Wednesday 15th March. Reserve Hohenzollern.
Lying in bed at the present, I am thinking how interesting it is to consider so small a matter as the bare walls of my dugout. 15 feet deep, steps lead down to this particular dugout. The roof inside is supported with thick wooden beams and the interior of the room is also strongly strutted with timber. The walls are naked and consist of beautiful hard clay, in its upper part smooth homogeneous, in its lower layers intermingled with fine particles of chalk. If the dugout was still deeper we should find ourselves entirely surrounded by white chalk. As was the case in our dugouts about a mile away where the clay came much nearer the surface.
An exquisite day, saw my sick in Lancashire trench (about 15) then visited some mild cases of feet which I am keeping in a cellar in Vermelles and are looked after by Colwick (Culwick*). Basked in the sun for couple of hours in afternoon behind a bomb store and watched the enemy "crumping" (or trying to) our reserve trenches. I was standing about 400-500 yards away and screened from enemy by a hedge. I heard the shells coming and watched them burst - veritable coal boxes! - they had no direct hits.
* I believe that by this stage that the doctor is starting to protect 513 Cpl Culwick. Alexander (age 53) earlier entries record him showing signs of stress/nerves/fatigue along with his hilarious story of signing up. Eventually discharged 17th June 1916. under paragraph 392 Kings regulations. Silver badge no's 12470*
*All material produced or reproduced here and throughout this blog is the sole copyright of the holder of the diaries of Reginald Hannay Fothergill*