28 February 1916

Once more we are to get on the move, & tonight is to be our last in this village.  I shall be quite sorry to leave the railway station where I have a very comfortable bed, & the mess is by no means a bad place.  Fortunately the thaw has, I think, really set in at last, & our transport ought to manage the roads without over much difficulty.  Viccars will probably go on ahead to look for billets for us, & I shall be left with my usual job of bringing things along, & seeing that we don’t leave too much either behind or by the wayside.  We usually have considerably more stuff than we ought to, so packing is a fine art.  This morning started with a mystery, most exciting, & in a way quite dramatic.  It was thus.  The 8.30 pm train last night when crossing a bridge ran into something.  It took a hundred yards to pull up & then there was found the body of a horse.  It was completely dark & the solution of the mystery was therefore left until daylight.  This morning our investigations began.  A sentry said that he had seen a man riding a horse along the line from the direction of B to A, the latter our station.  The horse was found at a bridge about 100 yds short of A.  Near it was found one stirrup iron & leather, a part of a girth, & a waterproof cape.  The line was originally a single one & had been recently doubled – so that while one half (longitudinally) of the bridge was solid, the other half was open sleepers laid on trestles.  Apparently the rider rode along from A, but just after he had crossed the bridge by the solid side heard a train coming on his line.  He therefore crossed on to the other line, & tried to go back.  The horse apparently put its foot in between the sleepers, & broke its leg.  The rider finding he had not time to get everything away, took off the bridle & cut off the saddle, leaving one stirrup underneath the horse.  But where is the man?  He is nowhere to be found & it is all most mysterious.  All this of course provided admirable amusement for the local & military sleuth hounds who tracked the hoof marks back to A, & examined all the remains & looked very wise, &, incidentally discovered nothing.   Somewhere about midday it came on to rain, & as it was no weather for outdoor sports we decided on a kit inspection.  This little game I carried out in a loft.  It is a weary business as it is awfully hard to remember what each man ought to have.  You might tell Dini next time you see her that I am very sorry but I do not wear a “red” hat.  Only people actually on the staff wear them, & I am not on the Staff – only attached to Bde Hqrs, that is all.  The General & Bde Major, & Staff Captain all wear them, but they are properly appointed staff people whereas I am only a sort of bottle washer, doing work about the ‘ouse.  I do not think there is anything more to say just ——————-.

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