18th December 
Saturday – one week from Christmas! Off at 8 am on Brigade fatigue with Knight and 200 men to the mule track over the cliff that we came by. Worked all day under Major Bell RE and Dempler Staff Captain, and made the track broad and safe cutting tons of solid rock away with picks – rather wonderful work for which the authorities did not stint their praise. Got back to camp tired and hungry having had nothing all day. Turned in early and wrote Ellen, Alice and Frank and Isabel Smith.
The French tried to get horses across the Izan Bridge today where Middlemas’ horse had to be killed a few days ago. A rather fine piece of work they had a horse down between the girders in front and a mule, behind three mules, got the middle mules turned round and past the kicking one and the mule up and had only to shoot the horse. The Bridge is a high iron span bridge, girders with an iron footway about 30 feet above the river and when an animal slips between the girders it gets no grip for its feet and cannot get up.