Travel to the training Camp

It's quite likely that Harry would have travelled by train from Ilkeston to the camp at Rugeley. There were, in 1917, very few alternatives. The problem in determining a route is the complexity of the railway system at the time.

In 1917 there was a plethora of small railway companies servicing the highly industrialised area around Nottingham and Derby. In Ilkeston there were three railway stations. (There are none now) One of the stations, Ilkeston North, was about two hundred metres from Harry's home in Mill Street. At Rugeley there were two stations, both of which are still operating.

My railway expert can't come up with any conclusive evidence to determine the route Harry would have taken so I will not attempt to guess. I can only imagine that the train would fill up as it approached its destination until it arrived at Rugeley full of new recruits.

This was almost certainly taken at the training camp at Rugeley. Note that Harry's belt is upside down! That wouldn't have happened after training!

Harry's first letter on this Blog. Written to his elder sister Catherine.

M Coy
15 Hut
10th Training Reserves
February 7th 1917

Dear Kate

I was very pleased to receive your letter. The weather here is very cold and we don’t get much fire. We have been vaccinated this week well last Monday but we have to do all drills just the same. Ethel says Annie’s cold is much better. I can’t get a shut of mine but I am lucky to keep as well as I do. We have four blankets a piece and a bag of straw about 6in. from the floor on three planks to lie on. There are 29 in our hut and there only suppose to have twenty. I think it will be another five or six weeks before I get a pass I am ready for one anytime. Ethel says Connie and Willie are alright he will soon be a year old now and have two letters from Jack he seems to be getting on all right. We don’t get too much to eat, bread and jam dripping we have to do the cleaning in turns but the cooking is done at the cookhouse. I have not got any fatter yet I don’t suppose I shall do

Will write soon

With Love

from Harry

Harry's war starts here.

Harry has received his call up to the army. He has to travel from Ilkeston in Derbyshire (Between Nottingham and Derby) to Rugeley army camp in Staffordshire. Travel could well have been by train. A railway expert is currently researching the most likely route that was available in 1917.

The first letter is dated from the postmark as 7th February 1917. As promised, the letter from the training camp will be published on the evening of Wednesday 7th February 2007 - Exactly 90 years after it was written. (7th February 1917 was also a Wednesday, so the days of the week will coincide.)