weekending February 20th 1916

Dreadful news! we are to merge with the 5th!

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We were just getting into a regular routine when suddenly we upped sticks and moved first to Corbie on the eastern outskirts of Amiens, the to La Neuville about 40 miles north east again. It was there we were told the shocking news that we, the 4th Battalion are to merge with the 5th!

We were aghast at the news. Particularly as training had seemed to be going so well.  The new battalion is to joined a newly arrived 118th Brigade. No sooner had we been told, than we were on the march again to St Omer close to Calais. The weather was dreadful and we marched in a blinding snow storm. Indeed the roads were almost impassable – had it not been for the efforts of Transport Sergeant Cruickshanks none of the waggons would have found us again. Then when we arrived, nobody had arranged any billeting for us and we had to find warmth and comfort where we could. During this time we lost our punishment detail – those found guilty of the more trivial offences. First thing the next morning the Colonel received a note from them: They had found themselves a place of refuge a few miles away, took turns guarding themselves to ensure their own good conduct, and now would be exceedingly obliged if their rations and letters could be forwarded to them! A detail was sent and they found themselves back with the battalion in double quick time!

william shaw, Sunday Post 1916

I took this photograph two days after we had arrived in St Omer. What rough conditions, brought about by the wintery weather.

ammunition worker sunday post 1916

 

I found this photo in the Sunday Post last week and it reminded me of Chrissy. I know that she finds the work stressful and dull at the same time – A little bit like my work! I know also that she takes comfort from the friendships she has made. I know that without the lads, my experience in France would be bleak indeed. However, I know that with our women folk working so hard and more soldiers on their way – the paper said that even more men are being conscripted – this war will end soon and we can all go home.