1914 – September 12

Reached Coulommiers 5 a.m., raining still and very cold, giving out rations all day, such filth and mud and a dead horse just outside my truck. These funny old motor buses from London still continue to advertise in the French lanes “N.W.R. Go to Scotland for the best holiday – G.W.R., Cornish Riviera, etc. etc.” Five French aeroplanes just passed over in the direction of the enemy. Not a very happy night last night, a lot to do, very cold and very wet, bad cold and cough, tummy ache and violent tooth-ache in my Newton Abbott tooth. Heavy firing going on so I suppose the poor Germans are catching it again. A special message from the Kaiser was intercepted ordering his troops to “annihilate the British Force”. It takes some doing. Talked with German wounded Hussars, Artillery, Uhlans, Infantry, all very happy. Their one idea is to have a trip to England. I received over a lot of German rifles, ammunition, fuses, and detonators. The latter I thought too dangerous to have in my carriage, so I exploded them – Rain all day, mud and slush, a smell of filth and dead bodies and disinfectants and a busy hospital with amputations – all the nasty side of war. The Germans were through this town a few days ago and there is little left. How upside down the world is. Think of all the surplus women, and then these thousands of the best of men dead and left to rot in the fields. The world in which one lives has nothing to do with the world one knew – This is another existence. One’s brain is entirely engrossed with the work and sleep and when one wakes the work recommences. I seem to have no connection with the other lucky Dunsterville who had the best of wives and 3 splendid children.

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