The Regimental Magazine - "M.A.F." (Mainly About the Fifth) 1918

"M.A.F." (Mainly About the Fifth) was a very brightly written paper produced by the 5th Battalion in 1918 and edited by Lieut. C. G. Bull, the Sub-Editor being 2nd-Lieut. N. H. Stone. It would appear that the conclusion of the First World War brought about the demise of "M.A.F." immediately after the first number, but, in less happy circumstances, it is obvious that the magazine would have had a cheerful and flourishing existence.

The raison d'être for any Magazine is very clearly expressed by the Editor in his preliminary remarks:
"We are convinced that a thorough personal intimacy with daily events in the Battalion off parade is most essential. First, it is bound to stimulate and maintain that all-important esprit-de-corps in the Unit as a whole, and to encourage and keep alive a wholesome spirit of friendly rivalry amongst companies and platoons."

And now for some extracts which will bring to life some incidents in the lives of those who were serving with the 5th Battalion at this period.

In these staid days we feel constrained to censor some of Betty's more confidential outpourings, but the following will bring a smile to at least one serving with the Regiment to-day.

"We gave a garden party last month . . . . the Sporting Parson arrived in those priceless breeches . . . His chief feat seems to have been that he survived a Guest Night at Newhall till 10.30 one Tuesday night. I am sorry he is going. The sweet-looking regular subaltern is back."

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Football flourished as always. Here is the Battalion team:- Lieut. Rance; Sgt. Jones, Pte. Jefferies; Sgt. Guest, 2nd-Lieut. Mainwaring, Cpl. Jones; Lce.-Cpl. Eighteen, Pte. Davies, Capt. Pelly (later Lieut.-Col. commanded the 2nd Battalion), Lce.-Cpl. Gummery, Cpl. James.

And there was time for a boxing tournament on a large scale, the officials at which were:- Referee: Captain J. A. Smithin, M.C.; Judges : R.Q.M.S. Sterry (Mobilization Storeman, Norton Barracks) , C.Q.M.S. Cook ; Timekeeper : Lieut. H. E. Rance ; M.C. : R.S.M. Holland. We see that Boy Buffery ( Sgt. Buffery, 2nd Battalion) lost on points to Boy Charles "in a keenly fought bout"!

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“A Little bit of H_____” shows that things do not change with the years. Here is one verse:
Have you heard the story told, how Gravel Hill obtained its name? Come listen, so you'll understand whence Gravel Hill Camp came. No wonder that the soldiers grouse and seek some foreign shore; 'Tis a little bit of Heaven and they curse it more and more. Shure, a Corporation dust cart overturned out there one day, And a plague of flies soon found it out and nestled there to stay ; And when a "Brass Hat" found it, shure, it looked so sweet and fair, He said: "Suppose we leave it, and we'll plant some soldiers there." So they dotted it with old tin cans, and sprinkled it with swill, And when they had it finished, shure, they called it Gravel Hill.

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One of the "Answers to Correspondents" makes illuminating reading:

Bargee.—Thank you for your opinion of strikes. We have made a note of your language, and have distributed it among the Sergeant-Instructors for their use in future emergencies.

This paper was produced in the fourth year of war when peace seemed far off and for that reason it is in its own way an epic. Boxing, football, amateur theatricals under the able direction of Sergt.- Drummer Martin (Mr. J. Martin, Bandmaster, 8th Battalion), humour,—all filled its pages to the practical exclusion of what was in the mind of all at the time. To-day the position is reversed and for that reason we will end this very inadequate review with a final extract: a short reminder that "M.A.F." was a publication produced for the entertainment of men who were enjoying a brief rest from the serious matter of fighting only a hundred or so miles away.

What the _____ do I do with this? ______ and ______ it !!!

Crump ! The very ground resounds,
Conveys the shock to my quivering body.
Crump ! Crump ! Crump !
Unto Mother Earth I cast myself.
Though, overwhelming mechanical device,
In thy fell clutch I am but puny;
And, dazed, I rise,
Wondering why thou hast spared me.