WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19th

I enclose list of casualties. Vennard is an elder brother of the nice Sgt. I have not met G.S.O.1. yet, he is a Sapper. Had lunch with Ricardo yesterday and a long talk. I then passed on to M_____ [Mesnil] and saw Leitrim, and had a long talk about the trench line. He is seedy—gastric trouble. Got back here at 6:20 p.m., rained all day. Sloan was never touched. Don’t know how report got about. He is shoeing smith, and never goes into danger. We have to move out of this at 10.00 a.m. tomorrow for some obscure reason, as we cannot begin relief till 8.00 p.m., owing to the light. We shall have to put in eight hours in M_____ [Mesnil] enroute. Shall be very sorry to leave this place and the old ladies. I don’t expect we shall get in here again. Div. H.Q. will be sure to bag it. Fergie and Transport remain here, but the animals are in the open now. Betsy Jane and Uncle are in a stable all right. There seems a Cabinet crisis on. I hope it will lead to something. Glad the Army Council are firm. An uncomfortable day tomorrow. I am arranging for our mail to come on at once, and will try and send an answer back by messenger which should catch H.Q. bag here at 6.00 p.m. Not actually raining now but heavy clouds about. You will be glad to hear we all have tin hats now, and everyone has to wear them in the line. Fergie has also issued me with goggles, and a new field dressing, so I’m well equipped! You ask if it feels warm in France after Ireland. It is bitter still, and I am wearing all my winter things and Tiger’s woolly, and Brit. warm on bed at night. It must get warm soon here. We are nearly through April. No word of leave being reopened. I wonder how they will relieve Battalion. Anyway 12th [Royal Irish Rifles] will relieve us. We shall be in for Easter. I’d made all arrangements to leave here latest, about 5.00 p.m., and give men tea en route, and now it’s all upset, which is bothersome. However, no doubt, it’s all for the best. I only hope we shall have our usual luck in weather, but it doesn’t look promising just at present. Menaul and young Ensor returned this morning at 2.00 a.m., and lay outside for three hours, unable to get in as it was so rough.


Footnotes

The ‘Type B’ helmet, based on the patented design by John Brodie, was introduced into service in late-1915—initially as trench stores (i.e. issued to soldiers only when they went forward into the trenches). Early criticism resulted in the production of the ‘Helmet, steel, Mark I’ in early 1916 and from the spring of that year ‘tin hats’ were issued in increasing numbers to all troops. The helmet remained in service until replaced by the Mk II helmet in 1940.

Helmet, steel, Mk I

Helmet, steel, Mk I

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