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 You must seek permission prior to publication of any of our images.

141 Days: The Battle of the Somme

Time Off

Hundreds of thousands of men were wearing the King’s Uniform by 1915. They were based in army camps all over Great Britain. Although busy with their training, they also had time off. In the evenings soldiers could be found in the recreation hut, often run by volunteers, sometimes through the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) or another religious or charitable organisation.

The recreation hut was a place to escape military life and catch up with a game of draughts, cards or may be crown and anchor. Newspapers, magazines and books were supplied and, if the mood suited, the soldiers could have a sing-song around the piano. Refreshments were available. The firm favourite of the British soldier, was a mug of tea, Bovril or cocoa.

Postcards could be bought and writing paper was provided, free of charge, so that soldiers could keep in touch with their loved ones back home.

Hut interior, possibly at Bowerham Barracks, the Regimental Depot, Lancaster. 
Accession Number: KO2873/07

Private Hodgson’s Reading

Private William Hodgson, from Lancaster, serving with the 2nd/5th Battalion, King’s Own, recorded in his diary some of the books he read:

The Way of An Eagle by Ethel M Dell
The Garden of Mystery by Richard Marsh
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
White Fang by Jack London
The Yellow Crayon by E Philips Oppenheim
The Invisible Man by H G Wells
The First Men in the Moon by H G Wells
The Red Chancellor by Sir William Magnay
The Man Who Knew Better by Tom Gallon
The Sirdar’s Oath by Bertram Mitford

Popular Army Songs

It’s a Long Way to Tipperary
Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag
Mademoiselle from Armenetieres
Keep the Home Fires Burning
We’re Here Because
Fred Karno’s Army
We’ve Had No Beer
John Brown’s Baby
They Were Only Playing Leap-frog


Next: Barracks

Supported by the Sir John Fisher Foundation and the Army Museums Ogilby Trust

© Images are copyright, Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum.
 You must seek permission prior to publication of any of our images.

Only a proportion of our collections are on display at anyone time.  Certain items are on loan for display in other institutions.  An appointment is required to consult any of our collections which are held in store.

© 2016 Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum