Daily Archives: July 21, 2016

21 July 1916

It is really most amusing. Just when the weather looks like improving and we have got a delightfully interesting lot of trenches to play about in, I am put hors de combat in a most foolish way. About a fortnight ago I had a slight knock on my knee which just broke the skin. Everything went perfectly, in fact I had ceased to think about it, until yesterday evening when it started being rather painful. By this morning it was considerably swollen, still more considerably inflamed, and very obviously poisoned. So this afternoon Barton came over and cut the beastly thing for me, and now I am stuck for a week – hot fomentations three times a day, and not allowed to move from the mess office-billet area. I have to keep my leg up whenever possible; altogether it is a most miserable performance. Perhaps it is just as well that is has been done in time, because another day or two and my leg would have probably been transferred to another sphere of utility – helped to light the fire or something of that sort. Fortunately it does not prevent my doing office work so I can carry on most of my intelligence job – in the way of writing and reports and other nonsense of that sort. What I can not do is go up to the line, and see things for myself. Meanwhile the General’s liver is very troublesome. We all get strafed daily for everything or nothing, and except at, or after dinner is almost unapproachable. No one seems to be able to do anything right, and as most of us do everything wrong, so you can picture our happy home. I heard from Wollaston yesterday – he does not seem at all contented with his job and is very eager to come back and join us. I wish I had seen him on my last leave and must make sure of doing so on my next – WHEN that comes off. We hear that Ward Jackson, after being very bad indeed, is now going on pretty well and has got to England. Our other wounded are not sufficiently serious to worry about. Banwell has rejoined us and is almost well again. There is a most tremendous difference between this year and this time last year as regards our comfort and everything. This of course is partly due in my case to my living at H.Q. where we not unnaturally “do” ourselves rather better than the unfortunate gentlemen who are compelled to spend their entire existence in the ditches. But the country is so different. No longer a few farms each with its pond and pollard willows – Plains as flat as a pancake and intersected with innumerable water-ways – no woods worth telling of – no decent villages. Here we have much more home-like country. Each village a nice pretty little place nestling in its own trees with plenty of orchards and fruit gardens. A wood here and there and occasionally a forest – chateau with real grounds – streams, hills and everything else. Then again the people here are ever so much nicer. One can understand what they say for one thing, and they look at one in a more or less friendly way; last year one met nothing but scowls and sour looks. Another great advantage about our present abode is that it has not been continuously fought over. It is not at all blown to unrecognizable atoms: the lines are just where they were when the two opposing armies stopped, one advancing and the other retreating – nearly two years ago. So, as you may imagine we don’t mind staying here “for the duration” as our fellows say.