Up shortly after 7. Packed up ready to move. Heard that the Germans had retired and our people advanced to the position which they were going to attack this morning. Also rumour that leave will open shortly. Wrote letter to Mother and talked about pre-war work and turned in about 9.20. Read scraps from Everyman1. Moved to Vendegies2.
Vendegies: probably Vendegies-sur-Écaillon (B), 6km ENE. from Montrécourt (A), ie still moving steadily NE. from Cambrai; but there is also a Vendegies-au-Bois (C), some 11km further S.; both in Michelin square N6. ↩
Up at about 7. Packed up and set out for Avesnes les Aubert and arrived shortly after 9. Commenced duty in the baths. Messed about the baths all day. Walked to Rieux at night and played cards with the boys and walked up with Edgar Sims. Slept on the floor and was pretty cold. Received letter from home telling me that Mother is unwell again.
Up at 7 o’clock. Rain in the morning. Heard that we are to be relieved on the 4th October. On duty all day but not much to do. Clegg went on leave so I was put on night duty with Holman and stayed up all night.
Received letters from home – one typewritten from Joe and one from Mother.
Up about 7 o’clock and on duty. Received other two patients in the afternoon, making a total of 7. Had bath in the stream in the afternoon. Got boilers and baths underway. Heard that the German minister1 in Moscow had been assassinated2. Harvey and Holman went to number 8 C C S for duty. Wrote letter to Mother and one to Franchie Inwood at night. Thunder storm after tea. Sanders came to help us.
Up about 8 o’clock. No rations up so we had iron ration biscuits and bully for breakfast with a drink of tea without any sugar. Paraded at 10. I reported sick and was given duty. The American officer put a bandage on my ankle. Spent afternoon writing a letter home. We tried to improve our billet but the sergeants took it from us because two officers took theirs. Received letters from Gertie, Mother, Ernie and Hilda Linfoot1 in New Zealand. Got down to it about 8 o’clock. Had a look inside of a tank. Walked round inside gate† and was very much interested in it. Quite a lot2 where we are. A rumour that some of us are going to a place on duty.
Up at 7. Parade at 7.25 for a double1. Hard work. Parade 9.15 for physical drill and afterwards short route march. Off in the afternoon. Walked into Doullens with Holman. Had 2 eggs for tea. Bought tea cosy for Mother. Heard of Air Raid and 2 Zeppelins brought down. One near Durham2.
“Double”, if correct, would mean “double march”, ie a run; there appear to have been sporadic attempts to improve the men’s fitness when not in the line. ↩
The Zeppelin brought down “near Durham” may have been L34, shot down near Hartlepool, about 20 miles from Durham, on 27 November by Second Lieutenant I. V. Pyott, flying a B.E. 2C aircraft of C flight 36 Squadron based at Seaton Carew aerodrome. ↩
Up shortly after 7 o’clock. Had breakfast. Received letter from Mother and wrote reply. Dim rainy morning. Received orders first thing after dinner to march off again. Arrived Domart1 shortly after 5 o’clock. Quite a trek. Got shoved into a poor billet but managed to sleep well along with Ben Jenkins in the top of the steps. A lot of trouble about blankets.
Domart: Domart-en-Ponthieu (A), 7km W. of Canaples (B); Michelin square E7. ↩
Up about 7.30. Dressed and shaved and helped Billington with the breakfast things as usual. Helped with supper.
Received 5 days’ letters. One from mother telling me that Frances1 had dislocated her shoulder through falling in the street.
The shorthand seems to have “Francis”, but it is definitely “her shoulder”, not “his”. This is probably the Frances Cuthbert mentioned in a later diary entry and is certainly not Franchie Inwood. Nothing else is known about Frances Cuthbert. ↩