Local History Society

 The 'Mercury' and the Home Front in WW1

Sports Days:





The Remount Depot Sports Day 1917

from the Reading Mercury, 25th August:


Athletic sports, a vegetable show, singing competitions, a concert, a baby show, and side-shows formed the "bill of fare" at a most enjoyable gathering which was held by the No. 4 Remount Depôt, at the depôt recreation ground, Arborfield Cross, on Wednesday. Indeed, the function was voted on all hands to be a huge success, and the company, numbering 1,800, who were present by invitation, could certainly not have been better catered for. The management, too, was excellent.

The undertaking had been organised in a most perfect manner, and everything passed off without a hitch. The officers showed the liveliest interest throughout, working tremendously hard, and the able and courteous hon. secretary (Sergeant A. S. B. Minhinnick), who received valuable assistance from 1st Class S.S.M. Cole, was, as usual, indefatigable in his efforts. The Commandant (Lieutenant-Colonel Badcock), the president, paid the hon. secretary a great compliment at the distribution of the prizes, when he described him as a born organiser. "I have never known a better one", said the gallant colonel, "and the success of the gathering is largely due to him."

The sports were followed very closely, and exciting finishes were quite the order of the day. Nearly forty events were decided. Heats in a number of cases were run off previously. Corporal Stevenson (eight points) was adjudged to be the best man-at-arms, thus winning the championship medal for securing the greatest number of points. Sergeant Steer, who carried off several events is the international Chelsea footballer.

The vegetable show was a great success. The quality of the produce exhibited was excellent, marrows, potatoes, carrots, and apples, in particular, making a splendid show. The produce, with the exception of the fruit, which was given to the children, was afterwards forwarded to the war hospitals at Reading and Wokingham.

S.Q.M.S. Page had charge of the side-shows, where Private Tester won the prize for bowling, for a pig; Corporal Slade and Corporal Lane had charge of the ground arrangements, and the tea arrangements were under the direction of Sergeant Fuller, with the assistance of Corporal F. Slade and Private Milstead. Over a thousand men with their relations and friends were provided for. The catering for the officers and sergeants was carried out by Mr. A. C. Bond, of Reading, the teas being served in two spacious marquees.

The baby show was under the supervision of Mrs. Badcock, Mrs. Goater and Mrs. Cockrell, and Mrs. Thurston and Dr. Mabberly discharged the duties of judges. Private Ellis Williams arranged the concert. The Army Service Corps Regimental Band (by kind permission of Lieutenant-Colonel H. D. Russell, D.S.O., and officers attended and discoursed a pleasing programme of music under Bandmaster H. J. Cook, L.R.A.M. The prizes were distributed by Lady Birkbeck, for whom three hearty cheers were given. Lieutenant-Colonel Badcock commended the excellence of the show. Everything, he said, had passed off very successfully, for which they owed a deep debt of gratitude to the executive.

Amongst the company present, in addition to the officials were: General Sir George Watson, V.C., Miss Watson, Major-General G. F. Ellison (in charge of the Administration, Aldershot Command), Brigadier-General A. H. Cowie and officers of the Royal Engineers, Aldershot. Major-General Watson, Lieutenant-Colonel Russell and officers of the Army Service Corps, Aldershot, Lieutenant-Colonel Griss and officers of the Central Remount Depôt, Aldershot, Captain Thomas (War Office Staff), Lady Birkbeck, Mrs. Badcock, Mrs. M. Allfrey, Mrs. Caversham Simonds, Mrs. W. Simonds, Miss Simonds (Newlands), Mrs. Vere Allfrey, Miss M. Allfrey, the Rev. J. A. and Mrs. Anderson, Mrs. Goater, Mrs. Cockrell, Mrs. Prescott (Arborfield Court), Miss Tindal (Eversley), Mrs. Corrie, Miss Lock, Mr. G. A. Watson, Mr. and Mrs. A. B. Wilson, Mrs. Greenfield, Mr. Oliver Dixon, Mr. Cecil Aldin, Mr. Robinson, Mr. Powell, Mr. Pithers, Mr. W. J. Hissey, Mr. J. Hissey, Mr. Newberry, Mr. Crowe, etc.

The donors of prizes were:- The Officers, the Rev. J. A. Anderson, Mr. W. J. Hissey, Mr. G. Harris, Messrs. Sutton and Sons, Messrs. Sale and Son, the Oxford Diocesan C.E.T.S, Messrs. Kingham and Sons, Mr. E. Maberly, M.O. and the Sun Insurance Company.

The following acted as the committee:-
Lieutenant-Colonel G. H. Badcock (president),
Captain C. Goater (chairman, executive),
Captain J. L. Bennett,
Captain J. K. Thurston,
Lieutenant W. A. Cockrell (hon. treasurer),
Lieutenant T. L. Tilling,
Mr. J. W. Whitecross,
1st Class S.S.M. E. Cole (executive),
S.S.M. W. P. Brake, M.C. (executive),
S.S.M. E. Cole (executive),
F.Q.M.S. T. M. Bell (executive),
S.Q.M.S. H. H. Teeves (executive),
S.Q.M.S. C. Press (executive),
Sergeant W. White,
Sergeant A. H. Baker,
Sergeant W. H. O. Steer (executive),
Corporal T. Slade (executive),
Corporal H. Slade (executive),
Corporal W. Lee,
Corporal F. Lane (executive),
Corporal Harrison,
Private J. Prestidge,
Private Milstead (executive),
Private Edbrooke (executive),
Private Nichol,
Messrs. R. Humphries (executive), C. Thrasher (executive) and
Serjeant A. S. B. Minhinnick (hon. secretary).

The judges at the sports were:- Major-General G. P. Ellison, C.B., C.M.G., The Commandant (Lieutenant-Colonel G. H. Badcock), Captain Goater, Captain Thurston, Captain Bennett, Lieutenant Tilling, Lieutenant Cockrell, 1st Class S.S.M. Cole, S.S.M. Brake, S.Q.M.S. Page, S.Q.M.S. Jeeves and Farrier Q.M.S. Bell. The officers’ ladies judged the best fancy costume. Mr. J. W. Whitecross and Mr. E. M. Sturgess acted as starters.

The judges at the vegetable show were: Messrs. J. Bennett, P. Sale and A. Barnfield, and the committee: Messrs. R. Humphries (chairman), A. Edwards, Sergeant H. Windsor, Sergeant Batsby (hon. secretary) and Private May, and Private T. Baker.

The races resulted as follows:-

Throwing the Cricket Ball – Sergeant Hooper. Distance: 85 yards, 2 feet, 3 inches.

Kicking the Football – Sergeant Steer. Distance: 57 yards, 2 feet, 5 inches.

Putting the Shot – C. Thrasher.

Best Turn-Out, single harness – 1, Private Burgess; 2, Private Hogbourne; 3, Private Jarvis.

Double harness – 1, Private Curtis; 2, Private Kew; 3, Private Sanner and Private Middleton (equal).

Best Mounted Section – 1, No. 3 Troop (54th Squadron); 2, No. 3 Troop (61st Squadron); 3, No. 4 Troop (54th Squadron).

Corporals’ Race (120 yards handicap) – 1, Corporal Slade; 2, Corporal Palmer; 3, Corporal Page. Time: 15 sec.

Hurdle Race (120 yards) – 1, Sergeant L. W. Harrison; 2, Private Ruane; 3, Private Stevenson. Time: 25 sec.

Veterans’ Handicap, 120 yards (over 45) – 1, Private Edwards; 2, Private Prestidge; 3, Private Briant. Time, 15 sec.

100 yards backwards – 1, Sergeant Steer; 2, Corporal Stevenson; 3, Sergeant White. Time: 15½ sec.

Tilting the Bucket – 1, Corporal Slade and Private Smith; 2, Private Garrett and Private Edmonds; 3, Private House and Private Webb.

Boot Race – 1, Private House; 2, Corporal Page; 3, Private Tucker.

Sergeants’ Mess Race (120 yards handicap) – 1, Sergeant White; 2, Sergeant Steer; 3, Sergeant Hooper. Time: 13½ sec.

Mop Fight – 1, Private Edmonds and Private Gannicott; 2, Corporal Hatt and Private Lovejoy; 3, Private Edwards and Sergeant White.

100 Yards Flat (final) – 1, Sergeant Steel; 2, Corporal Stevenson.

Slow Cycle Race – 1, Private Ruane; 2, Sergeant Paulfrey; 3, Sergeant White.

Inter-Troop Boat Race (final) – 1, No. 4 Troop (54th Squadron); 2, No. 3 Troop (54th Squadron).

Inter-Squadron Tug-of-War – 54th Squadron.

Wheelbarrow Race – 1, Private Harrison and Private Deacon; 2, Private Lovejoy and Corporal Hatt; 3, Sergeant Steer and Corporal Hallam.

Officers’ Race (120 yards handicap) – 1, Mr. J. W. Whitecross; 2, Captain Goater.

Pillow Fight – 1, Private Bond; 2, Edwards; 3, Private Galloway.

Privates’ Race – 1, Private Ogilvie; 2, Private Edmonds; 3, Private Parlett.

Potato Race – 1, Corporal Slade; 2, Corporal Ham; 3, Private Moreton.

Three-Legged Race – 1, Corporal Simlett and Corporal Stevenson; 2, Sergeant Hooper and Private Edwards; 3, Corporal Palmer and Private Clapworthy.

One Mile Flat – 1, Private Parlett; 2, Private McCormick; 3, Private Pratt.

Bun and Treacle Race (boys under 15) – 1, Fred Middleton; 2, G. Alexander.

100 Yards Boys’ Race (under 10) – 1, Jack Clark; 2, Bubber; 3, Charles Cook; 4, Hagley; 5, Walter.

100 Yards (girls under 15) – 1, E. Broke; 2, M. Yardley; 3, M. Holland; 4, B. Ogilvie; 5, R. Jarvis.

Best Fancy Costume – 1, Private Heard (cowboy); 2, Corporal Simlett (representing the Allies); 3, Private Bunfield (Giesha [sic] Girl).

Married Ladies’ Egg and Spoon Race – 1, Mrs. Ledger-Hill; 2, Mrs. Allen; 3, Mrs. Goddard.

120 Yards Single Ladies’ Race – 1, Miss Prince; 2, Miss Wernham; 3, Miss Nash.

Half-Mile Flat (open to the district) – 1, Private Parlett; 2, Corporal Hallam.

Children’s Tug-of-War – Girls beat boys by two pulls to nil.

Band Race – 1, Harris; 2, White; 3, Marsh.

120 Yards Handicap (35-45 years of age) – 1, Sergeant White; 2, Corporal Slade; 3, Private Petts.

100 Yards Fancy Costume Race – 1, Private Simlett; 2, Private Barnes; 3, Private Dicker.

Inter-Troop Tug-of-War (final) – No. 1 Troop (61st Squadron) beat No. 4 Troop (61st Squadron) by two pulls to one.

Sack Race, with jump – 1, Corporal Stevenson; 2, Corporal Slade; 3, Private Harrison.

Obstacle Race – 1, Corporal Stevenson; 2, Corporal Nicholls.

The decision in the inter-troop relay race was cancelled, and as a result it will be dealt with by the Executive Committee.


Open for produce grown in the new gardens in the Depôt lines.

Potatoes (any variety) – 1, Private Major; 2, Private Prestidge; 3, Private Beard.

Collection of Vegetables – 1, Sergeant Windsor; 2, Private Prestidge; 3, Private Major.

Produce grown by non-commissioned officers and men and civilian employees from the own gardens:

Collection of Vegetables – 1, Sergeant White; 2, Private Willoughby; 3, Sergeant Butler.

Broad Beans – 1, Mr. A. Edwards; 2, Sergeant Butler; 3, Private Gale.

Dwarf Beans – 1, Private Willoughby; 2, Private House; 3, Sergeant Butler.

Runner Beans – 1, Sergeant White; 2, Private Willoughby; 3, Sergeant Butler.

Beetroot – 1, Mr. A. Edwards; 2, Sergeant Butler; 3, Sergeant-Major Holland.

Cabbage – 1, Mr. Schofield; 2, Sergeant-Major Holland; 3; Sergeant Butler.

Carrots – 1, Mr. Schofield; 2, Corporal Hatton; 3, Sergeant Butler.

Lettuce – 1, Sergeant Butler.

Onions – 1, Private Gale; 2, Private G. Hogbourne; 3, Corporal Hatton.

Peas – 1, Private Willoughby; 2, Mr. Warwick; 3, Sergeant Butler.

Best-arranged bouquet of wild flowers – 1, Daisy Middleton; 2, Jack Cox; 3, Bessie Cox.

Ditto collection of wild flowers – 1, Master Schofield; 2, Miss K. Baker; 3, Miss D. Baker.

Shallots – 1, Mr. Schofield; 2, Corporal Hatt; 3, Private Canning.

Turnips – 1, Private House; 2, Private Warnham.

Marrows – 1, Sergeant Butler; 2, Mr. Morse; 3, Private Willoughby; 4, Corporal Hatt; 5, Mr. T. Edwards.

Potatoes (coloured) – 1, Sergeant Butler; 2, Private Middleton; 3, Mr. T. Edwards.

Ditto (white) – 1, Private Willoughby; 2, Mr. Warwick; 3, Private Dicker.

Cooked Potatoes – 1, Private Middleton; 2, Sergeant White; 3, Private Willoughby.

Fruit – 1, Private Canning; 2, Private House; 3, Private Willoughby.

Apples – 1, Sergeant Baker; 2, Private Canning; 3, Mr. A. Edwards; 4, Private Willoughby.

Fruit, vegetables, etc., not for competition were sent by the Commandant (gardener, Private F. Baker), Captain J. F. Thurston, Mr. J. W. Whitecross and F.Q.M.S. J. M. Bell (gardeners, Private Pester and S.S. Slade).


Class 1 – 1, Mrs. White and Mrs. Salsbury (divide); 2, Mrs. Higgins and Mrs. Croucher (divide); 3, Mrs. Windsor.

Class 2 – 1, Mrs. P. White; 2, Mrs. Foster; 3, Mrs. Canning.

At the conclusion of the sports a most enjoyable concert was held, the following contributing to an excellent programme: -
Captain Goater
, Mr. E. C. Goater, Privates L. G. Hughes, Woodham, and Ellis Williams (songs),
Private Eastwood and Shoeing Smith Millsom (cornet duet),
Private Moreton (humourist),
Private Turner (one string violin), and
Private "Tiny" Barnes, the well-known jockey (dance).
Private Edwin C. Rose was the accompanist.

There was also a singing competition, the results being: 1, Corporal Mitchell and Private Heard (divided); 3, Private Thorne and Private Moreton (divided).

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