Lovely sunny day, after frost. Very comfy night. Getting the place fixed up. Just back from a three hours’ trudge round the lines. Not so bad as I expected. Downs done a good deal of work. I went out after lunch to visit one of the support Coys, ‘B,’ which took 1½ hours. So am pleasantly tired after much pedestrian exercise. It was a lovely day for walking. Frost again tonight. Already the H.Q. is looking more comfy; tables fixed up and tablecloths. Good stove fixed, and another going in, two good lamps. We are getting chairs; canvas for the walls. The concrete is so cold and sweats. Another stove, and blanket curtains. After that I expect it will be quite cosy. The Downs’ had done good work in the line. The Padre and Shill are splendid and planning things for H.Q. Shill. is simply untiring, was round the whole of the front and support line before breakfast, and came round with me in the morning. I believe they’ve given Military Medal to two N.C.O.’s whose names went in in May! One was poor Foster, from Lurgan, who was killed, and the other Sergeant Palmer, the Scout. Apparently their names were in ‘Times’ of 13th November and Div. has asked me to verify their numbers. Why this delay?
The Military Medal was awarded to 14175 Sergeant Frederick Foster, who was killed in action by shellfire at Hamel in the early hours of 1 July 1916, and 14601 Sergeant William Herbert (Herbie) Palmer, the Battalion Scout Sergeant (later Captain W H Palmer MM, The Royal Irish Regiment). These were the first recommendations for the Military medal submitted by Lieutenant Colonel Blacker. The awards were published in the London Gazette on 14 December 1916. Fosters award was: ‘For gallantry in carrying in wounded under shellfire while himself wounded.’ and Palmer’s citation stated: ‘For coolness and good leading when in charge of a patrol in the Hamel Sector in May 1916. He encountered an Enemy Patrol, killing four and wounding two without sustaining any loss to his own party. And for continuous good work, as Scout Sergeant of the Battalion, on numerous patrols from January to July, 1916.’ See, for example, the letter of Tuesday 23 May.