Tag Archives: Nielles-les-Bléquin

18 August 1917; Saturday

Up at 7 o’clock. Sergeant Hughes told me that we may be going to Boulogne today. The brigade sports on and most of our chaps went out for the day. Over 4 leaves through. Started off for Boulougne [sic] about 11.40 and went there within 90 minutes including a puncture on the way. The country very beautiful and I enjoyed the ride immensely. Went up to the hospital but found that Ranald had been cleared on the 14th to England. Walked round the town a bit. Had dinner with the others. Went down by a beach and watched the sea and the shipping. A lot of girls, both English and French and they looked very pretty. Had tea in the Y M and got the car about 5 o’clock. Stopped on the way back for the chaps to go into a pub. Bought a packet of photographs.

17 August 1917; Friday

Up at 7 o’clock. Glorious day. Squad drill first thing, then kit inspection by new officer. Went down to the lower part of the stream but the water was too shallow for swimming. After dinner bath parade and a clean change by the stream at the old place. Went to the Follies at night with John Dory. They were very good and much better than before. Received letter from Charlie and one from home and wrote long letter home.

16 August 1917; Thursday

Up at about 7 o’clock. Parade at 9 o’clock and went on with the cleaning up. Parade at 2 o’clock and route march. At night went out with John Dory and read and wrote a bit. Had supper at the Sedan1 Hotel. Got permission to go to Boulogne2 first car.

  1. Sedan: a surprising name? – as Sedan was the scene of the principal French military disaster of the Franco-Prussian War. 

  2. ALL evidently planned to visit Ranald MacDonald in hospital at Boulogne. 

15 August 1917; Wednesday

Up at 7 o’clock. Rained heavily all morning and nothing done. Wrote to Ranald MacDonald and a letter home.

The Number 9s1 gave a concert in a little hut near the village. Pretty good and a good audience of the mayor, brigadier and all sorts.

  1. The Number 9s (assuming as always that the transcription is correct) were presumably a Forces concert party (and if so, presumably based on some medical unit). 

14 August 1917; Tuesday

Up about 7 o’clock. Cleaned up stuff in the panniers until about dinnertime. Went up for a bath before dinner. Worked an hour or so in the afternoon. Went out with John Dory at night. It rained heavily and compelled us to return. Had long talk up the river side. Had some eggs in the farmhouse last thing.

Received letter from Ranald MacDonald saying that he is in hospital at Boulogne slightly gassed.

13 August 1917; Monday

Up at about 7 o’clock. On fatigue in the morning. Pay parade at 11 o’clock. Box respirator1 and clothes inspection at 2 o’clock. A few chaps drunk on parade and got into trouble for it. Lovely day. Had walk with Dory at night on to the top of the ridge. Had eggs for supper at the farm house.

  1. A box respirator was a kind of gas mask using  a two-piece design with a mouthpiece connected via a hose to a box filter. Two types of box respirator were used, the large box respirator (LBR), which was ultimately deemed too bulky for use by infantry, and the small box respirator (SBR). It is unclear which type of box respirator was issued to ALL although it seems likely to have been the SBR which would have been more suited for use by stretcher bearers in trenches. See also Chemical Weapons in World War I at Wikipedia. 

11 August 1917; Saturday

Arrived at Lumbres1 about 2.30. Raining and dark. Lay in the trees and slept for about an hour. Woke with the cold and tried to get some coffee but failed. Marched off about 6 o’clock and arrived at our destination about noon. Had breakfast on the way. Rained heavily several times on the way and we were fed up and pretty dejected when we arrived. Slept during the afternoon and immediately after it the S W B’s2 took over our billet and we had to go further up the village. I moved again into a guard room sort of place and we got some straw and it served for beds.

Name of the village is Nielle-le-Blequin3.

  1. Lumbres (A) is about 50km W of Bailleul and 11km WSW. of St Omer, off the N42 to Boulogne. 

  2. South Wales Borderers. 

  3. Nielles-les-Bléquin (B) is a further 7km in the same direction: 18km WSW. of St Omer, 30km from Boulogne – and just over 60km W. of Ypres; Michelin square E3.