Remember Me

Remember Me

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

New recruits, big guns and roller skates ~ March 22nd, 1916 Letter #37

March 22nd, 1916
21 Cranbury Place
Southampton England

Dear Mother
          Here's another.  I guess you will wonder if I am sick or what is the trouble having two letters so close to one another.  How is everything now, is it as cold as ever. It has been raining here for weeks and the damp air seems to go through a person who is not used to this climate.
          Had a letter from Aunt Rach the other day and she was saying Annie was going to have another little commercial traveler around the house, her troubles are about to start.
          Gee there has been a bunch of troops go through here the last few days thousands every day leave for the front.

         I was told the other day by a steward off one of the big freighters that his last trip he took over a bunch of big heavy artillery guns that would carry a shell for 28 miles.
 8 inches (204 mm) heavy guns in battery on the Somme in 1916

When they get a bunch of those out there they sure should be able to do some damage.

          Everybody that is fit for service here has a uniform on and it is great fun watching some of them new recruits drilling, you see us fellows feel like old soldiers now.
        We some times go down here to the roller rink and me not having anything but ice skates on thought I could manage all right but you should of saw me, all these English girls and fellows were all around me to see the Canadian skate.  The darn things kept slipping away on me. After nearly breaking my neck and other places on my carcass to numerous to mention I gave it up for a bad job.

Chaplin developed his skating skills while employed by Fred Karno in the British music halls, and the film was superficially inspired by the Karno sketch Skating (which had been partly written by Sydney Chaplin). Chaplin did all of the skating himself. He was occasionally aided by wires for shots which required Charlie to appear as if he were about to fall backward or forward while on skates, causing pandemonium in the rink. His agility and grace make The Rink one of his most memorable early comedies.
 Charlie Chaplin on roller skates in his 1916 Film 'The Rink'
          Well Mother are you going to get any more grain in this summer than last.  I hope it is a better year. The people of this country are sure going through hardship, the living is just about double what it is in peace time. 
Dinner is just about ready so I will drop a line about the middle of the week. Remember me to Dad and V-V.  With love from Chas



Charlie Chaplin On Roller Skates: photo from   Notes By Jeffrey Vance, adapted from his book Chaplin: Genius of the Cinema (New York, 2003) (c) 2009 Roy Export SAS

Large Artiller: Photo from Pinterest referenced to "8 inches (204 mm) heavy guns in battery on the Somme in 1916"

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