Leave – Part II
19 July 2017

Today we continue looking at the issuing of leave passes for the men at the front.
Read last week’s here: http://www.vimyfoundation.ca/leave-pt-i/ ‎

Considering how sought after they were, once the men did receive a pass, there was often little that could stop them from immediately striking out for the rear areas. Indeed, as described in this humourous account by Victor Wheeler of the 50th (Alberta) Battalion, men were known to literally drop everything:

‘Corporal H.W. Hogg was stirring hot mulligan in “supports” when he was informed he could go on leave, “tonight, if you think you can make it”.
“I turned over my Dixie pots, pronto, to Sandy Hunter, jumped on what I thought was a bone-shaking rations wagon, and headed out at the speed of a Roman charioteer! When I got to the Transport Lines I was black with soot from head to foot. The lorry had been hauling charcoal and coke! The Officer laughed at the sight, ordered me to take a hot bath, be deloused and fitted out with new uniform. The Quartermaster cooperated – and I was on my way to Blighty!” ‘ (Wheeler, The 50th Battalion In No Man’s Land, p.132).

A ride out of the lines in a motor lorry loaded with coal, like the one pictured here, could be a bumpy and blackening one, as Corporal H.W. Hogg found out.
© IWM (Q 6078)