SUNDAY, JUNE 18th

10.00 a.m. Such a day, bitter N.E. wind, and so cold. I was to have gone up in a ‘plane to have a look at the line, and got up early for the purpose. However, the day is so cloudy the flying people would not take me up, as one could see nothing. The Battalion were all very nice about the ‘mention,’ but it’s really due to them as I told them. We have to find a working party of 600, to work all night, which is harrying and fatiguing for the men, but of course it’s unavoidable and a necessity.

4.00 p.m. Quite a large church parade, and heard many stayed for 2nd service. Padre was simply splendid. Day turned out warm and sunny after lunch. Pratt goes in charge of working party, leaves here at 6.00 p.m. and won’t return till 7.00 a.m. at earliest. We don’t go into line till Tuesday. Peake was much fatter, delighted to get away from W.O., was interesting and optimistic. I believe, the Govt. are working the American scare very hard, but I hear it’s quite bogus.

Farnham is back. Been on the rush all day, though I did get up an hour too soon. Operation orders and confabs with Coy. Commanders, and now a demonstration of wire cutting, about two miles away. This delay will enable ‘At.’ to join us here tomorrow night. Young Shill. has been commanding ‘B’ with great success. Rather fear have got a cold. Three new officers joined tonight from 3rd Battalion, I think. I like our new medico—Burrows—very much. Berry came to see us last Sunday; he is hard at office work, with X Corps. I am delighted he will be out of the Push. I take four officers a company; Lutton, Signalling Officer; Ensor, M.G. [Machine Gun] Officer; Flood, Bombing Officer; Pratt and Cather. After a wait of 1½ hours, the demonstration in wire cutting never came off, owing to old S. muddling. Our ‘planes very busy in p.m. At one time a fleet of 12 were over this place. The 1st Bn. are now at Mailly-Maillet, about four miles away. The 15th [Royal Irish Rifles] were in the line when the Bosche raided, and behaved very well. About 100 yards of front line was obliterated literally by Bosche fire. Cather is extraordinarily good as Adjt. The work is constant, night and day; he is methodical and never forgets anything. I leave all details to him with the greatest confidence. I am certainly served with the best subordinates, Stronge, Fergie, Cather and young Ensor, and indeed Lutton and Flood could not be bettered. Saw Hugh O’Neill for a minute today.


Footnote

Lieutenant Colonel Blacker was mentioned in despatches on 15 June 1916—it was the first of three mentions he earned during the First World War.

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