Geology Reference
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to be kept open for them, and any di¬erence between their
military pay and their college salary would be guaranteed to
them by the Governors. Junior members of sta¬, however, were
unlikely to benefit from this since their regimental pay,
insu~cient as it was, was still likely to exceed their pitiful
college salary. College sta¬ not eligible for active service were
immediately deployed on domestic 'war work'. Holmes, still
regularly su¬ering from debilitating bouts of malaria, was
graded C3 (the healthiest grade being A1) and consequently
deemed unfit for the armed services.
In the early months of the war, at the urgent request of the
War O~ce, Holmes and several of his colleagues spent much
time tediously making a one millionth scale map of Europe for
Naval Intelligence. This involved the drawing of contoured maps
of various parts of Italy, Russia, Finland and Scandinavia, depict-
ing roads, railways and topographic features, and then convert-
ing the maps to a relief model of part of the western front,
including Gallipoli. Later work, however, involved utilising his
more specialised knowledge of geology. Before the war Britain
had relied almost exclusively on German deposits of potash, a
vital ingredient in fertiliser, so as the war progressed, acute
shortages of potash were incurred due to the sudden cessation
of supply from Germany. Working for the 'Sub-Department
of Potash Production', Holmes played a significant role in
researching and identifying alternative sources, directly con-
tributing to the war e¬ort by enabling more food to be grown.
For those on active service however, things were very di¬erent
as was frequently recorded in The Phoenix , the college magazine
which continued through the early years of the 'Great' war until,
by 1917, there were no students left to write in it or for it:
The Great War has produced a profound change upon the life of the
College. We have given of our best. Professors, lecturers, demonstrators,
students and the working sta¬ alike have responded to the call; and the
numbers will continue to increase. There has been no hesitation. 'Our
country first - and then back to College' has been the motto. Those of our
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