London at the End of the Century:A Book of Gossip
a Beckett, Arthur William
GOING TO SCHOOL AT WOOLWICH.
When I was in command I duly qualified myself for duties by passing At the time I was at the Duke of Connaught, then a captain in the Rifle Brigade,
|was learning gun drill with a neighbouring detachment. Some new breech-loaders had been recently introduced into the service, and consequently H.R.H., although he had served as a subaltern in the scientific branch, had been sent to school to learn all about them. In those days, to get a certificate an officer was required to know the drill of every gun in the force, besides the ordinary literature. I believe of late this regulation has been relaxed, and an auxiliary gunner is only asked to get up the drill of the gun with which his own corps is furnished. The course in my days took rather over a month. The members of the class wore and worked like niggers. Repository drill was particularly trying. The practice of and raising guns with the assistance of a gin are terribly fatiguing. After many years, I look back with pride to the days when I was capable of such physical exertion. Really and truly, my work was as hard as that of a mender of roads or a bricklayer. Thinking over the matter, it seems to me that the course was conducted on the Squeers principle. It will be remembered that that eminent pedagogue used to teach his pupils how to spell and then set them to clean them.|
asked the schoolmaster at Woolwich.
replied the scholar, with more or less accuracy.
replied Teacher War Office,
And the scholar obeyed his instructions.
When I was at Woolwich the General in command used now and again to attend our class and put us on to some problem or other. On one occasion I was singled out for this distinction.
said my C.O.,
So my curiosity was never satisfied. If to-morrow
|I found myself in the suggested dilemma I should not know how to act beyond resigning on the spot and going home to tea! Possibly one of my military readers can solve the problem for himself. The commandant of the school to which I referred was unequal to the task.|