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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Diary of a Dispatch Rider

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Continuing the diary of John Sangway, dispatch rider. The Allies had just turned the tide and enjoyed success on the battlefield at Amiens and as things now began to happen at pace, John became a much more regular diarist, with several entries each week. He had recently returned to duty after his unit had rested but had been suffering with "awful" toothache.


Re toothache. It has cured itself (two days ago at least) but I am still awaiting my consultation with the dental officer! It is fixed for 13th now after two postponements! Some hustle in the Army.


While waiting my turn (which never came) at the dentists attached to the local F[ield] Ambulance, I heard General Parade sounded – fearful excitement – sergeants dashing about, hurrying all the available staff & patients in to the parade. There they were told that the King was passing the end of the street & anybody who wanted to see him could fall out. As one man they – stood fast & when discussed the commonest remark heard for the next half-hour was “The King? Oh, f- him!” And yet they were keen soldiers and quite enthusiastic over their job. The King & the Country are two very different things. As witnessing the cheerfulness of them, one wounded chap hobbling along in odd pyjamas containing the colours blue, green & mauve, started singing in an exaggerated cracked voice “Just wheel my chair to the windows, And wide the casement ferling! – I don’t f-ing well think! Where’s my dinner?


Fritz over every night now. Night duty. Operators get fed up & clear out to the dug-out. As Fritz seems to have cleared off I remain upstairs with Frey. Right idea – we scoff the hot tea the Operators have left behind ‘em!



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