JOURNAL BY WALTER BAKER OF HIS FIRST WORLD WAR EXPERIENCE - Regt. 547, 5th Battalion, 10th Irish Division of the Royal Irish Regiment (Signals)

Somerset &Wales with completion by Irishmen most of whom seemed to have been time-serving with service in India. The barracks were found to be in avery dilapidated condition- a considerable amount of work had to be done to make it habitable. Our room incidentally, was quite a small room where often us were housed. I remember the first night we laid [sic] on our blankets on the floor but it wasn't many minutes before we were just overrun with mice &they were having the time of their lives just running allover us. Quite possibly they wondered who the new "lodgers" were so needless to say we did not sleep that night &the following day we enquired if the QuarterMaster might be able to supply any mousetraps but the reply was most indefinitely the negative so we purchased four traps (the break-back type) &used our ration of cheese to offer the hungry blighters. They just walked to their doom &the next morning when the room was receiving its normal daily inspection by the orderly officer we had paraded on the table the results of our night's raid viz. 28 dead all arranged in their sizes smallest on the left &the officer suitably replied to our explanation of row of dead. In general life in Fermoy was very uneventful squad drills route marches &one very important item did relieve the monotony when we were issued with our kit consisting of rifle bayonet equipment& a suit of BLUE afterward termed as Kitchener's Blue &with this "rig out" we certainly did look more alike soldier even if it was blue &it certainly helped to infuse a little more interest. Notices were upon the orderly boardroom asking for volunteers who had any knowledge of this signal work or anyone who would be interested in it so regardless of its eventualities I volunteered &imparted to the V.I.P. what I had been taught in the Boy Scouts a longtime ago maybe but I had never forgot it. I cannot say I regretted my move because it was some job with a future &interested some after a few days ten lads &myself including three of the old Irish timers were issued with a further supply of kit &entrained for Portobello barracks Dublin. OCT. 1914 The reason for our visit to Dublin was that it was to abe school for signalling. Other units were sending aspirants and would eventually bethe Signals for the Division in their respective units. The course was to be of a period of 3-4 months commencing Oct 3rd 1914. Very interesting work learning Semaphore Morse Signal with flags heliograph lamps &"Morse Tappa". Never was it monotonous soon we were outright in the country sending messages back to our Headquarters at Portobello. Our living quarters were in the married quarters of these barracks and our "apartments" comprised two rooms housing the thirteen of us sleeping of course on the floor. We allocated ourselves as seven English lads in one room &six Irish in the other. I was glad of segregation as there were two Irish fellows that were just vile in many ways& I don't think they were favoured by their own kith &kin either. For future reference I will refer to themas Private X &Private TheY. rough average age of our seven English lads was 20 years just "come up" to do what we could. In fact I was to reach my 19th birthday the following month having told a "white lie" when I enlisted as I wanted to keep within the boys I knew. These Irish fellows were just old "stagers" well inexperienced army routine &that covers avery wide scope, believe me. Excitement -mail arrived from home &we were lucky cakes sweets &smokes were our lot so we naturally had a good "tuck in". We didn't devour it all but left it deposited in our cupboard for future attention. Dublin was avery interesting place in many ways &there were many sights to see. Unfortunately we could not togo many places of amusement as our 1/9d per day would not go too far but we gave it good measure. We returned one evening &began to realize what
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