SUNDAY, DECEMBER 3rd – SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31st

Fine, but frost seems going. Quiet night.


Lieutenant Colonel Blacker then proceeded on a long period of leave. He would not return to the Battalion until 5 January 1917, and then only briefly because he took command of 108th Brigade until 23 February in the absence of Brigadier General Griffiths. His letters will resume on 5 January.

Throughout December, artillery duels continued, as did routine work on the trenches and breastworks. Patrols were out on most nights and the majority were uneventful, but on occasion contact was made with the enemy. Generally, the routine for the rest of the month was unchanged, with training interspersed with work parties, the occasional visit to Bailleul, leave for a lucky few and relatively uneventful periods in the line. The weather got steadily worse as snow fell and the trenches flooded. Coupled with the damage caused by the intermittent shelling, there was continuous and much needed work required to keep the trenches and fortifications in an acceptable state of repair. A number of casualties were suffered as a consequence of the irregular shell and mortar fire. At the end of the month the Battalion moved into Divisional Reserve and relocated to Bulford Camp. 

Not everyone left the Battalion due to wounds or sickness. Private Henry Waring was born in Belfast on 21 June 1900. He enlisted, aged 15, in January 1916 and was one of the reinforcements who had joined the 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers in France in July 1916. In October 1916 his mother requested his return and he was ordered home.

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