1914 – September 5

Met an interesting man called Simmons, one of a batch of gentlemen members of the Royal Automobile Club who have come over to offer their services with their cars to Government. He was taken prisoner by the Germans on the night of August 31st with 3 supply lorries, and escaped on the 1st with one of the lorries when his captors were thrown into confusion by suddenly coming under our shell-fire. During the night he had left to take supplies to the front, they had to demand a French guide. A young man, the village schoolmaster, was woken up and told to go with them. He said good-bye with a smacking kiss to his little wife at the gate: “I shall soon be back.” Two hours later the motor was captured and he, as a civilian, was taken out by the Germans and shot. Poor fellow, poor little wife. Arbuthnot came back with his train to-day, head cut open and his servant badly injured, being shunted over an embankment – So we have our casualties too. I was to leave with a supply train at 8 a.m. and paraded at that hour. It is now 9 p.m. 13 hours later and I am sitting on the railway line writing this by gas-light and the train not ready yet. The confusion here has been terrible, owing to 3 changes of base. We nibble biscuits and smoke pipes. Got away at last at 11 p.m.

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