[The Battalion in the line at Hamel—‘About 6.00 p.m. we fired into enemy sap…with a Lewis gun and rifle grenades…Relieved tonight by the 12th Bn. R. Ir. Rifles.’—and Lieutenant Colonel Blacker on a course of instruction at Flixecourt.]
We had an easy day; two lectures in a.m., one in p.m., and a most interesting demonstration of sniping, and some bombing and rifle grenade work. Tomorrow we go to Amiens to see flying and the French camouflage, where they make all sorts of dummy things like trees, tops of hills, woods, etc. The course has been most excellent in every way, and I’m enjoying it greatly. Most of the star lecturers have failed owing, I suppose, to so many movements being on. Higgins was to talk to us on ‘Flying’, Hussey on ‘Artillery’, and Vaughan on ‘Cavalry’, and they have all failed. Tonight we had a most interesting lecture by a Sapper Capt. on the ‘Battle of Loos’ from the R.E. [Royal Engineers] point of view. We’ve been very lucky in the weather. Since the snow went it has been quite nice. It rained a bit this evening. One young C.O. commanding a Territorial lot told me he was given the Battalion after Loos, where they lost every officer, and had only 190 men left. He had a fearful time re-organising, and after a fortnight had to go into the line. The French acknowledge very heavy casualties in the Verdun show, but the Germans have lost enormously. Not a word have I heard of the battle. I do trust they have not had a very bad time of it.