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Saturday, 26 February 2011

Diary Entry - 26th February, 1916

A big day — one continual rush all through. Captain Buxton comes into the mess at nine thirty, looking for the OC, so I take him down to his billet and come back to finish breakfast. Suttie arrives at about 10, telling us that we are to move at twelve and that I am to go to Marles les Mines, there to meet Buxton and take over. At ten thirty, I, Potter and Sergeant Lamb set out over very slippery roads, and the other two are very nervous and will not give the horses their heads. We cut up through Bois des Dames (a wood) expecting it to be easier going but, before going a mile, are stopped by a sentry because of machine-gun practice, so down we go to the level again and work up into the wood again. There was not much choice either way, as the main roads are very slippery and the wood heavy with snow. We finally arrived at the appointed spot at twelve thirty — the last 2 miles being over very slippery hills coated with ice. Buxton was a few minutes in arriving and very brief with orders on arrival. He drew me a sketch of the town, pointing out a small portion of it, and said, 'You have to find billets for the 36th brigade and get the whole brigade into a slimy field, ' which he showed me, 'and the transports into another small field.' Well, to me it looked a hopeless task, but I was lucky in having Sergeant Lamb, who could speak French quite well, and by five we had billets for over 400 men, two officers' Messes and rooms for all officers. Our battery got in first, then two sections of the 15th and one of the 71st. I was very pleased when everyone was settled down.


  1. Buxton is probably Captain Lionel G Buxton who had been with 36th Brigade Ammunition Column in late 1914 and in 1915 became a staff captain in 2nd Division Artillery HQ. Sgt Lamb was (in 1914) Bombardier William E Lamb [41217] who had won the DCM in spring 1915 with 48th Bty.

  2. Thank you, dne1. I wonder where Lamb learned such good French. A useful man to have around, by the sounds of things.