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Remembered Today:

Diary of a Dispatch Rider

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Continuing the diary of John Sangway, dispatch rider with XVII Corps. The corps signals office had just moved to Bretencourt but John had stayed behind at Fosseux with a few others.



Left F[osseux] for B[retencourt]. B[retencourt] badly battered, first sign of advance over battle area. Some considerable bustle in yard that is QM Stores, cookhouse, lorry park & everything else. Pretty rough conditions.



Met Stacey, one of the 33rd Div[ision] D[ispatch] R[iders] att[ache]d to us. Youngest of the three at school1. Great talk about school days. Very cheered. War news continues good.


Before I forget it I ought to record the happy incident of my having P.U.O.– the Spanish influenza business. I had had a bit of a celebration & could not stay on duty when I went down at 9.0 o/c. About 10.0, Akerman3 found me at the latrine & hurried me off to bed just in time to be seen by Chubbock4 whom Sammy had sent up to investigate (nasty suspicious sort of mind has Sammy!) Told C[hubbock] felt very rotten, must see the doctor in the morning in case it is PUO. Did so & got put down for it & excused duty! Next day reported better! Barton who was also in the celebration missed morning parade & had to report twice at 6.0pm in f.m.o. [full marching order]! The others escaped trouble! Sammy was quite sympathetic about my P.U.O.!



Signal-master asked what P.O.D. on map meant among the other flag-marked creations. It was just “Poor old Dobbs” who was stuck there with Philpot as a relay station from which Cavalry took on DRLS [Despatch Rider Letter Service packets] to div[ision]s! Rotten hole; bad [?quarters] & no lights allowed, absolutely in the wilderness.


Dumped one pack at Fosseux Store. Containing boots, leggings, Hugh’s breeches5, sketches & water-colour outfit, 2 shirts, Daw’s letters6, two souvenirs!


1 Haberdashers' Aske's School

2The first wave of Spanish Flu, which hit the armed forces in Summer 1918, was usually referred to as "Pyrexia of Unknown Origin" in war diaries; Pyrexia is another term for fever

3500488 Corporal F L G Akerman, see 21st August

4...or "Chublock" perhaps. An unusual name, there is a Chubbock who might have been a good match, a sergeant in signals, but as he was mentioned in a late 1918 dispatch from the Palestine campaign, it seems unlikely to have been him unless the dispatch was months after the event.

5 Hugh was John's brother, see 25th June

6 Daw was John's sister




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