Captain Hills didn’t write any letters between 15th January and 2nd September 1917.
It is likely that Hills’ knee injury prevented him from staying on the front line and that he probably went to England for medical treatment during this time.
The letters blog will return on 2nd September 2017.
This silly old knee refused to mend as it should do, so I have retired once more to the Field Ambulance – while the Regiment has gone up into the line.
Several more of less exciting thing have happened since my last letter. The first incident occurred the night before last and can only be described as disastrous. I went up with a party to do some wiring; not that an Adjutant generally does things of that sort – but I happened to be the only person who knew the way. The night was very dark and I suddenly felt my left leg disappear from under me down a hole. It went right down and my right leg stayed on top, twisting my right knee, and slipping a cartilage. Fortunately the cartilage decided to return whence it slipped: but the necessary walking that I had to do that night and yesterday morning have resulted in water on the knee.
The next piece of excitement was yesterday morning in the early hours. Creed was out with a patrol when they sighted some Boches. He immediately went for them, wounded and captured their officer, and scattered the enemy back to his line. This of course was great and we are celebrating it with a “bust” tonight. I am settling down all right into my new job, and I think will very soon get the hang of things. There is plenty of work which is one thing I like, and also plenty of room for improvement. If we can only manage to introduce a little of the last we shall get along very well. I have a very good Sergt Major to help me.
There is oceans of work to do. I am enjoying myself tremendously & keeping very fit. Allen has gone to Bgde. H.Q. with my old job & I am now Adjutant. The C.O. came back from leave two days ago & is just the same as ever, if anything rather more so. Most unfortunately he has had to go to a Commissioning Officers Conference, & will be away about a week. Old James Griffiths is commanding again in his absence, & we shall get along all right, but it is not the same thing as having the C.O. here.
Work has been the chief order of the day lately – the office has needed a good deal of reorganizing, & I have had a bit of a job collecting some of the papers & things which seem to have been scattered broadcast all over the Mess & kitchens & everywhere else.
Just at present we are up in trenches again & consequently there is considerably less paper showered upon us form brigade etc. – & one gets time to stroll round the lines & see what is going on. There is a most appalling amount of work always to be done in trenches & there never seems to be half the necessary number of men to do it. Fortunately while the Brigadier is away we do not get “strafed” for not having achieved the impossible. We had a very nice little dinner a night or two ago given by A Coy. – it was quite cheering to get back again amongst the old original people. We are very short handed for officers – a lot away on courses & odd jobs – but what we have got are jolly good. There is no sign of Wollaston yet though we have heard more than once that he is on the way out. Rumour has it that there are a lot of all sorts & kinds of Subalterns coming – there will doubtless be plenty of work for me on the choicest specimens of them. We have a most excellent H.Q. here with a really first class armchair. Where on earth it came from no one knows, because no one has ever seen such an armchair in France. Out here they do not know what comfort is in the chair line. No time for more.
A good many thing s have happened since I last wrote, & have been the cause of considerable delay in writhing. Soon after my last epistle several things occurred which led the Brigadier to imagine that all was not quite as it should be with the Regiment & one of the Coy Commanders was given a bit of a rest. This left them short of officers so I offered to go & look after a Company for a bit. I did so during a tour of four days in the trenches & thoroughly enjoyed myself. I got of course muddied up to the eyes & had to swim in places, but we did a lot of work & hardly slept at all – net result I am feeling extraordinarily fit. I am still commanding the Company but shall cease to do so in a day or two & become Adjutant. Allen’s transfer papers have hot come through yet but he is giving up the job in any case. There is no denying that things are not quite as they should be, & the Brigadier lays the blame for half the trouble at the door of Allen. Perhaps he is right. In any case I am being put in to get things straight if possible. It will not be an easy job – as I shall be almost alone. The C.O. is a wonderful man, but his ideas on discipline are not in accordance with those generally accepted, & though admirable for the old T.F. are of little avail when dealing with some of the people that we get here just now. Meanwhile the Brigadier has just gone on leave, so we are left in peace for a day or two at all events. Sandall is commanding the Brigade. I am sorry that you will now imagine that I am undergoing much more danger in my new job than before. It is not so, & even if it were one cannot help being somewhat of a fatalist. While there are shells about one may get hit anywhere, even in the softest of jobs. I shall take as much care of myself as ever, & hope for the best. Bosworth is going on leave tomorrow & will get me one or two things that he considers necessary for cleaning the strappings on my bags. don’t know whom I shall have as my batman in his absence.
I see the Honours list are out & that Kemp’s son has got a M.C. Several people in the Brigade have also got them, but unfortunately no one in the 5th. However they cannot all have them.
There is really nothing very interesting happening just at present but I will write & give you an account of my first impressions as Adjutant. I expect I shall get long all right somehow.