Mooned about until 2 o’clock. Came back to the billet and roused * house. Up at 6.30. Cleaned up ready for parade. Dull morning. Marched off about 11 o’clock. Passed through Hazebrouck1 and saw the people going out of the big church. Sat by the roadside and had tea served up. Arrived at Outersteene2 about 4.30. Decent village and good billet. Went out with Holman and had eggs and chips. Supposed to finish guard but didn’t go on it. Had short walk in the direction of Meteren3. Four of our chaps went into Méteren. Turned in early. Had meat and tinned tongue for supper. 22 kilos. Heard rumour of Bapaume being captured and revolt in Russia.
Up at 7 o’clock. Shaved and dressed and went to tent. Had paste egg1 for breakfast. Posted letter to Charlie. Expecting 400 to [figure omitted?] wounded soldiers.
Up at usual time. Papers mention the capture of Serre & village beyond1.
Rumoured capture of Kut-el-Amam2.
Walked to Lealvillers but found no concert there. Bought some things and walked to the little cocoa house and had some biscuits and cocoa. Went to bed fairly early and slept well. Wrote long letter home. Had tent crowded out at night.
Busy all day. M O called round twice† and rumour of the evacuation of Serre1. All sorts of news going round all day. Went to service at night at the Y M C A.
Busy all day. Finished at 6 o’clock and went up to the service in the Mairie. The padre was very good and we enjoyed the service. Received letter from Ernie, also parcel from Betty.
Heard that at the French victory at Verdun 9 000 prisoners and 81 guns had been captured.
Busy as usual. Managed to get time to write a letter. Finished about 8 o’clock and went straight to bed.
Heard of a French victory at Verdun 1 and that they had advanced 2 miles on a 6 mile front.
Up at 6 o’clock. Cleaned up place, shaved and went off duty at 8 o’clock. Slept most of the day. Duggins not well. On duty at 8 o’clock at night. Germans counter-attacked in the morning. Our guns smashed them up. News that the Germans have been driven back 12 miles by the Roumanians, that the Russians and Italians have advanced and that the French have captured some forts at Verdun. Rumours of air raid at London.
Had practice going all day. Received news of big French successes at Verdun1 and also that we captured 200 Germans in a counter-attack up here. Read a good bit and got into bed in good time. Pretty cold and wet. Received letter from Charlie and papers from home.
Up before 7 o’clock. Detailed off in the morning to assist Sergeant McGinn In the dressing station for walking cases. Vaguely heard that the Cheshires1 tried to get over the top and failed in the wet. Rain all the morning. Wet day, and cold.
The 9th Cheshires were in the 58th Brigade, 19th (Western) Division. ↩
Roumania joined the Allies (not least because Bulgaria was with the Central Powers) with singularly bad timing. Falkenhayn was removed from the Western Front due to his perceived failures (and replaced by Hindenburg, who was President of Germany in 1933 when Hitler became Chancellor), but when transferred to Transylvania (still part of Austria-Hungary at this time) proved much too good for the Roumanians, who were routed in Wallachia (the southern portion of the country, between the Carpathians and the Danube, where Bucharest is situated) and were driven back to their original capital Iași (pronounced Yash; formerly spelt Jassy) at the Northern end of Moldova. ↩