XMAS EVE

Quite a decent morning has turned into fierce squalls of wind and rain. All busy, preparing for tomorrow’s feast. Tables, etc. being put up, and decorations of holly for the walls. The ‘Xmas dinners came to about £60; last year £97 I find. The turkeys are, many of them small, and average 20 francs. Fuel is very scarce, no coal issued yesterday, little today, and only 36 cwt. altogether this week. Happily the weather is wonderfully mild.

I am not happy about the treatment of the sick here. Not the wounded, they are all right. When men leave the unit, they are passed on from field ambulance to casualty clearing stations, and so on till they have gone many miles, and then perhaps to the Base, with little or no treatment, simply rushed about in motor ambulances. They are discharged from hospital before they are well, and one meets many poor creatures wandering about asking the way to their units, having been dumped down by the roadside, perhaps many miles from their Battalions. They sent out one of my men the other day, only half treated, having cut his arm open. They all implore not to be sent to hospital, but what can Berry do? There is no place here you can possibly keep a sick man. Another trick they have with officers. If he is sent sick to the Base, they hang on to him and the odds are you don’t see him again. Two C.O.s have told me they lost their Transport Officers in this way.

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