Thursday, 3 March 2016

The Regimental Sergeant Major

RSM Milton

Friday 3rd March 1916: Regimental Sergeant Major Alick Milton says he is quite recovered from a recent illness and has rejoined the 1st/5th Bedfords. He went on: “I was very pleased to join up again, but what a change I found on arrival. The Regiment was extremely weak and a number of them were sick but that has all changed. We have had large drafts from England and nearly all our sick have rejoined and we are now practically up to full strength again. We are very busy reorganising and training new NCOs and specialists. We are encamped close to the Pyramids and about 11 miles from Cairo(1), but we don’t expect to remain here long. I think we shall soon be in action on one or other of the fronts. if I had my choice I would choose France and have seen quite enough of the East to satisfy my ambition … I cannot tell you much about Egypt because I have not yet had time to look round either of the places I have been at. The natives wear very few clothes and no shoes or stockings and they live extraordinarily cheap. A whole family can live on a piastre (2½d) a day. Of course, they pay neither rent, rates, nor taxes and their house consists of a few rushes bound round bamboo poles”.

“I met Cyril Wilks in Gallipoli two days after he landed and he is here with us now in the best of health. I am very disappointed at the number there are taking their discharge (time-expired), just when the nation needs every mother’s son. It is very discouraging to us who are out here. I could have got home from Malta if I had liked, but I knew my place was with the regiment. On going to Hospital I reverted to Company Sergeant Major, but was re-appointed Regimental Sergeant Major on rejoining (2)

(1) Which now comes right up to the Pyramids.
(2) In other words, the most senior Warrant Officer in the Battalion.

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