THURSDAY, JUNE 15th

After a threatening morn early it has turned out fine and drying. Am doing a useful day’s work in camp; musketry, gas helmets, bayonet work, etc. Floods of orders and instructions keep coming in; hard to take them all in. Only 20 officers are to be taken, and much grief and heartburning on those left behind. ‘At.’ will have his work cut out to get to us, but he’ll succeed, I expect. I had a talk with new B.M., very short talk, but I was favourably impressed—quiet and capable. We began our new daylight saving day today, 6.00 a.m. Was not like 7.00 a.m. Capital letters in ‘Times’ on training of officers. Holt came over today with a petition that he might give his men a bath. He could find no one to do it. Fergie, of course, complied. He’s a wonderful man, for he not only gathers all sorts of stores and things, but is quite willing to share them, which is quite unusual in Qr.-Mrs. [Quartermasters] The French are being pressed, I fear, at Verdun. The Russkys still doing good work. The men are really keen for a go at the Bosche. I know they will do well, and I have always delegated and left so much to Coy. Commanders (perhaps too much) that I’m confident they’ll handle their men, well. Wonder did you see ‘At.’.

5.00 p.m. Our kit, reduced to Regt’l. weights, has to be packed on to baggage wagons before we move, and left with Fergie and Stronge. Surplus stuff will have to be stored somewhere; one can take very little into the line, and that will very probably be lost, except what one can carry; not much.


Footnote

The letters in the ‘Times’ referred to by Lieutenant Colonel Blacker were a series of articles by an anonymous correspondent—C.N.—who wrote five pieces titled ‘The Making of an Officer’. They espoused traditional aspects of the life and expected behavior of junior officers. The articles appeared on 8, 9, 12, 13 , and 14 June 1916. ‘C.N.’ was, in fact, Herman Cyril McNeile, an officer of the Royal Engineers, who also wrote under the nom-de-plume ‘Sapper’. He achieved fame after the war as the creator of Bulldog Drummond.

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