16 June 1916

Feverish excitement, hurried whispers, runnings to and fro – officers soiling their slacks in mud and all for what? All for the mysterious word “Spy”. There is a spy in that tree says Pte A – someone threw a lump of mud at me as I was passing and look! There’s a rope starting about 10 ft up and reaching to the top. Out of course we all have to go – to try and find the elusive tree climber – to find a large crowd assembled of many other confederates of Pte A. “Its not the first time neither – there was a fellow the night before last – with a torch – just about 12 o’clock – we chased him too – he disappeared in a hedge ad we lost him” etc. etc. by the yard. By the time we arrive on the scene someone is half way up the tree – a large chestnut – and convinced himself that there is no one hiding up aloft. The original scaremonger however is not to be quietened until someone discovers a small twig with two or three young chestnuts on it – snapped off by the wind and fallen exactly where the “chunk of mud” was said to be. I have just discovered that the Intelligence Officer of one of the other Brigades – who is at present staying with us – and with whom I shall stay next week – is an actor. He is not a great man but I think I have probably seen him at some time or other. – by name Cyril Ashford. Curiously enough he has acted a lot with Leo Stormont and knows him very well. He has also been with Alan Aynesworth and one or two others such as he. He is a really clever man at his present job, and can see in half an hour through a telescope a good deal more than most men would find in half a year. I am sorry to say that G.Ps son has been killed – he seems to have had very rapid promotion and must have been a good man I should think. Personally I cannot recall anything about him – may be I never saw him. The Regiment has just had no less than seven new Subalterns bringing their total up far above their establishment. They are weird specimens as far as one can see at present – but I daresay we shall be able to make something of them in time. One of them is an actor man or rather a dancer – and frequently appears as a partner to Ethel Levey whose pictures – usually particularly hideous –  one sees about all over the place. At last the weather has changed, and today – the first for nearly a fortnight seemed more or less summer-like. That is to say we had no rain and in the sun one could keep warm if one moved about. Tonight’s quite a fine night and I think and hope, that we are due for a good day tomorrow. The new time is all very well but has one great disadvantage to my mind. The sun is no longer due south at noon which is of course very sad. A lesser disadvantage is that is  horribly cold at breakfast time and one is never ready to go to bed while it is almost light enough to see to read without artificial light. The lost hour in our case was 11.0pm to 12 midnight and it was curious to see in the next day’s report that more than one C.O. spoke of something happening at 11.30pm. a time which by a special army order could not possibly exist. All of them however were very careful to head their reports “for the last 23 hours”. So much did I enjoy myself the other night at the “Bow Bells” that I am seriously thinking of paying them another visit at first opportunity. To spend a couple of hours there is the best way that I have so far discovered of taking one’s mind off the war – a relaxation that is desirable – not to say necessary.

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