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Friday, 26 August 2011

Diary Entry - 26th August, 1916

Siggers and I breakfasted at six thirty a.m. and then took a look round at things being packed up in preparation for a 20-mile march to Famechon, passing through Beauquesne, Sir Douglas Haig's advanced headquarters. At eight thirty a.m. the brigade was to march, headed by D36, and we followed them at eight thirty-five a.m., and orders were that one man was to be left on the brake of each vehicle and the remainder were to march at the head of the battery. Siggers had to go with the adjutant in advance of us, to get the wagon line and billets squared up, so I was the remaining officer left with the battery. We stopped at eleven thirty for midday feed and watered at a small pond but D36 and us were the only batteries to water as the others never got a chance, and I lost my position by watering, as D36 went straight on as soon as they fed and did not consider us. So the 50th and 56th Batteries pushed in ahead of me. In Beauquesne, the Colonel made us go a different road to the one we were taking and took us a long way out of our course as it happened. When we were halted just out of the village, Quiller came barging up with the 9th Battery on the left of the road, making the road impassable and trying to break our brigade up. When we moved off, he did too, consequently everyone was jostling, so as he couldn't get into our column. Luckily the Colonel came along and cursed his head off. And I hope he gave it to him hot, as a more rotten show than he put up I have never seen, even training in England - he let the men sit on their horses for 20 minutes, not attempting to have them dismounted. It's damned hard on poor horses such as they were on a 20-mile march. We eventually got into our lines at five thirty and were very soon fixed up. I was feeling quite hungry by that time as had had no lunch and had been caught in a shower while watering, getting sopped, but soon drying again. The Captain and Bailley, who arrived soon after we did, seemed distinctly costive, but we took no notice of them as they had livers after doing themselves too well in Amiens. Anyway, we messed alone that night in a tent and called the OC and acting captain names, while they probably did the same to us.

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