THURSDAY, MAY 4th

Yes, the poor police have had a bad time. The Meath affair was tragic. So glad you were able to see so many wives. Very heavy and warm tonight, more thunder about. A quiet afternoon. Sergeant Pollock, in ‘B’ Coy, a splendid fellow, and one of the best Sergeants in the Battalion, was hit in the shoulder by H.E. this p.m., I’m sorry to say. Rather bad, I fear, as he bled a lot, but he was cheery. I earnestly trust he will be all right. Large working parties on again tonight. Menaul out again on patrol, was caught by M.G. fire, and had to lie low. He brought back good information, and had no casualties. One letter opened by censor. The whole thing seems to have collapsed, but at a certain amount of cost. Still warm, but a slightly cooler breeze, but the trenches are warm. Astonishing amount of wet when we are having it roasting. Quite a quiet night and day up to this, and no casualties so far (except Pollock). Had a long trek round the trenches and visited the Battalion on our left. They gave us a slight spraying with whizz-bangs from 11.30 am-12.30 pm, but did no damage. We had a fearful gunner in yesterday from Dundee, and fearfully common, and rather a fool to boot, and he snored! I had to strafe him heavily. He wandered round the trenches by himself and asked stupid questions till he was run in as suspected spy! This successful raid was by the Div. on our right, and the unsuccessful one by the Div. on our left. Menaul did a successful patrol last night.


Footnote

The ‘Meath affair’ referred to by Lieutenant Colonel Blacker was the attack on the Royal Irish Constabulary barracks at Ashbourne in County Meath and the ambush of the police vehicles that brought reinforcements. Eight men of the Royal Irish Constabulary and one of the vehicle drivers were killed: County Inspector Alexander Gray, District Inspector Harry Smyth, 54677 Sergeant John Shanaher, 58036 Sergeant John Young, 64900 Constable James Cleary, 66800 Constable James Gormley, 54582 Constable James Hickey, 67072 Constable Richard McHale and Mr. Andrew Keep. Also killed were two Irish Volunteers— Jack Crennigan and Thomas Rafferty—and two commercial travellers— James Joseph Carroll and his colleague Gerard St. John Hogan.

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