"The historic racecourse and its appurtenances on the downs are now devoted to the purposes of war. On these rolling uplands trainers and stable-boys have given place to men in khaki who are ardently hoping to be fit in time to join in the march to Berlin. The paddock is crammed full of these public school men. Over the grand stand floats the Red Cross. It has been turned into a convalescent home for wounded soldiers when they are discharged from the London Hospitals...
There are two distinct bodies training at Epsom. Those encamped in the paddock are the Special Public Schools Corps. They number between five and six hundred and are under the command of Colonel the Hon. Victor Gibson. They have received the good wishes but not as yet the official recognition of the War Office. As soon as the establishment is raised to 1,100 the War Office will takeover the Corps as a unit for service at home or abroad. At present the Corps is being used as a source for the supply of officers for the Regular Army. As many as 50 men have already received commissions in regiments of the new armies.
The grassy paddock, which on so many Derby days has seen prancing assemblies of splendid horses, is now transformed into a serviceable and also very comfortable camp. Around the well-known clump of trees in the centre of the paddock - with seats beneath the shade for ladies on racing days - are wooden huts and tents of all shapes and sizes. There is also a huge marquee which serves as a mess-room and place of entertainment. The tidiness of the camp must strike every visitor. So meticulous is it that not even a cigarette end is missed by the cleaners. That is worthy of record as an illustration of the thoroughness with which all the work of the camp is done. The men turn out in the morning at 5 o'clock. There are physical exercises until breakfast at 7. Company drill on the Downs follows until noon when dinner is served. Then more evolutions and instruction in tactics and strategy until tea-time. The whole spirit of the place is simple and sincere. Everything shows how keen is the desire of the Corps to equip themselves for the country's service. You will see the men of the guard while waiting their turn to do 'sentry-go' - armed with rifle and bayonet - zealously conning little red-back manuals of instruction. Nor is recreation neglected. When the humming movement and bustle of the camp is stilled after dark the mess-tent is full of song and music for a few hours before the men turn in. All that is to the point. For does not the proverb say that a good laugh and a sound sleep are the two best things in the doctor's book?"
'THE ROYAL NAVAL DIVISION (PUBLIC SCHOOL BATTALION).
The Admiralty have given official permission for 1,000 University and Public School men to serve together as a Battalion for the above branch of the Service.
This Corps will be strictly limited to University and Public School men.
Those wishing to join must comply with the following conditions, subject to their passing the necessary medical examination :-
There are no expenses incurred by recruits, free kits and food being provided by the Admiralty. Recruiting hours from 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. Men are paid at the Service rate of 1s. 3d. per diem.
- To serve during the period of the War.
- Must be between the ages of 18 and 35.
- Mean chest measurement must be 34 inches.
- Minimum height to be 5 feet 3 inches.
6, 7 & 8 OLD BOND STREET, LONDON, W.'
'The Hawke Battalion was fortunate enough to be allowed to absorb, as one of its companies, the Public Schools Battalion, raised originally by Commander the Hon. Victor Gibson for service in the Army, and later re-enlisted in the RNVR for service in the Naval Division. The senior officers of the Battalion could not, of course be absorbed in the Hawke Battalion, and were transferred to service elsewhere; the men transferred were under the command of Lieut. [Eric Gordon] Wolfe-Barry, RNVR., who thus became the O.C. "D" Coy. in the new Hawke Battalion.'
"The mystery about a dead man who was found Saturday in a chair at the Crown Hotel In Horsham, Sussex, was cleared up .. when he was Identified as the Hon. Ernest Victor Gibson, fourth son of the first Baron Ashbourne .... Gibson was twice married. His first wife was Mary Wood Salisbury, daughter of Joseph L. R. Wood of New York, who married him in I905 and died the same year. His second wife, who survives with a two-year-old son and a four year-old daughter, was Caroline. daughter of Frederic De Billler of New York. Much speculation had been aroused as to the dead man's Identity. He declared at the hotel that he was an Irish rebel, known under six names In Ireland, and had lived with his father at the Vice-regal Lodge In Dublin. His signature on the hotel visitors' book was undecipherable. The only money found on him was threepence. In the fireplace was some smashed glass, while some liquid had been spilled on the floor. At the inquest the doctor who made the post-mortem examination said he found the man poorly nourished and thin... There was no appearance of corrosive poisoning. Cause of death was syncope, following pneumonia. The Coroner returned a verdict of death from natural causes."