MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28th

[The Battalion in the line at Hamel—’trenches in a deplorable condition’—and Lieutenant Colonel Blacker on a course of instruction at Flixecourt.]

Quite an interesting day. I am enjoying the course greatly; an extraordinary jump from squalor to luxury! We began at 8:45 and went on till lunch at 12:45; then 2.00-4.00; 4:30 to 5.00, and lecture 6.00-7.00. Am learning some things. Of course, some of it is tosh! But the systems of training and the instructors for the young officers and N.C.O.s is excellent and must do good. Kentish, the Commandant, is brainy and a good organiser, with sound views, and full of common sense. More French heavy artillery going through, and the officers coming to dine. We went to see their big Hows. this p.m. Next Sunday is Barossa Day and Kentish has a scheme of taking me and some N.C.O.s and officers to the 1st Battalion for the day. He is very keen, and rightly, on esprit de corps, and is a great Irish Fusilier!

Major R J Kentish, c1910

Major R J Kentish, c1910


Footnote

At the Battle of Barossa on 5 March 1811, Sergeant Patrick Masterson of the 2/87th Foot captured the first French eagle to be taken in battle. The Regiment was awarded the title ‘87th Prince of Wales’ Own Irish Regiment’ and allowed to bear ‘an Eagle with a Wreath of Laurel’ on its colour. The celebration of ‘Barossa Day’ was continued by the 87th’s three descendants—from 1881, Princess Victoria’s (Royal Irish Fusiliers); from 1968, The Royal Irish Rangers; and, from 1992, The Royal Irish Regiment (27th (Inniskilling) 83th and 87th and Ulster Defence Regiment).

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