26 November 1915

LaCoutre

Today we have had our first snow.  There was a heavy fall this morning which lasted for about an hour & settled in places to a depth of two or three inches.  In some places the previous rain, which had been even heavier, quite prevented the snow settling, but it has now started to freeze hard so I don’t know what will happen next.  The wind has gone round to the North East & tonight is really cold, but fine, clear & except underfoot very dry.  I should imagine that we shall have low temperatures & intermittent snow-storms for the next few weeks.  Probably by Christmas everything will be frozen solid.  This morning before the snow I rode round one or two of our posts on my black mare & just escaped a wetting.  The roads were pretty deep in mud & walking is by no means a pleasure at this time of year.  Then came the snow so I stopped indoors & paid attention to my maps, for which I rely mostly on the reports sent in by those adventurous spirits who prowl about at night.  This is a great place simply made for crawling about & I sometimes wish I was back with the battalion & could sally forth as we used to.  There are all sorts of old ditches & disused trenches, trees & shell holes all over the place between the lines which of course afford plenty of cover to some bored officer in search of amusement.  At lunch time the Colonel turned up to take the place of the Brigadier, & he is now ensconced in Brigadierly State.  He is very amusing at times & I am quite sure that the Brigade Major, who is a Regular, has never seen any Colonel quite like him before.  During the morning the G.O.C. came to be introduced to the three new Senior Officers of the Brigade whom he had not yet met- i.e. the C.O.  & 2nd in Command of the 5th, & the 2nd in Command of the 4th——shires.  All three are old veterans & very old at that.  One of the 2nd in C’s has never been known to smile yet, & the Brigadier promptly nicknamed him H.M.S. Doleful.  The G.O.C. greeted him with “Hullo, you’re a bit of a dug-out aren’t you” & the poor man didn’t quite know what to say. As a matter of fact I believe had had served under the G.O.C. before—way back in ’43 or some such pre-historic date.  The C.O. mentioned has a face like a pugilist, & a voice like a bull, talks always in monosyllables & strikes one as a rule as being grumpy.  The third old’un seems to me to be rather a cow – but one must not make remarks about ones Senior Officers.  After lunch the weather cleared wonderfully, & for the first time since we came to this spot there was a view to be had.  Straightway therefore I got once more upon the mare & rode off to talk to the gunners with whom I always keep on the best of terms.  They of course invited me to their ”Oh pip” — which being interpreted signifies O.P. or Observation Post.  From here we got a fairly good view but failed to catch sight of any Boshes wandering about in any large numbers.   In one place there was smoke coming from their trenches & the gunner I was with at once rang up his battery & popped over a few high explosives.  One fell plump onto the fire, & after that the smoke was seen no more.  On the whole we manage to give the old Hun a lively time in these parts.  If ever he raises the courage to shell, he invariably gets an enormous amount more back than he gives.  I suppose he does not consider this a very important part of the line, at all events he does not seem to have many guns about.  Of course its now so hopelessly water-logged everywhere that an attack is out of the question, though I see by the paper that our fellows made a very handy little raid the other day & scuppered a few enemy, getting away themselves with only one killed.  This was jolly good.  My battalion is coming out tonight & coming back to billets not very far from where we are; here billets are not as good as in some places that we have visited, but they might be worse.  If only we can get a battalion mess it will be all right – it is a very merry gathering when they are all together, & I should certainly make a point of dropping in one night just to pay them a visit.   It is very comfortable here & one feels of course very well always – never any need to eat bully & biscuits, but I do at times miss the cheery songsters of the 5th & our uproarious evenings on our first night “out”.

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