7 October 1915

Hesdigneul

At the present minute I am second in Command of “D” Coy but Major Bland’s   asthma is not really right, & he is very probably going to leave us, in which case I shall again have command of the Company for a short time.  Tomorrow in all probability we shall go to the trenches & take over an entirely new bit of line, that we have never seen in all our little lives before.  For this I know that I have got to go as a Coy Commander so I shall have to mind my p’s & q’s.  It is a bit of responsibility but at the same time a great honour.  At all events I could not want a better lot of men behind me & I know them as well as they know me.  It is true that the two Subalterns under me are aged 20 and 18 respectively but what they lose in age they make up in efficiency, & I don’t think I need have any misgivings in that direction.  As you say the casualty lists have been pretty terrible during the last few days of an attack but that is always the way.  Poor old Dickinson has been laid out I see, I very nearly saw him one day by the Lille Gate at Ypres – just missed him by a few minutes.  Baber was in the same regiment but he has apparently had better luck.  By the way I suppose the 22nd London took part in the recent attack, I am always sure that their Division did.  I hope Boosey distinguished himself & will presently appear among the D.S.O.s or Military Crosses.  We have got a nice large town (Bethune) near us now-the best we have run into so far.  One can buy almost anything one is likely to want, &, what is better still, the prices are not so high that bartering is impossible.  I rode over there this morning, & made a few minor purchases – yesterday’s Times, it is rather nice to be able to buy at 9.30 a.m. on the following morning.  The nag that belongs to the O.C. “D” Coy is a curious looking animal with the most peculiar trot that was ever seen.  He is however very strong, & can go on for miles at almost any pace without showing any signs of fatigue.  I hear that we are going to have 6 new officers out from England – one of whom is a Captain.  It will be rather amusing to see how he will like being docked of two of his stars.  The C.O. makes all new officers start again as 2/Leiuts- other wise men would be superseded who had been out here all the time, by some newly fledged person from the 2/5th

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