Daily Archives: July 22, 2016

22 July 1916

Very many thanks for you “hurried” letter – it came yesterday and I was looking forward to another today. The postman however seems to have decided that it would be better to deliver it tomorrow. Today I heard from Sellar, he has at last got a job – a naval instructor like Akhurst . He ranks eventually as a full Lieutenant but will in all probability spend his next few months learning the game at Greenwich. Poor Banwell’s foot has got much worse again – chiefly owing to a careless hospital orderly, who slammed on a fomentation without getting it properly dry, and blistered the poor fellow’s foot most horribly. It is now rather worse than it was before. My knee, on the other hand is improving very rapidly indeed. I am becoming quite a dab at slamming on the fomentations and shall be about again as usual by the middle of next week if not before. I manage to hobble about a good deal and can find plenty of office work to do to keep me well employed. Yesterday afternoon I went even further and actually delivered a lecture – to one of the regimental “hate” gangs. A “hate” gang is the name usually given to the regimental snipers, observers and intelligence people – whose job it is to hate and strafe the Bosch. It is a most remarkable feature of this country that though the weather is by no means averse to being bad for three weeks on end, it seems to be totally incapable of being good for more than 48 hours. Yesterday was a delightful day – today it may rain at any minute – gloomy, overcast and depressing, and even cold at times. I am almost beginning to believe that there must be some truth in the idea that gun-fire can have an effect on the weather. There does not seem anything else which could cause such positively atrocious beastliness. The General’s liver is still a trifle troublesome and he descended very heavily on our mess waiter at lunch today because the plates were cold. The poor youth is always exceedingly nervous in the August presence, and this outburst very nearly finished him. I don’t expect he will last very much longer – the General will “out” him, and some other poor wretch will be found to suffer for the next few months. The 5th caught it rather badly in billets yesterday morning – that is to say they had a very hot ten minutes, fortunately no one hurt. Barton was in his bath when the first salvo came, and one of the shells fell close adjacent. He hopped out with exceeding swiftness and made straight for the cellar – unclothed and dripping only to find that it was already full of other officers mostly pyjamad and all the civilian population of the billet. All’s well that ends well and no one was hurt so we can afford to laugh over the matter now that it is over. The rain has coms as I knew it would – only a drizzle at present, but probably a shower of real strength by this evening, and a torrential downpour at night. Our trenches will once more assume a winter aspect, and all our labours will begin again. The new Staff Assistant that I spoke of, by name Cannon, is a rather curious person, but as he has innumerable and very bulky parcels sent he is most useful to the mess. He comes from Stoneyhurst and is a R.C. so I keep my eye on him very cautiously and trust him about as far as I would trust a Hindoo. When war broke out he joined the W. Kents or some such regiment and went to India as a private soldier: so he has seen quite a lot of the world since this jolly old war began. At present we have got a guest staying with us in the shape of the Colonel of the 4th who is a bit run down and needs a rest. He is going to live here for a couple of days so as to be fit to strafe his battalion again when they next come out of trenches. Not being well he is naturally a trifle gloomy – the Brigadier is livery – Hacking never does say much – it cannot be described as a very jovial mess. Here come the reports, I must read them through and write mine.

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