being a bad one. The affair was urgent, as a raid was expected that night. He successfully repulsed various complainants from gold club; but next morning an infantry officer came specially down from War Office, with instructions (positive orders) that gun must me moved. R. gave reasons against. Infantry officer: ‘I don’t know anything about artillery, but that gun has got to be moved. It is my order to you.’ In order to fix gun in inferior official position, R. intented for railway sleepers to the tune of £127, and got them. Meanwhile the gold club professional had told him that it would be quite easy to modify the course.

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