Thursday, 29 March 2012

Bits and Bobs

      I was going through some old papers, looking for something else, when I found two postcard sized photographs. 

This one shows a group of Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) soldiers. On the back, written in pencil, is, "Whalley Hosp. 1915". The soldier on the end right of the middle rank (next to the little girl), is my maternal Grandfather, Thomas William Dickinson. I am guessing that they were sent to the hospital at Whalley for training, before being sent to serve abroad. The hospital at Whalley became Bramley Meade Maternity Home, (before it closed in 1992), and my late wife, Judith, went there to convalesce after the birth of Charlotte, our daughter.

The other shows a crowd of soldiers. In the bottom left corner are the words, "(17th Lancashire Fusiliers )" and at the bottom right, " THE 'BOBS' BATTALION.". The 17th Lancashire Fusiliers were the 1st South-East Lancashire (Service) Battalion, based at Bury, Lancs., and the postmark on the back is from Bury, dated 23 Jan. 1915. 

Field Marshall Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts, Bt, VC, KG, KP, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, KStJ, PC, was born in India in 1832. Known to his admirers (but never to his face) as 'Bobs', Roberts has been described as, "... the most popular man in the British army", and was seen as all that was good about the traditional view of the British army officer. He served in India (where he won the Victoria Cross, the highest award for bravery in the British Army), Abyssinia (now Ethiopia), Afghanistan and South Africa. He rose to become the last Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, (before the post was abolished). Rudyard Kipling wrote three poems inspired by Roberts; the first was a jokey satire called A General Summary, the second, called 'Bobs', is written from the viewpoint of a seasoned veteran soldier in India, and the third, General Roberts, is a memorial ode. He died from pneumonia while visiting Indian troops on service in WWI in France, in 1914. The 'Bobs' battalion was named in his honour.

Here is a picture of two copies of Black and White Budget from 1900 on my magazine table. The bottom one has a special report on 'Bobs' who, at the time, was serving in South Africa, during the second Anglo-Boer War. Here are some scans from the magazine.

And now, some other bits and bobs. I've been worried about my mantis for a while. I haven't seen it feed, and it just stays in the same place all the time. I cleaned the jar today, put in fresh foliage and flies, and some fruit, and when I put the mantis in, it grabbed on of the fruit flies and began to eat it. I grabbed my camera, tried to get some shots off, but they aren't all that good. The mantis is only about five or six millimetres long, and I was trying to focus through the plastic of the jar. If you squint, you might be able to make out the fruit flies in its grasp.

And just to show that I can focus my camera, here are a few pictures of the locusts. One of them had just shed its skin, so they must be growing.

Out of his skin ...
That white thing on the right is the shed skin.
Note the wings - underdeveloped in the nymph.

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