Our stay in this area served as a jump off spot to travel on schemes, live ammunition shoots.
Also E troop, under Sgt major Dyer, decorated a gun tractor like a horse and fiitted an ammunition trailer up with a seat for Major HE Brown and his new bride who left the area on their honeymoon. They rode in style fitting for a bride and groom with an artillery regiment. Major Brown's new bride was a Canadian nursing sister. Apparently the celebration in the officers' mess on this occassion was one that was remembered for a long while. The wedding cake was put together by Bill Lawsm a sgt cook, who was a master baker. Ingredients were in short supply so the cake was made up of fruit cake donated by officers and gunners, and formed and iced to perfection by Bill Laws.
The massive scheme Spartan started at the end of February, and here Lt Colonel Armstrong took over command from Lt Colonel K Landers [ who went back to Canada to bring over and command another regt ].
Some where in our stay at Chapelwood Manor Orme , Bob [Kayo] Laidlaw, Bill Stickney ,and I were to meet some really nice girls Gwen, Sadie, Daphne, and Gwendolin and another girl Chris. Now here were four of us chaps and there often was five or so girls. The girls were a close knit group. We had many pleasant times at local dances and also shared a time or so over drinks at the local pub. But if memory serves me the girls were not the regular pub types. They seemed to enjoy picnics in Ashdown Forest [ not much of a forest it had been cut down in ww1] These picnics were cheap I must say. A few large flagons of ale, a sandwich and pleasant company. Daphne was my date and a very nice person who wondered what would happen when the war was over? Would the girls marry old flames that were away in Africa or the far east? Well they did not marry any of us as I received a message from Daphne to meet her one evening. She must have watched for me as I was met at the gate of their house. Most unusual. The short and long of it was that Sadie and Bob[ kayo] had a falling out and nothing to do with Orme, Bill or I but Daphne said the girls all stood together and it was good bye Canadians. Even though she thought I was an okay guy .
Now we never heard from this group of girls ever again so we thought. Then here almost 60 years later, Orme had his picture in the Vancouver Courier. Gwen of 1943 remembered Orme's name, and contact was made. This in itself turned out to be quite novel. I have spoken to Gwen on the phone. She has lived in Vancouver for the last 56 years, and has brought us up to date on those years so long past. Sadie, her sister, passed away. On our side Bob [kayo] passed on and just as this story broke, Bill Stickney passed away. Apparently my date of years ago married a chap from a Welsh Battalion after the war. Daphne lives in Dover. Gwen had lost contact with her when Daphne married. Incidentally I do not think Orme and Gwen willl add too much more to the novel. Get a back issue of the Courier or, it you l,ike, I will send you the web site and you can see all and read all about it. Oh yes all the pictures of this group that I had sent home. I still have and was able to share them with Gwen and her family. We will arrange to meet Gwen for lunch before too long.
60 years ago sounds like a Harlequin novel .