18 October 1915

Hesdigneul

The cares of the Adjutancy — Allen is still away & I have his place – have taken up all my time & made letter writing impossible.  We are settling down again by degrees & with the aid of a small draft of men from England the battalion is beginning to assume a more or less normal appearance.  Officers are of course sill conspicuous by their absence but doubtless that will be shortly rectified.  You have probably seen in the paper that we still retain the front edge of the Hohenzollern Redoubt – we do.  We won it & kept it & not only the front edge but the whole thing because the rest is so battered that neither side can hold it.  The cost was great – Hastings, Langdale & Moss lie there still as I said, but none the less it is our first battle & we got the place, & what is harder, kept it.  At present we are resting, & getting baths, new clothes & other such luxuries.  The men seem very fit & rather proud of themselves, though personally I would have liked to have seen fewer return from the battle.  There were too many when one considers how many officers came back untouched.  Last night we had a merry little dinner party at H.Q. here.  The Col. Of the 4th Lincolns & a Captain of his came in, while we had the Dr who is a great man – Burnett, Jackson & Wynne.  Our C.O. was in great form; produced champagne, & port & liqueurs & rum punch, & tried very hard to make the Col. Of the 4th merry.  It is very sad losing half, or even more than half one’s mess (men?), but it is absolutely essential that those who are left should carry on as if nothing had happened, & retain their good spirits.  I think the C.O. will get something out of the battle, he was absolutely first rate.  The Doctor also & Wollaston deserve a bit of ribbon of some colour or other.  We have been inspected by one or two Generals & others who say nice things to us.  One of our bomb-throwers was being questioned by one of the above-mentioned Generals as to what he had done.  He replied he had blown half an officer’s leg off.  This amused the old General tremendously who guffawed for some time, & wanted to know why he chose only half an officer to operate on & not a whole one.  Hope to be able to get leave soon, though it is not in sight yet.

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