- We left Charing Cross soon after 7 am in a train crowded with officers.
There must have been between five & six hundred of us.
- All the luggage was dumped down into one place
so there was much trouble in finding it in the dark.
- I objected to the language of the N.C.O’s towards officers
& the way we were generally treated.
- There was a big steamer on the sands, broken in half
probably torpedoed & then beached.
- It was quite like a picnic in peace time.
I met several old friends of Pindi days.
- We went off to Paris Plage for the afternoon.
It was blowing a gale & the surf there was very fine.
- There are one or two very interesting churches in the town
especially St Walpurgis which dates from about 1500 A.D.
- I walked up to the trenches which were about 6 miles away
to have a look at them.
- It amused me to watch all the schoolchildren here going to school,
each carrying a satchel with a gas helmet, instead of copy books.
- After a very wet night, it rained most of the day
& the mud is almost worse than Sheppey mud.
- There are not many of its original inhabitants left,
but the few that there are make quite a good thing out of it.
- I did not rise early after our nights work,
though the guns were rather more active than usual.
- We made our way first to the Cathedral, which has suffered terribly.
Except for one arch the whole of the roof was gone.
- There was a great deal of shooting,
a Boche aeroplane squadron & one of ours were having a fight up in the air.
- We had one man killed by a sniper early in the morning,
otherwise the morning was quite peaceful.
- At night we had patrols out in front of the line
& parties mending barbed wire.
- All the enemy’s missiles started to come over & made sleep impossible.
Our retaliation was I am afraid nil.
- We had only one man killed & another injured,
which was very lucky as many fin bombs landed in the trenches.
- The poppies are wonderfully pretty in the communication trenches
& in some of the deserted trenches they hang right down the sides.
- I shall be glad to get rid of the gas from our trenches
as I was always afraid of a shell hitting one of the cylinders.
- It is more merciful than the German gas as it is so deadly
& there is very little suffering or struggling for breath with it.
- Two or three miles away I could see a gas attack going on,
clouds of gas & smoke rolled along like a great fog over the enemy’s lines.
- We had a disturbed night, as at midnight our guns opened rapid fire
on the enemy’s trenches & then put a barrage behind them.
- A very quiet night to be followed by a strenuous day.
In order to frighten the Boche we were told to send over a smoke cloud.
- The Boche opened rapid fire with rifle & machine gun
& all his artillery on our fire trenches & supports.
- The poppies everywhere on either side were lovely.
In the evening there was quite a good regimental concert.
- After lunch our trench mortars started firing
which caused the German ones to reply.
- I bless our steel helmets every day,
which have saved my head many a time from bumps.
- The wind was blowing from the S.E. today, so we had a gas alert,
but it luckily changed to S.W soon after.
- As soon as it was dark we sent out two officers patrols
to try & capture a Boche.
- We went out from the gap into No Mans Land
where we remained over two hours.
- During the night we sent out a raiding party
to try & get into the German lines.
- We had luckily a very quiet day, scarcely any shelling
& life was quite pleasant.
- Hear the pleasant news that we are to be relieved tomorrow.
This means however that we are destined for the big show further South.
- I was awoken at 7 am by three large shells falling close to our house
& sending fragments all round.
- We are to move out tomorrow to be fattened up for the push.
No one is particularly pleased but realize that it has got to be done.
- The billets were very poor & most of us slept on the floor of a shed
where the rats were very lively.
- Ivergny was a charming spot, lovely gardens & orchards
& the house quite hidden under big shady trees.
- Late at night orders arrived that we were to move on tomorrow.
I wish we could have stopped longer in this pleasant valley.
- It is extraordinary how they keep the ground so clean & free from weeds
with all the male population away at the war.
- There was a very pretty old chateau there
with a beautiful park behind. I stopped in to dinner.
- There were 4 guns which fired 40 rounds in under half a minute
& made a deafening row.
- We have orders to be ready to move at three hours notice
as the attack on Guillemot has apparently failed.
- There was an unfortunate accident to D Coy in the afternoon.
A rifle grenade exploded at the muzzle of the rifle & killed two men.
- Fricourt, Mametz Contalmaison & the other villages are absolutely flat:
there is literally not one brick left upon another.
- No attempt is made at concealment
& it looks far more like proper warfare.
- Some 11 inch shells fell within a few hundred yards of us.
The Church Spire with the leaning virgin was a very curious sight.
- After dark we had a wonderful display of Bosche fireworks again,
all colours & also a kind of golden rain.
- The stench was too awful, we kept digging up corpses,
they were lying every where, ours & Boche dead.
- Everything was horribly slippery & muddy
as it was raining steadily the whole night.
- The night was a very noisy one
& Howitzers kept on firing at intervals.
- While we were having breakfast, several Boche aeroplanes came over
& had the impertinence to drop a number of bombs on the camps all round.
- I saw a few old friends there, but how many more had gone.
Their stories of High Wood were very gruesome.
- Three of the company commanders were killed & the fourth wounded
& almost every officer that was up with the Battalion was hit.
- The row was absolutely deafening
so much so that I became quite sleepy from the awful row.
- A thunderstorm came up so rapidly that the balloons had not time to come down
& to my horror I saw two of them struck by lightning.
- My insides are all wrong & so did not enjoy life.
The roads & tracks were horribly muddy.
- There is a town crier who goes about with a drum
crying out the price of eggs.
- In the evening it poured with rain & streams came down in torrents.
How thankful I am that I am not in the trenches.
- Arrived at Fontainebleau at 2 am & had to climb over the palisade to get into the Hotel
as the outer bell would not ring.
- The crossing was a rough one
and the deck was a very wet place.
- I put up a woodcock, a jack snipe
teal and two water rails.
- We had a very cheery dinner party
and did not go to bed till past one.
- Xmas Day. A very showery day.
The mud in the trenches was very bad.
- In the evening we had our Xmas dinner
pork and fresh vegetables, plum puddings and beer.
- A dug out fell in and buried several men.
The trenches are very wet again.
- A very cold and slippery ride to Simencourt.
It snowed most of the day.
- More firing than usual during the night
and the Boche Trench Mortars opened fire.
- Now I shall have nothing to do
and may very well go on leave.
- A most incompetent ass as Town Mayor
who was constantly causing trouble.
- I spend some time exploring these caves
which can hold 7 or 8000 troops.
- After many tumbles in shell craters
I got home about 2 a.m.
- A whole Brigade is billetted in the cave to-night
and it drips everywhere from the roof.
- It was an awful scene of desolation
dead horses all over the road.
- The ground is white everywhere
and there seems to be no spring at all in this country.
- The Brigadier protested that Hill 90 must be taken first
and that it was sheer murder to send us on.
- We found one man stuck in the mud and unable to move
and brought him along with us.
- Not one stone remains standing upon another
every fruit tree or tree by the roadside has been cut down.
- In this chaos of shell holes
there is not much chance for things to grow.
- Am feeling very stiff and rheumatic
from living in these deep dug outs.
- Another prisoner of 8th Regt captured.
He was seen in No Man’s land and chased.
- Certain places the Boche shells regularly
and some batteries have had a very poor time.
- An orderly of ours was shot
standing at the top of our dug out.
- Bombs began to drop around us
and we had to put all our lights out.
- Hear that I am to go on leave
to-morrow morning early.
- We were woken up during the night by bombs
being dropped on the Station.
- Everyone was very pleased
at meeting so many old friends.
- Providence is certainly on the side of the Boche.
I had a very wet drive to Hazebrouck.
- It was a sad sight to see
all the women and children fleeing.
- Some mustard oil shells came over
and we all had to put on our respirators.
- During the night many German aeroplanes came over
and bombed the camps behind.
- We however manage to exist and try and be cheerful.
and the sentry was blown to pieces.
- The whole day we sat under a hurricane of shells
expecting that the dug out would be blown in.
- Our champagne supper was rather interrupted
which we had arranged for the night we came out of the trenches.
- I was sniped with whiz bangs
which luckily missed me.
- Mosquitoes are troublesome here
breeding in the water in the shell holes.
- The Doctor next door snored so loudly
that sleep was difficult.
- We walked through miles of ruined streets
without meeting a soul.
- A “dud Archie” landed on their signallers’ hut
killing and wounding fourteen signallers.
- The only two nights I have spent in London
there have been air raids.