SATURDAY, JANUARY 29th

Had quite a pleasant dinner last night. Sat between the Primate and Russell; latter very interesting about Germany. He’s a son of Lord Odo Russell, who was Ambassador in Berlin after ’70; he was born in Berlin and spent the first eight years of his life there. He says October year for the end of the war, but of course, knows no more than any of us. We are to go over to Brigade H.Q. (C.O.’s I mean) and say farewell to Cavan. He’s a dear little man. I’m awfully sorry we lose him. One of the new officers joined today—Wood—private in H.A.C. [Honourable Artillery Company] Came out in January, 1915, and was in trenches till October. Should be a useful sort. Wears glasses, and was secretary to newspaper editor in London before war. He was just here for lunch and I pushed him on to Ensor, and ‘A’ Coy. Think he’ll do all right.

Great footer match with Downs this p.m. Last game a draw. Fergie has been coaching the team all week. Result—1-0 in our favour. Enormous concourse attended, including all officers of both battalions. Much excitement. I gather 10 days will be the earliest date of our move to the line. February 7 has been mentioned, but I don’t think any date is exactly fixed. Primate went to Pulteney today, and then home.

SUNDAY, JANUARY 30th

Only time for a hurried scrap as we are off tomorrow, and I don’t know where. Went over to say farewell to Cavan who is a dear, and the orders were just in that we move on February 7th. I returned here for lunch, and about 3:30 p.m. orders came in for us to move tomorrow, about 8 miles. Then where, I don’t know. Such a business getting ready; heaps of stuff to be left behind; waggons, ammunition, &c., to be packed. ‘A’ Company, 8 miles away, to be told. Billets to be paid. Claims to be settled &c. Fergie, of course, splendid. Parties to be left behind to take care of stores; parties to be sent on to arrange for billeting, countless returns due tomorrow must be sent off at once. On the move Orderly Room work ceases. Rations to be arranged for everyone, those going and those staying; thick fog all day, cold and raw.

French have got some trenches at a village further south. Will write when I can, so as to be ready to post if I get an opportunity. There is still leakage at the Admiralty, I hear. A long thing came in about extreme discretion in writing home.

Sunday Night

A little more information came through. We go by our old route to village, but in two marches, then to some place on Wednesday, and into trench line on Thursday. I imagine where we were before. We and 13th [Royal Irish Rifles] go in; 11th and 12th [Royal Irish Rifles] in Reserve.

Am leaving lots of Q.M. [Quartermaster] stores here, and some of my own kit. Am sorry to leave this place, as we are very cosy here, with our two rooms. We’ve had two months slacking. I fancy our turn for the trenches will not come very often. Where we shall go when out, I don’t know. Anyway, a life of movement I expect for some time. It must have been a very sudden change of Orders, as C_____ [Cavan] didn’t know when he bid us farewell at noon.

It’s a very ‘Kushie’ part of the line, and after all it’s what we are here for, and the men are delighted to be going. They are sick of this fooling about. Messages and conundrums of all sorts arriving every minute.

11:14 p.m.

Opened this to say orders have just come in cancelling move. Weird people! Of course it’s quite on the cards we’re ordered to move again.

MONDAY, JANUARY 31st

Went with Smyth to Div H.Q. The muddle was due to some bad staff work between VII Corps and 3rd Army. We shall move Wednesday or Thursday I think.

Don’t want any more kit. Am sending a parcel of towels and socks home. Looks like a frost. Am bringing in ‘A’ Company this p.m. Bad Zep [Zeppelin] raid on Paris. Rivy was in A____s [Amiens] yesterday, and said there was one about, and they had to douse all motor lights. Am writing Seton. He’s lucky not to be in Persian Gulf. I fear both these Forces are in a bad way. Am getting a wristlet identity disc. I can’t think why you are so keen on them. Berry and the Padre walked to Div. School this p.m. All they have done so far is recruits drill! They are as sick as dogs. It will make them appreciate the Battalion. It is ridiculous to keep them fooling there while the Battalion goes short of officers in the trenches. Of course, they can’t find good instructors.