By kind permission of John King, Author
Horatio Bottomley was quick to point out in John Bull on 8 January that his paragraph on Pennington Camp had had excellent results. Certainly more billets were taken, including some in Lee, while sub-depots at Norwood, Sydenham and Shortlands were opened with local billeting. All the sub-depots were in one Pay & Mess book and administered by one Commanding Officer and his staff. With numbers approaching 25,000, this was probably a record.
With the sub-depot at Lee, a soldiers’ club was opened at the Burnt Ash Congregational Church. This was followed on 10 January 1916 by St Mildred’s. Writing letters and postcards home was the most popular activity and about 300 items were posted each night. There appears to have been no censorship and local photographers were allowed to capture the men on parade. One Chislehurst photographer, Oscar Hardee opened a studio in Le May Avenue.
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