Saturday, 13 August 2011
Went to SWB parade service 10am. Corps commander gave us a very earnest sermon , and gave us to understand that all the divns in the Corps were as rotten as could be. Bobby Nickalls dined and we had a rubber of bridge. The King will see one of our battns tomorrow, along the road near Poperinghe, and all brigadiers are to go and shake hands with him.
My dear Mother
I am having an easy at present and have seen numbers of old friends. Percy came round and looked me up the other day. If we can keep on catching Germans and Austrians at this rate we ought to have mopped them all up in under a yea. The news all round is most satisfactory. I got a taste of German gas last week for the first time. I did not get it strong and it had no effect whatever on me.
The weather here is poisonously hot and muggy, we want some rain badly.
Tell Cecil the peas don’t travel well, they get tasteless and flowery before they arrive. They would probably do better in their pods. The melon was excellent. There is any amount of fruit and vegetables procurable here now, so it is hardly worth sending any out here, though it is jolly good of her to think of it.
I shan’t get leave for another month yet. I have really quite a lot to say, but it’s not much good when you are not allowed to.
I have lost Father’s last letter but I believe he said Raymond’s memorial would cost £80 so I enclose a cheque. If it turns out to be more please let me know.
Your loving sonCuthbert
Friday, 12 August 2011
I was going with Welch to look at the 2nd Army school behind St Omer, but had to stop behind to attend the breaking up day of our Divn school. Corps & Divn commanders present. After the inspection was over De Lisle had a conference at our hd qrs. At 3pm the Corps Commander turned up to inspect our camps. He spent 3 hours over it, never stopped talking, and after it was over asked me to make a précis of all he had said and send it on to him.
Thursday, 11 August 2011
Went over to lunch with Webber at the 2nd Canadian Divn Hd qrs. He sent a car for me. On the way I called in at No10 Casualty Clearing station to see Nichols who is recovering from gas. McBrien was also lunching with Webber & Ruthuen was there too on the divn staff. After lunch I went on to the 19th Divn. Monkhouse was away sick with sciatica, but I saw haskard. Morgan dined and we played bridge.
Wednesday, 10 August 2011
Tuesday, 9 August 2011
This morning we discovered that practically the whole of the left coy of the Inniskillings and the left coy of the Hampshires (next to us on the right) had been gassed, but not the right company of the Inniskillings which was between them. All the rats in the trenches and the birds and a cat in Potije Wood had died. 21 transport animals of the Inniskillings which were up in Potije died after they got back to their lines. Later in the day (about midday) several men in the right company of the Inniskillings began to go sick many of them dying quite suddenly, until the total casualties in this battn reached 15 officers and about 150 men, about a third of these being dead by the afternoon.
Those who succumbed at once when the gas was first discharged died peacefully without apparent pain, those who were only affected some hours later turned blue and foamed at the mouth & nose.
The alarm worked well & everyone appeared to have had the warning, but I think some of the officers & NCOs went about without their helmets on seeing the men were all right waiting for the first sniff, and then it was too late. Other men apparently exhausted after wearing them for 2.5 hours took them off after midnight and lay down to sleep in the bottom of the trenches and dugouts which were still not properly cleared of gas.
Then a number of men who had been affected, but did not know it worked hard all the morning clearing away the casualties, and this exercise had fatal results. We found a number of dead and dying rats in Ypres. One of the bdes in the 4th Divn on our right was also gassed and had several casualties, the Germans attempted a raid on them but were beaten off. Some Germans came out of their trenches opposite us, but our machine guns kept up a fire the whole time so they did not come on.The Borders and Inniskillings were relieved after dark by the 86th Bde & the whole bde came back into reserve just E of Poperinghe.
Monday, 8 August 2011
More shelling during the day, particularly at a battery about 200 yards N of our hd qrs. they got direct hits on all the emplacements and dugouts but did no damage.At 10.30pm the gas alarm was sounded, and everyone was warned. The guns opened a heavy barrage on our front. I got onto the Borders and Inniskillings and both sent in messages that though they could smell gas it was not being discharged on their front. The Inniskillings message proved to have been a mistake on the part of the signallers. On this information I stopped the guns firing on our front. Fuller & Mellor were up regulating the transport & came in to our hd qrs. After about 20 minutes we began to smell gas in Ypres so we all put our helmets on, but it never got really bad, occasionally getting thicker and then dying away. The relief of the two reserve battns went on at the prison and on the canal bank and they hardly felt its effects at all. At 12 midnight everything seemed to be over so I went to bed. The prepared blankets over all the doors and windows kept the gas out of the dugouts quite effectively.
Sunday, 7 August 2011
Went around the right sub-sector with De Lisle starting at 5am. We crawled over the open to look at Mill Cot, Nickalls was with us. A big trench mortar is being dug in there. So as to give the whole show away he then insisted on the 3 of us sitting on the old windmill mound close by, with an open map between us for ten minutes, in full view of the whole German line. He was not very pleased with our trenches, but then went on to the 88th, these appeared o annoy him more than ours, so he decided that we should be relieved tomorrow and the next day instead of the 88th. 2 or 3 of the KOSBs were gassed during the night by gas shells whilst working on the Strand and Fleet St. Bayley stayed the night with us. Welch dined and we had some bridge. Dill looked in after tea.