The Schoolboy Stow-away

British troops on a World War One Train

Passage to Gallipoli - 1

My darling mother

I received your three letters from home with great joy, and as you asked me to let you know how I got on board the boat I will tell you.

On a Thursday morning the Regiment set out at about 4 am to go on Active Service. I came too, so that I could bid them goodbye. When they all got into the train and I tried to get in with them but I was pulled out by one of the officers who I suppose, saw me get in. Then I asked one of the men to open the door of the carriage as the train was going out and I would jump in, so I went up to the other end of the platform and as the train sailed out of Canterbury, I was pulled in by many hands. So then I was in the train, much to my delight and fear of being caught.

When we passed through London I kept on saying, "Do you think we shall stop here?" as I was in a dead funk. Anyway I was all right till I got to a place called Northampton Castle, where the train stopped for 30 minutes. Meanwhile the men got out and bought ginger beer and various other articles of food, while I was unhappily underneath the seat with my head on a rifle, and getting the most awful cramp. …