Page 19 - Fort Burgoyne
P. 19

Fort Burgoyne                                                                                                  Dover Defences

         Three Square Meals a Day                              Schooling and Promotion
         By the late 1880s the Victorian soldier could expect his  Men could enhance their prospects by seeking
         daily meals to be made up from the following:         promotion, for which they would need to gain their
            Meat  12ozs (1/5 is bone)                          second class school certificate to become a corporal, and
            Bread 24ozs                                        a first class school certificate to become a Sergeant.  To
            Potatoes 16ozs                                     facilitate this the Corps of School Masters was formed in
            Other vegetables 8ozs                              1845 and from 1859 the school master’s duties were
            Milk 1/6 pint                                      extended from simple schooling within the army
            Sugar 1.33 ozs                                     barracks to responsibility for the army’s own schools
            Salt 0.25 ozs                                      (Duke of York’s Royal Military School, Queen Victoria
            Coffee 0.33 ozs                                    School, and the Royal Hibernian Military School) and
            Tea 0.16 ozs                                       libraries. The school master was a senior N.C.O. or
         An example of the meals provided to the soldiers in   warrant officer and every regiment was allocated one.
         barracks during the late Victorian period is as follows:  By the 1890s most forts and barracks had a school room.
                                                               Burgoyne had three in 1906. The children of the
            Breakfast                                          regiment attended school during the day and the soldiers
            Tea and bread every morning: in addition:          were offered evening classes. Post 1914 soldiers were
            Sunday: Butter .                                   struck off duty during their last three months of service,
            Monday: Bacon.                                     in order to allow them to attend vocational training.
            Tuesday: Fish.
            Wednesday: Butter
            Thursday: Fish                                     Garrison Artillery
            Friday: Jam                                        Officers were trained at Sandhurst  and from 1878 this
            Saturday: Eggs and Bacon.                          consisted of two years training. Sappers concentrated on
                                                               mathematics, fortification and compulsory landscape
            Dinner                                             drawing with a little instruction in artillery matters,
            Sunday: Baked meat and potatoes.                   whilst the gunners concentrated on artillery instead of
            Monday: Irish stew and currant rolls.              mathematics, studied a little fortification and took
            Tuesday: Meat pies and potatoes.                   landscape drawing as a voluntary subject. At the end of
            Wednesday: Steamed meat with haricot beans and     their second year they qualified for their commission.
              potatoes, rice pudding.                          The Garrison Artillery officers had to handle a variety of
            Thursday: Roast meat, Yorkshire pudding and potatoes,  equipment including extremely heavy guns of up to 100
              lentil soup.
            Friday: Baked meat and potatoes, plain raisin pudding.  tons and had to understand the mechanics of
            Saturday: Meat pudding and potatoes, pea soup.     manipulating them.

            Tea                                                They also had some understanding of hydraulics,
            Sunday: Tea and butter.                            pneumatics and electricity. They were instructed on
            Monday: Tea and jam.                               methods of attacking and defending fortresses, the
            Tuesday: Tea and dripping.                         coastal defence of harbours and combined operations
            Wednesday: Tea and butter.                         with the Royal Engineers. These duties lacked the
            Thursday: Tea and fish.                            appeal of the mounted artillery and the ‘cream’ of the
            Friday: Tea and dripping.                          gunners gravitated towards the horse and field artillery,
            Saturday: Tea and butter.
                                                               leaving the ‘residue’ with the garrison batteries. Coastal
         One soldier remarked on the pangs of hunger that he felt  postings were often bleak and bereft of mess life. Some
         at night because the quality of the food was good but  remote forts in particular were cut off from the rest of
         there was simply not enough of it: Fortunately the heavy  the world! After receiving their commission Gunners
         drinkers were light eaters, and many times I have felt  took a short course of instruction at the School of
         along the barrack shelves and found a dry crust for my  Gunnery at Shoeburyness, lasting  from six weeks to
         supper.                                               two months. During their service as lieutenants or
                                                               captains they could also be ordered to attend the long
                                                               course of gunnery at Shoeburyness.

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