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June 26, 1917 – The Life and Letters of World War I Aerial Observer Lt. Mortimer M. Lawrence

June 26, 1917.

 Dear Folks:-


Received your letter today with the pictures also the Citizens.  Thank you.

We are still getting busier every day, till I don’t know where it all will end.

This morning the Captain called several of us into the office and told us that we would probably have to appear before a board on account of not quite meeting physical requirements.  He had received no official notification so could give us no particulars, only a little advance tip.  I know that the only thing wrong with me is lack of weight.  Hope I won’t have any trouble.  But I am not worrying, for I’ll find out when the time comes.

This artillery work is very interesting and becomes more so every day.  So far we haven’t had any mounted drill and only an hour’s gun drill every day.  You see at present there is only the equipment for one battery here and not enough horses for that and as there are six batteries in the two training regiments we have to take turns.

The rest of the day is taken up with dismounted drill, physical drill, signalling with flag and buzzer and at least two conferences or lectures, most generally three.  Our lectures cover everything from training and care of horses (including shoeing, accidents, diseases) to care and use of guns.  Besides we have lectures on gunnery involving a good many mathematical calculations and formulae.

Some of the men expected to find this very easy because we were told we didn’t require any special knowledge of mathematics.  We really don’t as the formulae do not go beyond geometry and algebra but we do need a clear insight and understanding of those branches and I find my knowledge of math and physics is helping a lot in grasping the principles, also my surveying comes in fine.  The latter will help also when we get to military topography.

We had a quiz yesterday covering our work so far.  The marks ran from around 20 up.  My work of 91 was the highest in the battery, the next highest being 80.  Not so bad for a man out of school six years when some of the fellows are fresh from engineering schools.

We were paid last week for which I was thankful as it enabled me to buy another pair of shoes and have my first soled.  The Quartermaster didn’t have my size so I had to pay Marshall Field $7.50, but I think I have a good pair of shoes.

I have been going to buy some additional books but now will hold off till I see the examining board and find out where I stand.

Must stop now and get ready for bed.  Am feeling fine.

Love to all,




Vaccination has disappeared entirely.  No go.

Reserve Officers Training Camp

3rd Bty. – 10th Prov. Reg’t

Fort Sheridan, Ill.


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