3.30 p.m.— Am dining tonight with Withycombe, rather a bore. Couldn’t well refuse. Man in ‘C’ Coy just been wounded slightly in ankle, on a working party. No orders yet about the move, but I fancy we shall go tomorrow, and not be so crowded as I thought, as we shall spread over three villages after all. I don’t know how we shall get on without Rivy. We miss him already, and he has only gone two days. He always looked after our welfare and prevented Bns being trampled upon.
10.30 p.m.— This place, Mesnil, has been true to its traditions. About 4.00 p.m. they began to put heavy stuff into the village—fourteen casualties. Young Gibson got a scratch on his forehead. M’Keown, who was killed, was in the last draft. Fulton dying, Lurgan man. Though they put in nearly 20 shells only one did damage. Cruel luck our last day here. We move at 9.30 a.m., well back. Detailed orders only came in at 7.30 p.m., and then we had to get out our orders, and in the middle they sent for Cather to the Bde. office, over some complicated return. Rather harrying evening. As this strafe was on I didn’t, of course, go and dine with Withycombe. Have sent off five wagon loads of kit from here this evening, and much still remains to be moved. Leave is on again, and was only stopped for a few hours.
The casualties were:
14178 Private Hugh Fulton, wounded by shellfire at Mesnil on 31 May 1916 and recorded as having died of wounds on 1 June 1916; Forceville Communal Cemetery and Extension. The mention of him in the letter may indicate that he died late on 31 May.
23917 Private Thomas James McKeown, killed in action by shellfire at Mesnil on 31 May 1916; Mesnil Ridge Cemetery.