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Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

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Harry or Henry Phare, as he was baptised, was the son of another Henry Phare who had been born in Highhampton in 1854. Lance Corporal Frank Phare of the 2nd Devonshire Regiment was Harry's cousin and this is a letter to him written on board HMS Assaye en route to South Africa. 


March 1900

Dear Harry,

I expect you will be glad to hear how I am getting on. We are expecting to touch at some place or another tomorrow, Las Palmas I expect. We are having grand weather. We had it rather rough on  Monday and a lot of chaps "turned up". I didn't, although I felt rather queer. We had it pretty nearly as smooth as a mill pond going through the Bay of Biscay. We signalled as we passed the signalling station at Madeira.

Well, when we left Exeter there were hundreds of people there, and we had a very good send-off. Lloyd's firm gave us each a tin of tobacco. We stopped at Salisbury for about five minutes.  When we got to Southampton there was a lot of other troops embarking. We got the 3rd Yorks band on board so we get some music now. There are 2070 officers and men here, and 217 crew. About 200 of the latter are darkies or Laskars, a jolly dirty lot too. They all sit around a plate of rice, about six of them, and eat it with their fingers.

We have seen lots of porpoises and dolphins, also a few flying fish. they seem to have a fish's  body and bird's wings. They seem to flip along the water, and when we come close to them , they dive down. The porpoises jump out of the water every now and again and swim along in front of the ship.

It seems like a little town here. You walk about and lose yourself. It is amusing to see blokes coming up from drawing their hammocks and wandering about looking for their messes. The ship hardly rolls at all; not half as bad as that "Gazelle" from Weymouth to Jersey, I forgot to tell you that when we got to Southampton, we had a nice cup of coffee and a couple of buns from the Daily Mail's Kipling Poem Fund*. That is the way to treat soldiers. Ladies would also post letters &c free. I tell you it was well approved of by the chaps. Well the sergeant is waiting for the letters so I must close with best wishes to you all. 

Yours &c




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