We got in here at 7.00 a.m. after an all night journey in train, with a six mile march at end, and go on 12 miles tomorrow to a place, Tilques, where I hope we stay for a little to refit. Young Holmes, in Indian Cav., a cousin of ‘At.’s caught us on the march yesterday, after a long search, to inquire for news, but alas, we could give him no hope. Till we settle and I can get hold of Rank and File list I can help very little. We have all implored the men to write at once to their friends, but then there are the wounded, who may be unable to write. I am trying a regular reshuffle. I am taking on Fergie as Adjt. He will do it splendidly, promoting Regtl. Q.M.S. [Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant] to Qr. Mr., [Quartermaster] and anyway he will be here to help him. This I propose, but, of course, difficulties may be put in my way. Fergie has slaved for two years with no prospect of any advance, he is dying to get on, and is bound to do so, given a chance. If the war lasts he will command the Battalion. The men are quite pleased as they’ve found lots of orange lilies and are wearing them in their caps. The reshuffle will promote J. Shepherd Coy Q.M.S. [Company Quartermaster Sergeant]
Sgt. Foster, from Lurgan, was killed as we went into the line on Friday night, instantaneous, by shell. I had recommended him previously for Military Medal for gallantry. Can’t think why they have only mentioned some of the casualties. They are publishing them in penny numbers as it were. It’s wonderful the people thinking of me in their sorrow. Here of course London is as near as Paris. Leave may open again soon, but I couldn’t leave them yet; such a lot to be done. I feel dazed still. The Sgt Majors, the Qr. Mr. Sgts. [Quartermaster Sergeants] and one senior officer per Coy. were kept behind. Only 20 officers allowed over the parapet, and I only sent 16. Flood, Allen, Lutt. [Lutton] were all in the line, also young Ensor, doing some job, but didn’t go over. Given was at Army School. Shill. is doing grand work. He came out just at the right moment, and is an enormous help. Pratt has gone over to see his brother, who is on the Staff at G.H.Q. [General Headquarters] school for officers near here.
The Military Medal for Sergeant Foster—’for gallantry in carrying in wounded under shellfire while himself wounded’—was one of the first earned by the Battalion. It was published in the London Gazette on 14 December 1916.