RETURN TO GEORGE BODDY
George enlisted on 19th October 1870 in the 68th Light Infantry (afterwards the 1st Battalion Durham Light Infantry). His enlistment records show him as a shoemaker, age 19, 5 ft. 6 in. tall, 33 in. around the chest, fair complexion, grey eyes, brown hair and no distinguishing marks. His service No. was 1401, becoming 822 after the formation of the D.L.I. on 1st July 1881. George's army papers also show he held a 2nd Class Certificate of Education. George afterwards wrote his memoirs, sufficient pages of which have survived to produce interesting reading. As far as possible, the original grammar and wording have been retained, though intelligent guesses have had to be made to bridge small gaps where the original is unreadable. [Editorial comments have been placed within square brackets, and some words were undecipherable, shown as ....]
Diary of Pte. Geo. Boddy 68th L.I.
I enlisted in the 68th Light Infantry on the 18th [actually 19th] October 1870 at Leeds, because I did not like the trade [shoe-making] I was put too and because I always had a fancy for soldiering, I inlisted with the Recruting Sergeant Major Delaney, who lived in Barrack Street in Buslinthorpe he was a very nice quite Civil man I thought all the Sergeants would be like him but I found my mistake out long before I had my .. ...p.. are complete, well after I had enlisted I used to go every morning to report myself, I got the Sergeant to let me go home to stay as I did not want my friends to know anything about it until I had gone away from Leeds, after a few days stay to pass the Doctor [20th] and get sworn in by the magistrate, we were ..ed off to York [22nd] where I found out that a soldier's life was not all sweet. We were put in a large Barrack Room, every Recruit that comes up, and you are ...ed out with your Pay 1/4 per day, and you have to keep yourself with this amount, ….. soldiering commenced here, though we had not been formally approved of. We were made to clean the Sergeants ..., carry coals for the 7th Hussars ...... and several other things that I had not .. .......... but I knew it was too late now to think of it, though I very often did, so I gave my mind to it, I got along all right, after a few days stay in York along with 2 more men was sent to Liverpool, there we were marched to the Recruits Depot. I never saw a such miserable hole in my life I forget the ... of the Street but the place itself was Beastly, and thick with dirt and crowded with Recruits, I was ... glad to get into the open air again, no Liverpool a.. were billited on the publicans, but they were always ... to get rid of you for any Consideration, generally before they will let a recruit stay in his house (and I quite agree with him) for the majority of us were not very clean, I did not see much of Liverpool but I thought it a very busy place, fine Docks and a floating Dock, well 3 of us was shipped off to join the 68th L.I., we crossed over to Birkenhead then went by train to Holyhead, it is a long ride through Chester and part of Wales, then we embarked on Board a steamer for Dublin it was a very rough passage, I thought we should never get there and was awfully sick I never felt anything like it in my life but we arrived safe in Dublin, and went to Lime-hall Barracks, and there we stayed for 2 days and a dirtier place where they put the recruits I never saw, and the place was full of men going to join different Corps. I liked Dublin very well, it is a fine place, plenty of fine Buildings, after staying here a few days we were sent off to join the Regiment then stationed at Templemore [arrived 28th], a small town Tipperary not very much to see but the people around Templemore, and in fact never met with any thing else but kindness in Ireland, and I travelled a great deal of Well we arrived safe in Barracks and my first experience in soldiering commenced. I greatly struck with the difference in the Barrack Room between the one I stayed in Dublin, and the one I was sent into the one in Dublin was Dirty, but here everything was Clean, everything smart and in order, each bed made up so much alike that you would have thought .....
Six pages here are missing and the memoirs carry on the story in India, see GEORGE BODDY IN INDIA