"Only with honour"...The W.W.1 diaries of Reginald Hannay Fothergill Medical officer R.A.M.C (mentioned in despatches) May 1915 - August 1916.
Being the receiver of a white feather Reggie felt obliged to do his duty and volunteer to serve his country entering the war in late May 1915.
At the beginning of his journey you feel his excitement of adventure even at 35 years of age. then the disillusionment with the leadership and the futility of it all becomes clear.
He writes with humour, desperation of his position, and, fear for the welfare mentally and physically of the "Tommy."
The study of theosophy to fight the demons of his sexuality and the loneliness of his life.The anger with "Jack" for resigning his commission when things got tough. While all the time wishing himself to "get out with honour"
The wartime accounts of a medical man in W.W.1 are rare, far more so than regular officers and the Doctors diaries give some understanding of the daily lives of the men in his care.
*All material produced or reproduced here and throughout this blog is the sole copyright of the holder of the diaries of Reginald Hannay Fothergill (author)*
Saturday 29th May 1915.
Set out from Tweseldown camp with field ambulance at 5:30 am, arriving Farnborough 10:30 am where we en-trained at 11:20 in two trains. I went in first train and at Southampton we put our men, horse's and equipment on-board SS City of Lucknow and set sail about six pm escorted by two destroyers, we passed along the south of Isle of Wight.
Jack slept in first officers bunk and I on floor of saloon. Sea absolutely calm. A third destroyer joined in the small hours of morning and warned us of a recent minefield on our course, this necessitated a detour of 35 miles.Arrived Havre at six am. Disembarked without injury to animals, we had to wait until the evening, we were not allowed to go into town. took advantage of a most excellent cafe on the station run by some ladies at cost price.
Jack Bartholomew and self shared one first class carriage. We got all our equipment etc on one long train and steamed away about 8:00 pm. Had a most excellent night being only disturbed at 2:00 am by some well meaning people who sent round coffee at some station or other. Passed through Abbeville , Noyen and Boulogne. Beautiful green fields, so fresh and green.
*SS City of Lucknow 3,677 ton - torpedoed by U.21 (Otto Hersing) carrying onions from Alexandria to Liverpool. Sank Sunday 30th April 1916. Sixty miles east of Malta. The 42 man crew survived and were rescued by H.M.S Rifleman.*