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Thursday, 10 February 2011

Diary Entry - 10th to 18th February, 1916

I leave Béthune at two thirty am and get to Boulogne at nine thirty am. As the boat is posted for twelve fifteen, there is some time allowed us to get clean, so Dixon of the 71s and self hunt the town for a coiffeur and finally find one, with only one chair in it. After a shave, we rush the Folkestone Hotel and have a bath and then a good lunch and take the ferry for the boat. It was three forty-five before we let go the painter, but we ran across well and were not delayed on the English side. On arriving at Victoria at eight forty-five pm, I made through the crowd for a taxi and then on to the Carlisle Club, where I found RSG. We talked till twelve, and then I went to Batts, but it was some time till I got used to white sheets. I spent all my time n London, as I had a lot of things to buy, some for the Battery. The JCs were at Rubens Hotel and I saw a good lot of them. Mrs F.J. (the Fyfe-Jamiesons were relatives) was also there. My, it was grand to be back in London once more, and I made the most of it. There was always a crowd of Anzacs to be found at the Carlisle Room, and I met Reg Brown there and we had a good night together at a Bric Brac. All good times must end and on 17th at nine fifteen am I had to return, catching the train at Victoria, and was glad there was no-one to see me off, as there is to see most men. We had a good journey to France, being lucky to have a moderate sea on our stern, a little to the starboard. It was a good hour before we got off, after tieing up at Boulogne, and we were glad to get our lunch at three pm in the Folkestone. The train left for the front at one, but my journey was cut very short, as at Lillers at six thirty pm I was roused by shouts of 'Mr Manifold' and found Bates and Potter both there tryng to find me so that I would not go on to Béthune. It was a wet cold night and I did not relish the ride of seven kilometres to the camp much. However, the rain luckily kept off.

(Next entry - letter home on 17th February)

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