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Lieutenant Mallinson


Harrogate Herald - 1st December 1915

Captain W Hamilton, the well-known local veterinary surgeon, gives an interesting account of Tommy Atkins' work behind the firing lines in the following letter : 

Please note change of address. I left my last unit over a month ago, and have been attached to this one, another about 6 miles from here. I should have sent you a letter sooner, but have been on the move with this unit the last month, and there were no facilities for sending or receiving letters. I found three Herald lying here for me on my return. I have been away delivering mules, collecting and distributing horse. Had a rough time of it while away. At this place I and another officer have a good billet in a chateau belonging to Count -----. The OC number one section here is Lieutenant Mallinson, of Kirkby Overblow. There are also several men from Harrogate and district in this unit. Being attached to a line of communication unit I see very little of the actual fighting. When I have done so it was when I had the chance of a motor ride and - but, there, I will say no more about it. As you take an interest in farming I will tell you a little about that. The farmers are busy just now getting in their turnips. Many, in fact most of them, pulp them into a fine thready flake, and put it in shallow pits and trenches and cover with foil till the following winter, when they use it for the cattle. It is quite sour when they rise it. Grassland is very uncommon here. Most of the land is under cultivation. It is ploughed up to the last yard. Hedges are seldom seen. Hillsides are cut out into terraces and ploughed up. Threshing of corn is done by a horse on a kind of treadmill arrangement. On many farms the churning is done by a dog running in a large wheel. The horses are a good type of light draught. Mostly greys, with clean legs and powerful quarters. They are good workers. Often two or three in a team will be driven by a man or boy with only one rein in his hand. The farm work at present is being carried on by old men and women, girls and boys. All available men physically fit are on military service of some kind. Sugar beet is very plentiful in this country. Sheep are not seen in large numbers, generally in flocks of 20 or 30, and "lented" by a man or boy on the roadside or on the stubble fields. Many of the wayside cottagers have a goat for milking purposes. Rabbits of the Belgian hare variety are kept by all the farmers and cottagers and sold in the markets for food. Pheasants, partridges, hares, and rabbits are seen in abundance in some parts. Plantations and forest belong to the Government. During the last few days Lieutenant Mallinson has been busy with a number of his men threshing the corn at some of the farms here, and incidently emptying the barns for the accommodation of our horses. In many ways these units help the farmers, by ploughing the land, carting manure, and turnips, threshing the corn, etc. work of this kind is a great help to the farmers as labour is scarce owing to the war, and it keeps the horses fit, while we are resting in any place for a time. I also have given my services to the farmers in attending to their stock, and have had a good many dogs and cats to attend also. Personally, I have had every kindness shown to me at various places where I have been billeted, and have made many friends. This is a long rambling letter, but perhaps - well, I am sure, it will please you better than a postcard saying "I am well. Letter follows at first opportunity". Please convey to Mrs Breare my sincere sympathy in her bereavement. Many thanks for the Herald, which I have received regularly since I came out here.


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