Such an active day, sleety and showery. Rode out with Duke at 9.30 a.m. Saw 11th [Royal Irish Rifles] and M.G. Coy., and T.M. Bty. [Trench Mortar Battery], then on to Div. H.Q. Saw Place, who was very nice, then to Q. Branch, and saw about some tocks with Green; back by 1.30 p.m., office till 3.00 p.m., then off to Mont Noir and had a chat with Shillington. Fergie rolled up at 5.00 p.m. and we have been talking and settling tocks ever since. Am thoroughly enjoying all this riding about, but shall miss Duke greatly, he’s such a nice fellow. He goes on his 30 days on Sunday.
Went up in a car this morning to see some men of ours, and the 13th, and met Peacock and Shuter. P. had been down to see Ricardo and found him very optimistic. Had seen his Corps Commander, who had been with Haig previous day. Internal conditions of Germany very grave, actual starvation in some country parts very near. All out here seem sanguine the war will end this year. Such a poisonous day; skelping showers and very cold. Comyn came with us, so we had a covered car, which was pleasant. Looked in on 9th, saw Fergie and young Shill, both blooming. Do hope it may be fine for the shift tomorrow. Allen is anxious to go to instruct at Cadet School. Names have been called for. Shall probably let him go. Church Army are putting up a hut at R.L. [Red Lodge], which will be a boon. Peacock, who took over our Bn. H.Q. in the line, said a Bosche shell got our cookhouse and smashed it up, and their Xmas turkey was blown to smithereens. No one hurt.
Such a downpour. Wretched for the four Battalions who are changing areas. I went out about a couple of miles and saw all four pass. I thought the 9th looked far the best. Yes, Repington’s article on the work of the Q.M.G.’s Dept. will be illuminating to the ordinary public, I’m sure. He is, of course, an extremely able fellow. Saw Padre today, on the march. Such a treasure, stumping along with the men in the rain. Ricardo has taken Shuter’s place as Brig’r. to 109th; simply splendid. I’m so glad. It has now turned to heavy snow!
A foggy day, cold and raw, after a frost; roads not passable till mid-day. Went out to see 9th in p.m., just back. Seem quite comfortable. Padre away taking services. The Gosford cigarettes did come, and were acknowledged. I will write a note. Went round the cemetery with Duke in the morning; over 4,000 graves—British. Saw Lyness’s and Crymble’s, also Corbally’s, Capt R.F.A. Duke goes on leave tomorrow, am sorry. Young Allen of 12th came in to dinner last night; he is Bde. Grenade Officer; a very nice boy and capable. He got an M.C.
Rode over to see 11th and 13th [Royal Irish Rifles]. Fine day, but roads very slippery. Attended a lecture by Lushington on ‘Barrage,’ very interesting. Brought him in to tea afterwards and had a gunner talk. H.Q. mess has dwindled to six. Shall go and see 9th tomorrow morning, and very likely stay to lunch. Hope to see Shill. and Padre.
Spent morning with 9th, and lunched with them. They are all very happy and comfortable. Most interesting lecture this p.m. by Chief of Staff of the Army on Staff Duties. Simply splendid; only wish more staff officers had attended. Do you see Repington wants 60 more Divisions? Have sent out for envelopes; I always forget I’m living in town.
Padre has settled to stay with the Battalion and feels sure he can manage it; that’s a great blessing. A horrible day; snow has never ceased falling since early morn, and, of course, is lying pretty thick. I couldn’t ride, so have been studying defence scheme, pamphlets, etc.
Reverend Hallahan had been appointed Senior Divisional Chaplain on 28 November 1916, which should have resulted in him moving to Divisional Headquarters. He managed to remain with the Battalion, however, until March 1917 when he left to attend a course of instruction at the Chaplains’ School, after which he finally relocated to Divisional Headquarters.