[This entry written on page for 15 March, “15” altered to “16”.]
Up at 6.30. Fell in at 9.15. Marched off with the band. Had good march and arrived at Lespesses1 about noon. Walked into St Hilaire at night2 with Bernard Stanton and spent a few minutes in a canteen. Returned home about 8 o’clock. Finished reading They & I by Jerome3. Billeted in an outhouse near a barn.
Lespesses (B): 10km N. of Pernes (A) and 4km W. of Lillers; Michelin square G4. ↩
St Hilaire: St-Hilaire-Cottes (C), 1km NW. of Lespesses; also Michelin square G4. ↩
Up at 7 o’clock. Field service at 11 o’clock and preaching good. Went up by the new little church in the afternoon and commenced reading “List, Ye Landsmen!” by Clark Russell1. Beautiful day and beautiful scenery. Had short walk at night with Duggins. Wrote up diary. Turned in about 9 o’clock. Orders to be up at 4 o’clock in the morning.
Up at 7 o’clock. Had breakfast up at the field. Noticed how strange it was over to the left peaceful and to the right shells bursting. Received orders that B & C sections are ordered <to> go up tonight. Paraded in the afternoon with skeleton equipment and received two days’ rations besides emergency rations. Fine night. Handed in pack. Read Bible the 23 Psalm and St. John1. Were detailed off in sections, Paddy, Leaky, Duggins and myself. Supper at 8.30. Saw a troop of cavalry go through the village, and then watched some aeroplanes being† *. Listened gramophone playing some Welsh songs. Formed up at 10 o’clock. Marched off in the dark. Carried stretcher with party most of the way. Reminded me of “Invasion of 1910”2. Lay beside a broken down barn for a short time. Arrived reserve trench 12 o’clock.
ALL’s Bible readings for the day: The 23rd Psalm – “The Lord is my sheperd…” – now popular at funerals and; St John’s Gospel – “In the beginning was the Word…”. ↩
The Invasion of 1910 is a 1906 novel written by William Le Queux. Its subject is an imagined war starting with the invasion of England by Germany in 1910. Something in Le Queux’ description of a contemporary war seems to have resonated with ALL’s own experience on this particular evening. See also Arthur Linfoot’s Library. ↩
Church parade. Had a cold. At church in the morning and sat in the same pew as the Misses Mack and merely nodded. Didn’t overtake them coming back to camp owing to the man I was with stopping to speak to Mr Douglas. They didn’t turn out at night. Cold worse. Read all the afternoon and finished I will Repay1.
“I Will Repay”: novel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, author of The Scarlet Pimpernel, who lived at Acol (near Thanet in Kent). I Will Repay is the second Scarlet Pimpernel book written by Orczy although it comes chronologically third in the series, after Sir Percy Leads the Band and before The Elusive Pimpernel. See also Arthur Linfoot’s Library. ↩