4 May 1916

Once more back to the land, & a very hot day too. I was unable to get a salmon so had to sail without one hoping to be able to get something at Boulogne.  The channel proved to be foggy – quite thick in fact & there was a slight swell.  However we went straight on board & sailed almost immediately.  It was cold & we wobbled about a bit but otherwise the voyage was not unpleasant. The boat was not nearly so full as on the other journey, & a large number of people seemed to be taking an extra day.  Arrived at Boulogne instead of having a few hours wait we were hustled on board a train & started on our usual crawl shortly afterwards.  Not only was there no time to get anything for the mess, but there was no chance or snatching even a hasty meal for oneself.  It looked like breakfast at 7.30 & nothing else until midnight.  The train journey was as usual mostly inter-station stops & dawdling between whiles.  In the end we reached a town at 8.30 where the train refused to go any further, so we accordingly got out.  Here they told us that the next train on was not due until 9.40 & would be at least five hours late – we had better therefore spend the night in a hotel & come on by the first train next (this) morning.  This we did & just managed to get dinner before closing time.  I shared a large room with a Colonial Sapper who had travelled in the same carriage all the way – & spent the night snoring loudly.  We breakfasted early & caught the 8.30 AM this morning, arriving as I said before on a broiling hot day.  R.T.O.at the “town” station was Johnston an O.M.T. whom I met some time ago: he was sporting one of those new blue hat bands & looked no end of a swell.   One of the occupants of my carriage was a man in the R.D.F. who was spending his leave in Dublin when the disturbance began. He said that he had been out here since Mons & had a good many narrow shaves, but nothing to compare with what he got from the snipers in St Stephens Green & on the various house-tops.  Godsal went on leave yesterday afternoon, & we are not in good billets.  Consequently the liver of the Brigadier is causing him annoyance, & nothing can possibly be done right.   You will be sorry to hear the Jones has again been wounded & is now in England.  He has a slight shell wound in the same hand as before & ought not to be more than a fortnight at the most.  He has bad luck.  This time he was sitting in a car at a village some distance back when he was caught by a piece of shell casing from a neighbouring crump.  Toller is on leave & Shields is therefore temporarily in command.


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