Machine Gun Farm. Fine day, but have to remain in barn owing to stray shots coming over. Wash, rifle inspection. Still queer. Spotted fever in No 2 Coy.
Elec. works. Route march before breakfast. Drill. French ham for dinner. Feel ‘waf’ again. Off to Mountain Gun Farm in afternoon.
Elec. works. Route march before breakfast. Another frost. Drill and rifle inspection, route march. Nothing doing all the afternoon. Go to Lila’s in evening with Champ., Jones and Millar.
Bn. War Diary: ‘Very misty morning. German flag in front of enemy’s wire brought in by Cpl Jenkins No 1 Coy.
Brigadier General Hasler takes over command of the Brigade.’
Elec. works. Feel all right again. Clean up, rifle inspection and pay. Inspection in afternoon. ‘Follies’ in evening with J A Millar. Snowed all last night, frost all day.
‘E Lancs House’. Nothing doing all day. Snow and rain in afternoon. On guard. Relieved in evening and return to Armentieres through snow storm. Hear Baldwin is at Rouen with pleurisy.
‘E. Lancs House’. Knocked up. Sleep all day and night. Chill or something of the sort. The others do my guard between them. Cigarette and tobacco issue.
‘E. Lancs House’. Watching over the river Warngrave. Only look out at night time. Deepen the trench inside the house during the day, find a little model of St Joseph, and stick him up on the wall. Plenty of shelling, convent gets most. Dead cows and sheep lying about, fairly strong. Two fur valises and other German souvenirs lying about not worth taking away. We use an oil stove for cooking no other light allowed.
No 75. Drill in morning, nothing else to do. Move up to ‘E. Lancs House’ in evening. J A Millar and I and five others take a dozen hard-boiled eggs with us. Machine gun plays on us as we go up the Essex Road, but we all fall flat just in time to escape. Rum lost.
No 75. Fatigue work in woods cutting down trees. Hear that No 9 was struck in yesterday’s bombardment and the back of the house ruined. Thunderstorm at lunchtime. Go to No 9 to express our sorrow at their misfortune. His own house, had it for ten years, house alone without finish cost 1137 francs. Every room damaged except front room and front bedroom. Insurance doesn’t cover war risks, and he does not expect to get compensation from government, only the big owners do. M’slle Stella alone in house at the time and has narrow escape. Champ., J A Millar and I make up small parcel for them. Return to No 75 and turn in. Coffee and read in bed.
No 75. Do ourselves well for meals as always when in this billet. Go to Nieppe for bath and change. Orderly. Hear Earl Cavan has been made Brigadier. Capt. Bates in command of regiment. Blockade starts. No letters.