7th Battalion war diary. 14th October.
The casualties were heavy. Captain Tompkins, Lieutenant Bearsnell were killed. Lieutenants Knight and Marshal wounded. 56 other ranks were killed, 160 wounded and 33 missing, which many it is hoped will subsequently be brought in wounded. We took 16 prisoners, one machine gun and three trench mortars with a lot of ammunition. In the evening we were relieved by the 11th Middlesex and went into billets at Noyelles Des Vermelles.
Tuesday 19th October,
Paid groom 30-francs.
Tremendous amount of firing during the night. We hear unofficially that the Essex repulsed a violent German attack and the Germans were mown down by their three machine guns. I have had quite a comfortable night in the colonels room. I had some clean straw put down and my valise on top making a most comfortable bed. The men also had plenty of clean straw and were quite happy and warm. The colonel is seedy and I am keeping him in bed, he has piles, bronchitis and septic in-growing toe nail!!
Letter from Cross, (*practice partner) he is evidently keeping practice well together with the help of an elderly locum. He shows for the quarter ending Sept 30th :- Receipts £414.0.11. Expenses £47.4.5. Balance £1.5.0. Total £368.1.6, which is very good. (*Regie sent home 50% of his quarterly salary to Doctor Cross) (*Life carries on)
Sunday 24th October.
My medical orderly gone on leave. Have made 16 conditional or reserve stretcher bearers - four to a coy. My 16 stretchers(canvas and pole) made especially short and narrow have arrived and will be very useful indeed.
As mess president I am rather dissatisfied with the amount of money required to keep this mess going, I am determined to investigate this matter.
Walked into Verquin and visited Malone of the 37th FA. Rode into Bethune with Nicholls this afternoon and had bath and changed into clean clothes. I suppose we shall muddle through this wretched war sometime. But all we do seems so amateurish compared with the Germans method, but we are learning no doubt. Bombing is the most prominent method of attack at present. We used to consider it quite sufficient for a few brave fellows to throw bombs promiscuously into the trenches. Point is, we have since discerned that the Germans organise and train their bombers most carefully, bombing a trench is a science.
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