Berguette. Sample fraisette at the Buvette. Try to learn to swim in the canal, Radford teaching. Tea at Isbergues. Chapman turns up at our billet. Guard.
Berguette. Have a run round the yard after guard this morning on one of the R.Es’. cycles. Road returns as full Corporal and takes Cregoes’s place. Down at the canal in afternoon again watching the others bathe. Hope to try myself tomorrow. Tea at Isbergues. One of our cooks stationed here as well, and does all the cooking for us. Dinners and breakfasts so far been very good with a few extras bought in. Strawberries at dinner today. Guard.
Berguette. After guard go for a walk round before breakfast. Breakfast always at 9.30 am, dinner at 1 pm. We have a private house, and share it with some of the R.Es. Eight L.R.Bs. altogether, four in each room. Go down to canal in afternoon, tea at Isbergues again. Guard. Guard is mounted over R.E. stores and reserve supply of high explosives. Lydite, gas etc.
St Omer. Entrain for Berguette, lines of communication. All day to ourselves, guard mounted 7 pm to 7 am at R.E. yard. Dinner at an estaminet. Walk along the canal in the afternoon. Tea at Isbergues. Guard.
Bn. War Diary: There is no mention of the battalion moving to Berguette or Isbergues. Entries continue to report activities as being at St Omer, and are not the same as Hob’s personal diary. The distance between St Omer and Isbergues is 15 miles. There is a reference to ‘lines of communication’
St Omer. Swedish drill before breakfast, then all the rest of the day to myself. Dinner at the Restaurant Vincent with Oakley and Cpl. King. See one of the more modern churches turned into a motor garage, the chancel being screened off with red cloth. Find out at last what it is they sell on the barrows in the street, hot chip potatoes. Finish up at the Soldiers’ Club.
Arrive at St Omer 5.10 am. Parade sick with my neck. Put down for Quarter Guard, but they have made a mistake and have got the wrong name, so I have nothing to do all day. Go for a stroll round in the evening. Meet Chapman who is now acting as orderly at No 10 Hospital. Play draughts at the Soldiers’ Club.
Hob returned to St Omer after his leave, and two days later the battalion was moved 15 miles down the road to Isbergues where they were to remain in reserve for three months until the end of September. These appeared to be excellent days, and Hob learned to swim in the Canal d’Aire.– a skill that had managed to elude him previously. It was then back to St Omer for a further five weeks before moving back up to the Belgian border area near to Steenvoorde, but still out of the front line. On 9th November Hob was given nine days leave, and returned home on his second visit, having seen no conflict for nearly six months.