MONDAY, JULY 31st

Another glorious day, but so hot. We are relieved tonight. A lately joined officer went out in front without telling sentries, and was shot dead. Poor fellow; his own fault, and all through keenness. The relief tonight will, I fear, be very late. It doesn’t begin before 10.00 p.m., and the 8th R.I.R. [Royal Irish Rifles], who come in, are new to this bit. Our rest place where we go tonight are huts in a wood, on a steep slope, with deep excavations, in case of shelling, to hold 800 men. My brain is woolly with heat. So far no casualties this tour except that of last night, and one Sgt. grazed. We have seen very few wasps here, but mosquitoes are bad. I’ve had a very peaceful time this tour, and the surroundings most pleasant. Personally I regret going out, but the men in front line want a change. I’ve bathed them all twice, and everyone has a new shirt. Every one walking about in shirt sleeves, including self. I hear three wounded ones in London are quite enjoying themselves—young Shill., Gibson and Jackson.


Footnote

The officer killed was Second Lieutenant Hugh Henderson Dunwoody, who had joined the Battalion on 20 June. In the early hours of 31 July, he was on trench duty. Privates Robert Rowntree and Robert Seaton manned an isolated sentry post and at about 2.00am Second Lieutenant Dunwoody visited their position. He had been there for about ten minutes when he thought he heard something in front, and Private Rowntree was given permission to investigate. Having crawled out twenty yards, nearly to the wire, Rowntree suddenly heard a noise to his left and saw a man with a revolver raised in his hand. He fired once, the man dropped, and Private Rowntree returned to the post claiming to have “shot a Boche”. Unfortunately, he had shot Second Lieutenant Dunwoody who, according to Private Seaton, had followed Private Rowntree out of the post. Private Seaton saw him shot, and when the body was recovered soon afterwards, it was confirmed that the twenty-seven-year-old officer had been shot through the head and had died instantly. No blame was attached to Private Rowntree. Second Lieutenant Dunwoody was buried in Ration Farm (La Plus Douve) Annexe.

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