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<p align="right"> [[Main_Page | WWI Document Archive ]] > [[Diaries, Memorials, Personal Reminiscences]] > '''The Great War Diaries - 1915 (5th Seaforths)''' </p><hr>
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<body lang=EN-US link=blue vlink=blue style='tab-interval:.5in'>
+
<center><font size =6><b>The Great War diaries of
  
<div class=Section1>
+
John Bruce Cairnie</b></font></center>
  
<center><b><span style='font-size:36.0pt'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></b>
+
  
<center><b><span style='font-size:36.0pt'>The
+
Great War diaries of</b>
+
  
<center><b><span style='font-size:36.0pt'>John
+
Bruce Cairnie</b>
+
  
<center><b><span style='font-size:24.0pt'>&nbsp;</b>
+
<center><b></b></center>
  
<center><b><span style='font-size:24.0pt'>&nbsp;</b>
 
  
<center><b><span style='font-size:24.0pt'>&nbsp;</b>
 
  
<center><b><span style='font-size:24.0pt'>&nbsp;</b>
 
  
<center><b><span style='font-size:24.0pt;
 
font-family:Wingdings'>z</b><b><span style='font-size:24.0pt'> 1915 </b><b><span
 
style='font-size:24.0pt;font-family:Wingdings'>z</b><b><span
 
style='font-size:24.0pt'></b>
 
  
<center>&nbsp;
+
  
<center>&nbsp;
+
<center><font size =5>''' 1915'''</font></center>
  
<center>&nbsp;
+
  
<center>&nbsp;
+
  
<center>&nbsp;&nbsp;
+
  
<center>&nbsp;
+
  
<center>&nbsp;
+
 
  
<center>&nbsp;
+
  
<br><br><b><span style='font-size:24.0pt'>&nbsp;</b>
+
  
<center><b><span style='font-size:24.0pt;
+
font-family:Wingdings'>Ë</b><b><span style='font-size:24.0pt'> 1915 </b><b><span
+
style='font-size:24.0pt;font-family:Wingdings'>Ë</b><b><span
+
style='font-size:24.0pt'></b>
+
  
<center><b><span style='font-size:18.0pt'>transcribed
+
and annotated by James Bruce</b>
+
  
<center><b><span style='font-size:18.0pt'>correspondence
+
<center><font size =5>''' 1915''' <br>
to Alan Cairnie [cairnie@cogeco.ca]</b>
+
  
<center><b><u>BIOGRAPHY</u></b>
+
'''transcribed and annotated by James Bruce'''<br>
  
<br><br>John Bruce Cairnie was born on 22<sup>nd</sup>. September 1889 in Thurso<span
+
'''correspondence to Alan Cairnie [cairnie@cogeco.ca]'''<br>
style='font-size:10.0pt'>, <st1:place>Caithness</st1:place>, the third
+
 
 +
'''BIOGRAPHY'''</font></center>
 +
<hr>
 +
 
 +
John Bruce Cairnie was born on 22nd. September 1889 in Thurso,Caithness, the third
 
son of David Dandie Cairnie, a chemist in the town, and Mary Wilson Bruce. He
 
son of David Dandie Cairnie, a chemist in the town, and Mary Wilson Bruce. He
attended the Miller Institute in Thurso and <st1:place><st1:PlaceName>Edinburgh</st1:PlaceName>
+
attended the Miller Institute in Thurso and Edinburgh
<st1:PlaceType>University</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>, where he graduated M.A.
+
University, where he graduated M.A.
 
in 1911 and B.Sc. in 1912. His interests were in Botany and Geology. He then
 
in 1911 and B.Sc. in 1912. His interests were in Botany and Geology. He then
attended teachers&#8217; college.  
+
attended teachers' college. <br><br>
  
<br><br>His diary for 1916 will follow in due course.<span style='font-size:10.0pt'>
+
His diary for 1916 will follow in due course. In October 1917 he sailed to join the 3/4th King's
In October 1917 he sailed to join the 3/4<sup>th</sup> King&#8217;s
+
 
African Rifles with the rank of lieutenant. He kept a diary from that time
 
African Rifles with the rank of lieutenant. He kept a diary from that time
 
until January 1919 when he sailed for home. This diary will also be transcribed
 
until January 1919 when he sailed for home. This diary will also be transcribed
soon<span style='font-size:10.0pt'>.
+
soon.<br><br>
  
<br><br>In September 1919 he started his teaching career in Golspie and in October
+
In September 1919 he started his teaching career in Golspie and in October
1921 moved south to <st1:place><st1:PlaceName>Ayr</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType>Academy</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>.
+
1921 moved south to Ayr Academy.
He later moved to <st1:place><st1:PlaceName>Cumnock</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType><span
+
He later moved to Cumnock Academy where he
  style='font-size:10.0pt'>Academy</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> where he
+
 
completed his career, retiring in 1953. During his time in Ayrshire he maintained
 
completed his career, retiring in 1953. During his time in Ayrshire he maintained
 
his interest in Thurso by keeping in touch with family and friends and visiting
 
his interest in Thurso by keeping in touch with family and friends and visiting
in the summer. He kept in contact with his comrades in the 5<sup>th</sup>
+
in the summer. He kept in contact with his comrades in the 5th
 
Seaforths by attending the reunions. He died in 1977, and his pawky sense of
 
Seaforths by attending the reunions. He died in 1977, and his pawky sense of
 
humour, and warmth of nature are missed by family and all who knew him..
 
humour, and warmth of nature are missed by family and all who knew him..
  
<br><br>In 1930 he <span style='font-size:10.0pt'>had married Isabella Moodie
+
In 1930 he had married Isabella Moodie
and they had a son Alan Bruce Cairnie who moved to <st1:country-region><st1:place>Canada</st1:place></st1:country-region>
+
and they had a son Alan Bruce Cairnie who moved to Canada
in 1967. Two of John Bruce&#8217;s great-grandsons wrote in 2003, as part of a
+
in 1967. Two of John Bruce's great-grandsons wrote in 2003, as part of a
 
Royal Canadian Legion competition, the following compositions:  
 
Royal Canadian Legion competition, the following compositions:  
  
<center><span style='font-size:13.5pt'>&quot;What
+
<center><font size =4><nowiki>"What
Remembrance Day Means to Me&quot;
+
Remembrance Day Means to Me"</nowiki></font></center><br><br>
  
<center>by Angus Cairnie, aged 12.
+
<center>by Angus Cairnie, aged 12.</center><br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>The order comes
+
<blockquote>
from the generals;
+
The order comes
 +
from the generals;<br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>The tanks halt, the
+
The tanks halt, the
only sound is from the gulls.  
+
only sound is from the gulls.<br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>The shells stop,
+
The shells stop,
the guns are stilled,
+
the guns are stilled,<br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>The bombs stop blasting,
+
The bombs stop blasting,
people remember those killed.
+
people remember those killed.<br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>Memories come,
+
Memories come,
unstoppable as a flood,
+
unstoppable as a flood,<br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>Weep, weep and free
+
Weep, weep and free
the earth of blood,
+
the earth of blood,<br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>Tears flow, wash
+
Tears flow, wash
away the sadness.
+
away the sadness.<br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>Thousands died to
+
Thousands died to
clean the world of badness.
+
clean the world of badness.<br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>War is the knife,
+
War is the knife,
blood is the lives and peace the tourniquet,
+
blood is the lives and peace the tourniquet,<br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>Remember, never
+
Remember, never
forget and feel the pain as battle lines met.
+
forget and feel the pain as battle lines met.<br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>Love peace and
+
Love peace and
never let this happen again,
+
never let this happen again,<br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>Restrain your anger
+
Restrain your anger
and don&#8217;t unleash again this pain.
+
and don't unleash again this pain.<br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>Stop the artillery,
+
Stop the artillery,
silence the guns.
+
silence the guns.<br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>No need anymore to
+
No need anymore to
slay the Huns.
+
slay the Huns.<br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>Call back the tanks,
+
Call back the tanks,
land the planes,
+
land the planes,<br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>Time to stop the
+
Time to stop the
advance across the plains.
+
advance across the plains.<br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>We&#8217;ve stopped
+
We've stopped
the holocaust,
+
the holocaust,<br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>The massive total
+
The massive total
human cost.
+
human cost.<br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>The time to mourn
+
The time to mourn
now is best,
+
now is best,<br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>More death than we
+
More death than we
could have guessed.
+
could have guessed.<br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>So today is the day
+
So today is the day
that we remember.
+
that we remember.<br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>Because war can be
+
Because war can be
a glowing ember,
+
a glowing ember,<br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>At the thought of
+
At the thought of
war we stand aghast,
+
war we stand aghast,<br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>And Remembrance Day
+
And Remembrance Day
will always last.  
+
will always last.<br><br>
  
<p style='margin-left:2.0in'><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>********************************
+
<nowiki>********************************</nowiki></blockquote>
  
  
<center><span style='font-size:13.5pt'>&quot;Remembrance
+
<center><font size =4><nowiki>"Remembrance
Day Essay&quot;
+
Day Essay"</nowiki></font></center><br><br>
  
<center><span style='font-size:13.5pt'>by Malcolm
+
<center>by Malcolm<br>
Cairnie, aged 11
+
Cairnie, aged 11</center><br><br>
  
<br><br>            A class is sitting in an
+
A class is sitting in an
assembly for Remembrance Day. One kid whispers to another, &quot; What&#8217;s
+
assembly for Remembrance Day. One kid whispers to another, &quot; What's
this Remembrance Day thing about, anyway?&quot; The other kid replies, &quot; I
+
this Remembrance Day thing about, anyway? The other kid replies, I
think it&#8217;s something for dead soldiers or something.&quot;
+
think it's something for dead soldiers or something.<br><br>
  
<br><br>            True. But that isn&#8217;t
+
True. But that isn't
 
the half of it. Remembrance Day is a time to remember the brave men in World
 
the half of it. Remembrance Day is a time to remember the brave men in World
 
War I and World War II who died fighting against evil and tyranny. Veterans
 
War I and World War II who died fighting against evil and tyranny. Veterans
 
come, too, to pay their respects to their lost comrades. In World War I, we
 
come, too, to pay their respects to their lost comrades. In World War I, we
fought against <st1:country-region><st1:place>Germany</st1:place></st1:country-region>.
+
fought against Germany.
In World War II, we fought the Axis- a group of countries that included <st1:country-region><st1:place>Germany</st1:place></st1:country-region>,
+
In World War II, we fought the Axis- a group of countries that included Germany,
<st1:country-region><st1:place>Japan</st1:place></st1:country-region>, <st1:country-region><st1:place>Italy</st1:place></st1:country-region>,
+
Japan, Italy,
and <st1:country-region><st1:place>Austria</st1:place></st1:country-region>.
+
and Austria.
 
All of these were formidable enemies, but each time we triumphed. This does not
 
All of these were formidable enemies, but each time we triumphed. This does not
 
take away the terrible reality of millions of deaths on both sides, and war is
 
take away the terrible reality of millions of deaths on both sides, and war is
 
equally horrible no matter who wins. Some questions the little kid in the first
 
equally horrible no matter who wins. Some questions the little kid in the first
paragraph might ask are:
+
paragraph might ask are:<br><br>
  
<br><br>Why do we wear a poppy?
+
Why do we wear a poppy?<br><br>
  
<br><br>We wear a poppy to honor dead soldiers. Poppies grew on many men&#8217;s
+
We wear a poppy to honor dead soldiers. Poppies grew on many men's
graves so it was adopted as a Remembrance Day symbol.
+
graves so it was adopted as a Remembrance Day symbol.<br><br>
  
<br><br>Why do we have a moment of silence?
+
Why do we have a moment of silence?<br><br>
  
<br><br>On November 11<sup>th</sup> the peace treaty for World War I was signed. The
+
On November 11th the peace treaty for World War I was signed. The
minute the order &#8216;Cease fire&#8217; was given, a silence fell over all.
+
minute the order 'Cease fire' was given, a silence fell over all.
Today we use these two minutes to think about peace.
+
Today we use these two minutes to think about peace.<br><br>
  
<br><br>Why did these men go to war?
+
Why did these men go to war?<br><br>
  
<br><br>There were various reasons. Some went for the salary. Others went for the
+
There were various reasons. Some went for the salary. Others went for the
 
adventure and excitement. Then some went to be with family and friends. Many
 
adventure and excitement. Then some went to be with family and friends. Many
 
went to fight for their country and freedom. Whatever the reason, we can be
 
went to fight for their country and freedom. Whatever the reason, we can be
sure there are more dead soldiers than veterans.  
+
sure there are more dead soldiers than veterans. <br><br>
  
<br><br>            War is a gruesome prospect,
+
War is a gruesome prospect,
 
and we must always try to find a better way. Most minor conflicts can be
 
and we must always try to find a better way. Most minor conflicts can be
 
settled by negotiations, but sometimes war is necessary. Whatever any soldier
 
settled by negotiations, but sometimes war is necessary. Whatever any soldier
does, he or she must only fight for freedom and justice.
+
does, he or she must only fight for freedom and justice.<br><br>
  
<br><br>So before you go rampaging off to battle, think. Is there anything else we
+
So before you go rampaging off to battle, think. Is there anything else we
 
can do to help? Do we have to kill? There is almost always a solution other
 
can do to help? Do we have to kill? There is almost always a solution other
than violence, and it is up to us to find it.
+
than violence, and it is up to us to find it.<br><br>
  
<center><b><u><span style='font-size:13.5pt'>IN
+
<center> <b>IN
THE RANKS</u></b>
+
THE RANKS</b></center><br><br>
  
<br><br><i>The origins of the 5<sup>th</sup> Seaforths lay in the Sutherland
+
<i>The origins of the 5th Seaforths lay in the Sutherland
Highland Rifle Volunteers, raised in Sutherland and </i><st1:place><i>Caithness</i></st1:place><i>
+
Highland Rifle Volunteers, raised in Sutherland and Caithness
 
in 1859/60 as part of a country wide enthusiasm for part-time soldiering
 
in 1859/60 as part of a country wide enthusiasm for part-time soldiering
 
inspired by fears of French invasion. In 1908 the old volunteer force became
 
inspired by fears of French invasion. In 1908 the old volunteer force became
the Territorial Force and the SHRV became the 5<sup>th</sup> (Sutherland and
+
the Territorial Force and the SHRV became the 5th(Sutherland and
 
Caithness Highland) Battalion, The Seaforth Highlanders, TF.</i>
 
Caithness Highland) Battalion, The Seaforth Highlanders, TF.</i>
  
<br><br><i>They were mobilised on 4 Aug 14 and together with the 4<sup>th</sup> (</i><st1:place><st1:PlaceName><i>Ross</i></st1:PlaceName><i>
+
<i>They were mobilised on 4 Aug 14 and together with the 4th
</i><st1:PlaceName><i>Highland</i></st1:PlaceName></st1:place><i>) and 6<sup>th</sup>
+
(Ross Highland) and 6th
(Moray) Battalions, Seaforth Highlanders and the 4<sup>th</sup> </i><st1:place><i>Queens</i></st1:place><i>
+
(Moray) Battalions, Seaforth Highlanders and the 4th Queens
 
Own Cameron Highlanders, from Inverness-shire, they formed the Seaforth and Cameron
 
Own Cameron Highlanders, from Inverness-shire, they formed the Seaforth and Cameron
Brigade of the </i><st1:place><i>Highland</i></st1:place><i> Division.</i>
+
Brigade of the Highland Division.</i><br><br>
  
<br><br><i>After a couple of weeks spent improving coastal defences at Cromarty
+
<i>After a couple of weeks spent improving coastal defences at Cromarty
 
(which protected the naval base at Invergordon) the brigade moved with the rest
 
(which protected the naval base at Invergordon) the brigade moved with the rest
of the division to </i><st1:City><st1:place><i>Bedford</i></st1:place></st1:City><i>,
+
of the division to Bedford,
where they were billeted in private houses.</i>
+
where they were billeted in private houses.</i><br><br>
  
<br><br><i>The commitment made by TF soldiers pre-war was to serve for home defence
+
<i>The commitment made by TF soldiers pre-war was to serve for home defence
 
only. On the outbreak of war most men made the additional commitment to serve
 
only. On the outbreak of war most men made the additional commitment to serve
 
overseas although some, for various reasons (age, business or family
 
overseas although some, for various reasons (age, business or family
commitments, etc.), chose not to.</i>
+
commitments, etc.), chose not to.</i><br><br>
  
<br><br><i>In Sep 15 a second battalion of the 5<sup>th</sup> Seaforths was formed,
+
<i>In Sep 15 a second battalion of the 5th Seaforths was formed,
 
as it was in all TF regiments. The 'first line' battalion - 1/5 Seaforth - at
 
as it was in all TF regiments. The 'first line' battalion - 1/5 Seaforth - at
 
Bedford contained men willing to serve overseas; the 'second line' or reserve
 
Bedford contained men willing to serve overseas; the 'second line' or reserve
 
battalion - 2/5 Seaforth - at Golspie consisted of men who had not signed the
 
battalion - 2/5 Seaforth - at Golspie consisted of men who had not signed the
 
overseas commitment, were not fit for overseas service and recruits surplus to
 
overseas commitment, were not fit for overseas service and recruits surplus to
the requirements of the first line battalion.</i>
+
the requirements of the first line battalion.</i><br><br>
  
<br><br><i>It had always been expected that the TF would require 6 months training
+
<i>It had always been expected that the TF would require 6 months training
 
before being fit for overseas operations. In fact, 1/4 Seaforth went overseas
 
before being fit for overseas operations. In fact, 1/4 Seaforth went overseas
 
in Nov 14 and 1/4 Camerons in Feb 15, being replaced in the brigade by 1/6 and
 
in Nov 14 and 1/4 Camerons in Feb 15, being replaced in the brigade by 1/6 and
1/8 Argyll &amp; Sutherland Highlanders.</i>
+
1/8 Argyll &amp; Sutherland Highlanders.</i><br><br>
  
<br><br><i>TF infantry battalions were, at the outbreak of war, still organised in
+
<i>TF infantry battalions were, at the outbreak of war, still organised in
 
eight companies - an organisation little changed from Napoleonic times. Regular
 
eight companies - an organisation little changed from Napoleonic times. Regular
battalions had adopted a four company organisation in 1913.</i>
+
battalions had adopted a four company organisation in 1913.</i><br><br>
  
<br><br><i>Judging by his regimental number (3471) John Bruce Cairnie enlisted in
+
<i>Judging by his regimental number (3471) John Bruce Cairnie enlisted in
 
Sep 14. The popular image of men flocking to the colours on 4 Aug 14 isn't
 
Sep 14. The popular image of men flocking to the colours on 4 Aug 14 isn't
 
really accurate - the peak of recruiting was actually a few weeks after the
 
really accurate - the peak of recruiting was actually a few weeks after the
Line 377: Line 255:
 
pre-war Thurso company) as a Lance Sergeant - this was appointment not a rank. His
 
pre-war Thurso company) as a Lance Sergeant - this was appointment not a rank. His
 
actual rank was Corporal; a Lance appointment was usually a prelude to further
 
actual rank was Corporal; a Lance appointment was usually a prelude to further
promotion.</i>
+
promotion.</i><br><br>
 +
 
 +
<center><b>JANUARY
 +
1915</b></center><br><br>
 +
 
 +
Company drill from 9:30 to 1 p.m. It would get rather feding up if we had much of it. An hour of 'cross-tig' relieved the monotony. In the afternoon, bayonet fighting for NCOs, and then a lecture by Sergt-Major. Very busy all evening and got up to orderly room by 11:30.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>20 Jan 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Wakened by reveille. Mac lazy as he hadn't been in bed till 2:30 a.m. Route march to Turvey, somehow I felt less fit than usual. The company marched well going out, but coming in when No. 1 section were leading there was no step in it. 20 men on the sick-list this morning, mostly with chest-colds. No cases of measles in our Company today, but one death in 'G'.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
The Colonel and Maj Sinclair left for a fortnight at home tonight. Still there is no word of leave for us.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>21 Jan 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Slept in this morning and had a bit of a rush. Black was orderly officer and I think did ditto as I saw him passing down at 8:30 in very squalid and untidy condition. Company drill under Joe Robertson with Ritson in the background and a military funeral in the neat ['over the wall' inserted above last phrase]. Quite cheerful sounds on the pipes.
 +
 +
 
 +
It rained all afternoon so the NCOs got a lecture from Ritson and Black consisting of reading aloud extracts from 'Notes from the Front'. Ritson seems to have a good grasp of theory at any rate but too excitable.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Margaret and her mother at tea.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Mac got his Corporal strips tonight, dating back to 12th December so he draws a big pay. He's chucking things about in the kitchen now. I am writing this in the lavvy as Jimmie was in our house in one of his frequent states of fed-up-ness.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
One death in 'A' today, and I believe 2 in 'H' yesterday.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>22 Jan 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
There was nearly a mutiny this morning when the men were told to parade with their equipment which still wringing wet on. The Adjie wouldn't give in but when half the battalion paraded without it he had to send them back for an hour to get great coats. Route-march round by Rinhold and Cleat Hill raining most of the way. I enjoyed it very much.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Afternoon pay and rations. Lecture from Sergt-Major. He thought this about wet equipment - 'a damn good joke'. He insisted on punctuality on parade, which is certainly necessary. Our men aren't smart enough yet at turning out.
 +
 +
 
 +
Mac sleeping up in Orderly Room tonight as he got a little slap last night because Gwyneth had a bad throat - mostly sham I'm thinking. She was alright today and Pitman was in her room till after 10:30 p.m.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>24 Jan 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
We went to St Paul's Church and English Church boys. Delighted to get my spell of Orderly Sergeant over and so was Mac. Along at tea with Rev Herbert Reid and met Davidson McKenzie and Miss Strang. The former isn't such a great bug as I used to think him, nor as he thinks himself. No side about the Rev Hubert.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>25 Jan 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Tonight I was on Town-picket - the High St, with 4 men of 'B' and had a very good time.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>26 Jan 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Platoon drill and bayonet fighting this morning with pack and ammunition. Two of 'C' Company with about 20 others left this afternoon with ammunition and blankets for unknown destination. Everybody much excited and much speculation as to where they are going to and what it may mean for the battalion. Rumours of Edinburgh Castle or Inverness.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
After afternoon parade I found myself and 2 of 'C' detailed to go on similar duty. Russell was picked and Jim Matheson. We paraded in 15 minutes, expecting great things and feeling very big. It turned out to be picket duty at Herring Green crossroads with orders to stop all cars and take number, etc. This result of last Zeppelin raid as the airships are thought to have been guided by cars with powerful headlights.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
We barricaded the road with carts and took turns - 2hours on and 4 hours off. Not very exciting and very cold, but more exciting than platoon drill. My first experience at sleeping out and none too pleasant, but I think it wouldn't kill me.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>27 Jan 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
The Kaiser's Birthday - bless 'im!
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Got into Bedford at 9 a.m. after rather a smart walk. Slept from 10 to 12 and paraded again at 3 for the same duty as yesterday. Mac rather annoyed as I didn't tell him where we were, but he had a pretty good ideal all the same. Our officers say they heard an airship of some sort over Bedford last night but nobody seems to have seen it.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
We got out to Cardington at 4 p.m. and took up our quarters this time at the Pub - The Anchor Inn. It is a very cold night and like snow, but Pitman got tea for us here and if it wasn't for the skittles we might have a very good time. Tonight we got order to turn back every motor car or m. bike, so things are soon interesting.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>28 Jan 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
We took up our positions again at 4:30. I had from 6 to 8 and 12 to 2. A fine night, coldish but dry. The time passed very quickly, sitting very comfortably in a cart of straw. Jim getting on my nerves with his songs or rather his song. He has improved though with the change of work and under strenuous conditions might be a keen man. Pitman had to sleep by the roadside as he was the only one who knew the password.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
No cars were to be turned back, except officers who hadn't the password. Very little doing - they seem to be avoiding the place.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>29 Jan 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Got in to Bedford at 8:30 and as we got word that our special duty is now at an end we had a free day. I was down town in the morning and again on special pass at night. Went to 'Grumpy' which was very good. The best thing I have seen here so far.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>30 Jan 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
I was helping W. Ritson today with the billets as his clerk is on leave. I shouldn't care for his job, or his clerk's either. R. can be very disagreeable when he wants. In the afternoon I played soccer for 'E' v 'G'. We beat them 8-1. It wasn't a great match but I was delighted to be playing football once again. I think I must be as fit now as ever I was.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Today the new double company system was inaugurated and henceforth we form, along with 'F', the new 'C'. We are all sorry to bid goodbye to the old state of affairs, which seemed to work very well, and in which we were all very happy. We aren't keen on 'F' as they are a pretty rough and coarse crowd, but no doubt will improve on acquaintance.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>31 Jan 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
I had made up my mind to get a lot of letters written today, but only managed three. Church Parade in the morning and we got a good sermon from the Cameron chaplain. He always makes an impression and rivets the attention of the men: reminds me in voice and manner of Daniel S Calderwood. In the evening I went to Corn Exchange Concert but was asleep most of the time.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>FEBRUARY 1915</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>01 Feb 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Paraded under company arrangements - company drill and physical exercises in the forenoon and musketry in afternoon. I find I have forgotten most of the musketry and expect that most of the NCOs are in the same box. I put Davidson onto my squad - he was a musketry instructor.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Ian and I went and had out photographs taken again and I hope they will be more successful than the last. We went to 'Brewster's Millions' with Mrs. Platts. Mac is living up to, if not beyond his pay - a very bad habit. His late hours must tell him sooner or later and if he doesn't chuck them soon I will speak to Mrs. Platts.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>02 Feb 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Parade at 7:45. Marched round by Wilden Shrubbery and Sevick End with ammunition 120 rounds. Pace very hot and atmosphere muggy in the extreme. The whole division was on the road and marched past Sir Ian Hamilton at Goldington Green. We marched past very well and I hope made a good impression. Kept a perfect step from Goldington to Clarendon St.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Soccer match between 'C' and 'D' ended 3 all although we had the best of the game. Got a little writing done tonight but still have heaps to do.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>03 Feb 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Parade at 8:45, for a concentration route march to Sevick Farm. Our company went by Goldington and Water-end. The marching was very good. After we got to Sevick each company went on its own for some extended order work. No. 1 platoon was in reserve, under George Forbes and got wiped out by being too far up and coming under fire in artillery formation. I don't think that my section, of 8 men, would have suffered so severely.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
In the evening we were at Dr. Bell's for dinner and progressive whist. A lovely house and very hospitable people; especially as they had never seen a lot of us before. There were 20 of us, mostly Englishmen. Bailey and Mac sang. One of the 4th home from the front was there. He's not keen on going back.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>04 Feb 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Today I was helping Ritson to pay the billets. This is rather monotonous work, only Ritson's arithmetic is occasionally diverting. What neat, clean house most of the people keep - 'We're poor but we like to be tidy and comfortable". R. was in better tune today. Mac, Addie and Jim digging drains all day at Harrowden Range, came back dead tired.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Jim is trying for a commission in one of the Reserve Battalions or more preferably the 5th.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
I hear Willie Torrance is not expected to get better - pneumonia. Am very sorry for his mother.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Got a 'permanent' pass till Tuesday from Ritson and went down town. Had an unsatisfactory evening and will not waste another in the same way. Mac is for his first quarter guard tomorrow and I have been coaching him. Had a very cheery letter today from Louise.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>05 Feb 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
With Ritson again paying the billets. He bangs into the houses in the most unceremonious fashion, but all over today he wasn't unsympathetic. It's when he is crossed in the least little detail that he loses his rag: and he can't abide to be chaffed.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Jim Miller who was more than half tight and was in seeing Nanna, has somewhat raised my hopes of a commission, but I don't know I want one. I wonder whether Ritson has not an inkling of it and is not trying to get the billeting job shifted onto my shoulders. I wouldn't have it at any price. I hear there are 8 vacancies - Jim says the Colonel has been speaking to him on the QT.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>06 Feb 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
More billet-paying today. I thought that I was going to have the afternoon off but Ritson was anxious to get on with the work, so we on till 4 p.m.
 +
 +
 
 +
Then I went down town, had tea and went to the Chums and to the Palace, enjoyed myself in a quiet way. The Chums are getting on my nerves: they aren't a bit clever - except for Harold Johnson himself. I can't make out whether he is acting a part of not.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>07 Feb 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Church parade at 7:35 and didn't move off till 8:20 - absurd. Sermon quite good from the thin man.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Helped Ritson an hour or two with his books and wasted the afternoon reading a novel.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Wrote home after tea, but didn't give them any idea that leave is starting as we may be disappointed. Escorted Margaret home on my way to the Corn Exchange Concert. I rather like her, but don't know her well enough.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Mac and Gwyneth are downstairs now singing - howling rag tunes and making hideous the Sabbath evening.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>08 Feb 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Billeting again and got a good deal done in the afternoon. At three Ritson had an appointment and that spoiled us.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Went down town and examined Hockliffe's secondhand bookshop: picked up one or two geological book of an ancient order. Also A.W. Russell's "World of Life". Had tea and went to the Whip. The staging rather ambitious but not bad considering the amount of space at their disposal. Mac is going North on Wednesday and is in correspondingly good form. Met Scott tonight in High St. - of Edin. Battery. He's a L/Cpl in the 4th Gordons.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>09 Feb 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Blank
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>10 Feb 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Mac left today for seven days leave. Harcus went too. They were very cheery. Ritson and I went down to the station and afterwards to the Empire he standing me in. Not bad but rather vulgar.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Weighed myself at the station: found I have put on nearly a stone since coming down but that is with the kilt instead of trousers. Am now 10st 3 lbs in uniform.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>11 Feb 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Billets all day: am beginning to like the work, and also to be very lazy in the mornings.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Along to Mrs. Campion's at night and played bridge with the girls. They are quite good and I like them. I can't stand complicated girls.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>12 Feb 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Paid the last of the billets today and another rummage with Ritson in Hockliffe's old books, but didn't get anything. Worked in R's billet in the afternoon, arranging the forms. Had a yarn with Mrs. Mortimer.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Nothing doing at night it has been very cold all day, and I haven't got decently warmed up once.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>13 Feb 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
A wet rotten day with sleet. Slimed [?] in the Orderly Room most of the morning. In the afternoon played Ellis at Chess and he wiped me: we are about evenly matched - he's probably a little better than me.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
After tea, went to The Chums with Ritson - he paying. Programme not bad.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
The Colonel interviewed a lot of fellows today, with a view to commissions - in this battalion. He didn't take me, which is either a very hopeful sign - or a hopeless one. I think Ritson is trying to wangle me in for his present job, but he won't manage it.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>14 Feb 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Muggy and wet. Church parade at 8:45. Got a very good sermon from the Cameron chaplain. Got a word from Willie for wearing my khaki hosetops on dress parade. Felt ratty at him.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Wrote home; and spent afternoon in Ritson's doing company drill with matches. He has the double company this week as Joe R is on furlough; and he's nervous about it. Went down to Church in the evening but so late. Went to Corn Exchange Concert - quite good. A fine soprano, and Blake of the Camerons.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>15 Feb 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Cold and bright. Battalion moved off at 9:30 and marched out about five miles towards Turvey. From there advanced cross-country in artillery formation for a mile and a half or so. Poll and I had a platoon to ourselves. We finished up with an advance in open order, of a very ragged sort. We badly need training in extended order. Ritson in his element, his language too grandiloquent. Some of the fields very soft and claggy. Marched about six miles home and arrived at 4:30.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
In orders tonight, extract from King's Regulations which seems to say we must not shave upper lip - whiskers moderate if any.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Jim had a row with Gwyneth and then with Nanna. How absurd we can all be.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>16 Feb 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Another magnificent day - the sun is getting quite warm. 'C' marched out to Bromham Bridge and then took up an outpost position to cover it. Had charge of a picket and got on quite well. Willie and Black were the only officers out. We lay down for a couple of hours and then marched round by Stevington and the Stagsden road. The pace was a little hot and even Willie was a little pegged. He doesn't seem to remember we carry more than he does. No one fell out but Addie had blistered feet and no doubt there are others. Got in at 3:30. Most enjoyable and healthy day.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Down town in the evening for a few necessaries and spent the rest of the time getting my kit packed. I don't feel the least bit excited about going home. Jim cooked some haggis and it's lying heavy on my stomach now.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>17 Feb 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
It turned out wet today - so wet that the battalion didn't go out. I was glad as I had all my things clean and ready for the journey. We left about 8 o'clock at night, marching down to the station in great form and best of spirits.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>18 - 24 Feb 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Blank
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>25 Feb 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Got into Bedford about 9 a.m. Coming up Clarendon St we found the remnants of the Company (8) already paraded and George in the middle of them waving wildly. I had expected him to be much older looking: instead of that he is just the same as when he went out. I thought that we would be getting off parade but the Adjie sent for us and we had to follow up the Company. Drill in close order all morning.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Afternoon off.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
At 4:30 parade for outpost duty. We marched out to Stagsden; a lovely night , bright moonlight and George and I had plenty to speak about all the way. We were put out under Harcus, as a screen to the position, and then withdrawn as the supports. The Colonel came along and said support should entrench - which I doubt. Pretty cold waiting about, but a stiff march in warmed us up plenty: me nearly asleep on the march, and glad to get to bed.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>26 Feb 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Marched out past the Swan Inn, and fought out to Stagsden. A perfect day. George is very keen. Most of the way was through woods with thorny undergrowth. Our section finished up with what appeared to me a very knutty piece of strategy, but the Adjie galloped up and put half of us out of action.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Drew 42/7 today for the last 2 weeks. Am feeling rather depressed today - no doubt a reaction after furlough and even George's presence can't shake it off altogether. Regular fed up with the family.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>27 Feb 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Laurie and I got a swearing from the Adjie today because he saw some of the men scratching their faces when they were at attention. He's getting very snotty about details, so I suppose we'll have to stiffen up too.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Company out in the field above the Cemetery, practicing bayonet charging against sacks of straw. The sacks were set up as an extended line: good fun but not far good as instruction went: not enough ground. George was at musketry instruction in Mod. School Park, and was pretty fed up with standing about.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
In the afternoon we went to Rugby Match, and at night George and Ian and I were down town on pass. We had tea in Dudeney & Johnson's; went to the Chums and enjoyed ourselves very much. The 'ass' is very like George. Went to the second house of the Empire.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>28 Feb 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Dreamt last night the Adjie told me he wouldn't recommend me for a commission. I gave him a bit of my mind.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Church parade today at 8:45, to the Baptist Chapel. Quite a good sermon on sacrifice: church done up inside like an ice-cream shop.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
After dinner Geo, Ian, Addie and I walked out to the Swan, ordered tea and went on round by Stagsden. A perfect day, as clear as any we have had here for a long time.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Coming back from Stagsden we were hailed by the tract-delivering parson, so we took to our heels. He wanted us up to tea - judging from his gesticulations, so went back and explained and received a few tracts. George wild we couldn't accept his invitation, as the daughter seemed 'a peach'.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Tea at the Swan: the landlord rather unpleasant about tossing. Walked home: Geo. sent Addie sprawling.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>MARCH 1915</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>01 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Started running drill at 7:15 this morning, the Sergeant-Major leading. Going on parade at 8:45, Capt Ritson bagged me for billeting staff. I wasn't sorry to go as it made my position secure for tonight. I let him know I wouldn't have his job if I get a commission, and he said M'Intosh in the orderly room would likely be put onto it. So that's all right, and I have my pass. Didn't get a lot of billets done as there were a lot of mistakes owing to furlough, etc.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Went down town at 6:30 as arranged and saw The Girl from Utah. It was about the best thing I have seen here - certainly the best musical comedy. The actresses were pretty, and almost proper. I like Kitty very much: nice and quiet.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>02 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Running drill at 7:15. Paying billets with Ritson and Sandy Ross. The latter's services were requisitioned in order that the Captain might be saved the labour of writing out the amended forms.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>03 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
This was to be a divisional day but turned out wet so we turned in. Had a reading in the office, and a short route march in the afternoon round by Oakley and Bromhaw.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
At night we were hauled out to a concert nobody wanted to go to. It turned out to be a dancing display by some school kids very good in its way but not the sort of meat and drink the Army wants. One little girl of 9 was a splendid turn - comic songs, etc. and should make her name.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>04 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Running drill at 7:15 paraded in full marching order at 8:15. We marched out to Stagsden and from there advanced cross country towards Stevington, in extended order the whole way. The 6th Seaforth were on our immediate right and we got rather boxed up against the road which was the left flank boundary. Marched in from Stevington, 'C' company next the band. Willie was paying great attention to covering today.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Went down town tonight to the Picture-drome. Came back early. Gwyneth has had toothache for the last two or three days and Mac and George have had to take turns at holding her hand.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>05 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Running drill at 7:15. Battalion parade at 9:15 for trenching. We had only to go up above the Cemetery and had a pretty slack day. Our squad practised entrenching with the small tools - the first time we have used them. The Brigadier was knocking about. We had 35 minutes to cook and eat our dinner and were back to work again till after four.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
After tea I wrote home. George and Ian are both 'out' as regards the house and doubt if they will ever smell it again.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>06 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
We had a so-called medical inspection at nine. It consisted of our new M.O. walking briskly along the ranks and studying the men's' boots. At 10 we marched up to Clapham park to get into the trenches again. We had two shifts and Willie was for making us do handling of arms when we came out of the trench. However we marched them to the hedge and sat down. He is probably the most unpopular officer in the battalion now: he used to be the most popular. 'F' Company vow to school him when we get into action.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Jim Miller, Blake and I had to parade to the Brigade Office at 3 p.m. and interviewed the Brigadier. The Brigadier was quite affable and signed our papers.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Cambridge played the Highland Division at Rugger this afternoon and got beaten. Cambridge had a very poor team they didn't seem to have played much together, and looked rather a rag-a-muffin bunch.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
George and Ian on pass tonight.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>07 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Church parade at 8:20. Good sermon from the new chaplain. The Camerons have already had some casualties. Took Orderly Sergt's work over for the day as Laurie was B.O.S. so that I didn't get out of the billeting area. Wrote Rob Alexander.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Black and Howie were in to supper.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>08 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Running drill at 7:15. Very cold, and snowing slightly. George not on duty yet as he was inoculated on Saturday. Company drill was cancelled and battalion went out for a route march - Milton Ernest, Filimousham, Pavenham, Stevington and Oakley. A splendid day for marching - cold and bracing and blinks of warm sun between the showers of small snow. The buds are on the hedges. The Company marched well today, and with a little care on the part of some NCOs - especially Laurie and M'Adie we would have a good marching coy.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Dinner at 3 p.m.: afternoon tea in the park and then again in 21. 'M' arrived this morning to Ian's discomfiture who was in Gwyneth’s bedroom at the time. He has come from China to join. It will be interesting to watch developments.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>09 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Marched out to near Stagsden and did the same scheme as on Thursday's last. This time we were the supports and had a most pleasant cross-country ramble - more like a botanical excursion than a sham fight.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>10 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Had the parade S_a_ [?] etc. in good time, having been up at 6. Marched out towards Colmworth and division attacked Gordons in direction of in the direction of Milton Ernest. When we just beginning - I was with the supports, the Adjie came and ordered me to take the pack-ponies to the ammunition column.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
I managed to catch them up after about an hours march. Then we stood for several hours on the road, very cold. Moved forward and came abreast two batteries in action. No sign of our battalion and I believe the commander of the column had quite lost touch with most of the infantry including ours The 6th lost touch with the 5th and seem to have lost themselves into the bargain.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Had a good march home, fine exhilarating weather. Got in after 4, one of the longest days we've had.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>11 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
With J. Ritson today, working all morning in the Orderly Room. Wonder if I'll take as badly to laboratory work as I do to office work. In the afternoon we paid some outlying billets, in a very lackadaisical state. JJR infects me that way.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Had tea in the pavilion with George and Ian, and Dolly sat and gassed till we were fair fed up. Nanna is jealous. Went down town to the Picture-drome.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Hear Major M'Millan told Willie of in the mess last night. Willie gets more unpopular every day. M'Millan told him to look out when he got to France.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>12 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Quite a good day, and did practically no work. I was in the Orderly Room till about 10, then went down town and spent the rest of the forenoon looking round the 2nd hand bookshop. Didn't see anything good.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
After dinner went with Ritson and Ian to the Bank and was free at 3 p.m. Had tea in the pavilion.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
After tea at 21 I wrote home and found my diary a great help. Black was in practising songs tonight and has settled on 'My Old Shako'. He hasn't got a voice or a temperament for it and woes me playing for him and Gwyneth, I hear they are going to rag Willie.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>13 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
With Ritson in Foster Hill Rd estimating the damage done by the men in some of the empty houses. A good deal of damage, much of it apparently wilful, but I believe nothing to what has been the case in some of the Morayshire billets. Banisters, wainscoting, etc burnt up and marble mantelpieces in smithereens, but I didn't see any as bad as that.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Concert at night a great success. Black didn't turn up for which I was sincerely thankful. Gwyneth surprised me, singing so well. Cowper of the Groat was down for the occasion and was quite successful in one or two of his songs, though they were of the usual antediluvian order. Willie and Ritson both sang, but very nervous. Willie got a good reception. The Sergt-Major danced the Highland Fling.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>14 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Church parade at 8:45. A new chaplain this morning and he had a husky throat. Not nearly so much coughing in Church now. Tea in the pavilion relieved the monotony of the day.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Went to St. Paul's with George at night and were shown into a front seat, where our ignorance of the service must have been most apparent.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>15 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Went out to Harrowden for field practices. Fifteen rounds per man at ranges from 600 to 300. Disappearing targets up for 35 secs and down for the same. Not very realistic but better than ordinary butt-shooting. Very easy to forget adjustment of sights. Our detail - with Donnie Dunnet, Poll, Laurie, etc had a long way the best score.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Was down town but nothing doing.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>16 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Divisional practice today - that of Wednesday 10th revived, with the 6th we held a position E of Milton Ernest. Whole 5th were out as a screen for the rest of Division. Willie spoilt it by moving from the right of our company's front to the extreme left, taking his platoon with him and consequently left a gap through which the enemy penetrated. Perhaps he wasn't to blame - haven't heard his side of the matter yet. Anyway we had all to retire in double time and at one point were almost taken. Not at all a brilliant affair, but very difficult to gauge what the results would be in the real thing. Got home on four o'clock, pretty hungry.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Went down town at night. Pitman was in tonight saying we are down to move in six weeks time as a Division. I say# there have already gone over 2 or 3 Territorial Divisions. Hope we are sent to the Dardanelles.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>17 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Examined some of the empty houses today with Ritson. A good deal of damage done in some cases, but others well looked after. Over at the Park for tea. The Battalion went out at 6 for night marching, but I went down town, having slight neuralgia.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>COMMISSIONED</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Commissioning in 1915 was a relatively informal affair. Candidates for regular commissions continued to attend Sandhurst, but in the case of the Territorial Force and the units of the 'New Armies' raised since the outbreak of war, there was no centralised selection or training of young officers.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
JBC would have applied for a commission on the standard army form and been recommended by Lt Col Davidson. He would have been required to produce a copy of his birth certificate, references as to his standard of education and his moral character (usually a minister or a JP) and would have been interviewed by his brigade commander. For the TF, the final approval word at this stage would have been with the County Territorial Association in Caithness - the group of local worthies who oversaw the TF units from their area.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Once everything was approved, the only formal procedure was the announcement of his commissioning in the London Gazette. At this point he would have been discharged from the 5th Seaforth 'in consequence of being appointed to a commission'.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
It was then up to his regiment to train him - and in early 1915 there was very little knowledge in the Highland Division of the practicalities of soldiering in France.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>18 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Was just going on parade this morning when Ian and Jim Miller came to tell me I had been gazetted. Miller and Blake are too. I wasn't a bit glad in fact it almost brought tears to my eyes to think that I must give up all my friends. George was very decent and tried to pretend he was glad but I know he isn't. I had to go and put on 'civies' which I had taken care to keep by me. Queer it feels to be in them again. Spent most of the day about the streets and transferring my things to Mrs. Mortimer's where I am to be billeted.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Went to lunch at the Mess with Ritson, and met most of the officers. It is much more free and easy than I had expected. Took a box of cigars up to the office and found Jim Miller carting up 4 bottles of Johnnie Walker. He was well screwed, and would have me go over to the Mess with him which I did until I found him going in the kitchen door, then I made my escape. Am sleeping this last night with George.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>19 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Breakfast at the Mess and glad to get decent Scotch porridge and cold milk in my mouth again. Got leave to go to Glasgow for seven days, so am leaving tonight. Spent a wearisome day, unsettled, half in and half out of 21.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Left by the 9:13 with Mowat of the Machine Gun. He is engaged to Mary Stewart. Left him at Rugby. The 4th Seaforth have been badly cut up, and 4th Camerons also#, so the officers' dance which was to be tonight is cancelled.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>20 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Arrived Glasgow 7:30. Breakfasted at YMCA. Ordered uniform at Moore, Taggert's and then started to hunt for Daisy. Found her (out) after an hour and a half's searching.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Met John Budge and had lunch with him at Miss Cranston's. He's a quaint bird but looking more spruce than I've seen him.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Got Daisy and Tina in at 2:30 and we went to tea together and then they saw me off from Queen's St. Arrived Crossgates and found Bessie here: also the spring-cleaning.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>21 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Walked to the Goat Brae with uncle in the forenoon - a blustering day, and a good deal of slushy snow on the roads. Uncle is a very good walking companion. Bob came along in the afternoon and was surprised find Bessie and me here.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>22 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Cycled down to Donibristle Ho. this morning. A lovely soft day, but colder later on. The country side is pretty just now and wreaths of snow behind the hedges give it extra colour. Found Donald M'Kay superintending the physical exertions of the men. He had a half day off, so I stayed till after tea. They are mounting 2 9.2 [inch] guns on Braefoot Pt. where he will be stationed when they are completed: at present the guns are 3 days overdue having be[en] shipped from Woolwich. Ship not since heard of. Probably another case of false economy. D.W.M. seems well content with his lot, and if he gets obedience from the men I should think it is more by taking it for granted than by exacting it.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Got up to Xgates at 5:30, against a stiff breeze and after reconnoitring a few imaginary positions. Went along by car to Lochgelly, with the intention of returning again, but didn't. Had two games of chess with Bob - successfully.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>23 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
It has been a muggy day. Called at Cowdenbeath on my way down and introduced myself to Mr. Bain. Had a long yarn with him during which he frequently went beyond my depth. Had a longish walk with Uncle in the afternoon.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>24 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Left for Glasgow at 12:30. Auntie down seeing me off. She has broadened considerably in her views lately. Met Dorothy Middleton as arranged and had tea. She continues to increase in beauty and Ian will be dashed lucky if he lands her - an idea she appears to pooh-pooh. Had a very nice time with her - went to La Scala and then to The Picture Ho. for coffee. In the former we ran into Connie Soutar and Tina Cameron, who no doubt thought us an ill-assorted couple. D. is companion to a lady out at Bothwell, and has a very leisurely existence. She took herself home about 9:30 and I made for the YMCA where I got a room for 2/6 consisting of 4 walls, a bed and a bible!
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>25 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Spent the morning looking for a waterproof, and didn't find one. I am a most undecided person when hunting for anything like that, and usually start out with no clear idea of what I want. I ultimately came to the decision, on looking up Land & Water, to go down and inspect the London productions and incidentally visit Vane. Went out to Randolph Gardens and found Mary Fargie in. She is small and fat, with a triple chin and a pretty bad Glasgow accent.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Was at Daisy's at 4:30 and we had tea at Miss Rombach's. I paid a hurried visit to the tailors and then we proceeded to the King's Theatre where we got seats in the front row of the Upper Circle. I enjoyed the play very much, all the more being in their company, and I couldn't help thinking it might be for the last time. I should have liked to tell D. what she has meant to me but Tina was there, which was probably just as well.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>26 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Got into Euston at breakfast time, which meal I got in a little dingy restaurant with marble topped tables and no table cloths. A lot of others there too, quite decently dressed, but mostly going in for tea, or hot milk and cake! I couldn't make it out. Went to look for a waterproof, and spent most of the morning in that way. Went down Whitehall and also called at Jermyn St. and fixed up with D.S. Kitchen to take over my collection if I don't require them afterwards. Speaking of Salfeld and Pompekj: he thinks they would both be officers in the German Army.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Went out to Edmonton and caught Vane just going out. We had tea. Both Vane and Con have the pip, and have no fire or keenness left in them. Probably Vane isn't reading enough, and yet he has plenty time. The house wasn't in such good order either.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Got a train from St. Pancras about 8 and got into Bedford about 10. Was up till after 12 trying my uniform on.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>27 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Jim Miller was attached to A, and I to B. "B" was on the miniature range this forenoon and practising fire control with landscape targets, so I hadn't any occasion to make a fool of myself although I felt one with my trews as wide as a divided skirt.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
The afternoon I spent moping about the digs. I was over at 21 for a bit, but George and Ian have gone to London for the weekend.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>28 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Church parade at 9:20. I got a loan of Captain Ritson's sporran. I had a very bad cough, which I expected would bother me in Church, but I managed to suppress it. Mr. Bain, our Chaplain, can't keep the Germans and their Kaiser out of his sermons. Mowat, Lybster, was next me and trumpeting into my ear.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Wrote home in the forenoon and after dinner at Platts I went with Ritson and Mortimer for 18 holes of golf. It was an ideal day and we had a most enjoyable round. I won by one hole, to Ritson's fairly evident disgust, but I think he really was off his game. I don't know whether I did right or wrong to play but I don't see any harm in it, under the circumstances, and this is the only day Mr. Mortimer can get. I like him, he's just like a kid out of school.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>29 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Another brilliant day. Marched out about 9:30 to Oakley and then across country to Tithe Farm and Bury Farm. I had charge of 2 platoons in the firing line and got on all right except for a slight inclination to get excited. I must watch that. Ultimately, I was working with one platoon on the extreme left, as the enemy were trying to work round that flank. This was a practice day for the stretcher bearers etc., and was the first hard manual work the pipers have done. The only thing that spoilt the day was waiting on the roadside for 35 minutes for the band to come along. Got in about 2:30.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Invested in a set of chess, but don't believe I'll have much time for it. I haven't been able to do any reading for some time.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>30 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Divisional practice today and moved off at 8:35, so had early breakfast. Marched out about 8 miles, with many checks and then lay on the side of the road for about an hour and a half. It was quite hot in the sun today. At last we advanced, being in reserve to the Argyles. I was with the supports (of the reserves) so hadn't much to do: but it's a treat to work with "B" Coy.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
The men are keen and tractable and I shall do everything I can to keep them so. The difficulty is to draw the happy medium between Harper's laisey-faire [sic] and Willie's nagging tactics. We marched home as we came out, with many irritating stops and didn't get in until 6 p.m. so we were very hungry. My face is smarting with the cold and the sun.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>31 Mar 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Very warm today - the most summery day we've had yet. Rifle and foot inspection at 9:15. Musketry and handling of arms from 11 to 1 and again from 2 to 4. During the latter period I took the company for a short time and felt rather nervous. Somehow, they impress me more than 'C' did, partly because the NCOs are older and more experienced men.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Am getting to know W. A. M'Donald, as we are the only officers at present with 'B' and I like him, as every other body does too.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Had hoped to get some letter writing today - to Daisy as I had some cigarettes from her this morning, but got none done. Had a game of chess with Ritson, in which he nearly beat me.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>APRIL 1915</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>01 Apr 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Was on duty in the butts at Harrowden today along with Corrigal. We left here at 8:15. Fine dry morning. There is still about 8" of water in the butts so we had to put on waders, which were not water tight, so I was mucking about in wet feet all morning, which didn't do my cold any good. Got home at 2 p.m. and wrote to Daisy. Pills with Blake at night, he is too good for me, but I am very bad. Was over at 21 for a little.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Black had No.10 platoon on Brigade inlying picket last night and they were nearly all tight. He wasn't quite sober himself I'm told. That's the way to be carrying on just now. No wonder we have a bad name.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>02 Apr 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
A total holiday today. Wrote and read in the forenoon. After dinner, Ritson, Mortimer, George and I went out, per taxi, to Clapham golf course and had 18 holes. George was fair excited, and driving a very long, if somewhat erratic ball. It was great to see all his old mannerisms. We all had tea in Mrs. Mortimer's, along with Ian and Addie and some lady friends of the family. We had quite a jolly night. Mrs. Mortimer thinks a lot of George.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>03 Apr 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Wet today, so the Company didn't parade at all. W.A. M'Donald and I inspected some of the billets, but in a very perfunctory way. I was Supernumerary Orderly Officer, J.B. Morrison being Orderly Officer. The duties don't seem to be either onerous or difficult; and as far as I can gather they are mostly skipped. Morrison seems to be rather a conscientious cove, although it may have been partly for my benefit. I read most of the afternoon, and had to spend from 8 p.m. onward in the orderly room.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>04 Apr 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Church parade at 8:20. Mr. Bain again: he covered a large field in his sermon, from Homer upwards. After dinner at 21, to which place I am half thinking of not going back, we went to Biddenham - Capt. Ritson, Mr. Mortimer, George and I and had 18 holes. Ritson and I lost by one hole, a very close match and very enjoyable. George was in good form. A perfect evening.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
We all had tea and supper in 26. George waited till roll-call. I am very sorry for him, he seems so sick of 21, where the gramophone is never quiet, unless it's to give the piano a chance.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>05 Apr 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Divisional sports, and thank goodness a fair and mild, if not a brilliant day. The sports were in the Grammar School grounds and attracted a huge crowd. The crowd, as far as fashion, etc. was considered, was very tame. There were 5th competitors in many of the events and we won the 100 yd (Goddard) and the officers relay race, besides being second in the tug of war and number of other events. All over we had second place, 21 points to 43 of the 8th Argyles. The latter carried off most of the heavy events. The dancing was a treat but the presence of three or 4 professionals knocked all the amateurs out.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
After mess sat in the billet where Mr. and Mrs. Ritson, Mrs. Mortimer and her rather pretty niece Miss Monk had foregathered.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>06 Apr 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Divisional exercise today and a most disagreeable day at that. We marched out the Kempston and Ampthill road and effected a junction with another column which was on the Cotton End road in Wilshamstead Wood, from which we turned south and attacked the Gordons at Haynes Park. The attack went rather rapidly at the centre where we joined the 6th, and I rather foolishly joined in a premature assault which they made. As it was we were in a salient and would have been enfiladed, but thought the movement was general. I must be more careful in future.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
"B" Coy's concert is on tonight, but I was told off for Brigade Inlying Picquet in Albert Terrace. After several attempts to quieten them the men have at last subsided and quietness reigns. I suspect they have been throwing lemonade bottles through the (closed) windows, but am not certain. I have just had to speak pretty plainly to some of them.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>GOLSPIE</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
JBC spent the next few weeks at Golspie with the 2/5 Seaforth, during which time he made only one entry in the diary.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
On 11 Apr 15 the Highland Division was warned to prepare to move to France. It arrived in France on 1 May 15 and shortly afterwards was retitled 51st (Highland) Division with the brigade became 152nd Brigade.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Jim Miller was wounded by shellfire on 19 May and evacuated to UK.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
On 15 Jun 'C' Company, led by Capt Joe Robertson, took part in an attack on German trenches which failed in the face of machine-gun fire and uncut barbed wire. 2 officers and 33 other ranks were killed - many others were wounded. Among the dead were Sgt Ian M'Millan, Pte George Alexander and 2/Lt Donnie Dunnet. Capt Joe Robertson, Capt Joseph Ritson and Lt W A M'Donald were among the wounded.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Sergt-Maj Sutherland and three others won the Distinguished Conduct Medal bringing in the wounded under fire.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
JBC's diary for 15 Jun simply says 'Battle of Festubert'
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Shortly after Festubert JBC's mother received the following letter:
 +
 
 +
__________________________________________________________________________
 +
 
 +
Private
 +
 
 +
3472 "C" Coy
 +
 
 +
1st 5th Sea Hdrs
 +
 
 +
152nd Infantry Brig
 +
 
 +
51st (Highland) Division
 +
 
 +
B. E. France
 +
 
 +
Friday 25 June
 +
 
 +
Dear Mrs Cairnie,
 +
 
 +
                       
 +
 
 +
You all must have got a great shock when the news of our casualties reached Thurso & especially when you heard of the loss of the two boys you know so well, I can well understand your feelings but I know one gets a great comfort in the knowledge that they have died the most noble and honourable deaths.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Thurso & Wick have suffered heavily as a result of the charge which shall never be forgot by any of the survivors.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Your parcel for poor George came here the other day and was handed to me & I saw by the card that I was meant to share it, I shared with several of the other boys here & let them know who it was for & who it was from.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
I wrote a short note to Bruce the other day, poor Bruce will feel it terribly as George was always speaking about him & the rare times they used to have together especially in camp at Reay & I always knew by the way he spoke that they were the best of chums. I remember him say not very long ago that he was glad Bruce was not out here.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
I'm not to say give any of the details of the attack as I've begun to hate speaking about it, one does not realise what chums really are till after they are gone beyond one's reach.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Nothing more at present, hoping this finds everyone in Thurso in good health.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Believe me,
 +
 
 +
yours sincerely,
 +
 
 +
Andrew B Sinclair
 +
 
 +
___________________________________________________________________________
 +
 
 +
 +
 
 +
 +
 
 +
 +
 
 +
<center><b>TO FRANCE</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
After the shock of 15 Jun 1915, 1/5 Seaforth remained in the front line until the 25th when they moved to rest billets at La Gorgue (about20Km east of Lille).
 +
 
 +
 
 +
The need to replace battle casualties and the increasing numbers of officers required by battalions on active service meant a draft of officers was sent out from the 2/5th at Golspie. After a farewell dinner in the Sutherland Arms Hotel, Brora on the evening of 23 Jun 15 JBC left for France the next day.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>JUNE 1915</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>24-Jun-15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Barnetson and I left Golspie at 6:30 a.m. Had a grand send off, all the officers and men of the battalion coming to the station to see us off. The journey wasn't exciting, as Barnetson isn't any more of a conversationalist than I, but very pleasant. Saw a number of friends in Edin. including Bob and Bessie. Left at 10:50 for London, having picked up Sutherland.
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 +
<center><b>25-Jun-15</b></center>
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 +
 
 +
Breakfasted at the Strand Palace Hotel and after being photographed, at Lafayette’s, went and met Vane at Piccadilly. He is looking much better after his route-march to Cambridge. We shopped, and had lunch at the SPH - eleven of us, including five of us officers. Left Waterloo 2:55 p.m., and feeling in very good spirits all of us, but I think the women who are left behind are bravest of all.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Arrived Southampton about 6 p.m. and got our business done. Leaving tonight late by the Harve packet. A number of civilians crossing too.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>26-Jun-15</b></center>
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 +
 
 +
On deck shortly before 8 a.m. No land in sight, but fine breezy sunny morning. Had breakfast and before we were finished we were inside Harve harbour.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Char-a-banc up to the Base Office from which we received orders to proceed Rouen same afternoon. Had a very enjoyable journey, not much sign of war here, but on the quays were piles of barbed wire and large numbers of transport waggons parked.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Arrived Rouen about 5:30 p.m. and after some difficulty found our way to the Hotel Angleterre where we found Nicolson and Paterson eating strawberries. Later went out to the Base Depot where we are to billet until further orders - in canvas shacks.
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 +
<center><b>27-Jun-15</b></center>
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 +
 
 +
This being Sunday there way nothing very much doing in the way of drill. We went down to the town and wandered through the streets, visiting the market which was pretty well packed with country people. We (Barnetson, Suddy, Hamish and I) had some grub at a café - strawberries made up in some sickening sort of way. Saw the Cathedral and most of the older parts of the town, some of it fairly ancient and replete with carved arches and figures in all sorts of corners and attitudes. Had a decent dinner at a restaurant: Hamish inclined to get a bit uproarious. Nearly all the shops were shut. Sat in a café on the river front for a bit and then took the car out to the camp.
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<center><b>28-Jun-15</b></center>
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 +
 
 +
After breakfast we walked up to the pine wood about a mile along the road for a lecture by a young Captain who has evidently been out all winter. On the road, and on the sandy bit of plateau between it and the river infantry and cavalry were being drilled. The infantry were in some cases drafts newly come out, in others details, sick, etc. They were fairly getting it rubbed in and smartened up, but it was only for a few hours in the day.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
In the evening we went down to Rouen, Finnie playing football on the way and generally conducting himself like a young child. Barney and he and I thought to go down the river on a steamer but missed it and put it off. We went and had dinner at the Café Normandie. The three of us climbed the chalk hill on the South? side of the town. It rises almost perpendicularly from the side of the river, of which and all the surrounding country especially to the West it commands a magnificent view.
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<center><b>29-Jun-15</b></center>
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 +
 
 +
The same programme today as yesterday but it came on rain so we returned to camp, when it cleared up. Harry Lauder's son has joined the camp. In the afternoon we had revolver shooting at which I was nothing patent. Went down to Rouen tonight again and in time to catch the steamer. We all got aboard and comfortably seated. Just as it was about to leave we sent Suddy to see when it would return. On finding it would come back tomorrow morning we bunked for the quay. Adjourned to the Café Normandie where we found Johnnie Paterson with the news that we are for the road tomorrow. So we had what we thought was to be our last civilised dinner - nothing now but bully beef and biscuits - and celebrated the occasion by having a good feed.
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<center><b>30-Jun-15</b></center>
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 +
Packed up our stuff, and drew web equipment, etc. from the QM Stores. Left camp at 5 p.m. The train left at 7:45 p.m. On board are several drafts of men and a good number of officers. Had a fine view of Rouen when crossing the railway bridge, with the sunset in the background.
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<center><b>JULY 1915</b></center>
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 +
 
 +
<center><b>01-Jul-15</b></center>
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 +
 
 +
Didn't sleep very well last night, probably because of certain amount of une Slept from 10 to 8 a.m. although the train was jolting and bumping at a fearful rate. We got into Bethune in the afternoon and later detrained at La Gorgue.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Major Morrison met us three and conducted us to the transport train where we were entertained to tea by Major Sinclair and James Willie - under the greenwood tree. I was surprised to see the civil population evidently going about their work as usual and children sprawling in the gutter although they are within range of the German lines. Of course all the men are in uniform. The countryside is very flat, rather like some of Bedfordshire, but the crops are getting pretty high and make the country even more difficult. We went on later to the 'Reserve Trenches' in Rue Baceanot.
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 +
 
 +
<center><b>02-Jul-15</b></center>
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 +
 
 +
Breakfast at 8. The men are up at 5:30 but no parades are held. Rifle inspection at 9:30. I have No 4 Platoon with D. Morrison and Skinnie in it. There is nothing doing - sleep and eat all day and this being Maj M'Millan's birthday we did the latter very well. Went over to 'C' Coy in the forenoon and found Addie, Deuchart and the rest wonderfully hearty. We had a tea party in honour of the Major's birthday, although I think he supplied most of the eatables.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Before tea I went up to the firing line and had the first experience of being near shrapnel. Up there it is very quiet and everybody is very comfortable. The trench is of the nature of a redoubt, built of sandbags, over which it is almost certain death to stick your head in daylight. The enemy snipers are very good. I found Adam very happy, in one of the dug-outs.
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 +
<center><b>IN THE TRENCHES</b></center>
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 +
 
 +
<center><b>03-Jul-15</b></center>
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 +
 
 +
Some of our batteries were going it strong last night although there was little reply to them. They kept us awake a bit. Went up to the fire trench with Major M'Millan and 6th Sea officer and had a good look over the part we are to occupy. It consists mainly of an old Brit communication trench running at right angles to remainder of our line, joining us up with the A&SHs who are further advanced. From this communication trench, several redoubts have been built at right angles. These we have to hold. Seemingly the Germans gave it to them pretty hot last night with shrapnel and high explosive. They got one of the latter into a fort and smashed a dug-out, the two men inside having miraculous escapes. I found Adam, again as happy as ever, exploring the inside of his kilt for 'Scots Greys' which are very abundant here. After dinner I slept and in the evening got my things ready for going into the trenches. This we did after dusk and I got my platoon in without difficulty, but of course this part is very easy indeed to relieve. We took over and No. 4 Platoon was told off to the reserve trenches.
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 +
 
 +
<center><b>04-Jul-15</b></center>
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 +
 
 +
No. 4 had to furnish visiting patrols and listening patrol as well. I was rather afraid of the latter but found it quite a simple affair as we didn't go out far. The night was splendid and beyond desultory rifle fire there was nothing doing. No casualties in the battalion. Turned in at 3 a.m. and slept till six. After breakfast wrote a few letters and Adam came along to my dug-out. Am very comfortable. Wrote home in the afternoon and slept a bit.
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 +
 
 +
<center><b>05-Jul-15</b></center>
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 +
 
 +
Quite a quiet day and little doing. Explored the ground just in front of the Sally Port for a sniping post along with Major M'Millan. It is a great thing to be serving under him. No 4 Platoon moved up to take over the two redoubts this evening. It promises to be more exciting work. Stayed in Z until after stand-to. Nothing much doing. There are 16 Argyle bomb-throwers in Z as well as two sections of my own.
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 +
 
 +
<center><b>06-Jul-15</b></center>
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 +
 
 +
A fine morning. Had to wait on after stand-to (3 a.m.) in case the Briggie comes along. Shaved, breakfasted and to bed. The redoubts were shelled while I slept and one high explosive landed just behind the parados beside the bomb supply. Fortunately they didn't explode. The can get a perfect enfilade on the redoubts so we are going to strengthen the traverses. I went up in the forenoon and underwent the next part of the bombardment which was not so trying as I expected. However the shells weren't coming within 50 yards but the splints sang and hummed overhead. I got one wee bit on the leg but only a scratch. It is shrapnel that plays the mischief as regards splinters.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
At night again the fun started but Y got it worst. I don't know how they hadn't some casualties. Fortunately a lot of the shells didn't explode - duds. Later the Bosches started rapid fire, having spotted a work party of Argyles so we had a hot time, the bullets going cracking overhead. I wasn't excited, but it took some nerve to put my head above the parapet. The Argyles who were with us were a great asset. Donnie Morrison is a very useful and willing man. I'm glad to have him.
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 +
 
 +
<center><b>07-Jul-15</b></center>
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 +
 
 +
Stayed in Z Redoubt until after seven a.m. when I came down to HQ and got shaved. It was a pretty quiet day as far as the redoubts were concerned although they have been searching again for the sap head. In the afternoon there was fairly heavy bombardment of the rest of the line but no damage was done. Finlayson took over the redoubts at 8:30 p.m. and I moved  my platoon down to the parapet opposite HQ. Am now fine and near the dug-out and more in the centre of things. Turned in at 11:30 p.m. so as to be able to relieve Finlayson at 3 a.m. I hear there was pretty heavy firing after I went to bed but never a thing did I hear.
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 +
 
 +
<center><b>08-Jul-15</b></center>
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 +
 
 +
Finlayson called me at 3 a.m. but as things were quiet I didn't get up till after 4. Went round the redoubts, shaved and had breakfast. Pte W Reid of my platoon was shot through the side while working behind the parapet. He died shortly afterwards. We thought at first it might have been an accident by a couple of Argyle snipers behind, but as another two bullets have come into same spot, I am pretty sure it is a German sniper. We hunted round behind for him unsuccessfully, but they are devilishly cunning.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Slept in the afternoon, censored some letters and went along the line to see Addie. I never feel as sad as when I see poor old Addie's face. I believe 'C' would put up a desperate fight but their spirit is clean gone at present.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Went out on reconnoitring patrol about 11 a.m. with Sgt J Fraser and a man. Were out for at least an hour and a half but didn't see or hear anything. I was quite nervous and 'chattery' before going out but soon settled down once I was there. We got out a good bit. Went to bed at 1:20 a.m. The Germans have been sending over some big shells today and trench mortars. They are getting onto our new communication trench.
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<center><b>09-Jul-15</b></center>
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Wakened by Finlayson at 3 a.m. All quiet. Some trench mortars came over about breakfast time but did no damage. Lay in a ruined cottage for a couple of hours with my corporal to see if that sniper would come out, but no luck. Shells began to come over so we had to shift. Went out with Finnie and C. Serg. Major Miller and got some shell fuses belonging behind the lines.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Were relieved at 9:30 by incoming Bde. Nasty jamb getting men in as they had far more than us. If the Germans had sent over some well aimed trench mortars they would have done tremendous execution but they were unaccountably quiet and probably being relieved themselves. Got down to the far end of Laventie without mishap although one bullet made the skin of my back creep. The men got tea and were led to their billets. Then we got to ours and had a grand supper with fried eggs, etc. in the Café Aux Voyageurs. Turned in at 1 p.m.
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<center><b>10-Jul-15</b></center>
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Breakfast about 8 a.m. - ham and eggs, sausages, tea, etc quite a good affair, with Steven D in attendance. Company parade at 11 a.m. for inspection by C.O. - rifles, bayonets, shaving, etc. The Colonel was unconsciously particular, as if men carried burnishers in their kit. Slept in the afternoon and wandered down town in the evening with little Willie. Rather colder today. A few shells falling not far away, watched apathetically by the remaining inhabitants from their door-steps.
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<center><b>11-Jul-15</b></center>
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 +
 
 +
Nearly slept in. Had to attend bomb school at 9 a.m. for a few days course, but found the instructor had also overslept. Rather old again: a quiet Sunday morning. Walked into Estaires with Howie in the afternoon and had a bath and a good dinner for 3 francs. It was great to get clean again. Got home at 9:15 and found letters and parcels, including a very nice letter from May and cakes, etc from home. Fags from DeCain [?]
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 +
<center><b>12-Jul-15</b></center>
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Went bombing this morning and threw some live Bethune bombs. Rather nervy work at first. Slept and wrote May in the afternoon. Big pile of letter to censor. Black and Stalker arrived this afternoon Black to A Coy, Stalker to B.
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 +
<center><b>13-Jul-15</b></center>
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 +
 
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Put of a lot of rifle grenades - saw a display with trench mortars by Blake - horrid affair.
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<center><b>14-Jul-15</b></center>
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 +
Took my platoon into Estaires for a bath and had one myself, along with Blackie. Fine clean feeling afterwards. This is the first hot bath the battalion has had since coming out, so they must have needed it. Had to up to the trenches on fatigue - Black too and it was his first time in the firing line. It was a splashing wet night and everybody got soaked. Had to lead along about 300 yards of newly dug, narrow trench in pitch darkness. Worked from 11 to 1:30 a.m. although the spades wouldn't lift anything - or wouldn't let it down again. Wonder we had no casualties - we are always lucky or is it cautious? Got back about 3 a.m., the latter part being dry.
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15-Jul-15<center><b></b></center>
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Slept till dinner time. Went up to relieve the 7th Gordons at night. Trenches seemed very strange the first night, getting into them in almost inky darkness. Everyone stood to till dawn, as Major M'Millan believes in doing so the first night.
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<center><b>16-Jul-15</b></center>
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Blank
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<center><b>17-Jul-15</b></center>
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Blank
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<center><b>18-Jul-15</b></center>
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Up at dawn - fine bright morning. Black and I slept spent most of the afternoon potting at a German with the periscope rifle but didn't get him. I saw his head and shoulders - my first German. Two or three times it struck me this was Sunday, but it was hard to remember. It's just like any other day, only the Germans usually send over a few more shells than usual.
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In the evening, during Church time at home, I lay and 'imagined' the organ and service. We seem very near home.
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<center><b>19-Jul-15</b></center>
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Another grand day and just the usual routine of the trenches. Went out at night with L/Cpl Sinclair reconnoitering and was out for 2 hours, looking for disused trenches along our front. Got back about 12 and found the Major getting anxious.
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<center><b>20-Jul-15</b></center>
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 +
Up at 3 and found Blackie waiting for me to make tea which we did. Grand morning. After breakfast Finlayson and I took bearings for 3 fixed rifles to sweep roads behind German lines. Loopholes are to be built tonight. Both sides were very quiet today, the Germans can be seen carrying long poles through their trenches.
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 +
 
 +
Went along to see 'C' Coy tonight. Addie in good form and more cheerful than usual. I hear from the sergeants that George was simply splendid and willing to do anything. A lovely sunset tonight - great long fiery clouds stretching over the West and overhead and giving everything a fine glow. Overhead several aeroplanes - they usually come at dawn or in the evening. Turned in about 10:30.
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<center><b>21-Jul-15</b></center>
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Blank
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<center><b>22-Jul-15</b></center>
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We leave the trenches tonight so most of the day is spent in cleaning up, etc. It is always a wearisome day when we are going out as there is no outgoing mail and therefore no incentive to write. We were relieved by the Indian Division - a regiment of Sikhs relieved the 5th. They were very quiet about is and weird looking. I'ld rather fight with them than against. It started raining just about 10 p.m. and rained steadily till we got to Merville about 3:30 a.m. Had to stand an hour and a half on the other side Laventie for D Coy which did not turn up even then. Were pretty well soaked. We are out this time without a single casualty in 'A' Coy.
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<center><b>23-Jul-15</b></center>
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Rose and breakfasted about 12 midday. Felt rather washed out, as if I had been at a dance last night. Allan had a birthday party which was a great success, especially the smoking concert which followed. Paterson and Dannie were in great form. A perfect, moonlight night.
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<center><b>24-Jul-15</b></center>
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Inspection by OC at 10 a.m. - rifle inspection. He was in better cut today. Went into Merville after that and again after dinner. Tried to get a bath but there are only 2 in the town and not accessible. The population wash in the river. Had champagne in the Hotel de Ville, to celebrate Barnetson's gazette.
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<center><b>25-Jul-15</b></center>
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Church Service at headquarters this forenoon. Rev. M'Farlane still hammering away at the Kaiser: the sniping pretty rotten. Meeting of officers at Bde HQ in afternoon addressed by Brigadier, revising lessons learned by 3 months experience. I hope he has learned his lesson. Had to go into La Gorgue to find road to station and did so on the Major's nag. Went to bed at 8:30 p.m., at least lay down on it, and wakened at 8:30 by Steven D.
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<center><b>ON THE SOMME</b></center>
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In mid July the 51st (Highland) Division moved to the Somme region and took over a section of the front line from the French. This was a 'quiet' sector where the division could continue to train. 'Quiet' is relative, but in 1915 the name 'Somme' carried none of the implications that it would gain after the battles of Jul - Nov 1916.
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The battalion remained in this area until late 1916, mostly occupying positions on the River Ancre just north of Albert.
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<center><b>26-Jul-15</b></center>
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Marched to La Gorgue station, leaving Merville about 5 a.m. It was raining for the first bit but the sun came out and dried me. Got aboard - 30 men in each truck and officers in 1st and a few in 3rd class carriages. Rather a bumpy journey but not too fast to make the bumps uncomfortable. We made a big detour, round by Calais and Abbeville to Amiens. At Calais we drew up alongside a buffet run by English girls. After Calais we ran along the coast and then up the valley of the Somme, the country improving every mile. Arrived Corbie about 10 p.m. and marched 4 miles under a full moon up to the Amiens - Albert road. Out billets were at Pont Noyelles.
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<center><b>27-Jul-15</b></center>
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Rose late. Had a bathe in a burn with Black and Finlayson. The water is clean and wholesome, quite unlike what we have seen up north. Concert by 'A' and 'B' Coys at the Girls Seminary. Piano on the steps at front door and men standing or sitting round below the trees. Perfect night.
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<center><b>28-Jul-15</b></center>
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Reviewed today by General Munro, Commanding 3rd Army. Concert tonight by officers. Great success. Finnie sang splendidly. Another perfect night. Conversazione of officers afterwards in 'B' Coy headquarters, and one of the men doing 'Imitations'.
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<center><b>29-Jul-15</b></center>
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Drill in forenoon - handling arms, and also bathing parade. Sun very warm. Lot of Kitcheners passed through today. We expected to move today too but cancelled. This is a lovely little village.
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<center><b>30-Jul-15</b></center>
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Handling of arms and swim in the morning. Marched off at 5 p.m. for new billets up nearer the firing line. Rather warm to begin with but cooled down as the sun set and after that had a glorious march. Tea under the trees at the roadside. Then on till 11:30. Some of the men were pretty well /----/ up with soft feet. Got to bed about 12, in an old stable which had been used as French Hospital. Straw beds and rather lively. Rose very itchy.
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<center><b>31-Jul-15</b></center>
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Difficult to get good water here - the stuff we washed in was full of H2S. Hence late breakfast. Port wine under the trees in the Chateau garden until some of them were beginning to get merry. Paraded at 5 p.m. and marched down into the little valley: the air very thick and close. Through the wood d'Aveluy, to the ville d'Authuille. My platoon told off to a detached post on the railway which I took over from a gesticulating Frenchman with the aid of an interpreter. Very comfortable little place, especially the quartiers du Commandant.
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Dined with the latter gentleman and 3 regular officers in a shanty below the bridge. My French very weak. Went round the post about 11 p.m. and found everything OK and the men fraternising splendidly with the French Johnnies.
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<center><b>AUGUST 1915</b></center>
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<center><b>07 Aug 15</b></center>
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Nothing worth noting down in the past week. I have been on this post all the time. We did some work during the day - clearing the wood in front of Mound Keep and cleaning up the trenches. At night of course the sentries were on and I had to make a tour of these with the sergeant.
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The weather has not been too good - fair amount of rain and drizzle, but I have been very comfortable in the hut below the bridge, with first a Somerset and then a Hampshire officer as company. I messed in Authuille along with the rest of 'A' and 'B', otherwise I spent all my time here.
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Have read 'Captain Maigaret' this week and written a few letters. The time passes very quickly.
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 +
<center><b>08 Aug 15</b></center>
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A fine quiet day, quite Sunday like. Had a glorious bathe, or rather bath in the burn this morning. Afterwards read Study in Scarlet.
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Having been living very much in the past, dallying with old memories, but keeping out the later tragic ones. Think it's good occasionally to just take a good look back.
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<center><b>09 Aug 15</b></center>
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Moist warm day. Too lazy to do any work or to see that the men did any. Glad we're not in the Dardanelles. Have started having rifle inspection every morning and section commanders have one at night. The Bosches are beginning to send over a good many bullets our way so I have altered the route to Authuille, making it exactly the same the French had it. Had a very heavy downpour of rain tonight and a great deal of vivid blue lightening. It was so wet that I didn't visit all the sentries.
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<center><b>10 Aug 15</b></center>
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Thick and misty this morning - no improvement after the thunder. Put the men on to clear out the trenches which are rather muddy. Felt more energetic in the afternoon and wrote two letters. A and B have a joint mess but I don't think it would be well to continue it always. The Bosches are beginning to send over shrapnel occasionally now, and two landed up in the wood tonight not far from one of my groups. Probably there is too much movement in the wood.
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<center><b>11 Aug 15</b></center>
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Another good day. Had a good view of the firing line from trenches on the valley side behind us. The Chateau of Thiepval isn't much of a place now. Had some shrapnel into Authuille tonight and some of us had a rather narrow shave. Argyles had one killed and 1 wounded at the river. A lot of our men there too. We are always very lucky.
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Germany has offered peace to Russia but she has declined. British have taken 1200 yards of trench at Hooge, but it will be only a very local and probably extremely costly success.
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<center><b>12 Aug 15</b></center>
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Blank
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<center><b>13 Aug 15</b></center>
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The Argyles were relieved by the Indian Cavalry Division. These have been in the trenches only about 48 hours since they came out in December. Rather funny to see them losing their companies in the darkness and as I couldn't make myself understood to them I had a bit of a job.
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<center><b>14 Aug 15</b></center>
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The officers of the ICD came round today - half a dozen majors and captains with note-books all asking questions. Discovered Leslie who used to be in Chem T among them. He didn't seem to relish the reminiscences so I left him alone. I handed over to an officer of the Iniskillings at 6 p.m. I was only sorry I couldn't wait to hear about India from him. He says 'It's a fine country to go on leave in'.
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 +
Battalion formed up in Bois d'Aveluy and when it got dusk, took the road through Albert and got to Buire-sur-l'Ancre about 11 p.m. No billets for us officers but it was a fine night, and we got our valises under a tree, Blacko and I and were soon asleep.
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<center><b>15 Aug 15</b></center>
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 +
 
 +
A fresh awakening this morning: got up about 8 and shaved and washed. Breakfast in a hired room, and later on Murray got us two nice bedrooms next door to BHQ. The village we are in has not been touched by the war, so that we are rid for the time being of the depressing sights of roofless houses. The inhabitants are all in situ.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<center><b>16 Aug 15</b></center>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
The newly joined subs paraded under the Sergeant-Major in transport lines and submitted to public degradation - right turns by numbers. Great indignation, especially on Freegard's part.
  
<center><b><span style='font-size:13.5pt'>JANUARY
 
1915</b>
 
  
<center><b>19 Jan 15</b>
+
<center><b>17 Aug 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            Company
 
drill from <st1:time Minute="30" Hour="9">9:30</st1:time> to <st1:time
 
Minute="0" Hour="13">1 p.m.</st1:time> It would get rather feding up if we had
 
much of it. An hour of 'cross-tig' relieved the monotony. In the afternoon,
 
bayonet fighting for NCOs, and then a lecture by Sergt-Major. Very busy all
 
evening and got up to orderly room by <st1:time Hour="11" Minute="30">11:30</st1:time>.
 
  
<center><b>20 Jan 15</b>
+
Drill in the forenoon. After tea had a walk by myself up to the main road and back by Ribermont. Read Gray's Elegy on the way and much of it that was meaningless before was quite clear. Lovely evening.
  
<br><br>            Wakened
 
by reveille. Mac lazy as he hadn't been in bed till 2:30 a.m. Route march to
 
Turvey, somehow I felt less fit than usual. The company marched well going out,
 
but coming in when No. 1 section were leading there was no step in it. 20 men
 
on the sick-list this morning, mostly with chest-colds. No cases of measles in
 
our Company today, but one death in 'G'.
 
  
<br><br>            The
+
<center><b>18 Aug 15</b></center>
Colonel and Maj Sinclair left for a fortnight at home tonight. Still there is
+
no word of leave for us.
+
  
<center><b>21 Jan 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Slept
+
Drill in the forenoon beside the river and after dinner walked over to Bresle to a gas demonstration. In the evening had a stroll up above the village through the cornfields.
in this morning and had a bit of a rush. Black was orderly officer and I think
+
did ditto as I saw him passing down at 8:30 in very squalid and untidy
+
condition. Company drill under Joe Robertson with Ritson in the background and
+
a military funeral in the neat ['over the wall' inserted above last phrase].
+
Quite cheerful sounds on the pipes.  
+
  
<br><br>            It rained all afternoon so
 
the NCOs got a lecture from Ritson and Black consisting of reading aloud
 
extracts from 'Notes from the Front'. Ritson seems to have a good grasp of
 
theory at any rate but too excitable.
 
  
<br><br>            Margaret
+
<center><b>19 Aug 15</b></center>
and her mother at tea.
+
  
<br><br>            Mac
 
got his Corporal strips tonight, dating back to 12th December so he draws a big
 
pay. He's chucking things about in the kitchen now. I am writing this in the
 
lavvy as Jimmie was in our house in one of his frequent states of fed-up-ness.
 
  
<br><br>            One
+
Football match between men and officers tonight but had to stop in the middle as the ball burst.
death in 'A' today, and I believe 2 in 'H' yesterday.
+
  
<center><b>22 Jan 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            There
+
<center><b>20 Aug 15</b></center>
was nearly a mutiny this morning when the men were told to parade with their
+
equipment which still wringing wet on. The Adjie wouldn't give in but when half
+
the battalion paraded without it he had to send them back for an hour to get
+
great coats. Route-march round by Rinhold and Cleat Hill raining most of the
+
way. I enjoyed it very much.
+
  
<br><br>            Afternoon
 
pay and rations. Lecture from Sergt-Major. He thought this about wet equipment
 
- 'a damn good joke'. He insisted on punctuality on parade, which is certainly
 
necessary. Our men aren't smart enough yet at turning out.
 
  
<br><br>            Mac
+
The forenoon was spent mostly in spraying respirators and smoke helmets, and also, on my part, in packing my valise. Left shortly after 3 p.m. for the trenches. Had to hoof it with full pack, and left myself just rather too little time. However the Major and Dunvegan, coming behind on horseback were late.
sleeping up in Orderly Room tonight as he got a little slap last night because
+
Gwyneth had a bad throat - mostly sham I'm thinking. She was alright today and
+
Pitman was in her room till after <st1:time Hour="22" Minute="30">10:30 p.m.</st1:time>
+
  
<center><b>&nbsp;</b>
 
  
<center><b>24 Jan 15</b>
+
Went by Dernancourt to Moulin du Vivier (Bde H.Q.) and through Albert up to Becourt (Bat. H.Q.) and so up to the fire-trench. We are taking over from 'A', 7th Gordons. Had supper and a look round the trenches. Turned in till 4 a.m.
  
<br><br>            Went
 
to <st1:City><st1:place>St Paul</st1:place></st1:City>'s Church and <st1:place><st1:PlaceName>English</st1:PlaceName>
 
<st1:PlaceType>Church</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> boys. Delighted to get my
 
spell of Orderly Sergeant over and so was Mac. Along at tea with Rev Herbert
 
Reid and met Davidson McKenzie and Miss Strang. The former isn't such a great
 
bug as I used to think him, nor as he thinks himself. No side about the Rev
 
Hubert.
 
  
<center><b>25 Jan 15</b>
+
<center><b>21 Aug 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            Tonight
 
I was on Town-picket - the <st1:Street><st1:address>High St</st1:address></st1:Street>,
 
with 4 men of 'B' and had a very good time.
 
  
<center><b>26 Jan 15</b>
+
Up at 4 a.m. and had breakfast. Another look round and then started back to Buire where I arrived at 8.30 and had brekker. Battn. paraded at 6 p.m. At M. du Vivier I was sent back to Buire for the 1/4 guard but managed a byke from Captn. D. Sutherland, and met the guard coming along with transport. Got into the fire trench about 4 o'clock, pretty tired, so turned in.
  
<br><br>            Platoon
 
drill and bayonet fighting this morning with pack and ammunition. Two of 'C'
 
Company with about 20 others left this afternoon with ammunition and blankets
 
for unknown destination. Everybody much excited and much speculation as to
 
where they are going to and what it may mean for the battalion. Rumours of <st1:place><st1:PlaceName>Edinburgh</st1:PlaceName>
 
<st1:PlaceType>Castle</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> or <st1:place>Inverness</st1:place>.
 
  
<br><br>            After
+
Had a bathe this morning and found myself 'lowsy' in the extreme in spite of my mouslin shirt.  
afternoon parade I found myself and 2 of 'C' detailed to go on similar duty.
+
Russell was picked and Jim Matheson. We paraded in 15 minutes, expecting great
+
things and feeling very big. It turned out to be picket duty at Herring Green
+
crossroads with orders to stop all cars and take number, etc. This result of
+
last Zeppelin raid as the airships are thought to have been guided by cars with
+
powerful headlights.  
+
  
<br><br>            We
 
barricaded the road with carts and took turns - 2hours on and 4 hours off. Not
 
very exciting and very cold, but more exciting than platoon drill. My first
 
experience at sleeping out and none too pleasant, but I think it wouldn't kill
 
me.
 
  
<center><b>27 Jan 15</b>
+
<center><b>22 Aug 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            The
 
Kaiser's Birthday - bless 'im!
 
  
<br><br>            Got
+
Had a 'snackie' at 4 a.m. Very quiet day, which I spent mainly in fitting up a dug-out for myself. I have put up a swinging hammock which won't be so likely to harbour vermin and have partially latticed the doorway which at present is rather open.  
into <st1:City><st1:place>Bedford</st1:place></st1:City> at <st1:time Minute="0"
+
Hour="9">9 a.m.</st1:time> after rather a smart walk. Slept from 10 to 12 and
+
paraded again at 3 for the same duty as yesterday. Mac rather annoyed as I
+
didn't tell him where we were, but he had a pretty good ideal all the same. Our
+
officers say they heard an airship of some sort over <st1:City><st1:place>Bedford</st1:place></st1:City>
+
last night but nobody seems to have seen it.  
+
  
<br><br>            We
 
got out to Cardington at <st1:time Hour="16" Minute="0">4 p.m.</st1:time> and
 
took up our quarters this time at the Pub - The Anchor Inn. It is a very cold
 
night and like snow, but Pitman got tea for us here and if it wasn't for the
 
skittles we might have a very good time. Tonight we got order to turn back
 
every motor car or m. bike, so things are soon interesting.
 
  
<center><b>28 Jan 15</b>
+
Great draw back to these trenches is the lack of proper water supply. All drinking water comes up in water carts at night to B.H.Q. and has to be fetched from there in jars, bottles, tins, etc, by roundabout way. Same with grub and ammunition.
  
<br><br>            We
 
took up our positions again at <st1:time Hour="16" Minute="30">4:30</st1:time>.
 
I had from 6 to 8 and 12 to 2. A fine night, coldish but dry. The time passed
 
very quickly, sitting very comfortably in a cart of straw. Jim getting on my
 
nerves with his songs or rather his song. He has improved though with the
 
change of work and under strenuous conditions might be a keen man. Pitman had
 
to sleep by the roadside as he was the only one who knew the password.
 
  
<br><br>            No cars were to be turned
+
<center><b>23 Aug 15</b></center>
back, except officers who hadn't the password. Very little doing - they seem to
+
be avoiding the place.
+
  
<center><b>29 Jan 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Got
+
This early breakfast is a good idea and gives a sound basis for beginning the day on. Up at 4 a.m. and spent the morning in making a sketch map of my trenches. The front line is held very lightly and think the Germans do the same. A good system of communication trenches leads up to the fire trench and the dug-outs are mainly in the support line. A platoon of Kitcheners (7th Beds) is coming up tonight for instruction. Turned in after stand-to.
in to <st1:City><st1:place>Bedford</st1:place></st1:City> at <st1:time Hour="8"
+
Minute="30">8:30</st1:time> and as we got word that our special duty is now at
+
an end we had a free day. I was down town in the morning and again on special
+
pass at night. Went to 'Grumpy' which was very good. The best thing I have seen
+
here so far.
+
  
<center><b>30 Jan 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            I
+
<center><b>24 Aug 15</b></center>
was helping <st1:place>W. Ritson</st1:place> today with the billets as his
+
clerk is on leave. I shouldn't care for his job, or his clerk's either. R. can
+
be very disagreeable when he wants. In the afternoon I played soccer for 'E' v
+
'G'. We beat them 8-1. It wasn't a great match but I was delighted to be
+
playing football once again. I think I must be as fit now as ever I was.
+
  
<br><br>            Today
 
the new double company system was inaugurated and henceforth we form, along
 
with 'F', the new 'C'. We are all sorry to bid goodbye to the old state of
 
affairs, which seemed to work very well, and in which we were all very happy.
 
We aren't keen on 'F' as they are a pretty rough and coarse crowd, but no doubt
 
will improve on acquaintance.
 
  
<center><b>31 Jan 15</b>
+
Splosh wakened me this morning at 4. Evidently there was a mix up last night and he was on by himself with the Beds subaltern. I turned out and had a belated breakfast at 5. 'K's Chaps' had turned in. Saw them at breakfast time. They are nice [or mice ?] like fellows and ours get on with them all right. In some places there has been some friction between K's and Terriers, but not here. They took over all my part of the line after stand-to at 8 p.m. so I withdrew all my men except 4 sentries.
  
<br><br>            I
 
had made up my mind to get a lot of letters written today, but only managed
 
three. Church Parade in the morning and we got a good sermon from the Cameron
 
chaplain. He always makes an impression and rivets the attention of the men:
 
reminds me in voice and manner of Daniel S Calderwood. In the evening I went to
 
Corn Exchange Concert but was asleep most of the time.
 
  
<center><b><span style='font-size:13.5pt'>FEBRUARY
+
<center><b>25 Aug 15</b></center>
1915</b>
+
  
<center><b>01 Feb 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Paraded
+
It was 5 before I was up this morning owing to some mistake. Another splendid day, and very quiet. The Germans have been busy opposite us these last nights and are sandbagging their trenches. They have the advantage of us in being on the top of the hill. We can't see their support trenches but they can see ours and down to B.H.Q. as well. In the early morning with the sun behind them they have a big advantage in light too, and I wonder they don't do more sniping.  
under company arrangements - company drill and physical exercises in the
+
forenoon and musketry in afternoon. I find I have forgotten most of the
+
musketry and expect that most of the NCOs are in the same box. I put Davidson
+
onto my squad - he was a musketry instructor.  
+
  
<br><br>            Ian and I went and had out
 
photographs taken again and I hope they will be more successful than the last.
 
We went to 'Brewster's Millions' with Mrs. Platts. Mac is living up to, if not
 
beyond his pay - a very bad habit. His late hours must tell him sooner or later
 
and if he doesn't chuck them soon I will speak to Mrs. Platts.
 
  
<center><b>02 Feb 15</b>
+
Spent most of the forenoon in the observation post getting to know their line. Wrote in the afternoon. The evenings are short after tea now. Stand-to is about 7.30 p.m.
  
<br><br>            Parade
 
at <st1:time Minute="45" Hour="19">7:45</st1:time>. Marched round by Wilden
 
Shrubbery and Sevick End with ammunition 120 rounds. Pace very hot and
 
atmosphere muggy in the extreme. The whole division was on the road and marched
 
past Sir Ian Hamilton at Goldington Green. We marched past very well and I hope
 
made a good impression. Kept a perfect step from Goldington to <st1:Street><st1:address>Clarendon
 
  St</st1:address></st1:Street>.
 
  
<br><br>            Soccer match between 'C'
+
The Russians have had a naval victory in the Gulf of Riga.
and 'D' ended 3 all although we had the best of the game. Got a little writing
+
done tonight but still have heaps to do.
+
  
<center><b>03 Feb 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Parade
+
<center><b>26 Aug 15</b></center>
at <st1:time Minute="45" Hour="8">8:45</st1:time>, for a concentration route
+
march to Sevick Farm. Our company went by Goldington and Water-end. The
+
marching was very good. After we got to Sevick each company went on its own for
+
some extended order work. No. 1 platoon was in reserve, under George Forbes and
+
got wiped out by being too far up and coming under fire in artillery formation.
+
I don't think that my section, of 8 men, would have suffered so severely.
+
  
<br><br>            In the evening we were at
 
Dr. Bell's for dinner and progressive whist. A lovely house and very hospitable
 
people; especially as they had never seen a lot of us before. There were 20 of
 
us, mostly Englishmen. Bailey and Mac sang. One of the 4th home from the front
 
was there. He's not keen on going back.
 
  
<center><b>04 Feb 15</b>
+
We have been sandbagging the parapet for the last few days to keep the chalk from falling into the trenches. We have made no loopholes here. Kitchener's platoon went out last night and were replaced by another of the same battalion. They were spread over all the line, a section to a platoon. We put one of our men to two of theirs for instructional purposes, but I think the instruction mostly took the form of tall tales about 'The Orchard'.
  
<br><br>            Today
 
I was helping Ritson to pay the billets. This is rather monotonous work, only
 
Ritson's arithmetic is occasionally diverting. What neat, clean house most of
 
the people keep - 'We're poor but we like to be tidy and comfortable&quot;. R.
 
was in better tune today. Mac, Addie and Jim digging drains all day at <st1:place><st1:PlaceName>Harrowden</st1:PlaceName>
 
<st1:PlaceType>Range</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>, came back dead tired.
 
  
<br><br>            Jim is trying for a
+
I was on all night and had much trouble in keeping some of the men alert. The 8 hour shift is rather long I think as there are so many fatigues by day.  
commission in one of the Reserve Battalions or more preferably the 5th.  
+
  
<br><br>            I hear Willie Torrance is
 
not expected to get better - pneumonia. Am very sorry for his mother.
 
  
<br><br>            Got a 'permanent' pass till
+
Splosh singing Harry Lauder in the Mess. He is rather like D.B. except that he can carry a tune.
Tuesday from Ritson and went down town. Had an unsatisfactory evening and will
+
not waste another in the same way. Mac is for his first quarter guard tomorrow
+
and I have been coaching him. Had a very cheery letter today from Louise.
+
  
<center><b>05 Feb 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            With
+
<center><b>27 Aug 15</b></center>
Ritson again paying the billets. He bangs into the houses in the most
+
unceremonious fashion, but all over today he wasn't unsympathetic. It's when he
+
is crossed in the least little detail that he loses his rag: and he can't abide
+
to be chaffed.
+
  
<br><br>            Jim Miller who was more
 
than half tight and was in seeing Nanna, has somewhat raised my hopes of a
 
commission, but I don't know I want one. I wonder whether Ritson has not an
 
inkling of it and is not trying to get the billeting job shifted onto my
 
shoulders. I wouldn't have it at any price. I hear there are 8 vacancies - Jim
 
says the Colonel has been speaking to him on the QT.
 
  
<center><b>06 Feb 15</b>
+
Got to bed about 5 a.m. Rose for breakfast at 8, and went back till dinner time. Wrote in afternoon, and made a sketch of German lines showing loopholes. Think it may be of some use to the men.
  
<br><br>            More
 
billet-paying today. I thought that I was going to have the afternoon off but
 
Ritson was anxious to get on with the work, so we on till <st1:time Hour="16"
 
Minute="0">4 p.m.</st1:time>
 
  
<br><br>            Then I went down town, had
+
Another glorious day - not a drop of rain since we came in to trenches. Had a wash and a shave in a bowl: also a hunt and got one of each variety so I'm proving. But I'm very itchy. Turned in about 9.30 p.m. Finnie and two Beds' officers are on till 4 a.m.  
tea and went to the Chums and to the Palace, enjoyed myself in a quiet way. The
+
Chums are getting on my nerves: they aren't a bit clever - except for Harold
+
Johnson himself. I can't make out whether he is acting a part of not.
+
  
<center><b>07 Feb 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Church
+
Splosh got rather a setback tonight when playing the veteran up among the Queens. The Major gave him rather a hard time when he came back.
parade at <st1:time Hour="19" Minute="35">7:35</st1:time> and didn't move off
+
till <st1:time Hour="8" Minute="20">8:20</st1:time> - absurd. Sermon quite good
+
from the thin man.  
+
  
<br><br>            Helped Ritson an hour or
 
two with his books and wasted the afternoon reading a novel.
 
  
<br><br>            Wrote
+
<center><b>28 Aug 15</b></center>
home after tea, but didn't give them any idea that leave is starting as we may
+
be disappointed. Escorted Margaret home on my way to the Corn Exchange Concert.
+
I rather like her, but don't know her well enough.
+
  
<br><br>            Mac and Gwyneth are
 
downstairs now singing - howling rag tunes and making hideous the Sabbath
 
evening.
 
  
<center><b>08 Feb 15</b>
+
Another fine day, but rather close. Saw two Huns through the periscope and had a pot at them. In the evening started putting up a loophole, which took from 7 till 11 p.m. to finish and it was pouring rain most of the time. No. 4 has very good Lance Corpls, only they do too much work themselves. Seaman and Skinner helped me with the loophole.
  
<br><br>            Billeting
 
again and got a good deal done in the afternoon. At three Ritson had an
 
appointment and that spoiled us.
 
  
<br><br>            Went down town and examined
+
Soaked through by the time were done and the trenches were very bad with water lying in them. Wakened Splosh at 12:40 a.m. and turned in after setting my things to dry all round the dugout
Hockliffe's secondhand bookshop: picked up one or two geological book of an
+
ancient order. Also A.W. Russell's &quot;World of Life&quot;. Had tea and went
+
to the Whip. The staging rather ambitious but not bad considering the amount of
+
space at their disposal. Mac is going North on Wednesday and is in
+
correspondingly good form. Met Scott tonight in <st1:Street><st1:address>High
+
  St.</st1:address></st1:Street> - of Edin. <st1:place>Battery</st1:place>.
+
He's a L/Cpl in the 4th Gordons.
+
  
<center><b>09 Feb 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Blank
+
<center><b>29 Aug 15</b></center>
  
<center><b>10 Feb 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Mac
+
Had quite a comfortable sleep considering. Got up at breakfast time. The loophole is a wee bit low but may do.  
left today for seven days leave. Harcus went too. They were very cheery. Ritson
+
and I went down to the station and afterwards to the Empire he standing me in.
+
Not bad but rather vulgar.  
+
  
<br><br>            Weighed myself at the
 
station: found I have put on nearly a stone since coming down but that is with
 
the kilt instead of trousers. Am now 10st 3 lbs in uniform.
 
  
<center><b>11 Feb 15</b>
+
My pocketbook was brought in at 6 a.m. badly mauled, having been extricated from the debris we threw down last night. Got the things separated out and photos washed, but they won't be quite as good as before. Fortunately it was dry and hot this morning so I got most of my things dried. The trenches wanted a lot of cleaning up, and require some more thorough method of draining.
  
<br><br>            Billets
 
all day: am beginning to like the work, and also to be very lazy in the
 
mornings.
 
  
<br><br>            Along to Mrs. Campion's at
+
<center><b>30 Aug 15</b></center>
night and played bridge with the girls. They are quite good and I like them. I
+
can't stand complicated girls.
+
  
<center><b>12 Feb 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Paid
+
Up at 4 a.m., clear and cold as usually in the mornings now. The loophole is a bit improved, but all the wire isn't yet cleared away. Artillery tried to get onto a machine gun emplacement, but were far out. Evidently the map is not accurate, or else their shooting is very poor, and the seldom will send up an observation officer.  
the last of the billets today and another rummage with Ritson in Hockliffe's
+
old books, but didn't get anything. Worked in R's billet in the afternoon,
+
arranging the forms. Had a yarn with Mrs. Mortimer.  
+
  
<br><br>            Nothing doing at night it
 
has been very cold all day, and I haven't got decently warmed up once.
 
  
<center><b>13 Feb 15</b>
+
Black and I on duty at night. It was very cold and we stayed in the mess most of the time, alternately sleeping and writing. Took occasional turns along the line, and tried to locate the underground sounds. We think they must be from some dug-out, or from the trench itself. It hardly seems possible they would drive a mine 350 yards when the lines are much closer elsewhere. Still there must be some explanation of these very high mounds they have thrown up. They can't be from any ordinary trench work.
  
<br><br>            A
 
wet rotten day with sleet. Slimed [?] in the Orderly Room most of the morning.
 
In the afternoon played Ellis at Chess and he wiped me: we are about evenly
 
matched - he's probably a little better than me.
 
  
<br><br>            After tea, went to The
+
Wee Willie slept in my bed till 4 a.m. when we all had breakfast, and fed also Fishy, Stalk and Nic. Thank goodness they kept off Golspie for once.
Chums with Ritson - he paying. Programme not bad.  
+
  
<br><br>            The Colonel interviewed a
 
lot of fellows today, with a view to commissions - in this battalion. He didn't
 
take me, which is either a very hopeful sign - or a hopeless one. I think
 
Ritson is trying to wangle me in for his present job, but he won't manage it.
 
  
<center><b>14 Feb 15</b>
+
<center><b>31 Aug 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            Muggy
 
and wet. Church parade at <st1:time Minute="45" Hour="8">8:45</st1:time>. Got a
 
very good sermon from the Cameron chaplain. Got a word from Willie for wearing
 
my khaki hosetops on dress parade. Felt ratty at him.
 
  
<br><br>            Wrote home; and spent
+
Rose for dinner. Very little doing today. Had a few shots through the loophole, but the earth has been too damp lately for observation to be easy. Sandbags are at an end, so there isn't much work to be done.  
afternoon in Ritson's doing company drill with matches. He has the double
+
company this week as Joe R is on furlough; and he's nervous about it. Went down
+
to Church in the evening but so late. Went to Corn Exchange Concert - quite
+
good. A fine soprano, and Blake of the Camerons.
+
  
<center><b>15 Feb 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Cold
+
The Major was testing the artillery on a point today, and found it took ten minutes for them to open fire, which is rather too long.  
and bright. Battalion moved off at <st1:time Hour="9" Minute="30">9:30</st1:time>
+
and marched out about five miles towards Turvey. From there advanced
+
cross-country in artillery formation for a mile and a half or so. Poll and I
+
had a platoon to ourselves. We finished up with an advance in open order, of a
+
very ragged sort. We badly need training in extended order. Ritson in his
+
element, his language too grandiloquent. Some of the fields very soft and
+
claggy. Marched about six miles home and arrived at <st1:time Hour="16"
+
Minute="30">4:30</st1:time>.  
+
  
<br><br>            In orders tonight, extract
 
from King's Regulations which seems to say we must not shave upper lip -
 
whiskers moderate if any.
 
  
<br><br>            Jim had a row with Gwyneth
+
'Stand-to' is shortly after 7 p.m. now. It was very quiet last night.  
and then with Nanna. How absurd we can all be.
+
  
<center><b>16 Feb 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Another
+
<center><b>SEPTEMBER 1915</b></center>
magnificent day - the sun is getting quite warm. 'C' marched out to <st1:place><st1:PlaceName>Bromham</st1:PlaceName>
+
<st1:PlaceType>Bridge</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> and then took up an outpost
+
position to cover it. Had charge of a picket and got on quite well. Willie and
+
Black were the only officers out. We lay down for a couple of hours and then
+
marched round by Stevington and the Stagsden road. The pace was a little hot
+
and even Willie was a little pegged. He doesn't seem to remember we carry more
+
than he does. No one fell out but Addie had blistered feet and no doubt there
+
are others. Got in at <st1:time Minute="30" Hour="15">3:30</st1:time>. Most
+
enjoyable and healthy day.
+
  
<br><br>            Down town in the evening
 
for a few necessaries and spent the rest of the time getting my kit packed. I
 
don't feel the least bit excited about going home. Jim cooked some haggis and
 
it's lying heavy on my stomach now.
 
  
<center><b>17 Feb 15</b>
+
<center><b>01 Sep 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            It
 
turned out wet today - so wet that the battalion didn't go out. I was glad as I
 
had all my things clean and ready for the journey. We left about <st1:time
 
Hour="8" Minute="0">8 o'clock</st1:time> at night, marching down to the station
 
in great form and best of spirits.
 
  
<center><b>18 - 24 Feb 15</b>
+
Wakened at 4 a.m. by Finnie. Cold, clear morning. I hadn't been in the fire trench a minute when a boy Graham was shot through the head. Death was instantaneous. It was hard luck, on our last morning too. We hardly realise how near death is, and yet it doesn't awe us somehow. You feel that the body isn't everything, and yet there's nothing religious about the thought. We buried him at 10:30, in a grave dug by his companions. One of the burying party was hit with shrapnel, on the leg, while returning.
  
<br><br>            Blank
 
  
<center><b>25 Feb 15</b>
+
In the afternoon the 7th Gordons officers came up to take over, so we had a large party at tea. It began to rain in the afternoon and the trenches were soon in a great muck. It is always wearisome waiting for the reliefs, and tonight they didn't arrive till 11:30 p.m. They were too smart to need guides so lost their way.
  
<br><br>            Got
 
into <st1:City><st1:place>Bedford</st1:place></st1:City> about <st1:time
 
Minute="0" Hour="9">9 a.m.</st1:time> Coming up <st1:Street><st1:address>Clarendon
 
  St</st1:address></st1:Street> we found the remnants of the Company (8)
 
already paraded and George in the middle of them waving wildly. I had expected him
 
to be much older looking: instead of that he is just the same as when he went
 
out. I thought that we would be getting off parade but the Adjie sent for us
 
and we had to follow up the Company. Drill in close order all morning.
 
  
<br><br>            Afternoon off.  
+
We got down to the foot of hill 106 after plootering through the mud. Some platoons came down the road, but I didn't care to take that responsibility. The moon was high by this time, and we had a good march in although the tail straggled a little at first and I had to leave three men behind. Arrived at Buire as 3 a.m. and found Murray waiting for us. We subs of 'A' are billeted in the mayor's house and have bed between two.
  
<br><br>            At <st1:time Minute="30"
 
Hour="16">4:30</st1:time> parade for outpost duty. We marched out to Stagsden;
 
a lovely night , bright moonlight and George and I had plenty to speak about
 
all the way. We were put out under Harcus, as a screen to the position, and
 
then withdrawn as the supports. The Colonel came along and said support should
 
entrench - which I doubt. Pretty cold waiting about, but a stiff march in
 
warmed us up plenty: me nearly asleep on the march, and glad to get to bed.
 
  
<center><b>26 Feb 15</b>
+
'REST'
 +
  
<br><br>            Marched
+
‘Rest’ for infantry units out of the line was not really an accurate description of what happened. It was more a matter of continual fatigues in the trenches and rear areas.
out past the Swan Inn, and fought out to Stagsden. A perfect day. George is
+
very keen. Most of the way was through woods with thorny undergrowth. Our
+
section finished up with what appeared to me a very knutty piece of strategy,
+
but the Adjie galloped up and put half of us out of action.  
+
  
<br><br>            Drew 42/7 today for the
 
last 2 weeks. Am feeling rather depressed today - no doubt a reaction after
 
furlough and even George's presence can't shake it off altogether. Regular fed
 
up with the family.
 
  
<center><b>27 Feb 15</b>
+
<center><b>02 Sep 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            Laurie
 
and I got a swearing from the Adjie today because he saw some of the men
 
scratching their faces when they were at attention. He's getting very snotty
 
about details, so I suppose we'll have to stiffen up too.
 
  
<br><br>            Company out in the field
+
Wakened at 11:15 by Ross, who reported breakfast ready. Rose with that 'after the ball' feeling which we always have the night after coming out. It was drizzling in the forenoon but I went for a wash and a bathe. Met Adam who seemed to acquiesce in his engagement.  
above the Cemetery, practicing bayonet charging against sacks of straw. The
+
sacks were set up as an extended line: good fun but not far good as instruction
+
went: not enough ground. George was at musketry instruction in Mod. School
+
Park, and was pretty fed up with standing about.  
+
  
<br><br>            In the afternoon we went to
 
Rugby Match, and at night George and Ian and I were down town on pass. We had
 
tea in Dudeney &amp; Johnson's; went to the Chums and enjoyed ourselves very
 
much. The 'ass' is very like George. Went to the second house of the Empire.
 
  
<center><b>28 Feb 15</b>
+
Had a letter from Daisy re rose bowl which appears to have given satisfaction. Dinner and tea at 5 p.m. Had a walk up to the high road in the twilight.
  
<br><br>            Dreamt
 
last night the Adjie told me he wouldn't recommend me for a commission. I gave
 
him a bit of my mind.
 
  
<br><br>            Church parade today at <st1:time
+
<center><b>03 Sep 15</b></center>
Minute="45" Hour="8">8:45</st1:time>, to the Baptist Chapel. Quite a good
+
sermon on sacrifice: church done up inside like an ice-cream shop.
+
  
<br><br>            After dinner Geo, Ian,
 
Addie and I walked out to the Swan, ordered tea and went on round by Stagsden.
 
A perfect day, as clear as any we have had here for a long time.
 
  
<br><br>Coming back from Stagsden we were hailed by the tract-delivering parson, so
+
Parade at 9:30. Blackie, Finnie and I. We had inspection and physical exercises. Rather cold and raw - too cold for a bathe. Football match at 3 p.m. between right and left halves of company. Very enjoyable, but not good football: one fellow got his ankle broken. Very wet tonight. Fatigue party of 150 men up at Bouzincourt all day, Splosh with them. This is Daisy's wedding day. Long life and happiness to her and her husband.
we took to our heels. He wanted us up to tea - judging from his gesticulations,
+
so went back and explained and received a few tracts. George wild we couldn't
+
accept his invitation, as the daughter seemed 'a peach'.  
+
  
<br><br>            Tea at the Swan: the
 
landlord rather unpleasant about tossing. Walked home: Geo. sent Addie
 
sprawling.
 
  
<center><b><span style='font-size:13.5pt'>MARCH
+
<center><b>04 Sep 15</b></center>
1915</b>
+
  
<center><b>01 Mar 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Started running drill at <st1:time
+
No parade this forenoon as another fatigue party of 150 left at 7 a.m. with Finnie etc. Wrote Bob in the garden. It was a fine forenoon, but wind is getting cold.  
Minute="15" Hour="19">7:15</st1:time> this morning, the Sergeant-Major leading.
+
Going on parade at <st1:time Hour="8" Minute="45">8:45</st1:time>, Capt Ritson
+
bagged me for billeting staff. I wasn't sorry to go as it made my position
+
secure for tonight. I let him know I wouldn't have his job if I get a
+
commission, and he said M'Intosh in the orderly room would likely be put onto
+
it. So that's all right, and I have my pass. Didn't get a lot of billets done
+
as there were a lot of mistakes owing to furlough, etc.
+
  
<br><br>Went down town at <st1:time Hour="18" Minute="30">6:30</st1:time> as arranged
 
and saw The Girl from <st1:State><st1:place>Utah</st1:place></st1:State>. It
 
was about the best thing I have seen here - certainly the best musical comedy.
 
The actresses were pretty, and almost proper. I like Kitty very much: nice and
 
quiet.
 
  
<center><b>02 Mar 15</b>
+
Left with party of 200 men at 5:30 p.m. for Albert. We worked on communication trench which leads up to La Boisselle. Line was pretty quiet, except for some heavy explosions - heavy shells and trench mortars. Just a few stray bullets near us. Fortunately it was a grand night, although not too warm. We got back at 2:30 a.m. after a fine march.
  
<br><br>            Running drill at 7:15.
 
Paying billets with Ritson and Sandy Ross. The latter's services were
 
requisitioned in order that the Captain might be saved the labour of writing
 
out the amended forms.
 
  
<center><b>03 Mar 15</b>
+
<center><b>05 Sep 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            This was to be a divisional
 
day but turned out wet so we turned in. Had a reading in the office, and a
 
short route march in the afternoon round by Oakley and Bromhaw.
 
  
<br><br>            At night we were hauled out
+
Brekker at 8 a.m. I though to have a fine quiet Sunday and get some letters written, but about 11 o'clock word came that the battn was to shift quarters to Henencourt. This necessitated the fatigue party of 300 men going in full marching order. We packed up after dinner and left at 4 p.m.  
to a concert nobody wanted to go to. It turned out to be a dancing display by
+
some school kids very good in its way but not the sort of meat and drink the Army
+
wants. One little girl of 9 was a splendid turn - comic songs, etc. and should
+
make her name.
+
  
<center><b>04 Mar 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Running drill at <st1:time
+
Arrived at our new billets after a very warm but short march. The new place isn't nearly so comfortable as Buire, but the air is brisker. Finnie and I have a nice room upstairs, with a motherly old wife to take an interest in us. Had tea at 8 p.m., "and so to bed". Some pears I carried in my haversack today have mucked up my diary, which is rather a humbug.
Hour="19" Minute="15">7:15</st1:time> paraded in full marching order at <st1:time
+
Hour="8" Minute="15">8:15</st1:time>. We marched out to Stagsden and from there
+
advanced cross country towards Stevington, in extended order the whole way. The
+
6th Seaforth were on our immediate right and we got rather boxed up against the
+
road which was the left flank boundary. Marched in from Stevington, 'C' company
+
next the band. Willie was paying great attention to covering today.  
+
  
<br><br>            Went down town tonight to
 
the Picture-drome. Came back early. Gwyneth has had toothache for the last two
 
or three days and Mac and George have had to take turns at holding her hand.
 
  
<center><b>05 Mar 15</b>
+
<center><b>06 Sep 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            Running drill at 7:15.
 
Battalion parade at <st1:time Minute="15" Hour="9">9:15</st1:time> for
 
trenching. We had only to go up above the Cemetery and had a pretty slack day.
 
Our squad practised entrenching with the small tools - the first time we have
 
used them. The Brigadier was knocking about. We had 35 minutes to cook and eat
 
our dinner and were back to work again till after four.
 
  
<br><br>            After tea I wrote home.
+
Up at 5:30 a.m. for breakfast and fatigues. Left with 300 men and 6 officers for second line trenches between Albert and Bouzincourt. Very fine morning, the air and the pipes and everything reminded me of Bedford, in fact the difficulty is to realize we are behind the firing line. The country is splendid and the harvest ready for carting home. The women, children and old men do the work, mostly early morning, and evening. Worked till after 12 and got back 2:30 p.m. The men very tired, and not fit to work well. There are far too many fatigues here, and always a long march before and after.  
George and Ian are both 'out' as regards the house and doubt if they will ever
+
smell it again.
+
  
<center><b>06 Mar 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            We had a so-called medical
+
Had a rest in the afternoon and after tea wrote and went for a stroll. Singing in B Coys tonight, also a case of O.P. Didn't go down.
inspection at nine. It consisted of our new M.O. walking briskly along the
+
ranks and studying the men's' boots. At 10 we marched up to Clapham park to get
+
into the trenches again. We had two shifts and Willie was for making us do
+
handling of arms when we came out of the trench. However we marched them to the
+
hedge and sat down. He is probably the most unpopular officer in the battalion
+
now: he used to be the most popular. 'F' Company vow to school him when we get
+
into action.  
+
  
<br><br>            Jim Miller, Blake and I had
 
to parade to the Brigade Office at <st1:time Hour="15" Minute="0">3 p.m.</st1:time>
 
and interviewed the Brigadier. The Brigadier was quite affable and signed our
 
papers.
 
  
<br><br>            <st1:City><st1:place>Cambridge</st1:place></st1:City>
+
<center><b>07 Sep 15</b></center>
played the Highland Division at Rugger this afternoon and got beaten. <st1:City><st1:place>Cambridge</st1:place></st1:City>
+
had a very poor team they didn't seem to have played much together, and looked
+
rather a rag-a-muffin bunch.
+
  
<br><br>            George and Ian on pass
 
tonight.
 
  
<center><b>07 Mar 15</b>
+
Lovely day again. I was to have gone on fatigue this forenoon but it was cancelled so we had a bit of a rest, but not altogether undisturbed as there was a 'non-surprise' alarm at 4:30 p.m. The battalion turned out pretty smart, even considering they were expecting it; I don't see what good it did - so much 'eye-wash' no doubt.
  
<br><br>            Church parade at <st1:time
 
Minute="20" Hour="8">8:20</st1:time>. Good sermon from the new chaplain. The
 
Camerons have already had some casualties. Took Orderly Sergt's work over for
 
the day as Laurie was B.O.S. so that I didn't get out of the billeting area.
 
Wrote Rob Alexander.
 
  
<br><br>            Black and Howie were in to
+
After tea, went for a stroll up into the corn fields and wrote to May: A glorious sunset. The nights are splendid just now.
supper.
+
  
<center><b>08 Mar 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Running drill at 7:15. Very
+
<center><b>08 Sep 15</b></center>
cold, and snowing slightly. George not on duty yet as he was inoculated on
+
Saturday. Company drill was cancelled and battalion went out for a route march
+
- Milton Ernest, Filimousham, Pavenham, Stevington and Oakley. A splendid day
+
for marching - cold and bracing and blinks of warm sun between the showers of
+
small snow. The buds are on the hedges. The Company marched well today, and
+
with a little care on the part of some NCOs - especially Laurie and M'Adie we
+
would have a good marching coy.
+
  
<br><br>            Dinner at <st1:time
 
Hour="15" Minute="0">3 p.m.</st1:time>: afternoon tea in the park and then
 
again in 21. 'M' arrived this morning to Ian's discomfiture who was in
 
Gwyneth&#8217;s bedroom at the time. He has come from <st1:country-region><st1:place>China</st1:place></st1:country-region>
 
to join. It will be interesting to watch developments.
 
  
<center><b>09 Mar 15</b>
+
Breakfast at 6:30 a.m. and left before eight for work on the second line defences near Bouzincourt. Capt M'Leod in charge of party. We took rather a round about way going, and in trying to take a short cut coming back we ran up against the wire near Millencourt and had to make a big detour to get round. It was a fair scorcher of a day, and we were glad of any shade to be got from trees on the wayside, but that was not much. We got in at 2 p.m.
  
<br><br>            Marched out to near
 
Stagsden and did the same scheme as on Thursday's last. This time we were the
 
supports and had a most pleasant cross-country ramble - more like a botanical
 
excursion than a sham fight.
 
  
<center><b>10 Mar 15</b>
+
Spent the afternoon in my sleeping bag reading and sleeping. After tea went down to Buire on the Major's horse.
  
<br><br>            Had the parade S_a_ [?]
 
etc. in good time, having been up at 6. Marched out towards Colmworth and
 
division attacked Gordons in direction of in the direction of Milton Ernest.
 
When we just beginning - I was with the supports, the Adjie came and ordered me
 
to take the pack-ponies to the ammunition column.
 
  
<br><br>            I managed to catch them up
+
<center><b>09 Sep 15</b></center>
after about an hours march. Then we stood for several hours on the road, very
+
cold. Moved forward and came abreast two batteries in action. No sign of our
+
battalion and I believe the commander of the column had quite lost touch with
+
most of the infantry including ours The 6th lost touch with the 5th and seem to
+
have lost themselves into the bargain.
+
  
<br><br>            Had a good march home, fine
 
exhilarating weather. Got in after 4, one of the longest days we've had.
 
  
<center><b>11 Mar 15</b>
+
Splendid day again. Breakfast at 8 a.m., as the fatigue part wasn't in till about 3 a.m. Another left at noon, so dinner was at 11. Many who were on last night were on again today. The men are getting footsore.
  
<br><br>            With J. Ritson today,
 
working all morning in the Orderly Room. Wonder if I'll take as badly to
 
laboratory work as I do to office work. In the afternoon we paid some outlying
 
billets, in a very lackadaisical state. JJR infects me that way.
 
  
<br><br>            Had tea in the pavilion
+
Lay in most of the day, as I am rather stiff and have a bit of a cold coming on. Worked after tea at Fortnum and Mason's accounts with Murray, trying to get them squared off but there are several difficulties. We tackled it again with the help of the Major after they came back but with no greater success. It can only be a very approximate allocation.
with George and Ian, and Dolly sat and gassed till we were fair fed up. Nanna
+
is jealous. Went down town to the Picture-drome.  
+
  
<br><br>            Hear Major M'Millan told
 
Willie of in the mess last night. Willie gets more unpopular every day.
 
M'Millan told him to look out when he got to <st1:country-region><st1:place>France</st1:place></st1:country-region>.
 
  
<center><b>12 Mar 15</b>
+
<center><b>10 Sep 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            Quite a good day, and did
 
practically no work. I was in the Orderly Room till about 10, then went down
 
town and spent the rest of the forenoon looking round the 2nd hand bookshop.
 
Didn't see anything good.
 
  
<br><br>            After dinner went with
+
Breakfast at 8 a.m. Another splendid day with more air. No fatigue today, but had an inspection parade, under platoon arrangements. Some of the equipment very badly put on. Rifles are usually well kept with the exception of one or two - including Skinnie.  
Ritson and Ian to the Bank and was free at <st1:time Hour="15" Minute="0">3
+
p.m.</st1:time> Had tea in the pavilion.  
+
  
<br><br>            After tea at 21 I wrote
 
home and found my diary a great help. Black was in practising songs tonight and
 
has settled on 'My Old Shako'. He hasn't got a voice or a temperament for it
 
and woes me playing for him and Gwyneth, I hear they are going to rag Willie.
 
  
<center><b>13 Mar 15</b>
+
Right half company played left half this afternoon, resulting in a win for latter by 1-0. Finnie and I played for left half, and Blacko, in a flimsy costume and identity disc played for right. There was too much temper in it, especially on old Stewart's part. The refereeing was strict to excess. Very good game all the same, and although I fell absolutely pegged out I believe it has done my cold good.
  
<br><br>            With Ritson in <st1:Street><st1:address>Foster
 
  Hill Rd</st1:address></st1:Street> estimating the damage done by the men in
 
some of the empty houses. A good deal of damage, much of it apparently wilful,
 
but I believe nothing to what has been the case in some of the Morayshire
 
billets. Banisters, wainscoting, etc burnt up and marble mantelpieces in
 
smithereens, but I didn't see any as bad as that.
 
  
<br><br>            Concert at night a great
+
Laurie [?] has gone away with some skin trouble, and don't expect he will come back. Watson away to hospital again, this time with his eyes.
success. Black didn't turn up for which I was sincerely thankful. Gwyneth
+
surprised me, singing so well. Cowper of the Groat was down for the occasion
+
and was quite successful in one or two of his songs, though they were of the
+
usual antediluvian order. Willie and Ritson both sang, but very nervous. Willie
+
got a good reception. The Sergt-Major danced the Highland Fling.
+
  
<center><b>14 Mar 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Church parade at <st1:time
+
<center><b>BACK INTO THE LINE</b></center>
Minute="45" Hour="8">8:45</st1:time>. A new chaplain this morning and he had a
+
husky throat. Not nearly so much coughing in Church now. Tea in the pavilion
+
relieved the monotony of the day.
+
  
<br><br>            Went to <st1:City><st1:place>St.
 
  Paul</st1:place></st1:City>'s with George at night and were shown into a
 
front seat, where our ignorance of the service must have been most apparent.
 
  
<center><b>15 Mar 15</b>
+
<center><b>11 Sep 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            Went out to Harrowden for
 
field practices. Fifteen rounds per man at ranges from 600 to 300. Disappearing
 
targets up for 35 secs and down for the same. Not very realistic but better
 
than ordinary butt-shooting. Very easy to forget adjustment of sights. Our
 
detail - with Donnie Dunnet, Poll, Laurie, etc had a long way the best score.
 
  
<br><br>            Was down town but nothing
+
Rifle inspection as usual. Billets had to be cleaned up in the afternoon: have always to keep nagging at this job. Teas at 3:30. Marched off at 5 p.m. No. 4 platoon leading.  
doing.
+
  
<center><b>16 Mar 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Divisional practice today -
+
The day had been very hot but it was a grand evening for marching, although road very dusty. They were taking in the harvest along the roadside, and away in the distance beyond Albert, the white lines of the trenches could be seen. Got to the rendezvous, on the other side of the town, at dusk and were met by the guides who led us up. The communication trench up to the Chateau has been much improved and drainage arrangements are much better. Still I thought we would never get up to the top: and beyond the Chateau we had about as far to go again. We were posted by about 10 o'clock. Turned in till 4 a.m.
that of Wednesday 10th revived, with the 6th we held a position E of Milton
+
Ernest. Whole 5<sup>th</sup> were out as a screen for the rest of Division.
+
Willie spoilt it by moving from the right of our company's front to the extreme
+
left, taking his platoon with him and consequently left a gap through which the
+
enemy penetrated. Perhaps he wasn't to blame - haven't heard his side of the
+
matter yet. Anyway we had all to retire in double time and at one point were
+
almost taken. Not at all a brilliant affair, but very difficult to gauge what
+
the results would be in the real thing. Got home on <st1:time Minute="0"
+
Hour="16">four o'clock</st1:time>, pretty hungry.  
+
  
<br><br>            Went down town at night.
 
Pitman was in tonight saying we are down to move in six weeks time as a
 
Division. I say# there have already gone over 2 or 3 Territorial Divisions.
 
Hope we are sent to the <st1:place>Dardanelles</st1:place>.
 
  
<center><b>17 Mar 15</b>
+
<center><b>12 Sep 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            Examined some of the empty
 
houses today with Ritson. A good deal of damage done in some cases, but others
 
well looked after. Over at the Park for tea. The Battalion went out at 6 for
 
night marching, but I went down town, having slight neuralgia.
 
  
<center><b><u><span style='font-size:13.5pt'>COMMISSIONED</u></b>
+
Wakened at 4 a.m. and went on duty with Blackie. Splendid morning, the trench especially what is held by No. 4, is in a bad state of repair. We vary from about 200 yards to 100 yards from Germans. Pretty quiet all day - a few trench mortars on the left.  
  
<center><b><u><span style='font-size:13.5pt'>&nbsp;</u></b>
 
  
<br><br><i>Commissioning in 1915 was a relatively informal affair. Candidates for
+
One of the Neats in No. 2 was shot through the head while looking over the parapet through his telescope. He was always too daring. His brother was very much cut up.  
regular commissions continued to attend </i><st1:place><i>Sandhurst</i></st1:place><i>,
+
but in the case of the Territorial Force and the units of the 'New Armies'
+
raised since the outbreak of war, there was no centralised selection or
+
training of young officers.</i>
+
  
<br><br><i>JBC would have applied for a commission on the standard army form and
 
been recommended by </i><st1:place><st1:City><i>Lt</i></st1:City><i> </i><st1:State><i>Col</i></st1:State></st1:place><i>
 
Davidson. He would have been required to produce a copy of his birth
 
certificate, references as to his standard of education and his moral character
 
(usually a minister or a JP) and would have been interviewed by his brigade
 
commander. For the TF, the final approval word at this stage would have been
 
with the </i><st1:place><st1:PlaceType><i>County</i></st1:PlaceType><i> </i><st1:PlaceName><i>Territorial</i></st1:PlaceName></st1:place><i>
 
Association in </i><st1:place><i>Caithness</i></st1:place><i> - the group of
 
local worthies who oversaw the TF units from their area.</i>
 
  
<br><br><i>Once everything was approved, the only formal procedure was the
+
We are working one officer in firing line here, as we have a small frontage. I was on at night from 10 to 1 so had a decent sleep.
announcement of his commissioning in the </i><st1:City><st1:place><i>London</i></st1:place></st1:City><i>
+
Gazette. At this point he would have been discharged from the 5<sup>th</sup>
+
Seaforth 'in consequence of being appointed to a commission'.</i>
+
  
<br><br><i>It was then up to his regiment to train him - and in early 1915 there was
 
very little knowledge in the </i><st1:place><i>Highland</i></st1:place><i>
 
Division of the practicalities of soldiering in </i><st1:country-region><st1:place><i>France</i></st1:place></st1:country-region><i>.</i>
 
  
<center><b>18 Mar 15</b>
+
<center><b>13 Sep 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            Was just going on parade
 
this morning when Ian and Jim Miller came to tell me I had been gazetted.
 
Miller and Blake are too. I wasn't a bit glad in fact it almost brought tears
 
to my eyes to think that I must give up all my friends. George was very decent
 
and tried to pretend he was glad but I know he isn't. I had to go and put on
 
'civies' which I had taken care to keep by me. Queer it feels to be in them
 
again. Spent most of the day about the streets and transferring my things to
 
Mrs. Mortimer's where I am to be billeted.
 
  
<br><br>            Went to lunch at the Mess
+
Breakfast was a bit late as 'C' Coy is not strong enough for all the fatigues. Poor old 'C' they don't get much consideration -some think too much including Howie.  
with Ritson, and met most of the officers. It is much more free and easy than I
+
had expected. Took a box of cigars up to the office and found Jim Miller
+
carting up 4 bottles of Johnnie Walker. He was well screwed, and would have me
+
go over to the Mess with him which I did until I found him going in the kitchen
+
door, then I made my escape. Am sleeping this last night with George.
+
  
<center><b>19 Mar 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Breakfast at the Mess and
+
Got a fatigue party on to sandbagging the trench. There's a tremendous lot of work to be done before the trench will be suitable for winter. Carried on in the afternoon, but had to chuck it when trench mortars started coming over. They were dropping all along our line in No. 4. Fortunately it is possible to see them coming. They came from the left, but weren't of the large type. They were just like Bethune bombs, and turned over and over making a whistling noise which rapidly mounted in strength till it was like an express train coming up. Sometimes the bombs lay for a few seconds but usually they burst immediately they reached the ground. They sent over a lot of rifle grenades.
glad to get decent Scotch porridge and cold milk in my mouth again. Got leave
+
to go to <st1:City><st1:place>Glasgow</st1:place></st1:City> for seven days, so
+
am leaving tonight. Spent a wearisome day, unsettled, half in and half out of
+
21.  
+
  
<br><br>            Left by the <st1:time
 
Minute="13" Hour="9">9:13</st1:time> with Mowat of the Machine Gun. He is
 
engaged to Mary Stewart. Left him at <st1:place>Rugby</st1:place>. The 4th
 
Seaforth have been badly cut up, and 4th Camerons also#, so the officers' dance
 
which was to be tonight is cancelled.
 
  
<center><b>20 Mar 15</b>
+
<center><b>14 Sep 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            Arrived <st1:City><st1:place>Glasgow</st1:place></st1:City>
 
7:30. Breakfasted at YMCA. Ordered uniform at <st1:City><st1:place>Moore</st1:place></st1:City>,
 
Taggert's and then started to hunt for Daisy. Found her (out) after an hour and
 
a half's searching.
 
  
<br><br>            Met John Budge and had lunch
+
On duty from 1 to 4 and got in about 10 hours sleep, in spite of Blackie's snoring. No work done on the trench this morning. About 11 o'clock the Germans blew up one of our mines and a number of men of the R.E. were gassed. One officer and three men or so were done for. Some Argyles who assisted at the top of the shaft were the worse of the gas too.  
with him at Miss Cranston's. He's a quaint bird but looking more spruce than
+
I've seen him.  
+
  
<br><br>            Got Daisy and Tina in at <st1:time
 
Hour="14" Minute="30">2:30</st1:time> and we went to tea together and then they
 
saw me off from Queen's St. Arrived Crossgates and found Bessie here: also the
 
spring-cleaning.
 
  
<center><b>21 Mar 15</b>
+
We took over the left sector of the line at 4 o'clock, changing over with 'D' Coy. A lot of trench mortars came over just at that time but did no damage. No. 1 platoon lost a Melvich boy at tea-time - shot through the parapet and Argyle working party had two killed and 5 wounded at night by a trench mortar.
  
<br><br>            Walked to the Goat Brae
 
with uncle in the forenoon - a blustering day, and a good deal of slushy snow
 
on the roads. Uncle is a very good walking companion. Bob came along in the
 
afternoon and was surprised find Bessie and me here.
 
  
<center><b>22 Mar 15</b>
+
And after all we are just holding on and doing no good. Our sentries in the front line are sitting in little holes in the parapet, neither observing nor firing and the Germans are firing our own mines. Everybody talks in whispers and walks on tiptoe.
  
<br><br>            Cycled down to Donibristle
 
Ho. this morning. A lovely soft day, but colder later on. The country side is
 
pretty just now and wreaths of snow behind the hedges give it extra colour.
 
Found Donald M'Kay superintending the physical exertions of the men. He had a
 
half day off, so I stayed till after tea. They are mounting 2 9.2 [inch] guns
 
on Braefoot Pt. where he will be stationed when they are completed: at present
 
the guns are 3 days overdue having be[en] shipped from Woolwich. Ship not since
 
heard of. Probably another case of false economy. D.W.M. seems well content
 
with his lot, and if he gets obedience from the men I should think it is more
 
by taking it for granted than by exacting it.
 
  
<br><br>            Got up to Xgates at <st1:time
+
<center><b>15 Sep 15</b></center>
Minute="30" Hour="17">5:30</st1:time>, against a stiff breeze and after reconnoitring
+
a few imaginary positions. Went along by car to Lochgelly, with the intention
+
of returning again, but didn't. Had two games of chess with Bob - successfully.
+
  
  
<center><b>23 Mar 15</b>
+
Was on duty from midnight until six. Sat in the dugout and read all the time. Quiet night and no casualties in the Coy. Was round the front line with Blackie. The right is worse than the left. The men are mostly pretty cheery about it, but some are very shaky. We heard today that the big push is to start tomorrow - combined movement by the British and French. That explains the heavy cannonading we have been hearing for the day or two, to our right and left, mainly left. We are evidently not to be in the first push.
  
<br><br>            It has been a muggy day.
 
Called at Cowdenbeath on my way down and introduced myself to Mr. Bain. Had a
 
long yarn with him during which he frequently went beyond my depth. Had a
 
longish walk with Uncle in the afternoon.
 
  
<center><b>24 Mar 15</b>
+
A bombing party were sent out tonight to try to jigger up one of the German mines. They threw some bombs and got back safely but whether they accomplished anything or not we don't know. We had some hefty trench mortars and rifle grenades back by way of reaction, some of the Bolton boys got badly shaken but nothing worse happened.
  
<br><br>            Left for <st1:City><st1:place>Glasgow</st1:place></st1:City>
 
at <st1:time Minute="30" Hour="12">12:30</st1:time>. Auntie down seeing me off.
 
She has broadened considerably in her views lately. Met Dorothy Middleton as
 
arranged and had tea. She continues to increase in beauty and Ian will be
 
dashed lucky if he lands her - an idea she <u>appears</u> to pooh-pooh. Had a
 
very nice time with her - went to La Scala and then to The Picture Ho. for
 
coffee. In the former we ran into Connie Soutar and Tina Cameron, who no doubt
 
thought us an ill-assorted couple. D. is companion to a lady out at Bothwell,
 
and has a very leisurely existence. She took herself home about <st1:time
 
Hour="9" Minute="30">9:30</st1:time> and I made for the YMCA where I got a room
 
for 2/6 consisting of 4 walls, a bed and a bible!
 
  
<center><b>25 Mar 15</b>
+
<center><b>16 Sep 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            Spent the morning looking
 
for a waterproof, and didn't find one. I am a most undecided person when
 
hunting for anything like that, and usually start out with no clear idea of
 
what I want. I ultimately came to the decision, on looking up Land &amp; Water,
 
to go down and inspect the <st1:City><st1:place>London</st1:place></st1:City>
 
productions and incidentally visit Vane. Went out to <st1:place><st1:PlaceName>Randolph</st1:PlaceName>
 
<st1:PlaceType>Gardens</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> and found Mary Fargie in.
 
She is small and fat, with a triple chin and a pretty bad <st1:City><st1:place>Glasgow</st1:place></st1:City>
 
accent.
 
  
<br><br>            Was at Daisy's at <st1:time
+
Sat in the dug out reading and writing till 5a.m. but the atmosphere was stifling and the flies a torment, so I had to get out occasionally. A misty night. Some of the men were a bit nervy, and one of my posts had 'retired' before a series of mortar bombs and rifle grenades. We could see the trench mortars coming quite well with a tail of sparks behind. No casualties.  
Hour="16" Minute="30">4:30</st1:time> and we had tea at Miss Rombach's. I paid
+
a hurried visit to the tailors and then we proceeded to the King's Theatre
+
where we got seats in the front row of the <st1:Street><st1:address>Upper
+
  Circle</st1:address></st1:Street>. I enjoyed the play very much, all the more
+
being in their company, and I couldn't help thinking it might be for the last
+
time. I should have liked to tell D. what she has meant to me but Tina was
+
there, which was probably just as well.
+
  
<center><b>26 Mar 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Got into Euston at
+
In the afternoon our artillery bombarded the enemy's trenches and tried to demolish the craters between the lines. They fired about 12 huge explosives (2 duds). The company was withdrawn to the reserve line - fortunately as some of the shells were short and made a dickens of a mess of our own trench. The result was that we had to put on fatigue parties to build up and clear our own trenches after our own guns.
breakfast time, which meal I got in a little dingy restaurant with marble
+
topped tables and no table cloths. A lot of others there too, quite decently
+
dressed, but mostly going in for tea, or hot milk and <u>cake</u>! I couldn't
+
make it out. Went to look for a waterproof, and spent most of the morning in
+
that way. Went down <st1:City><st1:place>Whitehall</st1:place></st1:City> and
+
also called at <st1:Street><st1:address>Jermyn St.</st1:address></st1:Street>
+
and fixed up with D.S. Kitchen to take over my collection if I don't require
+
them afterwards. Speaking of Salfeld and Pompekj: he thinks they would both be
+
officers in the German Army.  
+
  
<br><br>            Went out to <st1:City><st1:place>Edmonton</st1:place></st1:City>
 
and caught Vane just going out. We had tea. Both Vane and Con have the pip, and
 
have no fire or keenness left in them. Probably Vane isn't reading enough, and
 
yet he has plenty time. The house wasn't in such good order either.
 
  
<br><br>            Got a train from St.
+
<center><b>17 Sep 15</b></center>
Pancras about 8 and got into <st1:City><st1:place>Bedford</st1:place></st1:City>
+
about 10. Was up till after 12 trying my uniform on.
+
  
<center><b>27 Mar 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Jim Miller was attached to
+
So hot in the dug-out that I sat outside the door all night, among the rats. Finally lay down and slept for an hour. Very quiet all night.  
A, and I to B. &quot;B&quot; was on the miniature range this forenoon and
+
practising fire control with landscape targets, so I hadn't any occasion to
+
make a fool of myself although I felt one with my trews as wide as a divided
+
skirt.  
+
  
<br><br>            The afternoon I spent
 
moping about the digs. I was over at 21 for a bit, but George and Ian have gone
 
to <st1:City><st1:place>London</st1:place></st1:City> for the weekend.
 
  
<center><b>28 Mar 15</b>
+
Had to get the trenches cleared up today to hand them over clean, and must say Kitchener's men are getting them in a much cleaner state than we did. As usual had a tiresome afternoon, but finally the relief arrived before we were quite expecting them. Before I got mine out the trench mortars started and we had rather a hot time. Still, no casualties occurred. After jamming in the trench for a long time we got down to and through Albert, and once over the rise we sat down, glad to be out and on top of the ground. The men were in good spirits and sang a good deal which is unusual at such a time.
  
<br><br>            Church parade at <st1:time
 
Minute="20" Hour="9">9:20</st1:time>. I got a loan of Captain Ritson's sporran.
 
I had a very bad cough, which I expected would bother me in Church, but I
 
managed to suppress it. Mr. Bain, our Chaplain, can't keep the Germans and
 
their Kaiser out of his sermons. Mowat, Lybster, was next me and trumpeting
 
into my ear.
 
  
<br><br>            Wrote home in the forenoon
+
Arrived Henencourt at 10 p.m. fairly well fagged out, and made a bee-line for Splosh and Blackie's estaminet where we had a couple of bottles of champagne: then a cup of tea as we had sent the cooks on ahead. Then to bed.
and after dinner at Platts I went with Ritson and Mortimer for 18 holes of
+
golf. It was an ideal day and we had a most enjoyable round. I won by one hole,
+
to Ritson's fairly evident disgust, but I think he really was off his game. I
+
don't know whether I did right or wrong to play but I don't see any harm in it,
+
under the circumstances, and this is the only day Mr. Mortimer can get. I like
+
him, he's just like a kid out of school.
+
  
<center><b>29 Mar 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Another brilliant day.
+
<center><b>18 Sep 15</b></center>
Marched out about <st1:time Hour="9" Minute="30">9:30</st1:time> to Oakley and
+
then across country to Tithe Farm and Bury Farm. I had charge of 2 platoons in
+
the firing line and got on all right except for a slight inclination to get
+
excited. I must watch that. Ultimately, I was working with one platoon on the
+
extreme left, as the enemy were trying to work round that flank. This was a
+
practice day for the stretcher bearers etc., and was the first hard manual work
+
the pipers have done. The only thing that spoilt the day was waiting on the
+
roadside for 35 minutes for the band to come along. Got in about <st1:time
+
Minute="30" Hour="14">2:30</st1:time>.
+
  
<br><br>            Invested in a set of chess,
 
but don't believe I'll have much time for it. I haven't been able to do any
 
reading for some time.
 
  
<center><b>30 Mar 15</b>
+
Breakfast at 10. At 11 marched down to Buire for a wash and a bathe. Very hot and dusty. Had a good bathe. Adjourned to the Pharmacie and helped Splosh with a bottle of Bass. Got back to Buire at 4 and had dinner - Macconochie, and roasted apples. Nothing doing tonight. Had stroll in the moonlight.
  
<br><br>            Divisional practice today
 
and moved off at <st1:time Minute="35" Hour="8">8:35</st1:time>, so had early
 
breakfast. Marched out about 8 miles, with many checks and then lay on the side
 
of the road for about an hour and a half. It was quite hot in the sun today. At
 
last we advanced, being in reserve to the Argyles. I was with the supports (of
 
the reserves) so hadn't much to do: but it's a treat to work with &quot;B&quot;
 
Coy.
 
  
<br><br>            The men are keen and
+
<center><b>19 Sep 15</b></center>
tractable and I shall do everything I can to keep them so. The difficulty is to
+
draw the happy medium between Harper's laisey-faire [sic] and Willie's nagging
+
tactics. We marched home as we came out, with many irritating stops and didn't
+
get in until <st1:time Hour="18" Minute="0">6 p.m.</st1:time> so we were very
+
hungry. My face is smarting with the cold and the sun.
+
  
<center><b>&nbsp;</b>
 
  
<center><b>31 Mar 15</b>
+
Another very hot day. Orderly officer today, which I discovered only ten minutes before time for guard-mounting. Company inspected by C.O. in the afternoon and pronounced very good. Don't know what makes them take that badgering tone with the men. Perhaps it's modesty, but I think if Davidson told them they had done well in the trenches they would think more of themselves and of him too.
  
<br><br>            Very warm today - the most
 
summery day we've had yet. Rifle and foot inspection at <st1:time Minute="15"
 
Hour="9">9:15</st1:time>. Musketry and handling of arms from 11 to 1 and again
 
from 2 to 4. During the latter period I took the company for a short time and
 
felt rather nervous. Somehow, they impress me more than 'C' did, partly because
 
the NCOs are older and more experienced men.
 
  
<br><br>            Am getting to know W. A.
+
Church parade at 6 p.m., Herbert Reid preaching on "This Gospel". I walked back to Millencourt with him. He has opened a dry canteen there and sells at home prices. He is in his element there. Had great argument with Murray and Moy Hall tonight about God and the War, Marriage, etc. and as a consequence felt very restless tonight.
M'Donald, as we are the only officers at present with 'B' and I like him, as
+
every other body does too.  
+
  
<br><br>            Had hoped to get some
 
letter writing today - to Daisy as I had some cigarettes from her this morning,
 
but got none done. Had a game of chess with Ritson, in which he nearly beat me.
 
  
<center><b><span style='font-size:13.5pt'>APRIL
+
<center><b>20 Sep 15</b></center>
1915</b>
+
  
<center><b>01 Apr 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Was on duty in the butts at
+
Breakfast 6 a.m. To Bouzincourt at 7:15 with fatigue party. Perfect day with a nip in the air. Large fatigue party out, and part of it (Argyles) was spotted and had to quit. Finnie's new job is to take him from us for a bit and he has given up his platoon. James Willie is Divisional Transport Officer. Got a few letters written and am now trying to square up the Mess accounts but it strikes me that somehow I'm running this on my own money.
Harrowden today along with Corrigal. We left here at <st1:time Hour="8"
+
Minute="15">8:15</st1:time>. Fine dry morning. There is still about 8&quot; of
+
water in the butts so we had to put on waders, which were not water tight, so I
+
was mucking about in wet feet all morning, which didn't do my cold any good.
+
Got home at <st1:time Hour="14" Minute="0">2 p.m.</st1:time> and wrote to
+
Daisy. Pills with Blake at night, he is too good for me, but I am very bad. Was
+
over at 21 for a little.  
+
  
<br><br>            Black had No.10 platoon on
 
Brigade inlying picket last night and they were nearly all tight. He wasn't
 
quite sober himself I'm told. That's the way to be carrying on just now. No
 
wonder we have a bad name.
 
  
<center><b>02 Apr 15</b>
+
<center><b>21 Sep 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            A total holiday today.
 
Wrote and read in the forenoon. After dinner, Ritson, Mortimer, George and I
 
went out, per taxi, to Clapham golf course and had 18 holes. George was fair
 
excited, and driving a very long, if somewhat erratic ball. It was great to see
 
all his old mannerisms. We all had tea in Mrs. Mortimer's, along with Ian and
 
Addie and some lady friends of the family. We had quite a jolly night. Mrs.
 
Mortimer thinks a lot of George.
 
  
<center><b>03 Apr 15</b>
+
Lord Kitchener inspected us this afternoon before we went into the trenches. He was very red in the face, and the fellows said worried looking. We marched straight off after the inspection (3:30 p.m.) to Aveluy, passing through Albert which had just been shelled: the side of a house was lying across the street. Got into our quarters in the Bois d'Authuille about 7 p.m. Had a late supper as we had some trouble with the mess cart.
  
<br><br>            Wet today, so the Company
 
didn't parade at all. W.A. M'Donald and I inspected some of the billets, but in
 
a very perfunctory way. I was Supernumerary Orderly Officer, J.B. Morrison
 
being Orderly Officer. The duties don't seem to be either onerous or difficult;
 
and as far as I can gather they are mostly skipped. Morrison seems to be rather
 
a conscientious cove, although it may have been partly for my benefit. I read
 
most of the afternoon, and had to spend from <st1:time Hour="20" Minute="0">8
 
p.m.</st1:time> onward in the orderly room.
 
  
<center><b>04 Apr 15</b>
+
<center><b>22 Sep 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            Church parade at <st1:time
 
Minute="20" Hour="8">8:20</st1:time>. Mr. Bain again: he covered a large field
 
in his sermon, from Homer upwards. After dinner at 21, to which place I am half
 
thinking of not going back, we went to Biddenham - Capt. Ritson, Mr. Mortimer,
 
George and I and had 18 holes. Ritson and I lost by one hole, a very close
 
match and very enjoyable. George was in good form. A perfect evening.
 
  
<br><br>            We all had tea and supper
+
Breakfast at 8 a.m. We have a splendid mess with a pergola and verandah outside. This is my birthday and a splendid day too. Splosh and I made a set of chessmen out of cardboard and had a game. We haven't managed a wash today - in fact it has been a very lazy day.  
in 26. George waited till roll-call. I am very sorry for him, he seems so sick
+
of 21, where the gramophone is never quiet, unless it's to give the piano a
+
chance.
+
  
<center><b>05 Apr 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Divisional sports, and
+
My birthday cake hasn't arrived yet and I'm afraid Mother will be much disappointed when she knows. Still we managed a first class tea with sardines, queen-cakes, currant buns, etc. and later in the evening champagne. We had a fire in the mess and were very nice and cozy. Finnie is grubbing with D Coy to be near H.Q.s.
thank goodness a fair and mild, if not a brilliant day. The sports were in the
+
Grammar School grounds and attracted a huge crowd. The crowd, as far as
+
fashion, etc. was considered, was very tame. There were 5th competitors in many
+
of the events and we won the 100 yd (Goddard) and the officers relay race,
+
besides being second in the tug of war and number of other events. All over we
+
had second place, 21 points to 43 of the 8th Argyles. The latter carried off
+
most of the heavy events. The dancing was a treat but the presence of three or
+
4 professionals knocked all the amateurs out.  
+
  
<br><br>            After mess sat in the
 
billet where Mr. and Mrs. Ritson, Mrs. Mortimer and her rather pretty niece
 
Miss Monk had foregathered.
 
  
<center><b>06 Apr 15</b>
+
<center><b>23 Sep 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>Divisional exercise today and a most disagreeable day at that. We marched
 
out the Kempston and Ampthill road and effected a junction with another column
 
which was on the Cotton End road in Wilshamstead Wood, from which we turned
 
south and attacked the Gordons at <st1:place><st1:PlaceName>Haynes</st1:PlaceName>
 
<st1:PlaceType>Park</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>. The attack went rather
 
rapidly at the centre where we joined the 6th, and I rather foolishly joined in
 
a premature assault which they made. As it was we were in a salient and would
 
have been enfiladed, but thought the movement was general. I must be more
 
careful in future.
 
  
<br><br>            &quot;B&quot; Coy's concert
+
Rather dull and sultry today. Nothing doing all day, except smoking and eating sweeties. After tea, had to go over to Head Qrs. and see to the digging of some dummy trenches. Thunderstorm came on and the men got soaked so they worked hard. The guns have been going it strong today, making a great din in the trees and I hear that La Boisselle has been heavily bombarded by us.  
is on tonight, but I was told off for Brigade Inlying Picquet in Albert
+
Terrace. After several attempts to quieten them the men have at last subsided
+
and quietness reigns. I suspect they have been throwing lemonade bottles
+
through the (closed) windows, but am not certain. I have just had to speak
+
pretty plainly to some of them.
+
  
<br><br>&nbsp;
 
  
<center><b><u><span style='font-size:13.5pt'>GOLSPIE</u></b>
+
Freegard had a narrow escape last night. Went out with an Argyle officer to take in a flag which the Germans had planted before our line. There was a bomb attached to the stick, and it exploded and killed the other officer. Machine guns were turned on them then.
  
<br><br><i>JBC spent the next few weeks at Golspie with the 2/5 Seaforth, during
 
which time he made only one entry in the diary.</i>
 
  
<br><br><i>On 11 Apr 15 the </i><st1:place><i>Highland</i></st1:place><i> Division
+
<center><b>24 Sep 15</b></center>
was warned to prepare to move to </i><st1:country-region><st1:place><i>France</i></st1:place></st1:country-region><i>.
+
It arrived in </i><st1:country-region><st1:place><i>France</i></st1:place></st1:country-region><i>
+
on 1 May 15 and shortly afterwards was retitled 51<sup>st</sup> (</i><st1:place><i>Highland</i></st1:place><i>)
+
Division with the brigade became 152<sup>nd</sup> Brigade.</i>
+
  
<br><br><i>Jim Miller was wounded by shellfire on 19 May and evacuated to </i><st1:country-region><st1:place><i>UK</i></st1:place></st1:country-region><i>.</i>
 
  
<br><br><i>On 15 Jun 'C' Company, led by Capt Joe Robertson, took part in an attack
+
Still raining this morning: the woods were soaking and the road and paths all turned to mud. After breakfast we lit a wood fire in the Mess, and played Bridge till dinner.  
on German trenches which failed in the face of machine-gun fire and uncut
+
barbed wire. 2 officers and 33 other ranks were killed - many others were
+
wounded. Among the dead were Sgt Ian M'Millan, Pte George Alexander and 2/Lt
+
Donnie Dunnet. Capt Joe Robertson, Capt Joseph Ritson and Lt W A M'Donald were
+
among the wounded. </i>
+
  
<br><br><i>Sergt-Maj Sutherland and three others won the Distinguished Conduct Medal
 
bringing in the wounded under fire. </i>
 
  
<br><br><i>JBC's diary for 15 Jun simply says</i> 'Battle of Festubert'
+
Was up at the 6th Seaforth lines with party in the afternoon but didn't wait. The Brigadier is afraid the Germans have gone back as things are very quiet so he wanted Nicolson to take a patrol out in daylight. There is still some rifle fire coming over and a few pip-squeaks. They will likely leave a few machine guns in their front trench up to the very last. Our guns have been giving it to them very hot all day, and the wood has been echoing with the reports.
  
<br><br><i>Shortly after Festubert JBC's mother received the following letter:</i>
 
  
<br><br>__________________________________________________________________________
+
Gid and Harper in to tea which was rather a spread with sardines and tomato sauce, apple tarts and seed cake.
  
<br><br><u>Private</u>
 
  
<p style='margin-left:8.0in'>3472 &quot;C&quot; Coy
+
<center><b>25 Sep 15</b></center>
  
<p style='margin-left:8.0in'>1<sup>st</sup> 5<sup>th</sup> Sea Hdrs
 
  
<p style='margin-left:8.0in'>152<sup>nd</sup> Infantry Brig
+
Raining hard all night, and most of the day. Had a fatigue party up to 6th Seaforths, building parapet. 'Davit' in to dinner and tea. He is always so cheery.
  
<p style='margin-left:8.0in'>51<sup>st</sup> (<st1:place>Highland</st1:place>)
 
Division
 
  
<p style='margin-left:8.0in'>B. E. France
+
Sat in all afternoon and evening with a big wood fire. Our guns have been going strong most of the day and the Germans lying dogo mostly. Good news today. We have broken through on the North. The Germans here are a bit jumpy, and the 6th gave then a bit rapid and a cheer at 'Stand to', which brought a brisk reply.  
  
<br><br>Friday 25 June
 
  
<br><br>Dear Mrs Cairnie,
+
Finished up the evening with a great argument in the mess, ending up on evolution which the Major strongly opposes.
  
<br><br><span style='mso-tab-count:2'>                       
 
  
<br><br><span style='mso-tab-count:2'>                        You all must
+
<center><b>26 Sep 15</b></center>
have got a great shock when the news of our casualties reached Thurso &amp;
+
especially when you heard of the loss of the two boys you know <u>so</u> well,
+
I can well understand your feelings but I know one gets a great comfort in the
+
knowledge that they have died the most noble and honourable deaths.
+
  
<br><br>            Thurso &amp; Wick have
 
suffered heavily as a result of the charge which shall never be forgot by any
 
of the survivors.
 
  
<br><br>            Your parcel for poor George
+
Rather a better day. Got the dugouts cleaned up. Were relieved at 5 p.m. and just after my platoon got clear, some pip-squeaks came over and Black's lot had rather a narrow shave. Nobody hit. The road in the wood was very bad, but once we got onto the high road it was grand. Company formed up on the other side of Albert. From there we had the pipes, and the moon came up. There's no time like the march to billets.
came here the other day and was handed to me &amp; I saw by the card that I was
+
meant to share it, I shared with several of the other boys here &amp; let them
+
know who it was for &amp; who it was from.
+
  
<br><br>            I wrote a short note to
 
Bruce the other day, poor Bruce will feel it terribly as George was always
 
speaking about him &amp; the rare times they used to have together especially <s>in</s>
 
camp at Reay &amp; I always knew by the way he spoke that they were the best of
 
chums. I remember him say not very long ago that he was glad Bruce was not out
 
here.
 
  
<br><br>            I'm not to <s>say</s> give
+
<center><b>27 Sep 15</b></center>
any of the details of the attack as I've begun to hate speaking about it, one
+
does not realise what chums really are till after they are gone beyond one's
+
reach.
+
  
<br><br>            Nothing more at present, hoping
 
this finds everyone in Thurso in good health.
 
  
<br><br>&nbsp;
+
Got up at about 8:30 a.m. The men were payed in the forenoon, getting only 5 Fr. each, with which they were rather dissatisfied. There was a good deal of drink going at night and rows in several estaminets. Tube helmet parade before dinner.
  
<br><br><span style='mso-tab-count:2'>                        Believe me,
 
  
<br><br><span style='mso-tab-count:3'>                                    yours
+
<center><b>28 Sep 15</b></center>
sincerely,
+
  
<br><br><span style='mso-tab-count:4'>                                                Andrew
 
B Sinclair
 
  
<br><br>___________________________________________________________________________
+
Cold and raw. Inspection by new Divisional General (Harper) as 2:30 p.m., Allason having gone home in bad health. Very cold standing on parade. Short route march followed, round by Bresle and Baizieux. Got in to tea about six, and had a good spread.
  
<br><br>&nbsp;
 
  
<br><br>&nbsp;
+
<center><b>29 Sep 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>&nbsp;
 
  
<center><b><u><span style='font-size:13.5pt'>TO
+
Rather a nasty day. Battn did an attack on Millencourt. 'A' Coy formed the firing line. Funny that although the men have all been under fire they wouldn't get down on their stomachs any better than at Bedford, and movement was pretty slow: it made the thing seem very unreal. Wrote letter all afternoon and at 8 p.m. was detailed to report to Martinsart at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning.
</u></b><st1:country-region><st1:place><b><u><span style='font-size:
+
  13.5pt'>FRANCE</u></b></st1:place></st1:country-region><b><u><span
+
style='font-size:13.5pt'></u></b>
+
  
<br><br><i>After the shock of </i><st1:date Month="6" Day="15" Year="1915"><i>15 Jun
 
1915</i></st1:date><i>, 1/5 Seaforth remained in the front line until the 25<sup>th</sup>
 
when they moved to rest billets at La Gorgue (about20Km east of </i><st1:City><st1:place><i>Lille</i></st1:place></st1:City><i>).</i>
 
  
<br><br><i>The need to replace battle casualties and the increasing numbers of
+
<center><b>30 Sep 15</b></center>
officers required by battalions on active service meant a draft of officers was
+
sent out from the 2/5<sup>th</sup> at Golspie. After a farewell dinner in the
+
Sutherland Arms Hotel, Brora on the evening of 23 Jun 15 JBC left for </i><st1:country-region><st1:place><i>France</i></st1:place></st1:country-region><i>
+
the next day.</i>
+
  
<center><b><span style='font-size:13.5pt'>JUNE
 
1915</b>
 
  
<center><st1:date Month="6" Day="24"
+
Left Henencourt after an early breakfast for Martinsart, along with Nicolson, to take over at Authuille. Howie and Barnetson came over on horseback. Arrived at Authuille via Martinsart and Bois d'Aveluy about 10 a.m. There was a bit of a mix up when the Battalion arrived owing to 'misunderstanding'. Half of 'A' messing with 'D' Coy in the old estaminet. The Major, Murray and I sleeping in the cellar behind the bar, which has been turned into a comfortable bedroom with two beds. Black and Splosh have gone over to the post on the railway, where there are now two platoons. The other two are in the dug-out down below the river bank.
Year="2015"><b>24-Jun-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
+
  
<br><br>            Barnetson
 
and I left Golspie at <st1:time Hour="6" Minute="30">6:30 a.m.</st1:time> Had a
 
grand send off, all the officers and men of the battalion coming to the station
 
to see us off. The journey wasn't exciting, as Barnetson isn't any more of a
 
conversationalist than I, but very pleasant. Saw a number of friends in Edin.
 
including Bob and Bessie. Left at <st1:time Minute="50" Hour="10">10:50</st1:time>
 
for <st1:City><st1:place>London</st1:place></st1:City>, having picked up
 
Sutherland.
 
  
<center><st1:date Month="6" Day="25"
+
As we came along by Bouzincourt this morning we saw a German aeroplane brought down by a Britisher. Both occupants were killed. There was an immediate rush for souvenirs, and one fellow made off with the machine's 'tail' and though chased by two sentries managed to 'make good'.
Year="2015"><b>25-Jun-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
+
  
<br><br>            Breakfasted
 
at the Strand Palace Hotel and after being photographed, at <st1:City><st1:place>Lafayette</st1:place></st1:City>&#8217;s,
 
went and met Vane at Piccadilly. He is looking much better after his
 
route-march to <st1:City><st1:place>Cambridge</st1:place></st1:City>. We
 
shopped, and had lunch at the SPH - eleven of us, including five of us
 
officers. Left Waterloo <st1:time Hour="14" Minute="55">2:55 p.m.</st1:time>,
 
and feeling in very good spirits all of us, but I think the women who are left
 
behind are bravest of all.
 
  
<br><br>            Arrived <st1:place>Southampton</st1:place>
+
<center><b>October 1915</b></center>
about <st1:time Hour="18" Minute="0">6 p.m.</st1:time> and got our business
+
done. Leaving tonight late by the Harve packet. A number of civilians crossing
+
too.
+
  
<center><st1:date Month="6" Day="26"
 
Year="2015"><b>26-Jun-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
 
  
<br><br>            On
+
<center><b>01 Oct 15</b></center>
deck shortly before <st1:time Minute="0" Hour="8">8 a.m.</st1:time> No land in
+
sight, but fine breezy sunny morning. Had breakfast and before we were finished
+
we were inside Harve harbour.
+
  
<br><br>            Char-a-banc up to the Base
 
Office from which we received orders to proceed <st1:City><st1:place>Rouen</st1:place></st1:City>
 
same afternoon. Had a very enjoyable journey, not much sign of war here, but on
 
the quays were piles of barbed wire and large numbers of transport waggons
 
parked.
 
  
<br><br>            Arrived <st1:City><st1:place>Rouen</st1:place></st1:City>
+
Had a very good sleep in the cellar. The weather seems to have settled down again to another fine spell. Went round to the railway post with the Major after brekker. The Mound Keep is much improved, and a lot of new dugouts have been made.
about <st1:time Hour="17" Minute="30">5:30 p.m.</st1:time> and after some
+
difficulty found our way to the Hotel Angleterre where we found Nicolson and
+
Paterson eating strawberries. Later went out to the Base Depot where we are to
+
billet until further orders - in canvas shacks.
+
  
<center><st1:date Month="6" Day="27"
 
Year="2015"><b>27-Jun-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
 
  
<br><br>            This
+
George Murray and Howie put a stove into the mess in the afternoon and we are now fortified against the cold. The nights are very cold now. Things are very quiet on the line here. Practically no shelling and only very few trench mortars up at the Chateau.
being Sunday there way nothing very much doing in the way of drill. We went
+
down to the town and wandered through the streets, visiting the market which
+
was pretty well packed with country people. We (Barnetson, Suddy, Hamish and I)
+
had some grub at a café - strawberries made up in some sickening sort of way.
+
Saw the Cathedral and most of the older parts of the town, some of it fairly
+
ancient and replete with carved arches and figures in all sorts of corners and
+
attitudes. Had a decent dinner at a restaurant: Hamish inclined to get a bit
+
uproarious. Nearly all the shops were shut. Sat in a café on the river front
+
for a bit and then took the car out to the camp.
+
  
<center><st1:date Month="6" Day="28"
 
Year="2015"><b>28-Jun-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
 
  
<br><br>            After
+
<center><b>02 Oct 15</b></center>
breakfast we walked up to the pine wood about a mile along the road for a
+
lecture by a young Captain who has evidently been out all winter. On the road,
+
and on the sandy bit of plateau between it and the river infantry and cavalry
+
were being drilled. The infantry were in some cases drafts newly come out, in
+
others details, sick, etc. They were fairly getting it rubbed in and smartened
+
up, but it was only for a few hours in the day.
+
  
<br><br>            In the evening we went down
 
to <st1:City><st1:place>Rouen</st1:place></st1:City>, Finnie playing football
 
on the way and generally conducting himself like a young child. Barney and he
 
and I thought to go down the river on a steamer but missed it and put it off.
 
We went and had dinner at the Café Normandie. The three of us climbed the chalk
 
hill on the South? side of the town. It rises almost perpendicularly from the
 
side of the river, of which and all the surrounding country especially to the
 
West it commands a magnificent view.
 
  
<center><st1:date Month="6" Day="29"
+
Splendid morning and had a bracing wash in the weir - hands and face only. Went over to MacMahon's post in the forenoon. Black and Splosh at breakfast. Steven D in waiting. Splosh ordered by the MO to go to bed as he has been badly for several days.
Year="2015"><b>29-Jun-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
+
  
<br><br>            The
 
same programme today as yesterday but it came on rain so we returned to camp,
 
when it cleared up. Harry Lauder's son has joined the camp. In the afternoon we
 
had revolver shooting at which I was nothing patent. Went down to <st1:City><st1:place>Rouen</st1:place></st1:City>
 
tonight again and in time to catch the steamer. We all got aboard and
 
comfortably seated. Just as it was about to leave we sent Suddy to see when it
 
would return. On finding it would come back tomorrow morning we bunked for the
 
quay. Adjourned to the Café Normandie where we found Johnnie Paterson with the
 
news that we are for the road tomorrow. So we had what we thought was to be our
 
last civilised dinner - nothing now but bully beef and biscuits - and celebrated
 
the occasion by having a good feed.
 
  
<center><st1:date Month="6" Day="30"
+
After dinner we saw a lot of black smoke rising from their direction and it proved to be from the fire Splosh had got lit in the shelters below the bridge. The place was burnt out, the telephone shelter being saved with difficulty. When the Major and I went over Splosh and Black were looking very down in the mouth but the Major's cheery face soon put them to rights. He wasn't in the least put out about it. Blacko lost his greatcoat, magnapole, etc in the conflagration.
Year="2015"><b>30-Jun-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
+
  
<br><br>            Packed
 
up our stuff, and drew web equipment, etc. from the QM Stores. Left camp at <st1:time
 
Minute="0" Hour="17">5 p.m.</st1:time> The train left at <st1:time Hour="19"
 
Minute="45">7:45 p.m.</st1:time> On board are several drafts of men and a good
 
number of officers. Had a fine view of <st1:City><st1:place>Rouen</st1:place></st1:City>
 
when crossing the railway bridge, with the sunset in the background.
 
  
<center><b><span style='font-size:13.5pt'>JULY
+
<center><b>03 Oct 15</b></center>
1915</b>
+
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="1"
 
Year="2015"><b>01-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
 
  
<br><br>            <s>Didn't
+
Another lovely day. On fatigue at 9 a.m. with party working on drain for water pipe which is to take 2 gallons per man per day to the firing line. It will be a tremendous saving in labour. A German aeroplane came over several times and we had to stop work several times. Shrapnel doesn't seem to be much good against them and I have never seen or heard of a plane being brought down by it. Dinner was sent up.  
sleep very well last night, probably because of certain amount of une</s> Slept
+
from <st1:time Minute="0" Hour="22">10</st1:time> to <st1:time Minute="0"
+
Hour="8">8 a.m.</st1:time> although the train was jolting and bumping at a
+
fearful rate. We got into Bethune in the afternoon and later detrained at La
+
Gorgue.  
+
  
<br><br>            Major Morrison met us three
 
and conducted us to the transport train where we were entertained to tea by
 
Major Sinclair and James Willie - under the greenwood tree. I was surprised to see
 
the civil population evidently going about their work as usual and children
 
sprawling in the gutter although they are within range of the German lines. Of
 
course all the men are in uniform. The countryside is very flat, rather like
 
some of Bedfordshire, but the crops are getting pretty high and make the
 
country even more difficult. We went on later to the 'Reserve Trenches' in Rue
 
Baceanot.
 
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="2"
+
Sat in all night playing bridge, etc. I hear today that the Kitchener's lot have withdrawn from the Ilo and Dinhollow trenches at La Boisselle.
Year="2015"><b>02-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
+
  
<br><br>            Breakfast
 
at 8. The men are up at <st1:time Hour="17" Minute="30">5:30</st1:time> but no
 
parades are held. Rifle inspection at <st1:time Minute="30" Hour="9">9:30</st1:time>.
 
I have No 4 Platoon with D. Morrison and Skinnie in it. There is nothing doing
 
- sleep and eat all day and this being Maj M'Millan's birthday we did the
 
latter very well. Went over to 'C' Coy in the forenoon and found Addie,
 
Deuchart and the rest wonderfully hearty. We had a tea party in honour of the
 
Major's birthday, although I think he supplied most of the eatables.
 
  
<br><br>            Before tea I went up to the
+
<center><b>04 Oct 15</b></center>
firing line and had the first experience of being near shrapnel. Up there it is
+
very quiet and everybody is very comfortable. The trench is of the nature of a
+
redoubt, built of sandbags, over which it is almost certain death to stick your
+
head in daylight. The enemy snipers are very good. I found Adam very happy, in
+
one of the dug-outs.
+
  
<center><b><u><span style='font-size:13.5pt'>IN
 
THE TRENCHES</u></b>
 
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="3"
+
Splosh went to hospital this morning so I had to take his place at the bridge and the new officers dug-out is a wretched affair. We have decided to have our grub at the Mess. James Willie and Hamish M'Intosh who had gone to hospital were sent across to England, probably owing to the hospitals being cleared out for influx of casualties from the North. We are now 4 officers short. The draft of men (87) arrived late tonight.
Year="2015"><b>03-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
+
  
<br><br>            Some
 
of our batteries were going it strong last night although there was little
 
reply to them. They kept us awake a bit. Went up to the fire trench with Major
 
M'Millan and 6th Sea officer and had a good look over the part we are to
 
occupy. It consists mainly of an old Brit communication trench running at right
 
angles to remainder of our line, joining us up with the A&amp;SHs who are
 
further advanced. From this communication trench, several redoubts have been
 
built at right angles. These we have to hold. Seemingly the Germans gave it to
 
them pretty hot last night with shrapnel and high explosive. They got one of
 
the latter into a fort and smashed a dug-out, the two men inside having
 
miraculous escapes. I found Adam, again as happy as ever, exploring the inside
 
of his kilt for 'Scots Greys' which are very abundant here. After dinner I
 
slept and in the evening got my things ready for going into the trenches. This
 
we did after dusk and I got my platoon in without difficulty, but of course
 
this part is very easy indeed to relieve. We took over and No. 4 Platoon was
 
told off to the reserve trenches.
 
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="4"
+
The work at MacMahon's post is going ahead but the Brigadier was round today condemning the roofs of the dug-outs as not being shell-proof. Fortunately they are the work of the Gordons. Heavy bombardment going on to the North.
Year="2015"><b>04-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
+
  
<br><br>            No.
 
4 had to furnish visiting patrols and listening patrol as well. I was rather
 
afraid of the latter but found it quite a simple affair as we didn't go out
 
far. The night was splendid and beyond desultory rifle fire there was nothing
 
doing. No casualties in the battalion. Turned in at <st1:time Hour="3"
 
Minute="0">3 a.m.</st1:time> and slept till six. After breakfast wrote a few
 
letters and Adam came along to my dug-out. Am very comfortable. Wrote home in
 
the afternoon and slept a bit.
 
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="5"
+
<center><b>05 Oct 15</b></center>
Year="2015"><b>05-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
+
  
<br><br>            Quite
 
a quiet day and little doing. Explored the ground just in front of the Sally
 
Port for a sniping post along with Major M'Millan. It is a great thing to be
 
serving under him. No 4 Platoon moved up to take over the two redoubts this
 
evening. It promises to be more exciting work. Stayed in Z until after
 
stand-to. Nothing much doing. There are 16 Argyle bomb-throwers in Z as well as
 
two sections of my own.
 
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="6"
+
Had a very good sleep in spite of Blacko's snoring. Wrote in the afternoon in the mess. Wet outside. The Court Martial on Dunvegan came off tonight and up to the time I left was 'gey dreich' but I understand it livened up considerably towards the end when George Murray was well canned.
Year="2015"><b>06-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
+
  
<br><br>            A
 
fine morning. Had to wait on after stand-to (<st1:time Hour="3" Minute="0">3 a.m.</st1:time>)
 
in case the Briggie comes along. Shaved, breakfasted and to bed. The redoubts
 
were shelled while I slept and one high explosive landed just behind the
 
parados beside the bomb supply. Fortunately they didn't explode. The can get a
 
perfect enfilade on the redoubts so we are going to strengthen the traverses. I
 
went up in the forenoon and underwent the next part of the bombardment which
 
was not so trying as I expected. However the shells weren't coming within 50
 
yards but the splints sang and hummed overhead. I got one wee bit on the leg
 
but only a scratch. It is shrapnel that plays the mischief as regards
 
splinters.
 
  
<br><br>            At night again the fun
+
<center><b>06 Oct 15</b></center>
started but Y got it worst. I don't know how they hadn't some casualties.
+
Fortunately a lot of the shells didn't explode - duds. Later the Bosches
+
started rapid fire, having spotted a work party of Argyles so we had a hot
+
time, the bullets going cracking overhead. I wasn't excited, but it took some
+
nerve to put my head above the parapet. The Argyles who were with us were a
+
great asset. Donnie Morrison is a very useful and willing man. I'm glad to have
+
him.
+
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="7"
 
Year="2015"><b>07-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
 
  
<br><br>            Stayed
+
Today misty a bit. Made a sketch of Berridale Brae. In the evening played bridge and went with Howie and Black to hunt rats. Not very successful. Stalker came back tonight from St. Omer where he was for machinegun course. Says British are rather downhearted in the North at not having done so well as they hoped. But we must and shall win in the end, however far away that may be, and however few of us live to see it.
in Z Redoubt until after <st1:time Hour="7" Minute="0">seven a.m.</st1:time>
+
when I came down to HQ and got shaved. It was a pretty quiet day as far as the
+
redoubts were concerned although they have been searching again for the sap
+
head. In the afternoon there was fairly heavy bombardment of the rest of the
+
line but no damage was done. Finlayson took over the redoubts at <st1:time
+
Hour="20" Minute="30">8:30 p.m.</st1:time> and I moved<span style='font-family:
+
Times'>  my platoon down to the
+
parapet opposite HQ. Am now fine and near the dug-out and more in the centre of
+
things. Turned in at <st1:time Minute="30" Hour="23">11:30 p.m.</st1:time> so
+
as to be able to relieve Finlayson at <st1:time Minute="0" Hour="3">3 a.m.</st1:time>
+
I hear there was pretty heavy firing after I went to bed but never a thing did
+
I hear.
+
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="8"
 
Year="2015"><b>08-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
 
  
<br><br>            Finlayson
+
<center><b>07 Oct 15</b></center>
called me at <st1:time Hour="3" Minute="0">3 a.m.</st1:time> but as things were
+
quiet I didn't get up till after 4. Went round the redoubts, shaved and had
+
breakfast. Pte W Reid of my platoon was shot through the side while working
+
behind the parapet. He died shortly afterwards. We thought at first it might
+
have been an accident by a couple of Argyle snipers behind, but as another two
+
bullets have come into same spot, I am pretty sure it is a German sniper. We
+
hunted round behind for him unsuccessfully, but they are devilishly cunning.
+
  
<br><br>            Slept in the afternoon, censored
 
some letters and went along the line to see Addie. I never feel as sad as when
 
I see poor old Addie's face. I believe 'C' would put up a desperate fight but
 
their spirit is clean gone at present.
 
  
<br><br>            Went out on reconnoitring
+
Better weather today. Captain Sutherland comes in every day for dinner which is followed by a game of quoits in the back garden. We are always glad to see his cheery face. More rat hunting tonight and bridge. French are reported to be going on yet in Champagne. Dreamt last night of killing rats.
patrol about <st1:time Minute="0" Hour="11">11 a.m.</st1:time> with Sgt J
+
Fraser and a man. Were out for at least an hour and a half but didn't see or
+
hear anything. I was quite nervous and 'chattery' before going out but soon
+
settled down once I was there. We got out a good bit. Went to bed at <st1:time
+
Minute="20" Hour="1">1:20 a.m.</st1:time> The Germans have been sending over
+
some big shells today and trench mortars. They are getting onto our new
+
communication trench.
+
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="9"
 
Year="2015"><b>09-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
 
  
<br><br>            Wakened
+
<center><b>08 Oct 15</b></center>
by Finlayson at <st1:time Minute="0" Hour="3">3 a.m.</st1:time> All quiet. Some
+
trench mortars came over about breakfast time but did no damage. Lay in a
+
ruined cottage for a couple of hours with my corporal to see if that sniper
+
would come out, but no luck. Shells began to come over so we had to shift. Went
+
out with Finnie and C. Serg. Major Miller and got some shell fuses belonging
+
behind the lines.
+
  
<br><br>            Were relieved at <st1:time
 
Minute="30" Hour="9">9:30</st1:time> by incoming Bde. Nasty jamb getting men in
 
as they had far more than us. If the Germans had sent over some well aimed
 
trench mortars they would have done tremendous execution but they were
 
unaccountably quiet and probably being relieved themselves. Got down to the far
 
end of Laventie without mishap although one bullet made the skin of my back
 
creep. The men got tea and were led to their billets. Then we got to ours and
 
had a grand supper with fried eggs, etc. in the Café Aux Voyageurs. Turned in at
 
<st1:time Minute="0" Hour="13">1 p.m.</st1:time>
 
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="10"
+
Nothing doing today. Bridge as usual after tea. Stalker came back tonight an Howie, Dunvegan and myself had a rat-hunt on our way home as 11 p.m. It has to stop now though as too many lights are being seen in the village.
Year="2015"><b>10-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
+
  
<br><br>            Breakfast
 
about <st1:time Hour="8" Minute="0">8 a.m.</st1:time> - ham and eggs, sausages,
 
tea, etc quite a good affair, with Steven D in attendance. Company parade at <st1:time
 
Minute="0" Hour="11">11 a.m.</st1:time> for inspection by C.O. - rifles,
 
bayonets, shaving, etc. The Colonel was unconsciously particular, as if men
 
carried burnishers in their kit. Slept in the afternoon and wandered down town
 
in the evening with little Willie. Rather colder today. A few shells falling
 
not far away, watched apathetically by the remaining inhabitants from their
 
door-steps.
 
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="11"
+
<center><b>09 Oct 15</b></center>
Year="2015"><b>11-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
+
  
<br><br>            Nearly
 
slept in. Had to attend bomb school at <st1:time Hour="9" Minute="0">9 a.m.</st1:time>
 
for a few days course, but found the instructor had also overslept. Rather old
 
again: a quiet Sunday morning. Walked into Estaires with Howie in the afternoon
 
and had a bath and a good dinner for 3 francs. It was great to get clean again.
 
Got home at <st1:time Minute="15" Hour="9">9:15</st1:time> and found letters
 
and parcels, including a very nice letter from May and cakes, etc from home.
 
Fags from DeCain [?]
 
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="12"
+
Thick and misty today. No news of the fighting today. At the Mound Keep for the forenoon. The dugouts are all ready for roofing now if only the corrugated iron would come. The Argyles had their parapet blown in last night, with a number of casualties. The Germans are using very heavy mortars. Fatigue parties of out men were sent up to repair, and evidently to the General's satisfaction as he asked to see Sgt Reid and L/Cpl Keith both of 'C' Coy, today.
Year="2015"><b>12-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
+
  
<br><br>            Went
 
bombing this morning and threw some live Bethune bombs. Rather nervy work at
 
first. Slept and wrote May in the afternoon. Big pile of letter to censor.
 
Black and Stalker arrived this afternoon Black to A Coy, Stalker to B.
 
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="13"
+
<center><b>10 Oct 15</b></center>
Year="2015"><b>13-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
+
  
<br><br>            Put
 
of a lot of rifle grenades - saw a display with trench mortars by Blake -
 
horrid affair.
 
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="14"
+
This turned out to be a fine quiet day. We were relieved tonight by the 8th Black Watch, so most of the day was spent in tidying up. The Major wouldn't play quoits this afternoon, being Sunday. Sat in the dug outs with George M'Kay and Hugh Fraser and others, with a roaring fire and had solos from various singers.
Year="2015"><b>14-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
+
  
<br><br>            Took
 
my platoon into Estaires for a bath and had one myself, along with Blackie.
 
Fine clean feeling afterwards. This is the first hot bath the battalion has had
 
since coming out, so they must have needed it. Had to up to the trenches on
 
fatigue - Black too and it was his first time in the firing line. It was a
 
splashing wet night and everybody got soaked. Had to lead along about 300 yards
 
of newly dug, narrow trench in pitch darkness. Worked from <st1:time Minute="0"
 
Hour="23">11</st1:time> to <st1:time Minute="30" Hour="1">1:30 a.m.</st1:time>
 
although the spades wouldn't lift anything - or wouldn't let it down again.
 
Wonder we had no casualties - we are always lucky or is it cautious? Got back
 
about <st1:time Minute="0" Hour="3">3 a.m.</st1:time>, the latter part being
 
dry.
 
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="15"
+
Got a splendid starry night for marching to billets - the men were in good form and sang most of the way. The Germans dropped four shrapnel in Aveluy before we reached it, and put some into Authuille as we left it. There was a lot of transport on the road and a good deal of noise, so I think they had spotted the relief. Got into Stenencourt about 11:25 p.m. Tea was issued to the men, along with a tot of rum.
Year="2015"><b>15-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
+
  
<br><br>            Slept
 
till dinner time. Went up to relieve the 7th Gordons at night. Trenches seemed
 
very strange the first night, getting into them in almost inky darkness.
 
Everyone stood to till dawn, as Major M'Millan believes in doing so the first
 
night.
 
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="16"
+
<center><b>11 Oct 15</b></center>
Year="2015"><b>16-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
+
  
<br><br>            Blank
 
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="17"
+
Breakfast wasn't until about 9 a.m. this morning. A pleasant day, but a bit heavy. Loafed about forenoon and afternoon. Bridge at night. Argument as to why there is an increased % of male children during or after a big war. The matter was to be referred to the Doc. but he didn't turn up.
Year="2015"><b>17-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
+
  
<br><br>            Blank
 
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="18"
+
<center><b>12 Oct 15</b></center>
Year="2015"><b>18-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
+
  
<br><br>            Up
 
at dawn - fine bright morning. Black and I slept spent most of the afternoon
 
potting at a German with the periscope rifle but didn't get him. I saw his head
 
and shoulders - my first German. Two or three times it struck me this was Sunday,
 
but it was hard to remember. It's just like any other day, only the Germans
 
usually send over a few more shells than usual.
 
  
<br><br>            In the evening, during
+
Early breakfast and left for Bouzincourt at 7:15 a.m. Got back 4 p.m. Fine day. Dugouts are now being made 13 feet deep with 5 feet headroom so that roof is 8' thick. Machine gun emplacements of concrete. Much better line than the front line. Engineer officer there has only been out here for 3 weeks and is fed up. I think the platoon commander is best off as regards variety and interest of work. Splosh is to be Bombing Officer. Had a fine tea of hard boiled eggs and potted head. Parcel for mother and from Bob. Johnnie Morrison came back today from Bray where he has been getting instruction in Adjutant's work. George Murray had a few straight words with Thomson, Staff Capt.
Church time at home, I lay and 'imagined' the organ and service. We seem very
+
near home.
+
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="19"
 
Year="2015"><b>19-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
 
  
<br><br>            Another
+
<center><b>13 Oct 15</b></center>
grand day and just the usual routine of the trenches. Went out at night with
+
L/Cpl Sinclair reconnoitering and was out for 2 hours, looking for disused
+
trenches along our front. Got back about 12 and found the Major getting
+
anxious.
+
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="20"
 
Year="2015"><b>20-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
 
  
<br><br>            Up
+
Route march round by Bresle and Brazieux [?] today. Rather close marching and I was glad I had made up my pack with my air-pillow instead of with heavier stuff. Jock the Post nearly put his fist through it. The autumn tints are on the trees now, and the apples still hanging are russet and brown.  
at 3 and found Blackie waiting for me to make tea which we did. Grand morning.
+
After breakfast Finlayson and I took bearings for 3 fixed rifles to sweep roads
+
behind German lines. Loopholes are to be built tonight. Both sides were very
+
quiet today, the Germans can be seen carrying long poles through their
+
trenches.  
+
  
<br><br>            Went along to see 'C' Coy
 
tonight. Addie in good form and more cheerful than usual. I hear from the
 
sergeants that George was simply splendid and willing to do anything. A lovely
 
sunset tonight - great long fiery clouds stretching over the West and overhead
 
and giving everything a fine glow. Overhead several aeroplanes - they usually
 
come at dawn or in the evening. Turned in about <st1:time Minute="30" Hour="10">10:30</st1:time>.
 
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="21"
+
Game of quoits before tea, which came on at five with boiled eggs and curried prawns. Splosh got a huge parcel tonight which turned out to be 100 parti-coloured sandbags. They are to be used for screening the officers' latrine, there being no lack of sandbags here now. Finnie has definitely forsaken us for the H.Q. mess. Heavy bombardment away to the North.
Year="2015"><b>21-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
+
  
<br><br>            Blank
 
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="22"
+
<center><b>14 Oct 15</b></center>
Year="2015"><b>22-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
+
  
<br><br>            We
 
leave the trenches tonight so most of the day is spent in cleaning up, etc. It
 
is always a wearisome day when we are going out as there is no outgoing mail
 
and therefore no incentive to write. We were relieved by the Indian Division -
 
a regiment of Sikhs relieved the 5th. They were very quiet about is and weird
 
looking. I'ld rather fight with them than against. It started raining just
 
about <st1:time Hour="22" Minute="0">10 p.m.</st1:time> and rained steadily
 
till we got to Merville about <st1:time Hour="3" Minute="30">3:30 a.m.</st1:time>
 
Had to stand an hour and a half on the other side Laventie for D Coy which did
 
not turn up even then. Were pretty well soaked. We are out this time without a
 
single casualty in 'A' Coy.
 
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="23"
+
Another fatigue this morning to Bouzincourt, the Major, Howie, Blacko, Freegard and myself. Howie and Blackie spent the day in Albert and reappeared in time to march back with us. Fine day to be out. Had dinner when we came back, Martin having risen to the occasion with a boiled meat duff. Tea immediately after, and a shave and then the Concert at the Chateau. The hits of the evening were topical songs for which Splosh was mainly responsible. The Brigadier and the Countess were there.
Year="2015"><b>23-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
+
  
<br><br>            Rose
 
and breakfasted about 12 <st1:time Minute="0" Hour="12">midday</st1:time>. Felt
 
rather washed out, as if I had been at a dance last night. Allan had a birthday
 
party which was a great success, especially the smoking concert which followed.
 
Paterson and Dannie were in great form. A perfect, moonlight night.
 
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="24"
+
<center><b>15 Oct 15</b></center>
Year="2015"><b>24-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
+
  
<br><br>            Inspection
 
by OC at <st1:time Minute="0" Hour="10">10 a.m.</st1:time> - rifle inspection.
 
He was in better cut today. Went into Merville after that and again after
 
dinner. Tried to get a bath but there are only 2 in the town and not
 
accessible. The population wash in the river. Had champagne in the Hotel de
 
Ville, to celebrate Barnetson's gazette.
 
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="25"
+
Field day - attacking position other side of Bresle which Finnie and the stretcher bearers had taken up. 'A' Coy was to deliver a flank attack but it was rather late. Very misty and difficult to see what was going on. Slept all afternoon. Second night of the concert wasn't quite so good as first as there was some repetition of last night's songs.
Year="2015"><b>25-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
+
  
<br><br>            Church
 
Service at headquarters this forenoon. Rev. M'Farlane still hammering away at
 
the Kaiser: the sniping pretty rotten. Meeting of officers at Bde HQ in
 
afternoon addressed by Brigadier, revising lessons learned by 3 months
 
experience. I hope he has learned <u>his</u> lesson. Had to go into La Gorgue
 
to find road to station and did so on the Major's nag. Went to bed at <st1:time
 
Hour="20" Minute="30">8:30 p.m.</st1:time>, at least lay down on it, and
 
wakened at <st1:time Hour="8" Minute="30">8:30</st1:time> by Steven D.
 
  
<center><b><u><span style='font-size:13.5pt'>ON
+
At 11 p.m. the alarm went, without the least warning. No. 4 Platoon was about the last to turn out. The Adjie was in a screaming and obscene rage and I only dodged him in the lane by good luck. We were dismissed about 12:30 a.m. I hear our battalion took the longest to turn out but that was partly owing to the orderlies not being able to be found.  
THE </u></b><st1:place><b><u><span style='font-size:13.5pt'>SOMME</u></b></st1:place><b><u><span
+
style='font-size:13.5pt'></u></b>
+
  
<br><br><i>In mid July the 51<sup>st</sup> (</i><st1:place><i>Highland</i></st1:place><i>)
 
Division moved to the </i><st1:place><i>Somme</i></st1:place><i> region and
 
took over a section of the front line from the French. This was a 'quiet'
 
sector where the division could continue to train. 'Quiet' is relative, but in
 
1915 the name '</i><st1:place><i>Somme</i></st1:place><i>' carried none of the
 
implications that it would gain after the battles of Jul - Nov 1916. </i>
 
  
<br><br><i>The battalion remained in this area until late 1916, mostly occupying
+
One of the Kidds, Brora in at tea tonight. He is with the miners at La Boisselle.
positions on the River Ancre just north of Albert.</i>
+
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="26"
 
Year="2015"><b>26-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
 
  
<br><br>            Marched
+
<center><b>16 Oct 15</b></center>
to La Gorgue station, leaving Merville about <st1:time Minute="0" Hour="5">5
+
a.m.</st1:time> It was raining for the first bit but the sun came out and
+
dried me. Got aboard - 30 men in each truck and officers in 1st and a few in
+
3rd class carriages. Rather a bumpy journey but not too fast to make the bumps
+
uncomfortable. We made a big detour, round by <st1:City><st1:place>Calais</st1:place></st1:City>
+
and Abbeville to <st1:City><st1:place>Amiens</st1:place></st1:City>. At <st1:City><st1:place>Calais</st1:place></st1:City>
+
we drew up alongside a buffet run by English girls. After <st1:City><st1:place>Calais</st1:place></st1:City>
+
we ran along the coast and then up the valley of the <st1:place>Somme</st1:place>,
+
the country improving every mile. Arrived Corbie about <st1:time Hour="22"
+
Minute="0">10 p.m.</st1:time> and marched 4 miles under a full moon up to the <st1:City><st1:place>Amiens</st1:place></st1:City>
+
- Albert road. Out billets were at Pont Noyelles.
+
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="27"
 
Year="2015"><b>27-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
 
  
<br><br>            Rose
+
Slept in a bit this morning, Capt Morrison, Freegard and self on Court of Inquiry, on man who shot his hand in May. The poor beggar came out with the last draft and is being tried now. Afternoon I spent in lonesome walk round behind the Chateau woods and tried a sketch. Finnie and J.B. Morrison in at tea.
late. Had a bathe in a burn with Black and Finlayson. The water is clean and
+
wholesome, quite unlike what we have seen up north. Concert by 'A' and 'B' Coys
+
at the Girls Seminary. Piano on the steps at front door and men standing or
+
sitting round below the trees. Perfect night.
+
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="28"
 
Year="2015"><b>28-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
 
  
<br><br>            Reviewed
+
<center><b>17 Oct 15</b></center>
today by General Munro, Commanding 3rd Army. Concert tonight by officers. Great
+
success. Finnie sang splendidly. Another perfect night. Conversazione of
+
officers afterwards in 'B' Coy headquarters, and one of the men doing
+
'Imitations'.
+
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="29"
 
Year="2015"><b>29-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
 
  
<br><br>            Drill
+
Orderly officer and late for guard mounting. Church Parade at 10 a.m. Got a very good sermon from a strange padre on 'Wherefore this waste?' Misty and cold and service lasted only 1/2 an hour, for which we were glad although we enjoyed what there was of it. O.C.'s parade for A and B at 12 noon. More rapid than usual. Rest of the day free.  
in forenoon - handling arms, and also bathing parade. Sun very warm. Lot of
+
Kitcheners passed through today. We expected to move today too but cancelled.
+
This is a lovely little village.
+
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="30"
 
Year="2015"><b>30-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
 
  
<br><br>            Handling
+
Sat round the fire all      evening having theological arguments, George Murray being especially keen on the 2nd Coming and producing a diagram to illustrate his views. We have got an open fireplace put in, and with a big wood fire blazing on it we can be very comfortable.
of arms and swim in the morning. Marched off at <st1:time Minute="0" Hour="17">5
+
p.m.</st1:time> for new billets up nearer the firing line. Rather warm to
+
begin with but cooled down as the sun set and after that had a glorious march.
+
Tea under the trees at the roadside. Then on till <st1:time Minute="30"
+
Hour="11">11:30</st1:time>. Some of the men were pretty well /----/ up with
+
soft feet. Got to bed about 12, in an old stable which had been used as <st1:place><st1:PlaceName>French</st1:PlaceName>
+
<st1:PlaceType>Hospital</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>. Straw beds and rather
+
lively. Rose very itchy.
+
  
<center><st1:date Month="7" Day="31"
 
Year="2015"><b>31-Jul-15</b></st1:date><b></b>
 
  
<br><br>            Difficult
+
<center><b>18 Oct 15</b></center>
to get good water here - the stuff we washed in was full of H2S. Hence late
+
breakfast. Port wine under the trees in the Chateau garden until some of them
+
were beginning to get merry. Paraded at <st1:time Hour="17" Minute="0">5 p.m.</st1:time>
+
and marched down into the little valley: the air very thick and close. Through
+
the wood d'Aveluy, to the ville d'Authuille. My platoon told off to a detached
+
post on the railway which I took over from a gesticulating Frenchman with the
+
aid of an interpreter. Very comfortable little place, especially the quartiers
+
du Commandant.
+
  
<br><br>            Dined with the latter
 
gentleman and 3 regular officers in a shanty below the bridge. My French very
 
weak. Went round the post about <st1:time Hour="23" Minute="0">11 p.m.</st1:time>
 
and found everything OK and the men fraternising splendidly with the French
 
Johnnies.
 
  
<center><b><span style='font-size:13.5pt'>AUGUST
+
Fatigue to Bouzincourt today, reporting time as usual at 8:30 a.m. All the officers went into Albert and had dinner - omelettes, rabbit, etc. The Café Aux Voyageurs is run by two or three women, who have to take refuge in the cellars during the almost daily shelling.
1915</b>
+
  
<center><b>07 Aug 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Nothing
+
<center><b>19 Oct 15</b></center>
worth noting down in the past week. I have been on this post all the time. We
+
did some work during the day - clearing the wood in front of Mound Keep and
+
cleaning up the trenches. At night of course the sentries were on and I had to
+
make a tour of these with the sergeant.
+
  
<br><br>            The weather has not been
 
too good - fair amount of rain and drizzle, but I have been very comfortable in
 
the hut below the bridge, with first a <st1:City><st1:place>Somerset</st1:place></st1:City>
 
and then a Hampshire officer as company. I messed in Authuille along with the
 
rest of 'A' and 'B', otherwise I spent all my time here.
 
  
<br><br>            Have read 'Captain
+
Left at 6:30 a.m. for fatigue at Authuille. Cold morning, especially in the valley of the Ancre where it was pretty thick. Bulgar and Nicholson and myself, with 180 men. Found when we got to our destination that we weren't expected and there was no work for us to do. We didn't know whether to be wild or glad, so were the latter and got back to Henencourt just at dinner-time. Capt Sutherland brought some salt fish to the Mess, which we had for supper with Dunvegan, Danny, Gerry, etc.
Maigaret' this week and written a few letters. The time passes very quickly.
+
  
<center><b>08 Aug 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            A
+
<center><b>20 Oct 15</b></center>
fine quiet day, quite Sunday like. Had a glorious bathe, or rather bath in the
+
burn this morning. Afterwards read Study in Scarlet.
+
  
<br><br>            Having been living very
 
much in the past, dallying with old memories, but keeping out the later tragic
 
ones. Think it's good occasionally to just take a good look back.
 
  
<center><b>09 Aug 15</b>
+
Supposed to report at Authuille trenches as 10:30 a.m. Splosh, Johnnie Paterson and I left about 9 and sauntered into Albert where we had lunch along with Freegard and Nicholson who had preceded us. We went on gradually arriving at 7th Gordons about 2 p.m. They had had a pretty bad time, 'A' Coy losing 2 officers with a kerosene-can and both died. The Germans seem to be putting Potas. ferrocyanide into these cans which produces blood poisoning. The Battn came in about 8 p.m., and relief was carried out through very expeditiously and without mishap.
  
<br><br>            Moist
 
warm day. Too lazy to do any work or to see that the men did any. Glad we're
 
not in the <st1:place>Dardanelles</st1:place>. Have started having rifle
 
inspection every morning and section commanders have one at night. The Bosches
 
are beginning to send over a good many bullets our way so I have altered the
 
route to Authuille, making it exactly the same the French had it. Had a very
 
heavy downpour of rain tonight and a great deal of vivid blue lightening. It
 
was so wet that I didn't visit all the sentries.
 
  
<center><b>10 Aug 15</b>
+
<center><b>21 Oct 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            Thick
 
and misty this morning - no improvement after the thunder. Put the men on to
 
clear out the trenches which are rather muddy. Felt more energetic in the
 
afternoon and wrote two letters. A and B have a joint mess but I don't think it
 
would be well to continue it always. The Bosches are beginning to send over
 
shrapnel occasionally now, and two landed up in the wood tonight not far from
 
one of my groups. Probably there is too much movement in the wood.
 
  
<center><b>11 Aug 15</b>
+
Mice kept me awake most of the night, running over my head, etc. 'A' Coy being in reserve, in Paisley Avenue, there isn't much for us to do. The Company is split up into platoons, No. 4 being on the left in support of D Coy. Coy. Mess in Paisley St where all the cooking for the battalion is done. Very quiet in the front line. Looks as if their trench mortars had been knocked out. Retired to my dugout at 9:30 and had a blazing coal-fire.
  
<br><br>            Another
 
good day. Had a good view of the firing line from trenches on the valley side
 
behind us. The Chateau of Thiepval isn't much of a place now. Had some shrapnel
 
into Authuille tonight and some of us had a rather narrow shave. Argyles had
 
one killed and 1 wounded at the river. A lot of our men there too. We are
 
always very lucky.
 
  
<br><br>            <st1:country-region><st1:place>Germany</st1:place></st1:country-region>
+
<center><b>22 Oct 15</b></center>
has offered peace to <st1:country-region><st1:place>Russia</st1:place></st1:country-region>
+
but she has declined. British have taken 1200 yards of trench at Hooge, but it
+
will be only a very local and probably extremely costly success.
+
  
<center><b>12 Aug 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Blank
+
Very bright today. Dunvegan came limping down this morning with bad attack of lumbago, and was taken to hospital on a stretcher - pity the bearers. I had to go up to 'B' Coy as Allen and Freegard are the only officers there. Just before I got up, they got a number of trench mortars mixed up with shrapnel - probably to make them keep their head down. One mortar got into the trench and did some damage but nobody hurt.
  
<br><br>&nbsp;
 
  
<br><br>&nbsp;
+
<center><b>23 Oct 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>&nbsp;
 
  
<center><b>13 Aug 15</b>
+
Duty from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. Fine night and very quiet. Germans working hard. General Harper round today, and made himself very disagreeable. Four light trench mortars and rifle grenades today.
  
<br><br>            The
 
Argyles were relieved by the Indian Cavalry Division. These have been in the
 
trenches only about 48 hours since they came out in December. Rather funny to
 
see them losing their companies in the darkness and as I couldn't make myself
 
understood to them I had a bit of a job.
 
  
<center><b>14 Aug 15</b>
+
<center><b>24 Oct 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            The
 
officers of the ICD came round today - half a dozen majors and captains with
 
note-books all asking questions. Discovered Leslie who used to be in Chem T
 
among them. He didn't seem to relish the reminiscences so I left him alone. I
 
handed over to an officer of the Iniskillings at <st1:time Hour="18" Minute="0">6
 
p.m.</st1:time> I was only sorry I couldn't wait to hear about <st1:country-region><st1:place>India</st1:place></st1:country-region>
 
from him. He says 'It's a fine country to go on leave in'.
 
  
<br><br>            Battalion formed up in Bois
+
There was a ring round the moon last night, so I wasn't surprised to find it threatening a break-down this morning. It did break down by the afternoon and the trenches were soon muddy. Had 4 heavy trench mortars over this morning, 2 duds. Nobody hurt and some wire blown down.  
d'Aveluy and when it got dusk, took the road through Albert and got to
+
Buire-sur-l'Ancre about <st1:time Hour="23" Minute="0">11 p.m.</st1:time> No
+
billets for us officers but it was a fine night, and we got our valises under a
+
tree, Blacko and I and were soon asleep.
+
  
<center><b>15 Aug 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            A
+
Capt. Sutherland in to tea, and Johnnie Morrison, who left for furlough tonight. Had a sacred concert in the Mess, under the baton of George Murra', he being an authority on the psalm tunes as well as many other biblical matters. Nasty wet night. Martin left tonight too. Leave has been doubled, so I expect to go home on about a month's time.
fresh awakening this morning: got up about 8 and shaved and washed. Breakfast
+
in a hired room, and later on <st1:City><st1:place>Murray</st1:place></st1:City>
+
got us two nice bedrooms next door to BHQ. The village we are in has not been
+
touched by the war, so that we are rid for the time being of the depressing
+
sights of roofless houses. The inhabitants are all in situ.  
+
  
<center><b>16 Aug 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            The
+
<center><b>25 Oct 15</b></center>
newly joined subs paraded under the Sergeant-Major in transport lines and
+
submitted to public degradation - right turns by numbers. Great indignation,
+
especially on Freegard's part.
+
  
<center><b>17 Aug 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Drill
+
Duty 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. It had been raining all night, and Bulgar was swearing at the drops of water which were impinging on his physog. There was a pool on top of me but fortunately I had an oilskin over my blanket. Had to put some chevaux de frise in position and it was rather an awkward job. Breakfast wasn't till about 9.  
in the forenoon. After tea had a walk by myself up to the main road and back by
+
Ribermont. Read Gray's Elegy on the way and much of it that was meaningless
+
before was quite clear. Lovely evening.
+
  
<center><b>18 Aug 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Drill
+
Rather a rotten day, my feet being wet nearly all the time. Two rifle grenades at 6 p.m. Germans going at their work strong. Suspect they are driving a mine towards the salient as we have heard tapping tonight.
in the forenoon beside the river and after dinner walked over to Bresle to a
+
gas demonstration. In the evening had a stroll up above the village through the
+
cornfields.
+
  
<center><b>19 Aug 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Football
+
<center><b>26 Oct 15</b></center>
match between men and officers tonight but had to stop in the middle as the
+
ball burst.
+
  
<center><b>20 Aug 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            The
+
Cold, bright and windy morning. A number of trench mortars, mostly small, came over in the morning. In the afternoon some 'oil-cans' fell on the right of the 6th Seaforths. Built an observation post at the top of Sauchiehall St. The Germans put over a couple of T.M.s, as I think they heard us.  
forenoon was spent mostly in spraying respirators and smoke helmets, and also,
+
on my part, in packing my valise. Left shortly after <st1:time Minute="0"
+
Hour="15">3 p.m.</st1:time> for the trenches. Had to hoof it with full pack,
+
and left myself just rather too little time. However the Major and Dunvegan,
+
coming behind on horseback were late.  
+
  
<br><br>            Went by Dernancourt to
 
Moulin du Vivier (Bde H.Q.) and through Albert up to Becourt (Bat. H.Q.) and so
 
up to the fire-trench. We are taking over from 'A', 7th Gordons. Had supper and
 
a look round the trenches. Turned in till <st1:time Minute="0" Hour="4">4 a.m.</st1:time>
 
  
<center><b>21 Aug 15</b>
+
Some more came over about 9 p.m. in answer to our own TM gun, and some of them were fairly heavy. Freegard was hit in the back with a piece that pierced through to his shirt. He was bruised a bit, and the Doc sent him to the hospital. The Colonel has been in good form most of the day. H.Q. are much more affable than used to be the case.
  
<br><br>            Up
 
at <st1:time Hour="4" Minute="0">4 a.m.</st1:time> and had breakfast. Another look
 
round and then started back to Buire where I arrived at 8.30 and had brekker.
 
Battn. paraded at <st1:time Minute="0" Hour="18">6 p.m.</st1:time> At M. du
 
Vivier I was sent back to Buire for the 1/4 guard but managed a byke from
 
Captn. D. Sutherland, and met the guard coming along with transport. Got into
 
the fire trench about <st1:time Minute="0" Hour="16">4 o'clock</st1:time>,
 
pretty tired, so turned in.
 
  
<br><br>            Had a bathe this morning
+
<center><b>27 Oct 15</b></center>
and found myself 'lowsy' in the extreme in spite of my mouslin shirt.
+
  
<center><b>22 Aug 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Had
+
Blank
a 'snackie' at <st1:time Minute="0" Hour="4">4 a.m.</st1:time> Very quiet day,
+
which I spent mainly in fitting up a dug-out for myself. I have put up a
+
swinging hammock which won't be so likely to harbour vermin and have partially
+
latticed the doorway which at present is rather open.
+
  
<br><br>            Great draw back to these
 
trenches is the lack of proper water supply. All drinking water comes up in
 
water carts at night to B.H.Q. and has to be fetched from there in jars,
 
bottles, tins, etc, by roundabout way. Same with grub and ammunition.
 
  
<center><b>23 Aug 15</b>
+
<center><b>28 Oct 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            This
 
early breakfast is a good idea and gives a sound basis for beginning the day
 
on. Up at <st1:time Hour="4" Minute="0">4 a.m.</st1:time> and spent the morning
 
in making a sketch map of my trenches. The front line is held very lightly and
 
think the Germans do the same. A good system of communication trenches leads up
 
to the fire trench and the dug-outs are mainly in the support line. A platoon
 
of <st1:City><st1:place>Kitcheners</st1:place></st1:City> (7<sup>th</sup> Beds)
 
is coming up tonight for instruction. Turned in after stand-to.
 
  
<center><b>24 Aug 15</b>
+
Wakened this morning with a lot of rain on my bed, and a fair cold in my head. Blacko gave me a tot of rum on which I slept to 8:45. It was very wet all day and my boots were sodden. Allan kindly let me sleep down at the Mess except to relieve him for meals so by night I was feeling a bit better. Blake and Johnnie P were in to tea and we had the usual feeding of the 5000: our problem isn't so much the feeding though as the seating of them.
  
<br><br>            Splosh
 
wakened me this morning at 4. Evidently there was a mix up last night and he
 
was on by himself with the Beds subaltern. I turned out and had a belated
 
breakfast at 5. 'K's Chaps' had turned in. Saw them at breakfast time. They are
 
nice [or mice ?] like fellows and ours get on with them all right. In some
 
places there has been some friction between K's and Terriers, but not here. They
 
took over all my part of the line after stand-to at <st1:time Hour="20"
 
Minute="0">8 p.m.</st1:time> so I withdrew all my men except 4 sentries.
 
  
<center><b>25 Aug 15</b>
+
About 8 p.m. we heard that one of 'C' Coys dugouts had fallen in, and that Addie was buried under it. Thinking it must be about all up with him I went up to the place, and the Major volunteered to accompany me. We found Addie in a dugout with Deuchart, having been got out with some bad bruises to his leg and a pretty bad shaking. The Doctor reported no bones broken. We got back to the Mess after 10 p.m. and turned in.
  
<br><br>            It
 
was 5 before I was up this morning owing to some mistake. Another splendid day,
 
and very quiet. The Germans have been busy opposite us these last nights and
 
are sandbagging their trenches. They have the advantage of us in being on the
 
top of the hill. We can't see their support trenches but they can see ours and
 
down to B.H.Q. as well. In the early morning with the sun behind them they have
 
a big advantage in light too, and I wonder they don't do more sniping.
 
  
<br><br>            Spent most of the forenoon
+
<center><b>29 Oct 15</b></center>
in the observation post getting to know their line. Wrote in the afternoon. The
+
evenings are short after tea now. Stand-to is about <st1:time Hour="19"
+
Minute="30">7.30 p.m.</st1:time>  
+
  
<br><br>            The Russians have had a
 
naval victory in the <st1:place><st1:PlaceType>Gulf</st1:PlaceType> of <st1:PlaceName>Riga</st1:PlaceName></st1:place>.
 
  
<center><b>26 Aug 15</b>
+
The 8th Argyles, on our right, got it very hot this morning with oilcans, mortars and whizz-bangs. Dry overhead today, but trenches in a bad mess. Saw Addie at the dressing station en route for hospital.
  
<br><br>            We
 
have been sandbagging the parapet for the last few days to keep the chalk from
 
falling into the trenches. We have made no loopholes here. <st1:City><st1:place>Kitchener</st1:place></st1:City>'s
 
platoon went out last night and were replaced by another of the same battalion.
 
They were spread over all the line, a section to a platoon. We put one of our
 
men to two of theirs for instructional purposes, but I think the instruction
 
mostly took the form of tall tales about 'The Orchard'.
 
  
<br><br>            I was on all night and had
+
Splosh took out a bombing party at 9 p.m. to bomb a German sap out from Hammer Head.
much trouble in keeping some of the men alert. The 8 hour shift is rather long
+
I think as there are so many fatigues by day.  
+
  
<br><br>            Splosh singing Harry Lauder
 
in the Mess. He is rather like D.B. except that he <u>can</u> carry a tune.
 
  
<center><b>27 Aug 15</b>
+
Heard later that the Argyles didn't lose a single man although the Germans put over more than 150 mortar bombs - 50 of them oil cans, and a lot of whizz-bangs as well. The Argyles gave them "Are we downhearted? No!" after the fusillade had stopped.
  
<br><br>            Got
 
to bed about <st1:time Hour="5" Minute="0">5 a.m.</st1:time> Rose for breakfast
 
at 8, and went back till dinner time. Wrote in afternoon, and made a sketch of
 
German lines showing loopholes. Think it may be of some use to the men.
 
  
<br><br>            Another glorious day - not
+
<center><b>30 Oct 15</b></center>
a drop of rain since we came in to trenches. Had a wash and a shave in a bowl:
+
also a hunt and got one of each variety so I'm proving. But I'm very itchy.
+
Turned in about <st1:time Hour="21" Minute="30">9.30 p.m.</st1:time> Finnie and
+
two Beds' officers are on till <st1:time Hour="4" Minute="0">4 a.m.</st1:time>  
+
  
<br><br>            Splosh got rather a setback
 
tonight when playing the veteran up among the <st1:place>Queens</st1:place>.
 
The Major gave him rather a hard time when he came back.
 
  
<center><b>28 Aug 15</b>
+
Splosh came in at 12:45 a.m. having found nothing in the sap. Spent most of the day trying to get a German sniper. Saw about six Germans today, some of them in the wood in front of their line.
  
<br><br>            Another
 
fine day, but rather close. Saw two Huns through the periscope and had a pot at
 
them. In the evening started putting up a loophole, which took from 7 till <st1:time
 
Hour="23" Minute="0">11 p.m.</st1:time> to finish and it was pouring rain most
 
of the time. No. 4 has very good Lance Corpls, only they do too much work
 
themselves. Seaman and Skinner helped me with the loophole.
 
  
<br><br>            Soaked through by the time
+
We were relieved by the 1/7th Gordons. 'B' Coy took the longest to be relieved and it was 11:15 before we got to Henencourt. The roads were very muddy especially at Authuille. We were all very glad to get out, and thanked out lucky stars that we hadn't had a scratch except for Freegard's.
were done and the trenches were very bad with water lying in them. Wakened
+
Splosh at <st1:time Hour="0" Minute="40">12:40 a.m.</st1:time> and turned in
+
after setting my things to dry all round the dugout
+
  
<center><b>29 Aug 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Had
+
<center><b>31 Oct 15</b></center>
quite a comfortable sleep considering. Got up at breakfast time. The loophole
+
is a wee bit low but may do.
+
  
<br><br>            My pocketbook was brought
 
in at <st1:time Hour="6" Minute="0">6 a.m.</st1:time> badly mauled, having been
 
extricated from the debris we threw down last night. Got the things separated
 
out and photos washed, but they won't be quite as good as before. Fortunately
 
it was dry and hot this morning so I got most of my things dried. The trenches
 
wanted a lot of cleaning up, and require some more thorough method of draining.
 
  
<center><b>30 Aug 15</b>
+
Slept till 10 a.m. The people at the Mess-room have taken away their stove, so Stephen has to cook in the yard. They are very disagreeable. Nasty raw day and no parades of any sort.
  
<br><br>            Up
 
at <st1:time Minute="0" Hour="4">4 a.m.</st1:time>, clear and cold as usually
 
in the mornings now. The loophole is a bit improved, but all the wire isn't yet
 
cleared away. Artillery tried to get onto a machine gun emplacement, but were
 
far out. Evidently the map is not accurate, or else their shooting is very
 
poor, and the seldom will send up an observation officer.
 
  
<br><br>            Black and I on duty at
+
Finnie and I rode down to Warloy, he to get a motor for the Colonel who is going to hospital today with Lumbago, and I to see Addie. Not finding him there I went back to Millencourt where they told me he had been sent 16 miles down. There are rumours that our division may be sent to Servia. One Corps is said to have gone already, and one division of our Corps to be under orders. Hope I get my leave first.
night. It was very cold and we stayed in the mess most of the time, alternately
+
sleeping and writing. Took occasional turns along the line, and tried to locate
+
the underground sounds. We think they must be from some dug-out, or from the
+
trench itself. It hardly seems possible they would drive a mine 350 yards when
+
the lines are much closer elsewhere. Still there must be some explanation of
+
these very high mounds they have thrown up. They can't be from any ordinary
+
trench work.  
+
  
<br><br>            Wee Willie slept in my bed
 
till <st1:time Hour="4" Minute="0">4 a.m.</st1:time> when we all had breakfast,
 
and fed also Fishy, Stalk and Nic. Thank goodness they kept off Golspie for
 
once.
 
  
<center><b>31 Aug 15</b>
+
<center><b>November 1915</b></center>
  
<br><br>            Rose
 
for dinner. Very little doing today. Had a few shots through the loophole, but
 
the earth has been too damp lately for observation to be easy. Sandbags are at
 
an end, so there isn't much work to be done.
 
  
<br><br>            The Major was testing the
+
<center><b>01 Nov 15</b></center>
artillery on a point today, and found it took ten minutes for them to open
+
fire, which is rather too long.
+
  
<br><br>            'Stand-to' is shortly after
 
<st1:time Hour="19" Minute="0">7 p.m.</st1:time> now. It was very quiet last
 
night.
 
  
<center><b><span style='font-size:13.5pt'>SEPTEMBER
+
Fatigue to Bouzincourt with Capt. Rutherford, Black, Blake and Finnie. The last has been put on fatigues this time. Another rotten day. We all went into Albert at lunch time and had a good feed. The men were fairly wet and no coke to dry themselves with when they get home, but I suppose they manage always to pinch some. 'Dooking apples' and Splosh's Steak and Kidney pudding tonight.
1915</b>
+
  
<center><b>01 Sep 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Wakened
+
<center><b>02 Nov 15</b></center>
at <st1:time Minute="0" Hour="4">4 a.m.</st1:time> by Finnie. Cold, clear
+
morning. I hadn't been in the fire trench a minute when a boy Graham was shot
+
through the head. Death was instantaneous. It was hard luck, on our last
+
morning too. We hardly realise how near death is, and yet it doesn't awe us
+
somehow. You feel that the body isn't everything, and yet there's nothing
+
religious about the thought. We buried him at <st1:time Hour="10" Minute="30">10:30</st1:time>,
+
in a grave dug by his companions. One of the burying party was hit with
+
shrapnel, on the leg, while returning.
+
  
<br><br>            In the afternoon the 7th
 
Gordons officers came up to take over, so we had a large party at tea. It began
 
to rain in the afternoon and the trenches were soon in a great muck. It is
 
always wearisome waiting for the reliefs, and tonight they didn't arrive till <st1:time
 
Hour="23" Minute="30">11:30 p.m.</st1:time> They were too smart to need guides
 
so lost their way.
 
  
<br><br>            We got down to the foot of
+
OC's (Major Sinclair) parade at 11 a.m. Drizzling rain and very cold and he inspected every rifle in the company and didn't find one dirty. Lecture in the Chateau at 5 p.m. by Col Stewart of the Division on the attack. Nothing brilliant. Went to bed early. Am reading Buchan's History of the War.
hill 106 after plootering through the mud. Some platoons came down the road,
+
but I didn't care to take that responsibility. The moon was high by this time,
+
and we had a good march in although the tail straggled a little at first and I
+
had to leave three men behind. Arrived at Buire as <st1:time Hour="3" Minute="0">3
+
a.m.</st1:time> and found <st1:City><st1:place>Murray</st1:place></st1:City>
+
waiting for us. We subs of 'A' are billeted in the mayor's house and have bed
+
between two.
+
  
<center><b><u><span style='font-size:13.5pt'>'REST'</u></b>
 
  
<br><br><b><u><span style='font-size:13.5pt'>&nbsp;</u></b>
+
<center><b>03 Nov 15</b></center>
  
<br><br><i>&#8216;Rest&#8217; for infantry units out of the line was not really an
 
accurate description of what happened. It was more a matter of continual
 
fatigues in the trenches and rear areas.</i>
 
  
<center><b>02 Sep 15</b>
+
Fatigue at Bouzincourt. The Major, Black and Blake. Bright cold day, it seems to have rained itself out last night. It's getting to cold now to loaf about with pleasure, and the temptation to drop into Albert is getting stronger. Splosh has been in bed the last two days with rheumatism and melancholia.
  
<br><br>            Wakened at <st1:time
 
Hour="11" Minute="15">11:15</st1:time> by Ross, who reported breakfast ready.
 
Rose with that 'after the ball' feeling which we always have the night after
 
coming out. It was drizzling in the forenoon but I went for a wash and a bathe.
 
Met Adam who seemed to acquiesce in his engagement.
 
  
<br><br>            Had a letter from Daisy re
+
<center><b>SNIPING COURSE</b></center>
rose bowl which appears to have given satisfaction. Dinner and tea at <st1:time
+
Hour="17" Minute="0">5 p.m.</st1:time> Had a walk up to the high road in the
+
twilight.
+
  
<center><b>03 Sep 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Parade at <st1:time Hour="9"
+
A large number of schools - bombing, sniping, musketry, gas, etc - were established in France as the war progressed. These made up for the sometimes skimpy training of units in UK, disseminated new tactics and, unofficially, provided a break from the trenches for officers and men.
Minute="30">9:30</st1:time>. Blackie, Finnie and I. We had inspection and
+
physical exercises. Rather cold and raw - too cold for a bathe. Football match
+
at <st1:time Hour="15" Minute="0">3 p.m.</st1:time> between right and left
+
halves of company. Very enjoyable, but not good football: one fellow got his
+
ankle broken. Very wet tonight. Fatigue party of 150 men up at Bouzincourt all
+
day, Splosh with them. This is Daisy's wedding day. Long life and happiness to
+
her and her husband.
+
  
<center><b>04 Sep 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            No parade this forenoon as
+
Sniping was intimately connected with observation. In the battalion snipers and 'scouts' were usually gathered into one specialised platoon, although in the trenches there was little 'scouting' in the sense of mobile reconnaissance.
another fatigue party of 150 left at <st1:time Hour="7" Minute="0">7 a.m.</st1:time>
+
with Finnie etc. Wrote Bob in the garden. It was a fine forenoon, but wind is
+
getting cold.  
+
  
<br><br>            Left with party of 200 men
 
at <st1:time Hour="17" Minute="30">5:30 p.m.</st1:time> for Albert. We worked
 
on communication trench which leads up to La Boisselle. Line was pretty quiet,
 
except for some heavy explosions - heavy shells and trench mortars. Just a few
 
stray bullets near us. Fortunately it was a grand night, although not too warm.
 
We got back at <st1:time Hour="2" Minute="30">2:30 a.m.</st1:time> after a fine
 
march.
 
  
<center><b>05 Sep 15</b>
+
The primary role of the snipers was (and is) as counter-snipers, i.e. to suppress the enemy's snipers and only then to engage targets of opportunity. The static and routine nature of life in the trenches meant that frequently visited points (e.g. latrines) could be identified and sniped. Good sniping established a moral as much as a military ascendancy over the other side.
  
<br><br>            Brekker at <st1:time
 
Hour="8" Minute="0">8 a.m.</st1:time> I though to have a fine quiet Sunday and
 
get some letters written, but about 11 o'clock word came that the battn was to
 
shift quarters to Henencourt. This necessitated the fatigue party of 300 men
 
going in full marching order. We packed up after dinner and left at <st1:time
 
Hour="16" Minute="0">4 p.m.</st1:time>
 
  
<br><br>            Arrived at our new billets
+
Sniping was something the Highland Division prided itself on - with many gamekeepers (and poachers) in the ranks this is not surprising. 'Splosh' celebrates the deeds of 'Sniper Sandy' (Sgt Alexander M'Donald - KIA Nov 16) with a parody of the popular song 'Sister Susie's Sewing Shirts for Soldiers' [text to follow]:
after a very warm but short march. The new place isn't nearly so comfortable as
+
Buire, but the air is brisker. Finnie and I have a nice room upstairs, with a
+
motherly old wife to take an interest in us. Had tea at <st1:time Hour="20"
+
Minute="0">8 p.m.</st1:time>, &quot;and so to bed&quot;. Some pears I carried
+
in my haversack today have mucked up my diary, which is rather a humbug.
+
  
<center><b>06 Sep 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Up at <st1:time Hour="5"
+
<center><b>04 Nov 15</b></center>
Minute="30">5:30 a.m.</st1:time> for breakfast and fatigues. Left with 300 men
+
and 6 officers for second line trenches between Albert and Bouzincourt. Very
+
fine morning, the air and the pipes and everything reminded me of <st1:City><st1:place>Bedford</st1:place></st1:City>,
+
in fact the difficulty is to realize we are behind the firing line. The country
+
is splendid and the harvest ready for carting home. The women, children and old
+
men do the work, mostly early morning, and evening. Worked till after 12 and
+
got back <st1:time Hour="14" Minute="30">2:30 p.m.</st1:time> The men very
+
tired, and not fit to work well. There are far too many fatigues here, and
+
always a long march before and after.
+
  
<br><br>            Had a rest in the afternoon
 
and after tea wrote and went for a stroll. Singing in B Coys tonight, also a
 
case of O.P. Didn't go down.
 
  
<center><b>07 Sep 15</b>
+
Route march by Millencourt, Aliceville, Bresle and Baizieux. Just after getting back I was told to report at Bouzincourt and go by bus to Querrieux for course in telescopic sights.
  
<br><br>            Lovely day again. I was to
 
have gone on fatigue this forenoon but it was cancelled so we had a bit of a
 
rest, but not altogether undisturbed as there was a 'non-surprise' alarm at <st1:time
 
Hour="16" Minute="30">4:30 p.m.</st1:time> The battalion turned out pretty
 
smart, even considering they were expecting it; I don't see what good it did -
 
so much 'eye-wash' no doubt.
 
  
<br><br>            After tea, went for a
+
We had a fine run down in one of these London buses. There were 4 officers - Coats, West and King's Own man and about 12 men. Arrived Querrieux about 5:30 p.m. and shown our billets. We mess together in little house and are attended to by a French woman whose husband was killed about the beginning of the war. So far as I could make out he was hit in the fighting near the village and died in his own house. She told us of other 'atrocities' too - her father-in-law, a man of 74 was mortally wounded while minding his cattle
stroll up into the corn fields and wrote to May: A glorious sunset. The nights
+
are splendid just now.
+
  
<center><b>08 Sep 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Breakfast at <st1:time
+
<center><b>05 Nov 15</b></center>
Hour="6" Minute="30">6:30 a.m.</st1:time> and left before eight for work on the
+
second line defences near Bouzincourt. Capt M'Leod in charge of party. We took
+
rather a round about way going, and in trying to take a short cut coming back
+
we ran up against the wire near Millencourt and had to make a big detour to get
+
round. It was a fair scorcher of a day, and we were glad of any shade to be got
+
from trees on the wayside, but that was not much. We got in at <st1:time
+
Hour="14" Minute="0">2 p.m.</st1:time>  
+
  
<br><br>            Spent the afternoon in my
 
sleeping bag reading and sleeping. After tea went down to Buire on the Major's
 
horse.
 
  
<center><b>09 Sep 15</b>
+
We started the course at 9 this morning, beginning with a lecture by the sergeant and then onto the range. At night had a lecture of 2 hours from Col Lloyd RAMC on optics, etc. as applied in telescopes, etc. He is DDMS but has evidently shot a lot at Bisley and probably big game too. He is keen on the subject anyway, although it is outside his ordinary work.
  
<br><br>            Splendid day again.
 
Breakfast at <st1:time Hour="8" Minute="0">8 a.m.</st1:time>, as the fatigue
 
part wasn't in till about 3 a.m. Another left at <st1:time Hour="12" Minute="0">noon</st1:time>,
 
so dinner was at 11. Many who were on last night were on again today. The men
 
are getting footsore.
 
  
<br><br>            Lay in most of the day, as
+
We are very well off as regards billets. I have a fine bed with clean white sheets and quilt. The Mess is first class and we get on very well with Madame and all her relatives including M'mselle Louise. This is the first time I have really had a good chance of speaking French. According to the custom, M'mlle Louise's father came to fetch her home. The French people here won't sing - not until 'après la guerre'. Soldiers can sing, but civilians 'non'.
I am rather stiff and have a bit of a cold coming on. Worked after tea at
+
Fortnum and Mason's accounts with <st1:City><st1:place>Murray</st1:place></st1:City>,
+
trying to get them squared off but there are several difficulties. We tackled
+
it again with the help of the Major after they came back but with no greater
+
success. It can only be a very approximate allocation.
+
  
<center><b>10 Sep 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Breakfast at <st1:time
+
<center><b>06 Nov 15</b></center>
Hour="8" Minute="0">8 a.m.</st1:time> Another splendid day with more air. No
+
fatigue today, but had an inspection parade, under platoon arrangements. Some
+
of the equipment very badly put on. Rifles are usually well kept with the
+
exception of one or two - including Skinnie.
+
  
<br><br>            Right half company played
 
left half this afternoon, resulting in a win for latter by 1-0. Finnie and I
 
played for left half, and Blacko, in a flimsy costume and identity disc played
 
for right. There was too much temper in it, especially on old Stewart's part.
 
The refereeing was strict to excess. Very good game all the same, and although
 
I fell absolutely pegged out I believe it has done my cold good.
 
  
<br><br>            Laurie [?] has gone away
+
Fine bright morning and we were shooting all day till about 3:30. Then a lecture on sniping, loopholes, etc from Colonel Lloyd himself.  
with some skin trouble, and don't expect he will come back. Watson away to
+
hospital again, this time with his eyes.
+
  
<center>&nbsp;
 
  
<center><b><u><span style='font-size:13.5pt'>BACK
+
At 5:30 the bus left with the men and should have taken us too but we got a pass for Amiens, and Col. Lloyd lent us his car. We got in there about 6 p.m. Met Davie of Bedford on the street and could hardly get rid of him. Strange to be among shops and lights again but the novelty wore off very soon. French Major in the smoking room while we were having chocolate. Very cold run back to Querrieux in the mist. Amiens is in the French area; all traffic is carefully watched. Hear the civilians have to clear out of Albert on account of spy-fever.
INTO THE LINE</u></b>
+
  
<center><b>11 Sep 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Rifle inspection as usual.
+
<center><b>BACK TO THE BATTALION</b></center>
Billets had to be cleaned up in the afternoon: have always to keep nagging at
+
this job. Teas at <st1:time Hour="15" Minute="30">3:30</st1:time>. Marched off
+
at <st1:time Hour="17" Minute="0">5 p.m.</st1:time> No. 4 platoon leading.
+
  
<br><br>            The day had been very hot
 
but it was a grand evening for marching, although road very dusty. They were
 
taking in the harvest along the roadside, and away in the distance beyond
 
Albert, the white lines of the trenches could be seen. Got to the rendezvous,
 
on the other side of the town, at dusk and were met by the guides who led us
 
up. The communication trench up to the Chateau has been much improved and
 
drainage arrangements are much better. Still I thought we would never get up to
 
the top: and beyond the Chateau we had about as far to go again. We were posted
 
by about <st1:time Hour="10" Minute="0">10 o'clock</st1:time>. Turned in till <st1:time
 
Hour="4" Minute="0">4 a.m.</st1:time>
 
  
<center><b>12 Sep 15</b>
+
<center><b>07 Nov 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            Wakened at <st1:time
 
Hour="4" Minute="0">4 a.m.</st1:time> and went on duty with Blackie. Splendid
 
morning, the trench especially what is held by No. 4, is in a bad state of
 
repair. We vary from about 200 yards to 100 yards from Germans. Pretty quiet
 
all day - a few trench mortars on the left.
 
  
<br><br>            One of the Neats in No. 2
+
Breakfast about 9:30. Then we began to wonder how we would get back to our billets. We started down the road and hadn't gone 200 yds when a lorry came along bound for Henencourt and we were all aboard very quickly. Got there about 10:30 and it was just as well we came so early as we found the battalion was going to the trenches at 12:30. Major M'Millan is O/C battalion - the Colonel is acting Brigadier and Sinclair in hospital. Captn. Murray returned this morning.  
was shot through the head while looking over the parapet through his telescope.
+
He was always too daring. His brother was very much cut up.  
+
  
<br><br>            We are working one officer
 
in firing line here, as we have a small frontage. I was on at night from 10 to
 
1 so had a decent sleep.
 
  
<center><b>13 Sep 15</b>
+
Very slow marching to Aveluy, 8th Argyles being in front and continually halting. German aeroplane over Aveluy, chased by our guns but got away. We thought she must have spotted the relief but no shells came over. Relieved the Loyal N Lancs. Very little dugout accommodation and had great difficulty in getting the men in. General mix up with the machine guns etc.
  
<br><br>            Breakfast was a bit late as
 
'C' Coy is not strong enough for all the fatigues. Poor old 'C' they don't get
 
much consideration - some think too much including Howie.
 
  
<br><br>            Got a fatigue party on to
+
<center><b>08 Nov 15</b></center>
sandbagging the trench. There's a tremendous lot of work to be done before the
+
trench will be suitable for winter. Carried on in the afternoon, but had to
+
chuck it when trench mortars started coming over. They were dropping all along
+
our line in No. 4. Fortunately it is possible to see them coming. They came
+
from the left, but weren't of the large type. They were just like Bethune
+
bombs, and turned over and over making a whistling noise which rapidly mounted
+
in strength till it was like an express train coming up. Sometimes the bombs
+
lay for a few seconds but usually they burst immediately they reached the ground.
+
They sent over a lot of rifle grenades.
+
  
<center><b>14 Sep 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            On duty from 1 to 4 and got
+
On duty till 2 a.m. when Blacko took over. Very quiet. Pretty good day. There is a lot of enfilade fire, day and night from both machine guns and rifles. The Germans have a very strong position and are steadily pushing forwards their line by means of saps.  
in about 10 hours sleep, in spite of Blackie's snoring. No work done on the
+
trench this morning. About <st1:time Hour="11" Minute="0">11 o'clock</st1:time>
+
the Germans blew up one of our mines and a number of men of the R.E. were
+
gassed. One officer and three men or so were done for. Some Argyles who
+
assisted at the top of the shaft were the worse of the gas too.  
+
  
<br><br>            We took over the left
 
sector of the line at <st1:time Hour="16" Minute="0">4 o'clock</st1:time>, changing
 
over with 'D' Coy. A lot of trench mortars came over just at that time but did
 
no damage. No. 1 platoon lost a Melvich boy at tea-time - shot through the
 
parapet and Argyle working party had two killed and 5 wounded at night by a
 
trench mortar.
 
  
<br><br>            And after all we are just
+
Geo. Murray has been very energetic all day and has had poor Splosh in a ferment all day about his bomb stores; and then Splosh lay on his back in the bed instead of on his side - the bed being just on the small side for three.  
holding on and doing no good. Our sentries in the front line are sitting in
+
little holes in the parapet, neither observing nor firing and the Germans are
+
firing our own mines. Everybody talks in whispers and walks on tiptoe.
+
  
<center><b>15 Sep 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Was on duty from <st1:time
+
Took out a patrol tonight - Morrison, Peat and Bain. Saw what seemed to be a German patrol but they were too far away and disappeared.
Hour="0" Minute="0">midnight</st1:time> until six. Sat in the dugout and read
+
all the time. Quiet night and no casualties in the Coy. Was round the front
+
line with Blackie. The right is worse than the left. The men are mostly pretty
+
cheery about it, but some are very shaky. We heard today that the big push is
+
to start tomorrow - combined movement by the British and French. That explains
+
the heavy cannonading we have been hearing for the day or two, to our right and
+
left, mainly left. We are evidently not to be in the first push.  
+
  
<br><br>            A bombing party were sent
 
out tonight to try to jigger up one of the German mines. They threw some bombs
 
and got back safely but whether they accomplished anything or not we don't
 
know. We had some hefty trench mortars and rifle grenades back by way of
 
reaction, some of the <st1:place>Bolton</st1:place> boys got badly shaken but
 
nothing worse happened.
 
  
<center><b>16 Sep 15</b>
+
<center><b>09 Nov 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            Sat in the dug out reading
 
and writing till <st1:time Hour="5" Minute="0">5a.m.</st1:time> but the
 
atmosphere was stifling and the flies a torment, so I had to get out
 
occasionally. A misty night. Some of the men were a bit nervy, and one of my
 
posts had 'retired' before a series of mortar bombs and rifle grenades. We
 
could see the trench mortars coming quite well with a tail of sparks behind. No
 
casualties.
 
  
<br><br>            In the afternoon our
+
Rather a raw day and the men were glad to have their goat-skins. The Brigadier came back so the Major is back to the Company. The Colonel and Adjutant were round this morning playing havoc, and passing on the row they got themselves from the Divisional General. The trenches are in a bad state and the fire-step has all to be revetted.  
artillery bombarded the enemy's trenches and tried to demolish the craters
+
between the lines. They fired about 12 huge explosives (2 duds). The company
+
was withdrawn to the reserve line - fortunately as some of the shells were
+
short and made a dickens of a mess of our own trench. The result was that we
+
had to put on fatigue parties to build up and clear our own trenches after our
+
own guns.
+
  
<center><b>17 Sep 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            So hot in the dug-out that
+
Had smokies for tea and Capt. Sutherland and Dunvegan were in. It has started to rain.
I sat outside the door all night, among the rats. Finally lay down and slept
+
for an hour. Very quiet all night.  
+
  
<br><br>Had to get the trenches cleared up today to hand them over clean, and must
 
say <st1:City><st1:place>Kitchener</st1:place></st1:City>'s men are getting
 
them in a much cleaner state than we did. As usual had a tiresome afternoon,
 
but finally the relief arrived before we were quite expecting them. Before I
 
got mine out the trench mortars started and we had rather a hot time. Still, no
 
casualties occurred. After jamming in the trench for a long time we got down to
 
and through Albert, and once over the rise we sat down, glad to be out and on
 
top of the ground. The men were in good spirits and sang a good deal which is
 
unusual at such a time.
 
  
<br><br>            Arrived Henencourt at <st1:time
+
<center><b>10 Nov 15</b></center>
Hour="22" Minute="0">10 p.m.</st1:time> fairly well fagged out, and made a
+
bee-line for Splosh and Blackie's estaminet where we had a couple of bottles of
+
champagne: then a cup of tea as we had sent the cooks on ahead. Then to bed.
+
  
<center><b>18 Sep 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Breakfast at 10. At 11
+
On duty 12 to 3 a.m. Trenches in a great mess as no provision of any sort had been made by the 154th Bde for drainage. Had to use knee boots to get along and was up to the knee in places. The men are very wet, especially about the feet and their dugouts are about as bad as the trench.  
marched down to Buire for a wash and a bathe. Very hot and dusty. Had a good
+
bathe. Adjourned to the Pharmacie and helped Splosh with a bottle of Bass. Got
+
back to Buire at 4 and had dinner - Macconochie, and roasted apples. Nothing
+
doing tonight. Had stroll in the moonlight.
+
  
<center><b>19 Sep 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Another very hot day.
+
The whole place is in a rotten state: the people who let it into disrepair should have been made to spend the winter in it. It is possible now that it will be our part of the line for the winter but we have been told that sort of thing so often that we are sceptical. The men were working most of the day on the trench - draining it, putting in sink pits and cleaning it up but nothing can be done to the dugouts as they require a radical gutting out and can be touched only at night.  
Orderly officer today, which I discovered only ten minutes before time for
+
guard-mounting. Company inspected by C.O. in the afternoon and pronounced very
+
good. Don't know what makes them take that badgering tone with the men. Perhaps
+
it's modesty, but I think if Davidson told them they had done well in the
+
trenches they would think more of themselves and of him too.  
+
  
<br><br>            Church parade at <st1:time
 
Hour="18" Minute="0">6 p.m.</st1:time>, Herbert Reid preaching on &quot;This
 
Gospel&quot;. I walked back to Millencourt with him. He has opened a dry
 
canteen there and sells at home prices. He is in his element there. Had great
 
argument with <st1:City><st1:place>Murray</st1:place></st1:City> and Moy Hall
 
tonight about God and the War, Marriage, etc. and as a consequence felt very
 
restless tonight.
 
  
<center><b>20 Sep 15</b>
+
They put over a few high-explosives today, evidently meant for our sap-heads but no damage was done. Heavier guns than usual - about 4.7.
  
<br><br>            Breakfast <st1:time Hour="6"
 
Minute="0">6 a.m.</st1:time> To Bouzincourt at <st1:time Hour="19" Minute="15">7:15</st1:time>
 
with fatigue party. Perfect day with a nip in the air. Large fatigue party out,
 
and part of it (Argyles) was spotted and had to quit. Finnie's new job is to
 
take him from us for a bit and he has given up his platoon. James Willie is
 
Divisional Transport Officer. Got a few letters written and am now trying to
 
square up the Mess accounts but it strikes me that somehow I'm running this on
 
my own money.
 
  
<center><b>21 Sep 15</b>
+
Freegard's birthday party. Murray made me go over as he is anxious to heal the breach. Blacko out on patrol tonight but met nothing. Turned in at 9 p.m.
  
<br><br>            Lord Kitchener inspected us
 
this afternoon before we went into the trenches. He was very red in the face,
 
and the fellows said worried looking. We marched straight off after the
 
inspection (<st1:time Hour="15" Minute="30">3:30 p.m.</st1:time>) to Aveluy,
 
passing through Albert which had just been shelled: the side of a house was
 
lying across the street. Got into our quarters in the Bois d'Authuille about <st1:time
 
Hour="19" Minute="0">7 p.m.</st1:time> Had a late supper as we had some trouble
 
with the mess cart.
 
  
<center><b>22 Sep 15</b>
+
<center><b>11 Nov 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            Breakfast at <st1:time
 
Hour="8" Minute="0">8 a.m.</st1:time> We have a splendid mess with a pergola
 
and verandah outside. This is my birthday and a splendid day too. Splosh and I
 
made a set of chessmen out of cardboard and had a game. We haven't managed a
 
wash today - in fact it has been a very lazy day.
 
  
<br><br>            My birthday cake hasn't
+
Had a wash and a shave this morning, the first since Saturday. Went up to D Coy with Splosh who was going to see about his bomb-stores. Pitman has been gazetted Captain and has rejoined his company. Howie has come back from leave. Had a very good view of German lines from D, C and B's lines. Our trenches can be very badly enfiladed and crossfire will get worse as the wood gets thinner.  
arrived yet and I'm afraid Mother will be much disappointed when she knows.
+
Still we managed a first class tea with sardines, queen-cakes, currant buns,
+
etc. and later in the evening champagne. We had a fire in the mess and were
+
very nice and cozy. Finnie is grubbing with D Coy to be near H.Q.s.
+
  
<center><b>23 Sep 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Rather dull and sultry
+
My turn for patrol tonight so Splosh took my turn of duty. However it got so wet that we couldn't go out - the men have no way of drying themselves. The trenches and dugouts are very bad again. The water came through our own, above our heads. Capt Murray slept on the floor.
today. Nothing doing all day, except smoking and eating sweeties. After tea,
+
had to go over to Head Qrs. and see to the digging of some dummy trenches.
+
Thunderstorm came on and the men got soaked so they worked hard. The guns have
+
been going it strong today, making a great din in the trees and I hear that La
+
Boisselle has been heavily bombarded by us.  
+
  
<br><br>            Freegard had a narrow
 
escape last night. Went out with an Argyle officer to take in a flag which the
 
Germans had planted before our line. There was a bomb attached to the stick,
 
and it exploded and killed the other officer. Machine guns were turned on them
 
then.
 
  
<center><b>24 Sep 15</b>
+
<center><b>12 Nov 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            Still raining this morning:
 
the woods were soaking and the road and paths all turned to mud. After
 
breakfast we lit a wood fire in the Mess, and played Bridge till dinner.
 
  
<br><br>            Was up at the 6th Seaforth
+
Today it had cleared up a bit. A lot of the trench had come down during the night and the men had to set to and get it cleared. All the sandbagging requires to be done over again. General imprecations against the 154th.  
lines with party in the afternoon but didn't wait. The Brigadier is afraid the
+
Germans have gone back as things are very quiet so he wanted Nicolson to take a
+
patrol out in daylight. There is still some rifle fire coming over and a few
+
pip-squeaks. They will likely leave a few machine guns in their front trench up
+
to the very last. Our guns have been giving it to them very hot all day, and
+
the wood has been echoing with the reports.  
+
  
<br><br>            Gid and Harper in to tea
 
which was rather a spread with sardines and tomato sauce, apple tarts and seed
 
cake.
 
  
<center><b>25 Sep 15</b>
+
Sgt Gray, L/Cpl Ross and a man went out on patrol with me. We went out from The Nab at 2 a.m. and Gray and I got to within about 60 yards of their line. It came on rain and we were absolutely soaked all except our feet and legs as we had on our gum boots. Put the men into the Sgt Major's dugout where they had a fire on.
  
<br><br>            Raining hard all night, and
 
most of the day. Had a fatigue party up to 6th Seaforths, building parapet.
 
'Davit' in to dinner and tea. He is always so cheery.
 
  
<br><br>            Sat in all afternoon and
+
The Major was relieved to see us back as Capt Murray broke the mirror this morning.
evening with a big wood fire. Our guns have been going strong most of the day
+
and the Germans lying dogo mostly. Good news today. We have broken through on
+
the North. The Germans here are a bit jumpy, and the 6th gave then a bit rapid
+
and a cheer at 'Stand to', which brought a brisk reply.  
+
  
<br><br>            Finished up the evening
 
with a great argument in the mess, ending up on evolution which the Major
 
strongly opposes.
 
  
<center><b>26 Sep 15</b>
+
<center><b>13 Nov 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            Rather a better day. Got
 
the dugouts cleaned up. Were relieved at <st1:time Hour="17" Minute="0">5 p.m.</st1:time>
 
and just after my platoon got clear, some pip-squeaks came over and Black's lot
 
had rather a narrow shave. Nobody hit. The road in the wood was very bad, but
 
once we got onto the high road it was grand. Company formed up on the other
 
side of Albert. From there we had the pipes, and the moon came up. There's no
 
time like the march to billets.
 
  
<center><b>27 Sep 15</b>
+
Lay in bed most of the forenoon waiting for my clothes to dry. Black and Stephen D left this afternoon for a course of instruction at Felincourt, near Amiens. They will be away five weeks or so.
  
<br><br>            Got up at about <st1:time
 
Hour="8" Minute="30">8:30 a.m.</st1:time> The men were payed in the forenoon,
 
getting only 5 Fr. each, with which they were rather dissatisfied. There was a
 
good deal of drink going at night and rows in several estaminets. Tube helmet
 
parade before dinner.
 
  
<center><b>28 Sep 15</b>
+
Splosh was in very good form tonight, and talked thirteen to the dozen, beginning with really authentic ghost stories which he apparently believes. I turned in at 9 p.m. A number of pip-squeaks came over our dugout and one hit the bank opposite while the Major was reconnoitering at the door. Splosh made some ox-tail soup which I partook of. He broke the Major's bed endeavouring to help him off with his gum boots and about midnight we were awakened by him extinguishing a conflagration which was threatening to develop into a second MacMahon's post.
  
<br><br>            Cold and raw. Inspection by
 
new Divisional General (Harper) as <st1:time Hour="14" Minute="30">2:30 p.m.</st1:time>,
 
Allason having gone home in bad health. Very cold standing on parade. Short
 
route march followed, round by Bresle and Baizieux. Got in to tea about six,
 
and had a good spread.
 
  
<center><b>29 Sep 15</b>
+
<center><b>14 Nov 15</b></center>
  
<br><br>            Rather a nasty day. Battn
 
did an attack on Millencourt. 'A' Coy formed the firing line. Funny that
 
although the men have all been under fire they wouldn't get down on their
 
stomachs any better than at <st1:City><st1:place>Bedford</st1:place></st1:City>,
 
and movement was pretty slow: it made the thing seem very unreal. Wrote letter
 
all afternoon and at <st1:time Hour="20" Minute="0">8 p.m.</st1:time> was
 
detailed to report to Martinsart at <st1:time Hour="9" Minute="0">9 a.m.</st1:time>
 
tomorrow morning.
 
  
<center><b>30 Sep 15</b>
+
On duty from 12 to 3 a.m. No machine gun or rifle fire so probably there was a relief on. Put Murray up at 3 a.m.
  
<br><br>            Left Henencourt after an
 
early breakfast for Martinsart, along with Nicolson, to take over at Authuille.
 
Howie and Barnetson came over on horseback. Arrived at Authuille via Martinsart
 
and Bois d'Aveluy about <st1:time Hour="10" Minute="0">10 a.m.</st1:time> There
 
was a bit of a mix up when the Battalion arrived owing to 'misunderstanding'.
 
Half of 'A' messing with 'D' Coy in the old estaminet. The Major, Murray and I
 
sleeping in the cellar behind the bar, which has been turned into a comfortable
 
bedroom with two beds. Black and Splosh have gone over to the post on the
 
railway, where there are now two platoons. The other two are in the dug-out
 
down below the river bank.
 
  
<br><br>            As we came along by
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After breakfast got our things packed ready to move down to Normandy City. An aeroplane came over at dinnertime and got a good pestering. The relief began about 3 p.m. and was carried through expeditiously and without casualties, except one wounded, of the 6th Seaforths. Enemy sent over a number of heavy shells and trench mortars and got some of the Royal Scots and wounded Sgt. Wm. Munro ('Boags') 'B' Coy. 'A' Coy went back to the mess room at Normandy City in spite of opposition from 'C' Coy.  
Bouzincourt this morning we saw a German aeroplane brought down by a Britisher.
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Both occupants were killed. There was an immediate rush for souvenirs, and one
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fellow made off with the machine's 'tail' and though chased by two sentries
+
managed to 'make good'.
+
  
<center><b><span style='font-size:13.5pt'>October
 
1915</b>
 
  
<center><b>01 Oct 15</b>
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The men's dugouts are not sufficient to accommodate them and are in a very bad condition. They are in no state for winter occupation.
  
<br><br>            Had a very good sleep in
 
the cellar. The weather seems to have settled down again to another fine spell.
 
Went round to the railway post with the Major after brekker. The Mound Keep is
 
much improved, and a lot of new dugouts have been made.
 
  
<br><br>            George Murray and Howie put
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Davidie and Stalker came to tea, the latter is to stay here as he has no dugout, so there are five of us sleeping in the mess. Splosh and I occupied the hammocks, Major and Murray the beds and Stalker the floor.
a stove into the mess in the afternoon and we are now fortified against the
+
cold. The nights are very cold now. Things are very quiet on the line here.
+
Practically no shelling and only very few trench mortars up at the Chateau.
+
  
<center><b>02 Oct 15</b>
 
  
<br><br>            Splendid morning and had a
+
<center><b>15 Nov 15</b></center>
bracing wash in the weir - hands and face only. Went over to MacMahon's post in
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the forenoon. Black and Splosh at breakfast. Steven D in waiting. Splosh
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ordered by the MO to go to bed as he has been badly for several days.
+
  
<br><br>            After dinner we saw a lot
 
of black smoke rising from their direction and it proved to be from the fire
 
Splosh had got lit in the shelters below the bridge. The place was burnt out,
 
the telephone shelter being saved with difficulty. When the Major and I went
 
over Splosh and Black were looking very down in the mouth but the Major's
 
cheery face soon put them to rights. He wasn't in the least put out about it.
 
Blacko lost his greatcoat, magnapole, etc in the conflagration.
 
  
<center><b>03 Oct 15</b>
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The morning found Splosh and me both sleeping on the floor. Splosh began by upsetting the major part of the morning tea. The Major was up first and put the fire on.
  
<br><br>            Another lovely day. On
 
fatigue at <st1:time Hour="9" Minute="0">9 a.m.</st1:time> with party working
 
on drain for water pipe which is to take 2 gallons per man per day to the
 
firing line. It will be a tremendous saving in labour. A German aeroplane came
 
over several times and we had to stop work several times. Shrapnel doesn't seem
 
to be much good against them and I have never seen or heard of a plane being
 
brought down by it. Dinner was sent up.
 
  
<br><br>            Sat in all night playing
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During the forenoon, there was a fatigue party up to the fire trench with Splosh in command and the rest of the men were on dugouts and roads in support lines.  
bridge, etc. I hear today that the <st1:City><st1:place>Kitchener</st1:place></st1:City>'s
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lot have withdrawn from the