WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31st

Snow in night, about one inch lying, but now sunny again, and not so cold. New G.S. O.2 has arrived, a Sikh—forgot his name. We have been ordered to comb out Bde. H.Q. people, and I have started on the job, con amore. Have only been able to return 12 to Battalions so far, but hope to comb out some more. One great boon in these H.Q. is we are only about a mile from Bn. H.Q. instead of 3½ miles at the last place. Also its down a good road, under cover the whole way.

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MONDAY, JANUARY 29th

Another sunny cold day and hard frost. Pratt will be in command of 109th [Brigade] when he returns. Q.R. goes on leave at once. We are in a brick building fortunately, but the huts are perishing, and the line damnable. Bde. went in Sat., so you can calculate when 9th go in. Luckily there is no snow on the roads, which are as hard as iron and dusty, but snow lies on the fields. Went and saw 9th this a.m. and transport. There is a good deal of mange about. We have none so far. Your letters now come in 48 hours!

SUNDAY, JANUARY 28th

Another hard frost and sunny day, with N.E. wind. Had a long walk round the line, started at 9.30 a.m. and got back at 1.30 p.m. Very useful. Line quiet last night and this morning. Did you see the Home Honours?


Footnote

Lieutenant Colonel Blacker was referring to the Honours list in connection with the Dublin rising of the previous year, which was published in the London Gazette on 24 January 1917. In addition, mentions in despatches were published in the London Gazette on 25 January 1917. The former list was notable for the award of the Military Medal to two female civilians.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 27th

[Neuve Eglise, Brigade Headquarters]

I left early in Nugent’s car to attend a conference of Brigadiers and came on here, where I saw Bn. Commanders, at 2.00 p.m., and so have been busy all day. All leave is stopped for the present; there is a good deal of congestion of railways, owing to movement of troops. Weather still bitter. Quite a comfortable Bde. H.Q., and I have a nice room. Ricardo is seedy and in bed. Am rather weary.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 26th

Another bitter day, but sunny. The 9th moved back to their old huts today, but can’t go into the line till end of next week. They looked very well. We move back tomorrow, about ¾ mile from our late H.Q. Mudie, G.S.O.2 [General Staff Officer Grade 2], has just been posted as G.S.O.2, G.H.Q., and is off today.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 25th

It’s very nice everyone wanting me to get the Bde. I feel prouder of that than anything. They are all so nice and easy to get on with. I told them what the Gen. said. I went out to the 9th today. Saw Brew, who seemed very well. There’s a general combing out of back areas, i.e., Div. and Bde able bodies to come back and do their bit in front. A very good thing. Frost still holds and very severe.