Tag Archives: Essars

2 October 1918; Wednesday

We arrived at Essars about 7 o’clock. Steam engine took over and we arrived at Burbure1 about 9. Marched to Auchel. Had breakfast about 10 o’clock and marched off for Grecourt2 about 2 and arrived by 5 o’clock. Dinner at night and to bed. Absolutely tired out.

  1. Burbure (B; Michelin square G4) is on the southern outskirts of Lillers, 17km E of Essars (A) and 6km NNW. of Auchel (C). 

  2. “Grecourt” is not in the Michelin map gazetteer, and I can’t find any name much resembling it within 3 hours’ march (especially if circuitous and/or lost) of Auchel. It was probably somewhere N. of Saint-Pol-sur-Ternoise (D), as they got back the next day (and no transport is mentioned) to Pernes, which is on the St Pol – Lillers road (Michelin square G5). 

1 October 1918; Tuesday

Off duty in the morning. Went down to headquarters. Couldn’t sleep. Returned in the afternoon. Headquarters moved to Auchel1. Ambulance relieved. Left A D S at about 9.30 and marched up to Le Touret siding. Waited there until 2.45. Jerry shelled twice very near and we crouched under some rails, the hedge and anywhere. Most miserable night, light rail train broke down twice and stuck * and –

  1. Auchel (B; Michelin square G4) is 7km SSE. of Lillers, and 11km SW. of Béthune. If the Advanced Dressing Station was near the previous location of headquarters, and if that was at Essars (A), 2km NE. of Béthune (see 18 September), this could make sense. Le Touret (C) is a hamlet 3km NE. from Essars, in square I4. 

29 September 1918; Sunday

Had a few cases in during the night. Finished about 8 o’clock and got down to it in a funk hole. Jerry shelled about 10 o’clock and blew up our marquee. We ran down the road a bit. Returned and packed up and went to headquarters to sleep until after tea. Returned in the afternoon. No-one hurt but the dinner all blown up. On duty all night.

27 September 1918; Friday

Up about 7 o’clock. Betts and Duggins went up and I and Pugh were left behind. Messed about the place a bit and turned in at night about 9. Walked to headquarters with Harvey.

Splendid news from Palestine1 and Macedonia. 40 thousand Turks prisoners. Heard that the Americans had advanced in the Argonne2 and taken 10 thousand prisoners.

  1. Palestine: See notes on 23 and 24 September

  2. The beginning of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive

25 September 1918; Wednesday

Up at 7 o’clock. On fatigue during the morning. Rather dull and showery but got out fine. Heard that the Americans had taken a redoubt†. Pulled out of bed at mid-night to go up the line. Dressed hurriedly and went up as far as the A D S. Got down in a marquee. Jerry shelled in the night and came very near. We ran into the dressing room. After a while lay down again. He shelled near but not so much as earlier in the evening.

24 September 1918; Tuesday

Up at about 7.30 and on guard 8 to 12. Taken off guard in the afternoon and put on a party of stretcher bearers and again taken from that later on. Received letter from Leishman. Heard that 25000 Turks and 260 guns were captured in Palestine1 and that the Bulgarians were in full retreat2.

  1. Palestine: The Battle of Nablus again? See yesterday

  2. Bulgarians in retreat: This diary entry was written towards the closing stages of the Vardar Offensive, which led to Bulgaria signing the Armistice of Salonica and thus withdrawing from the war on 29 September.