25 August 1917; Saturday

Up at about 7 o’clock. On parade in the morning doing squad drill. Swim before dinner. Pay parade in the afternoon. I studied a little French. Football match at night between our team and the Lancs brigade. We won 2 – 0. Had walk round with Holman and finished up with eggs at the station cafe with John Dory, Harvey and Holman.

Definite news from Piggy Wood that we are moving in a day or two.

Italians doing well and captured 20,000 prisoners, French over 7,000.

We are fighting very hard round Lens and in front of Ypres1.


  1. “We are fighting very hard . . . in front of Ypres . . .”: this was no doubt a reference to Passchendaele (or the Third Battle of Ypres; see 31 July). Passchendaele (now Passendale) is at (A) on the map. Lens is further south (at B, Michelin square D5), about half-way between Ypres and the Somme battlefield; it had been behind the German line until early 1917, when the Germans withdrew to their Hindenburg Line, thus obtaining a considerably shorter and much more heavily-fortified defensive line, and surrendering the Somme area, Bapaume, Péronne and Noyon.