2 September 1917

We had a very successful crossing & arrived all serene once more in the jolly old land of frogs. The other officer of my regiment who should have been there was not, but there were more than a dozen belonging to other Battalions, some of them Regulars, with whom I soon became acquainted.  We did not come straight on up here at once but spent the night in a wretched Rest Camp, a miserable place miles out of town, where there were no Batmen & one was even expected to carry ones own valise about.  We came on here yesterday & here we seem likely to stay – for an indefinite period.  One point of great satisfaction is that I go back to my own Battalion, that is already settled. Here we are on a sandy plain & in tents, you can imagine the result – one’s kit, mouth & clothes always gritty. The mess, full of course of new officers of the most new order, is not a very comfortable spot & I shall not be in the least sorry to get moved on.  Old Huskisson came by the same train from Folkestone, he is likely to become Staff Captain as Grinling has been moved to be a Brigade Major.   I hope old Husky gets it, he is a first rate man & I know him well.    Today we have been fitting & testing respirators, a performance which I believe we repeat tomorrow even more strenuously than today.  As far as one can judge from rumours & reports, all the stories one has heard about the new Boche gas are grossly exaggerated, and really there is nothing to fear from it, if one keeps one head.   Things seem very little altered since I was last here.  Same old filthy trains and unlit carriages.  Same way of loitering along & stopping hours between stations.   Same playful habit of depositing one about a mile from the platform with no means of conveyance for one’s kit. Same French children very cheerful and very rude.   Only it is not raining at the moment, several of us are just off into the town to get dinner there – meals not being very high class in this establishment.

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