TUESDAY, MAY 9th

The relief went off all right, and we were in here by 11.00 p.m. Very quiet after the strafe. Still cold and showery. We had a quaint little Service, attended by 60 men, in a small room in H_____ [Hamel] at 3.30 p.m. on Sunday.

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WEDNESDAY, MAY 10th

Weather turned warmer and finer after a wet night. Very quiet here since Sunday. A memo has just come in from G.H.Q. saying much leakage of information going home in letters, and especially officer’s letters; in future any one transgressing will be tried by court martial! We have to find 200 men for working parties every night—infernal, and 50 men by day, and last night was very wet into the bargain. However, there is work that has to be done.

THURSDAY, MAY 11th

A great football match yesterday against the 1st Cameronians—rather a professional team. A good fast game ended in two goals all. The ‘Downs’ had some casualties last night—22 I hear. Some seven more of Ricardo’s wounded have died. A dull close day. The country is looking lovely, and the blossom in the orchard is lovely. H_____ [Hamel] is a very pretty place, with the river and the woods, and the undulating ground, not withstanding its ruined look. Letters just in. Alas! No compulsion of Ireland.

SATURDAY, MAY 13th

Such a wet day. We don’t go in to the line till Monday or Tuesday, and then for eight days and then back for a fortnight, I think. Pratt and Padre tried fishing yesterday, but caught nothing, as whizz-bangs were coming near them, and they left off after an hour. They are going to give us 14 officers over estab., which means another nine. Had tea with How. By. [howitzer battery] yesterday. Geoffrey White is a Brigadier now, and Malcolm Peake C.R.A. [Commander Royal Artillery] 29th Div. vice old Stockdale, who has been sent home. I always thought he was too slow. Have got my chair up here and am most comfy. The soil here is like C.B. [Carrick Blacker] and gets ‘lifty’ after rain and takes some drying. Sir R. Chalmers was Gov. of Ceylon, and was weak, I hear. Socks will be welcome. Hope they sack the Sinn Feiners from Gov. employ. We are not working on the Elephant—R.E. and 107th Bde. We are to have daylight saving out here. Do wish they would do away with the Irish time. Walked over the Brigade Office; with infinite care got Gen. to agree to cancel our working party for tonight of 150. The weather is too dreadful, pouring rain, and no work could be done. Still uncertain whether we go in Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. Col. Kentish just sent me an account of the raid carried out by 1st R.I.F. in daylight. Highly successful. They killed one officer and 12 Germans, counted them, and got a few prisoners. A train load of ammunition has just broken down on the line here, and we have to turn out a party to unload it. Lucky I got the working party cancelled.


Footnote

This extremely successful daylight raid was the first of its kind to be conducted by the BEF. It was carried out near Monchy-au-Bois on the afternoon of 17 April by 2 officers and 26 other ranks of the 1st Battalion and an officer and four men of the Royal Engineers.

SUNDAY, MAY 14th

Rain stopped, but still dull and cold. The old train managed to get on last night without unloading. Had another bath this morning, and am getting all the men a second bath before they go into the line. Expect we’re getting your bad weather now. No more Hun spot cases. Hollywood has returned; no other new officers so far. No, never heard a word against the Indian troops. There might have been a few isolated cases, but I doubt any general disaffection. We come out to Mesnil each time, but when we come out for 14 days will go further behind H____e [Hédauville]. The only badly wounded last Sunday was Hall, who comes from Tyrone. L/Corpl. Huston, from Armagh, was wounded on a fatigue party, the same night, but before the strafe. Have not heard how Sergeant Pollock is going out, but I fear he will not come back to us. Don’t know yet when we go in. Have been reading Dillon’s speech—a lot of impassioned rot! A____ [Amiens] has been put out of bounds for all below rank of Maj-Gen!


Footnote

The speech referred to was the stand made in Parliament by John Dillon MP against the continuance of martial law and the executions of rebel leaders. The proposed resolution, his speech and the Prime Minister’s reply may be read in Hansard.

John Redmond MP and John Dillon MP

John Redmond MP and John Dillon MP