Up at about 7.30. Paraded at 10 o’clock and marched to a camp near to Baileul1. Glorious day. Walked into Meteren2 at night and had some eggs at Jeanne’s. Beautiful afternoon and pleasant walk. Rained last thing.
Up about 8 o’clock. Spent most of the day looking after equipment and unloading waggons. Went to Locre church service at night and enjoyed it. Fine night. Harvey and I slept with equipment.
Strazeel: Strazeele (B), 80km NNE. of Doullens (A); 7km E. of Hazebrouck on D642 Bailleul road; Michelin square I2. This means that since the Retreat began on 21 March, the 58th Field Ambulance had been withdrawn completely from the Somme/Ancre theatre, where the German breakthrough occurred, a good 45km north to the Ypres area. ↩
No possible transcription of this place-name has been identified on the Michelin map; could be anything from a trench/camp name (‘Canada Green’?) to a local name (‘Candé Grand’? – or even ‘Mont Grand’.) ↩
Up about 7 o’clock. On parade at 9 o’clock. Helped to pack in the morning. Got pass to Bailleul in the afternoon but Ernie didn’t turn up there so I only went into Locre. Returned in good time.
Heard of the death of Willie Whittaker 1 in a letter from Ernie.
Up at midnight. Breakfast 12.15. Paraded for rations 1.15. Fritz1 plane over and delayed for an hour. Marched to train 3 o’clock. Got into compartment with only one door. 12 hours on the journey. Arrived at Bailleul about 3 in the afternoon. Had dinner and got a lorry to Locre. Walked from there to Kemmel2 and arrived just after 4 o’clock. Commenced to write letter home, fine day, looked through letters received. Harvey and Holman up the line.
Arrived at Ambulance after leave.
Up about 7.30. Decided to go to meet Ernie but he came to see me with a friend. Harvey joined us and we walked into Locre and back by La Clytte1. He told me that he had been recommended for a Military Medal2. Had good time together. Had tea in Locre.
The map shows this journey, from Kemmel (A) to Locre (B) and back via La Clytte (C). ↩
Although not recorded in the diary, Ernie had been awarded the Military Medal on 4th October for repairing communication wiring at night in No Man’s Land. The staff officer who saw Ernie doing it recommended him for the award because – perhaps with limited experience of front-line realities – he assumed it must be an exceptional act of bravery; an assumption about which Ernie remained indignant for the rest of his life. Courageous it clearly was (however modest Ernie may have been about it), but it was routine rather than exceptional. See further narrative about Ernie and the R.G.A. in the footnote on 12 May 1916, all posts tagged “Ernie” and the Family page. ↩
Up about 7 o’clock. On fatigue for a short while and then told off to go with the American doctor to see the Divisional column sick. Ernie called for me at noon and I got the afternoon off. Went into Locre. Called at the Y M and had tea and a tune; had tea in a house and then walked in to Mont Rouge. Called in at the Follies and started back shortly after 7 o’clock. Left Ernie about 8.30 near to La Laiterie1. The longest stay yet that we have had together. Enjoyed the day immensely. On return found that Driver had come down with shell shock, and that Holman had taken his place. They had wanted me but I was out. Nick Stack sleeping above me and drunk. He fell out of bed and spent the night on a stretcher on the floor.
Up about 7 o’clock. Busy all day getting dressings along with Jennings for the push. Walked to Locre at night and were just in time for the sermon. Bought some plums afterwards and met Eccles of the 57th1; returned to Kemmel about 9 o’clock and read a little in bed.
The 57th: presumably the 57th Field Ambulance. ↩
Up at 7 o’clock as usual. Walked into Locre at night. Had eggs and tomato at a house. Got back about 9 o’clock.