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Grandfather's War Diary, part four


bmac

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As usual a fascintating time at the NA with some excellent material to finish off the book plus some intruguing stuff that I will pursue in the coming months. But, before I sit down to start writing here's the next part of my grandfather's little diary.

OCTOBER 1915

Friday 1st

Rise about 9 o’clock and have breakfast in adjoining house. Get invitation to sleep there. Do so that evening and have a splendid night with Gilly. Speech of congrats. by Brig. News of another attack. Tea with A Coy Coll chaps. Good night with them.

Saturday 2nd

Rise at 8 and have rifle inspection. Nothing much doing. Get paid—about time too. Invite A Coy. to tea with us. Good time and go to Gosnay for evening. Another good night’s sleep.

Sunday 3rd

8am church parade. Didn’t hear a word. Route march after—no bon! March not so bad. Funny incident. Dates from “Jocks.” Tea with A Coy.

Monday 4th

Brigade route march—awful scourge in rain and mud. Parade in afternoon. Fanny remarks “we march about for ever”. Tea in evening at our billet. Splendid night.

Tuesday 5th

Battalion field day—not bad and home early. Pack up and leave for Houchin at 4pm and get a barn for billet, but manage to secure wash house and ample straw. Another comfortable billet and sleep very well. Rain. New officers arrive from 3/20th.

Wednesday 6th

Rise at 8. Parade and have inspection. Morning off. Lounge about and dine out. Get paid in evening and hear that I am promoted Lance Sergeant.

Thursday 7th

Parade at 9am. Platoon drill and route march. Afternoon off. Have big dinner with Pritchard. Big feed in evening with A Coy Coll chaps. Jolly fine evening. Promotion comes out in orders.

Friday 8th

Parade at 8am. Brigade route march long and tiring. Have first dinner at Sgts. Mess. Decidedly better than ordinarily. Company great. Sorry to leave Gilly and hope his promotion comes about soon. Played footer and won 8-4, scoring 4 goals. Good game, but warm and tiring. Get orders to pack, but sleep well. Heavy gun fire.

Saturday 9th

Orders to stand by washed out and Battalion parades for speech by Gen. Rawlinson. Says “work done not equalled by any Territorial Brigade since beginning of war”. A little brigade drill and rest of day off. Spent evening writing letters. Heavy gun firing. Sleep well.

Sunday 10th

Short parade for extended order drill. Not bad, rest of day off. Write letters during afternoon. Heavy gun firing and rumours of move to Hulluck. Write more letters in evening.

Monday 11th

Battalion parade. Practice another formation and have a short scourge. Spend afternoon writing letters and reading. Finish Four Feathers. Get news of move tomorrow to Mazingarbe. Big push in direction of Lens. Sleep well.

Tuesday 12th

No parades but have inspection. Pack ready for move. Rumours of isolation owing to typhoid. Only part of company isolated. Move in afternoon to Mazingarbe. No stop on way and long delay before getting billet in an estaminet. Bed at 11pm. Up at 7.30.

Wednesday 13th

Rise at 7.30am. Breakfast and then get orders to be ready to move at l0am. However we don’t move today and have a nice slack time. Rum punch was jolly good tonight.

Thursday 14th

Hear that we move to the trenches this evening. Pack up and move at 6pm. Long and tiring march up Quality Street. Get shelled a bit coming in but get into front line trenches just left of Loos at midnight. Tired but get little sleep.

Friday 15th

Stand to from 5 to 6am. See German lines about 600 yds away. We are in a re-entrant angle. Many dead out in front—result of German counter-attack of last week. Get shelled heavily, one shell mine heard near Hulluch. Do not sleep at night.

NOTE: No part of this document to be re-printed or published in any form without specific written permission of W A M MacCormick © W A M MacCormick 2006

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