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.
Up about 7 o’clock. On parade at 9.15. On fatigue all day cleaning out hut for dispensary. Put on night duty. Went up to service but were just in time for the finish. Sat up until midnight and then got down to it.
Up about 7.45. Fine day. At headquarters in the morning. A German aeroplane dropped a bomb within a few feet of the train1 at night. Killed three M G C2 men and wounded 7. We were busy dressing them. Billy Truman and I went out about 9 o’clock and found the body of the last dead man †called Wyeth†. A bonny moonlight night. Received letter from Leishman.
While no railway now exists at or near Trescault, at least one contemporary record (A Medico’s Luck in the War pp 161-162) suggests that a narrow gauge railway line existed at this time, running past the main dressing station, and that it was used for the evacuation of casualties. ↩
M G C: Machine Gun Corps. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission names three men of the Machine Gun Corps killed at Trescault on this date, very likely to be the three mentioned here by ALL. They are 21246 Sgt. Edward Valentine Townsend, 119959 Pte. G. F. P. King and 87714 Pte. J. Wyeth. All three are buried at Ribecourt Road Cemetery, Trescault (B), just under 1km NE of Trescault (A). Transcription of the words “called Wyeth” is uncertain, but Pte. Wyeth’s name was doubtless accessible from his identity disc or pay-book. ↩
Up about 7.30. On parade at 9. Did precious little in the morning. Washed pants and towel at dinnertime. Received postcard from Leishman. Saw German aeroplane brought down in flames quite near. Spent afternoon round the fire talking and arguing.
Reported sick again and Captain Fryer saw me in the billet. Ankle much better and able to walk pretty easily. Wrote letters to Leishman, Ranald MacDonald and home. Not quite so cold. Played chess last thing and lost a game with Holman.
Up at 7 o’clock. Paraded with full packs at 9 o’clock. Helped Sergeant Powell with the panniers. Spent the afternoon cleaning up kit and having hair cut. Received letters from Joe, George Crawford and Metgrave. Finished letter to Leishman.
Up about 7 o’clock. Usual day’s work. Did Freddie’s ward too. Jones went out. On at night. Wrote letter to Leishman.
Up at 7.30. On duty in the hospital as usual. A section marched off up the line. A lot of fuss about the D M S1 coming and he didn’t come round. C O in a bad temper in the morning and sent most men off to duty. Wrote letter to Leishman in the Y M at night. I talked to a corporal of the Wilts2 just out, for a few minutes. At the service.
Arrived at a place about 10 o’clock (23)1 and got down2 with Lavere under a waggon. Ordered to move on again. After delay fell in and marched to the place near the château where we were on Friday. Got down in the open with Lavere and slept well although damp. Got up and had breakfast about 10. Shaved and washed. Washed feet and hunted for lice. Received parcel from home, and letter from home and a letter from Leishman with a photograph of the barracks R-, N.C.Os. Spent day agreeably. Made good shelter for the night.
Up at 7 o’clock. Reported sick. Had tooth out. Sat on cart shaft. Captain Johnson pulled it out1. Route march in the afternoon. Very hot. Stayed in at night and wrote letters. Received letter from Leishman and replied to it. Had milk and marmalade for supper. Fine day.
Had tooth out.
Without anæsthetic, naturally; in later life ALL described how the MO, Capt. Johnson, sidled up to him hiding the pincers behind his back. ↩