Our ship was a small paddle boat. Route marched this morning. Went round all billets a.m. Very bad—dirty outhouses, overcrowded, and roofs full of holes; but the best procurable. Men take it as a joke. Was able to get three very bad ones improved by being stern with the inhabitants. Interpreter came this evening. An N.C.O.; no pretensions to being a sahib. Officers and men clamouring for money, and no means of getting it so far.
We’ve had nothing but bully beef rations so far. Good thing we had F & M’s [Fortnum & Mason’s] box. Carbolic soap a failure. Sticky and greasy. We get the ‘Times’ the next day generally. It took me half-an-hour to stamp men’s letters with press censor stamp. The Company Commanders read and signed the envelopes. Weather still fine, but foggy and raw today. We get a ration of condensed milk daily; one tin to 16 men, which is ample. Bread is the urgent need. None, or very little can be got.
Germans attacked all along the line yesterday, but were repulsed everywhere except at one place. They all seem pleased with progress of events. Am feeling very fit. Inspection quite a success. Munro said we were a fine and steady body of men. Nugent (Div. Gen.) said “the steadiest brigade.” Fergie got great kudos for capturing a machine gun at H [Le Havre]. Got 6,000 francs for pay, and tobacco and cigs for men, and Fergie brought fresh mutton for us.