Up at 6 o’clock and went up the line on the dugout fatigue. Rained heavily all day and we returned at dinner time after simply unlocking a waggon of stuff. Good news in the papers about the advance at Arras.
Went to service at the Y M at night and played1 for a short while afterwards. Had serious talk with Harvey and felt better after it.
“Played”: Not a game but a keyboard instrument of some sort; a piano or organ if such was available in the YM. ↩
Up at 8 o’clock. Practically nothing to do all day. Wrote letter to Ernie. Received letter and parcel from home. Cold day and a few showers of snow. Read some of “Villette.”1 The man badly wounded in the arm2 died tonight. I felt a bit * as is Captain Strickland.
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.
Hazebrouck (B): 11km NE. of Boësighem (A); Michelin square H3. ↩
Outersteene (C): Outtersteene is 10km E. of Hazebrouck, 5km SW. of Bailleul (D), Michelin square I3. ↩
Meteren (E): Méteren is 6km NNE. of Outtersteene, 5km W. of Bailleul (D); also Michelin square I3. ↩
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.
Serre (C): Michelin square I7, about halfway between Gommecourt (A) and Thiepval (B) and 12km E of Acheux-en-Amiénois (D). This was evacuation by the Germans. See the Capture of Serre at The Accrington Pals and Serre at World War One battlefields. ↩
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.