Topic: Drill and Training
The Last of the Gentlemen's Wars; A Subaltern's Journal of the War in South Africa 1899-1902, Major-General J.F.C. Fuller, Mcmxxxvii
The dust storm blew during the whole of the 27th and 28th, then, on the 29th, an almost worse affliction befell us. I was dozing in my tent, at last free from dust and flies, when suddenly the 'Fall in' was sounded, followed by the 'double'. I seized my helmet, carbine and equipment and fell in with my company. I remember one captain appearing in vest, football shorts, white tennis shoes, helmet and carbine. Considering the suddenness of the alarm I thought it a bit rough when a few minutes later he was checked off for not being properly dressed on parade!
What was all the trouble about? We soon discovered—it was a route march. We formed fours and marched some five miles into the desert; there I slept in a hole in the ground, after which we all marched back again. On the way home somehow or other the advanced guard got lost in the hills, so we halted and for nearly three hours sounded the 'retire', the 'no parade', the 'disperse', etc., but without the slightest result. Then, guardless, we turned towards camp, a worse dust storm than ever submerging us, to find that the subaltern in command of the advanced guard had brought it in hours ago. This was all right, though very unmilitary; but it was more distressing to find that during our absence he had eaten up the last pot of strawberry jam.