This is part way through George Stanley's red book for the 2nd Northern Company. It shows a circle of friendship for the group of Non Combatants (NCC) who shared a tent at Calais in November 1916. Most were conscientious objectors who signed up to serve overseas as non combatants.
The circle on the right could have come from a modern management team-building exercise. This is a group activity facilitated by No 2 - Pte George Stanley.
Eleven non-combatants shared the tent on 2 November 1916. Corporal Arthur Britton was wounded at Gallipoli in 1915 - he was no longer fit enough to bear arms. The rest were conscientious objectors, willing to serve in the field but not willing to fight.
Their names are listed in a circle, with light-hearted notes on their strengths and weaknesses.
1. Arthur Britton
Corporal A. Britton, "our corp.," who was wounded in the Dardanelles on Aug. 7, 1915. He was attached to our Co. at its formation. He's "still going strong".
2. George V. Stanley
This is No. 2's book (George Stanley himself). He is also known as "Codge", "Nine Miles of Bad Road", "Slim Jim", "Nuisance"; but these are only a few of his aliases.
3. C.Harold Fitch
"Our" mad musician. You'll gather one impression of him from the bottom of this page (his thumbprint). He's a Cambridge "chap" of some "tone", don't you know.. His feet are a curse to No. 2 (the writer George Stanley).
4. J.S. Mutch
5. T.W. Mutch
"Bruvers" "Always merry and bright".
6. Geo Laedles?
Our French Scholar, and general informant on all business matters. He knows almost every place in the kingdom. Official "scraper and bill-sticker" at the Bakery. His wonderful detective propensities yet to be revealed to the world.
7. Geo 3 Spencer
Interested in everything and anybody, and everybody and anything.He is really the "Dormouse" of the tent, but he finds time to put all of us in our places. Kept up to the standard of excellence by No 3 (Cambridge undergrad C. Harold Fitch).
8. W. Norwood
The cornet player , who, however, hides his light under a bushel.
9. E.L. Johnson
Company tailor. A real big nuisance in the tent, because he has so many visitors - truly popular.
10. T.H. Gee
M cubed I C
11. A.V. Arnold
Really the "father" of the tent - his face betrays it. Famous for the large mails he receives. A prominent member of the famous No. 1 at the Bakery.
A few months later, Stanley added a Note. Their popular leader Corporal Arthur Britton was replaced by an outsider - "new material".
This was a blow to the group. Britton had been with them from the start and was clearly sympathetic to their cause.
He continued to offer support, writing the poem 'Never Mind' in their book of affirmations after they were court-martialled. Coming as it did from a soldier wounded in action, the support had special significance. Non combatants were often subject to ridicule and abuse, and labelled as cowards.
Note. On Friday, April 13th (notice the unlucky combination of date and day) this arrangement came to an end, for No. 1 had to quit and "new material" came in.
"Our little systems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be;
But the system we would like to end
Is the British Ar-Ar-Mee."
. . . . .
The tent appears to be in the sand dunes at Calais.
A. Tent Pole, surrounded by eleven kits, towels, coats, hats, etc.
B. The entrance with C. The wooden scraper to remove the sand.
D. This is a bag used as a doormat.
X. The lantern hanging below the kits.
E. Alg's stove.