WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1st

[The Battalion in the line at Hamel—’Quiet day. Situation normal. …Casualty one man wounded.’—and Lieutenant Colonel Blacker on a course of instruction at Flixecourt.]

We went to A_____ [Abbeville] and spent most of the day looking round for the big Base Camp. Very interesting. Just in time for a 7:30 p.m. dinner and then the Ulster Div. Follies, under Singleton, gave a show which is only just over. We are taking over all that middle bit from the French, so I believe we actually stay where we are instead of moving as we thought. I’m glad on the whole as I hate taking over a new bit, and we are getting to know this bit. We had tea in a patisserie place, and three of us, after some waiting, got seats. The place was crammed with French and English. A French lady came in and stood for some time, so we felt obliged to offer her a seat, and squashed up. She chattered away to us quite naturally, and at the end, when we got up to go, and saluted her, she said: “Milles remerciements, messieurs,” [“Many thanks, gentlemen.”] and then held out her hand, really a wonderful exhibition of good French manners, perfectly at her ease. She was not good looking, but well and quietly turned out, and very chic. It was only a trivial thing, but typical of French manners, and struck us all greatly, especially the way she put out her hand. We went in a regular bus, inside and outside seats. About 20 kilometres. Kentish gave us a lecture in the morning on his experiences of the very bit of line we (the 9th) are in now. Very interesting. I feel the course, and the talking over various problems with other C.O.s is very useful, and that I am deriving great benefit.

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