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The following newspaper article was published on 20th November 1914 when Rudyard Kipling met the 1/5th Battalion in Sevenoaks. Kipling wrote his own account of events which can be read HERE.


An amusing incident of a march in Kent was related in the following letter I received in Bolton from Cycle-Sergeant F. C. Callis, 5th Loyal North Lancashire Territorials, in training at Sevenoaks :-

“Our battalion turned out in full marching order and proceeded to our usual practice ground, Knole Park. The cycle section marched in the rear of the column, and an ordinary-looking man came to me and asked me a lot of particulars about the battalion.

He told me he had seen a lot of soldiering in his time, and said he must confess that our men struck him as being about the smartest, on the march he had ever seen outside Regulars.

He asked me for so many particulars about them, and also about their billets, that I thought I should detain him as a sort of spy. I excused myself and rode off to the head of the column and informed one of our majors as to the nature of the conversation, etc., and took the man later to the major, and then left them and took my section on road-finding.

An officer of ours stopped me today and laughingly asked me if I knew whom I had tried to put under arrest. I answered in the negative, and he told me it was Rudyard Kipling.”

Additional Information

Frederick Charles CALLIS, Service number 376 – 5th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. Later, Army Cyclist Corps number 13811. He enlisted 1st April 1908 and was discharged due to sickness on 3rd March 1919 with Silver War Badge number B295753. His address on discharge was 274 Ainsworth Lane, Bolton.

Paul McCormick
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