Daisie went back to Paris. Things seem to be going well up at the front and the Germans do not get to Calais or Boulogne, poor fellows!
Daisie arrived at 2 p.m.
Daisie wired yesterday that she arrived Paris all right yesterday – now she is so close I would rather like to see her. Anyway it is nice, though tantalising, to know that the sea no longer separates us.
They promised to get me away at 2.30 a.m. Woke at 3.30 and found nothing doing. Worried around and at last got away at 6 a.m. Reached Havre 10.30 Rushed to Strasbourg Hotel to embrace Daisie and found only a wire to they would arrive to-day in Paris – so hope deferred. Meantime I am not to go up the line any more, I am to be O.C.* these train interpreters and stay at Havre. There are about 50 of them.
Reached Abbeville at 7 a.m. Nearly 12 hours from Boulogne, about 75 kilometres – a 2 hours journey taking 12; The news from the front continues good.
So many bridges broken we have to go all round the country via Amiens, Montdidier and Beauvais, an awful long journey and very slow train. Arrived Sotteville, outside Rouen at 9 p.m. Such a fuss about sending me on and such a stupid R.T.O.* in the Staffords. Up most of the night arranging about shunting and getting the trains away.
*Rail Transport Officer? [guess]
Arrived Calais at day-break alongside a train of French wounded. Cold and wet and foggy, poor weather for the soldiers. but I expect it is worse for the Germans than for us. Saint Omer 9 a.m. The names up here “Ebblinghem” for instance, suggest that this country is really Teuton. As far as this the country has been flat and wet like land reclaimed from the sea. The real continent begins here. Saw the first Indians, only some measly looking followers. Towards Hazebrouck the country gets much more like lieber Deutschland. and Daisie and I could be quite happy here – Reached railhead Merville, at 12.30. Took a long time issuing. Took over 30 Germans prisoners of the 133rd Regt, had one passenger to take down. Lt. Butler R.F.A., who knew my camp with garden in Sonamarg. Not much artillery firing in this neighbourhood which means, I hope, that our fellows are pushing along and getting the Germans further back. Left Merville 8 p.m., arrived St. Omer at midnight and handed over my German prisoners. A most amusing incident: My crown and 2 stars in the faint gaslight look like 3 stars. A Major, Railway Transport officer, excellent fellow, disagreed with me about the escort necessary for the prisoners and I stuck to my opinion, whereupon he fiercely brushed his moustache and said “Look here, now, I’m a Major and you’re a Captain….” I might have let him go on, but it would have been hard luck, so I said “Oh, but I am a Colonel!” Frightfully apologetic – no need, I said, whatever my rank was if I was wrong I ought to be put right.
For those unfamiliar with insignia in the British Army, click on the image below, where you can see how similar the Captain and Colonel epaulettes are!
Arrived Calais about 8.0. and Boulogne about 12. They have just been bringing a whole Army Corps up here and the line is absolutely blocked.